Uruguay is one of South America's smallest countries, but it's got a big reputation for its beaches along the Atlantic coast. But there's so much more to experience—Uruguay has a rich heritage shaped over the centuries by an array of cultures. This country, where the primary language is Spanish, is bordered in the north by Brazil and Argentina to the west. English, Italian, and Portuguese are commonly spoken in the larger cities and tourist areas.
Those who embark on Uruguay vacations can arrive by road, air, or boat. Many commercial airlines fly direct from Buenos Aires, Argentina; San Pablo, Chile; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, along with direct flights from Europe and America. Those planning Uruguay travel by sea can board ferries in Buenos Aires to the capital city of Montevideo or the historic port city of Colonia. Major cruise companies also include Uruguay on their South American itineraries. A network of roads runs through the country, and international bridges connect Uruguay to its neighbors.
When planning travel to Uruguay, it's helpful to know about the weather. The country does experience all four seasons, but extreme weather is rarely an issue. Located in the Southern hemisphere, Uruguay experiences the warmest weather in December, January, and February. The coolest time of year is June through August.
The beaches are the busiest at the end of the year, when the mercury rises and the warm weather is beginning to take hold. When looking to include time at the beach in your Uruguay travel plans, travelers will have their choice of beaches—everything from quiet to secluded beaches to active places to enjoy watersports. In total, there's more than 400 miles along the Atlantic Ocean and Rio de la Plata.
The strip of beaches of between Montevideo and Maldonado is called the Gold Coast for good reason, thanks to the golden sunsets and golden sand. With a collection of seaside resorts and visitor amenities including a casino, night clubs, and restaurants, Uruguay vacations to the Gold Coast will be something to savor. The beaches of Rocha alongside the ocean, such as La Paloma, Valizas, and Cabo Polonio, are known for the waves, white sand, and amazing views; in the northwest part of the country, visitors can relax their cares away in the thermal springs.
Travelers also have the opportunity to admire nature's artistry with a full slate of recreational activities. Whale watching is an option for Uruguay vacations that are scheduled between April and November. Several viewing platforms and cruises allow visitors to see these amazing animals as well as the beautiful scenery.
Uruguay travel also affords the chance to connect with a vibrant culture. Influenced by Europe, Africa, and South America, the country celebrates its roots with the tango, Creole festivals, fusion cuisine, and Carnival. One of the longest anywhere, this 40-day celebration features street parades, stage shows, bright colors, and nonstop fun.
Two cities, Montevideo and Colonia, are the center of Uruguayan culture. Both cities feature classic architecture and an array of interesting places to explore. In the capital city of Montevideo, travelers can visit museums that explore topics as diverse as Carnival, native artists, decorative arts, and pre-Columbian art. The National Historical Museum is located in the home of the elegant home of the country’s first president, and the Government House, Independencia Building explores the lives of all of the presidents.
Two hours from Montevideo and a short drive from Buenos Aires, Colonia del Sacramento has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Several places here reflect the culture of the Portuguese settlers, including the Municipal Museum, Ruins of the Chapel & Convent of San Francisco, and the lighthouse.
Overall, Uruguay has much to offer and may surprise you with all the things to do within its small landspace.