Vacations in Uruguay benefit from the abundance of things to do and see in this small South American country. Situated on the continent’s eastern coast, Uruguay boasts both miles upon miles of idyllic shoreline, as well as an agricultural land that bears all the hallmarks of sun-kissed splendor. It’s also home to the unique cities of Montevideo and Colonia del Sacramento, each as interesting as the other in their own separate ways. Uruguay holidays consequently take on many hues, and this is a place that caters for city-slickers, beach-bums, and cowboys in equal measure.
Montevideo is the capital of the country, and besides being most people’s first port of call during travel to Uruguay, it’s also a stop off for those looking for urban getaways. Uruguay trips to Montevideo tend to focus on two aspects of the city: its heritage and its beach. Heritage here comes in the form of grand colonial architecture, such as what you'll see on the Plaza Independencia, the square at the very heart of the city where you’ll find such splendid buildings as the Palacio Salvo and the Teatro Solis. Heritage also comes in the form of the Ciudad Vieja, Montevideo’s enchanting Old Town. The beach, meanwhile, runs the length of the city’s eastern side, proving a mainstay on itineraries for time spent in the city.
Urban Uruguay holidays also visit Colonia del Sacramento, a city on the banks of the Rio de la Plata, not far from the border with Argentina and its capital of Buenos Aires. Compared to Montevideo, this is a decidedly laid-back place, featuring cobbled streets, age-old architecture, and a beautiful stretch of beach. It’s the perfect place for gentle city breaks—wherever you go here, a good reading or people-watching spot is never far away.
While you can travel to Uruguay just for the beaches in its cities, genuine beach holidays here are inevitably geared toward beach resorts such as Punta del Este and Punta del Diablo. The first has been a headline attraction of Uruguay’s for years now. An extensive congregation of high-rise hotels, high-class bars, and sandy beaches, it’s the place where Uruguay’s rich and famous go for holidays. Punta del Diablo, meanwhile, is quieter and more laid-back, though that’s not to suggest the beaches aren’t as good. (If anything, they’re a little bit better.) Other places that feature beach-combing vacations in Uruguay are Piriapolis, Cabo Polonio, and La Paloma.
Travel to Uruguay also frequently focuses on the country’s naturally blessed interior. Somewhere around 90 percent of Uruguay’s land is used for agricultural purposes (either growing crops or rearing animals), and much of that is accessible to tourists because the estancias (ranches) that tend to the land also open their doors to visitors. For those who have tried it, Uruguay holidays that take in an estancia or two are spoken of in the highest possible sense. Not only is the land sun-drenched and inviting, the estancias are also friendly, family-run places that instantly charm their guests with their home-away-from-home ethos. Finally, vacations in Uruguay have the option of capitalizing upon the many activities available here, with golf, fishing, and hiking being perennially popular examples.