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Montevideo Independence Square
Bird's-eye view of
Independence Square
in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Uruguay Travel Fast Facts

Getting there: regular flights from major world cities to Carrasco International Airport near Montevideo
What to see:
Montevideo, Colonia del Sacramento, Punta del Diablo, Cabo Polonia National Park
Currencies: Uruguayan peso
Official language(s):

Squeezed in between its larger neighbors on the Atlantic Coast - Argentina to the west and Brazil to the north - little Uruguay still manages all on its own to boast world-famous beach resorts, charming old colonial towns, as well as the dynamic capital city at Montevideo.

Dominating the skyline is one of South America's tallest skyscrapers, Palacio Salvo, standing all of 26 magnificent stories high and located near the sweeping vista of Independence Square, dominated by the monument Uruguay's national hero, Artigas.

Next, head over to Constitution Square for a visit to the 17th century cathedral and the historic Cabildo (town hall).

However, if you see nothing else, don't miss the Montevideo's Old Town. The area's restaurant row offers some of the best grilled beef in all of South America, along with generous helpings of paella and seafood dishes.

Street peddlers, artists and musicians complete the scene at the Central Market which goes on virtually 24/7. As night falls, stroll the Rambla road by the water's edge for beautiful ocean views.

A sea lion rests on the rocks at
Cabo Polonio National Park.

From Montivideo, hop a ferry for a quick day trip to nearby Buenos Aires, or book a tour to Colonia del Sacramento for a lovely visit to a charmingly preserved colonial town.

In summer, especially, follow the crowds to join thousands of Uruguayans in the annual trek to beautiful Punta del Diablo, the country's top beach resort. Or, book passage for an adventure in Cabo Polonio national park, where a main attraction is the native sea lions who delight visitors as they frolick along the shore.

also see in Wines - Wines of Uruguay

DID YOU KNOW? Uruguay Travel Fun Facts

Chivito: it's what's for lunch.

• Hungry from all the sightseeing? Try a ‘chivito’, the nation’s favorite sandwich. Basically, it's a steak sandwich, and a whole lot more -- comprised of two thick slices of bread, a steak, mozzarella and tomato. You can also add olives, a hard boiled egg, a slice of ham, or strips of bacon. And don't forget the mayo.

• One of the most popular beverages in Uruguay is mate, a tea-like drink made of dried yerba mate leaves and sweetened with sugar.

• Taxis and buses are plentiful in Montevideo, but if you have several destinations on the itinerary consider hiring a 'remise'. It's an upscale taxi with your own driver who will whisk you around town for the day.

• If you're looking for memorable day trip from Montevideo, why not Buenos Aires? It's only a three-hour ferry ride aboard the Buquebus (sailing on the Rio de la Plata) to arrive at the Argentine capital city.

• One of the most progressive countries in South America, Uruguay was one of the first countries to guarantee free laptops and Internet access to school children. The country also made international headlines when it legalized marijuana in 2014 (but, sorry, tourists aren't allowed to purchase it!)

More about Uruguay travel & tourism around the Web:

Turismo en el Uruguay
- The complete guide, in English (though poorly translated), covering hotels, cottages and ranch stays, a directory of restaurants by city with contact details, suggested itineraries to outdoor, adventure travel, parks & preserves.

Uruguay travel guide - Wikitravel entry with a brief overview of what to see and do, how to get around, photos, maps.

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