Montevideo is the capital city of Uruguay, offering all the amenities of a city with the added bonuses of beautiful city squares, incredible shopping, delicious, unique food and a nightlife that will satisfy anyone who enjoys dancing. Although already a popular tourist destination for those that live in other South American countries, Montevideo is only now becoming known by Europeans and North Americans.
Known for the plentiful shopping and beautiful architecture, there are many attractions for the traveler in Montevideo. The Solis Theatre in the Plaza Independencia sits just inside Ciudad Viejo, or the Old City, along with many other buildings and squares showcasing the architectural history of this city. If you prefer sun and surf, you certainly won’t be disappointed, as Rambla, the coastal avenue, has over thirteen miles of sandy beaches.
Cuisine: You can expect dishes heavy in meat in Montevideo. Restaurants are proud of their many beef options. A popular sandwich is the Uruguayan version of a steak sandwich, called a chivito, which comes packed with toppings like lettuce, tomato, mozzarella, egg, bacon, olives and more.
You may notice many people carrying thermoses and gourds, which are used to make yerba mate, a tea shared with those around you through a metal straw. This is a communal act of friendship, so if offered, partake. You can also purchase your own thermos and gourd in many shops in Montevideo.
Must See: Make sure you walk 18 de Julio Avenue, which was named after the date the Uruguayan constitution was written. Art deco buildings line this shopping street where you can find jewelry, clothing, leather goods and food.
Lodging: Located just a few minutes walk outside of the Plaza de Arma, Hotel Palacio offers an excellent location between Old Town and New Town as well as a luxurious marble staircase, beautiful wood detailing, spacious rooms and large balconies.
Ground Transportation: The city is very walkable with beautiful architecture and popular outdoor squares, so don’t hesitate to make your own way between destinations. Taxis are plentiful and cheap in Montevideo, but don’t accept credit cards. Make sure you are able to pay in Uruguayan pesos.
Packing Tips: Montevideo’s climate changes drastically by season. Pack light, breathable fabrics for day travel in the summer with a light sweater for summer evenings when bay breezes cool the city.
Recommended Books: Felisberto Hernandez was a musician, painter and writer born in Montevideo. Lands of Memory collects six of his works: two novellas and four short stories. Hernandez’s signature style of writing, fabulism, inspired many Latin American writers who followed in his footsteps, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, best known for One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.
Currency: The Uruguayan Peso is the local currency.
Calling Code Uruguay: 598
Best Travel Dates: Since seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are reversed, plan your private jet visit from December to March for hot, humid beach weather and to take advantage of the beautiful coastlines. Avoid the stormy springtime weather from October to November.