Uruguay is one of South America’s undiscovered travel gems, with surprisingly varied trips for travellers seeking an authentic holiday experience.
Nestled between Brazil, Argentina and its rugged Atlantic Ocean coast, Uruguay features a large number of sandy beaches.
It is also home to rolling hills and vast, wide open spaces in the countryside as well as friendly people, great food and tango.
The capital, Montevideo, is vibrant and features some beautiful French and Italian colonial buildings.
Local also have a fervant passion for tango. The most famous singer of all time, Carlos Gardel, is claimed as a Uruguayan and has a museum dedicated to him.
And for wine and barbecues – say it quietly, but this country can more than rival the more well-known Argentinian varieties.
The coast has lovely beaches and warms seas, which the locals flock to, to relax, swim and sunbathe.
Inland and into the countryside you can stay at estancias to taste the rural life.
Uruguay has a charming, warm, friendly population of only 3 million, and a little-known but perfect destination made for horse riding.
Self-drive trips around the coast and the interior are also lovely, laid back ways to see this delightfully relaxed country.
Below you will find a few of the many attractions Uruguay has to offer for your holiday.
Uruguay’s 660km of white sand coastline, capes and dunes are almost completely deserted and unspoiled.
Drive north past Punta del Este and into more remote areas for wild and beautiful coast.
The fishing village of José Ignacio is the new up-and-coming place to stay, while La Pedreda calls to surfers, kite-surfers and eco-travellers.
Cabo Polonio is another old fishing village now turned eco/hippy resort. It’s basic with little electricity, but has a huge sea lion colony, peaceful waters to swim in and beautiful sunsets and clear skies for star gazing.
Further up, Punta del Diablo has more of a nightime scene as well as good swimming beaches.
A famous former Portuguese colonial outpost, Colonia is a step into a bygone age. Wander slowly past old and pretty colonial buildings, set in picturesque, quiet streets
There are two or three good restaurants to try, a couple of small museums worth a visit and you can swim in the refreshing Rio de la Plata river.
El Buen Suspiro (the good whisper) is Colonia’s most famous street. Some say its name derives from the enticing whispers of the prostitutes that worked here, others that it was the last breath of animals that were slaughtered here.
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We chose Andean trails after finding you online. As soon as we got talking about our options, it was clear you guys were hugely knowledgeable and could help us plan the perfect trip. We had an incredible time!
Overall Organisation: excellent, couldn’t have been better!
Highlight: It’s hard to pick just one, but exploring the suspension bridges above Grey glacier was amazing, exploring the French Valley, and watching a huge chunk of glacier carve away were some of our favourites.
Low point: I’m not sure we really had a low point, it was all amazing.
Accommodation: hotel in Puerto Natales was great, really quirky, good service. As expected the refugios on the trek were pretty basic but perfectly ok, the cabin at Cuernos though was brilliant!
Food: Again, as expected the food in the refugios was very basic, but edible. Our food in Cuernos refugio was actually very good, a nice treat in the middle of our trek! In the hotel, our breakfast was very good.
Guides: We didn’t really have any, but the lady that met us at the bus station and took us to our hotel was very friendly and helpful.
We enjoyed spending a short period of time in Puerto Natales, spending money in the local shops and restaurants. All the locals were super friendly. Hopefully we contributed to the tourist economy. We were very aware of our impact on the natural environment in the park, and the clear impact humans are having with erosion of paths etc. We were as careful as we could be to make sure we had as little environmental impact as possible.
What would we do differently? Not much really. Other than do some training for the hike, 32km on the first day was hard going!!
We love hiking and spending time in the outdoors. We had a couple of friends that had done the W trek and their experience sounded amazing. We weren’t disappointed!
Thanks for all your help and advice in making our trip an experience we will remember forever!
Anna Redman, UK, 2019
» Patagonia Self-guided Trekking Tour
Andean Trails helped us organise a memorable family trip through Peru and Bolivia.
We loved exploring the diversity these countries have to offer - coast, desert, mountains, salt flats and rain forests – with a balance of culture, activity and a little bit of R&R!
I generally like to do the research for trips myself but after the initial research phase, it was great to have Tom as an expert partner, focused on delivering what we wanted to get out of the trip, whilst adding value by suggesting things that would enhance our experience.
He provided an invaluable sense check on what was possible, adding support and expertise to make our ambitious plan a reality - e.g, organising private transfers to get us to where we needed to be before the border closed etc. and providing the reassurance of a ‘go to’ person on the ground for help when needed. He was fabulous to work with and it felt like planning the trip with a friend.
Tom really knows the people and places in all the locations and his suggestions for activities to keep everyone in the family interested and entertained were spot on, meaning we had lots of cool things to do with wonderfully knowledgeable guides, including special times on Lake Titicaca with a home stay on Amantanti.
Thanks for helping us create the most memorable family trip.
Lynn Oliver, UK, 2017
» Colca Canyon Condors Tour
Kat was lucky enough to spot a Jaguar in Guyana - have you seen one on your travels?
#jaguar #guyana #wildlife www.facebook.com/Andeantrails.…
About 6 hours ago
Larry and Gillian are coming to the end of their month of travelling with Andean Trails in Patagonia. We put together a tour designed to take them off-the-beaten-track – read the first instalment in their blog – covering Santiago and Aysen and remote border crossings. Once in Argentina, Gillian and Larry trekked to the base of Fitzroy and Cerro Torre, and took a day tour to Perito Moreno. They then set off for Torres del Paine on a self-guided trek. Their tour has ended with a few days in Ushuaia and a flight out from Buenos Aires. Check their progress below …
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