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A trip to Uruguay, one of South America’s undiscovered travel gems, will offer surprisingly varied options for travellers seeking an authentic holiday experience. Nestled between Brazil, Argentina and its rugged Atlantic Ocean coast, Uruguay features a large number of beautiful sandy beaches and colonies of seals. It is also home to rolling hills and vast, wide-open spaces in the countryside as well as friendly people, great food and tango. Any trip to Uruguay is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a holiday you will not forget.
The capital, Montevideo, should definitely be included in your trip to Uruguay. It is vibrant and features some beautiful French and Italian colonial buildings. Lively markets, excellent museums, a vibrant street life and good beaches add to the attractions. Take time to visit the nearby vineyards and wineries. Most are small and friendly, the owners often showing you around themselves.
Locals also have a fervent passion for tango. The most famous singer of all time, Carlos Gardel, is claimed as a Uruguayan and has a very interesting 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 for top quality delicious steak and excellent wines.
Colonia (full name Colonia del Sacramento) is a World Heritage Site. Any trip to Uruguay should include Colonia. It is a popular day trip and easily accessed from Buenos Aires in Argentina. A fast ferry will take you across the Rio de la Plata, from Buenos Aires to Colonia, in under an hour. This makes for an excellent day trip. Colonia has a beautiful historic town centre with many buildings dating from the 17th century. There are beautiful flower-filled squares, tree-lined cobbled streets, colonial Portuguese and Spanish architecture plus a fabulous array of craft stores and cafes.
Spend a day wandering the narrow winding picturesque city streets and don’t miss the city gate and wooden drawbridge, the lighthouse and convent ruins of the 17th-century convent of San Francisco, the Portuguese museum, the Municipal building, Casa del Virrey, and the old bullring (Plaza de Toro).
The coast of Uruguay has lovely beaches and warms seas, which the locals flock to, to relax, swim and sunbathe. Try your hand at surfing in the ever-popular Punta del Diablo, home to some big waves.
From June to October there is a good chance to see the Southern Right Whales attracted to breed in the warm waters, off the shore. There are numerous whale watching spots along the coast, and wales are often just off the beach.
Inland and into the countryside, you can stay at a range of estancias to taste the rural life and sample some excellent horse riding. Birders will also be excited to see the variety of birds in the wetlands.
Uruguay has a charming, warm, friendly population of only 3 million, and is 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.
Plan a trip to Uruguay with Andean Trails.
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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The whole trip was just incredible; the planned itinerary went smoothly, everything was perfectly organised and I could not think of any better way to have visited this beautiful country. The cruise on Galapagos Islands obviously was the highlight. Lost in paradise!
The accommodation/food/guides on Coral 1 were amazing! The crew was super nice and we had a lot of fun! The guides had great knowledge to share and the itinerary was super exciting and interesting. During my time on the cruise I talked a lot to the crew members that were all locals working for the conservation of the Islands, I got great insights on the people and culture of the country.
I am super happy to have chosen Andean Trails for my trip and so grateful for the help of Kat, she gave me great recommendation and helped me in the best possible way with the planning of my trip.
Marie Becker (France), July 2022
» Coral I & II Galapagos Cruise Yachts
We had a brilliant time , we loved it and managed all the mountain climbing! Our group was fantastic and also the guides .
We celebrated our wedding anniversary and both our birthdays - they managed to arrange cakes for our birthdays and we had such great laughs with everybody.
Shirley & Colin Whittaker (UK), Mar 2020
» Salkantay Lodge Trek To Machu Picchu
The famous Puerto Madryn penguins, where up to a million Magellanic penguins congregate to breed, are not found in Puerto Madryn. While the town is famous for being one of the best places to see penguins in Argentina, Puerto Madryn penguin tours actually take place in Punta Tombo. However, the tours do start in Puerto Madryn. The colony of penguins at Punto Tombo allows people to get close to these adorably cute creatures. Read the lowdown on how to get there, what to expect, plus fun facts about Magellanic penguins. We’ll also talk about the area, replete with wildlife. Introduction …
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