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Ten tips for a great trip to Uruguay

 
Travel in the summer. The best time to visit Uruguay is in the warmer months of November to April. Then you will have warmer weather and will better enjoy the sandy coast, full of calm –and not so calm- beaches. It will be high season, so try to book your hotel in Uruguay in advance, specially in January the hotels in Punta del Este.
 
Avoid the crowds in the first half of January. Most Uruguayans take their holidays in January, especially in the first half of the month, and in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Avoid this very short “higher” season and you will have a much better time, with less queues and not so much over-pricing.
 
Rent a bike to tour Montevideo’s bayside. There are over 20 kilometers of a very pretty promenade on the Montevideo’s coast. A capital next to the beach is a dream of many, and biking is the best way to enjoy it. Ask the locals for the best bike rental in the Palermo region, where the bayside starts.
 
Try the meat in Mercado del Puerto. Originally intended to be a train station, this construction ended up in Montevideo by chance –brought by the English- and is nowadays a great place for a nice lunch. No matter what you order you will get a huge plate. And make sure to visit the Roldos store in the market and try Medio y Medio (a local drink, half regular wine and half sparkling wine).
 
Spend a day in Colonia del Sacramento. This romantic city has a historical center that dates back from the times when Uruguay was a colony, mixing the styles of the Spanish and the Portuguese because of their intermittent ruling. The center is UNESCO’s world heritage, and a great place to visit year-round. Moreover, it’s less than one hour by ferry from the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires.
 
If going for the beaches, visit Rocha. Beaches are Oceanic in Maldonado already, but going further east will give you the best options in waves and sand. As long as you avoid the first half of January, this area is very enjoyable. Thebestbeach resorts in Rocha are: La Paloma, La Pedrera, Cabo Polonio, Valizas, Punta del Diablo and Santa Teresa.
 
Family beach resorts: Piriápolis and Punta del Este are the all-time favorites. These beach resorts are also well structured cities, with many services and entertainment alternatives suitable for all ages.
 
Nature lovers go for the green areas. And Uruguay has plenty of those, with a very low population density (20 inhabitants per square kilometers). You will find nature, parks and natural reserves of flora and fauna everywhere. In Montevideo you have several parks like ParqueRodó, Prado and Parque Battle. The fauna reserve in Pan de Azúcar Hill, Maldonado, is also a must-do if you travel with children, and you can also climb the hill and enjoy adventure tourism on its top. Further north, you have ombu-woods with trees so big you can fit four people on their trunks.
 
Agro-tourism and eco-tourism in the Uruguayan interior. Uruguay has plenty of farms and eco-tourism complexes. Some you can just visit on a day trip, but on others you can stay over. Transportation is not always the best, so you might want to rent a car, but always ask at the chosen destination, they may be able to advise you on a bus to take and either pick you up or send a cab for you to take from there. Enjoy hiking, horseback riding, grilling, lighting fires, trying farm life and learning more about the rural settings of Uruguay.
 
Natural spring waters for the colder months. If visiting Uruguay at a time when it’s chilly, head northwest to the coast of the Uruguay River. There you will find several complexes –both public and private- with natural spring waters. Some of these complexes also offer spa services. Bring your swim suit and towel and just relax!
 

 

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