Discover the best places to see, visit, and explore in Uruguay.View Itineraries
With its sandy beaches, mild climate, and impressive cityscapes, Uruguay is a favorite destination for South Americans and overseas visitors alike. Your Uruguay adventure begins with Alluring Americas, which can handcraft your exploration of this South American gem into a unique, private, and totally custom adventure. Whether you’re looking to enjoy luxury travel Uruguay-style, a family-friendly vacation, or an exotic immersion in local customs and culture, Alluring Americas can create a one-of-a-kind experience.
Lose yourself in the serenity of the romantic streets of Colonia lined with flowered windowsills. Immerse yourself in Montevideo’s culture of museums and lively street markets. Or get away to the white sandy beaches of boho-chic José Ignacio in South America’s second-smallest country.
Nestled between Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay is sometimes overlooked in favor of its larger neighbors.
But it would be a mistake to miss this beautiful and diverse country, which offers sandy beaches, quaint country respites, and rich history.
You’ll likely start your Uruguay adventure in Montevideo, the nation’s capital. Sitting on the north shore of the Rio de la Plata, Montevideo offers both a storied history and modern city amenities. Moreover, Ciudad Vieja (Old City) is the city’s oldest neighborhood. You can soak in the history by catching a glimpse of the Ciudadela Gateway, a small remaining section of the wall that once surrounded the entire city.
Charming churches, museums, and theaters line the picturesque pedestrian paths. At night, the many area nightclubs heat up, combining traditional regional music and contemporary beats that pulse through the city.
If you’re looking for luxury, Punta del Este is a must. Two hours east of Montevideo, one of the most famous Uruguay beach towns boasts yacht clubs, high-rises, and upscale shopping and dining, giving it a storied reputation as a destination for celebrities and jet-setters. Sometimes referred to as the “San Tropez of South America,” Punta del Este is the place to see and be seen.
On the other hand, you can venture a little farther east of Punta del Este to reach José Ignacio. In contrast to its luxury neighbor to the west, José Ignacio has a quieter, more boho-chic vibe. But quiet doesn’t mean boring—the town has a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as cultural and historical experiences you can enjoy at a more leisurely pace.
As Uruguay’s second-oldest city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Colonia del Sacramento is a classic black-and-white movie come to colorful life.
Window boxes full of fresh flowers adorn quaint streets, and colorful buildings in cheery, bright hues beckon visitors to wander and get lost in the sights. The city’s Portuguese, Spanish, and postcolonial architecture are on display in the Barrio Histórico, the city center.
Or you can step back in time with a visit to Carmelo. This quiet riverside town lined with cobblestone streets and charming old houses is home to yachting and fishing centers. In fact, many visitors dock their boats here during the summer months.
Ciudad Vieja is both Montevideo’s scenic district and its center for nightlife. Nightclubs, cafes, and vibrant street markets bring a healthy measure of modernity to a city otherwise steeped in history.
The impressive Plaza Independencia—home to some of the country’s most breathtaking landmarks—serves as the divider between Ciudad Vieja and the more modern downtown area. In addition, the striking plaza houses the Palacio Salvo, a grand stone building that’s a masterpiece of architecture. It’s also home to the Teatro Solís, arguably Uruguay’s most important theater and a center for culture and art.
This swanky hot spot offers both lively and quieter beach activities. If you’re looking for a party scene, head to the west to beaches like Bikini and La Barra. On the east side are beautiful but calmer beaches that offer surfing, windsurfing, and snorkeling. Playa Brava offers a unique photo opportunity with its Mano de Punta del Este—five concrete fingers, the tallest about ten feet high, emerging from the sand.
Aside from beaches, there are also parks, a large zoo, and interactive exhibits. Drive through the residential areas or stroll the town center, sprinkled with leather boutiques and shops, where you can find everything from craft markets to international brands.
First, start at the José Ignacio Lighthouse, where a breathtaking view awaits you at the top of a column of winding stairs. Next, head to José Garzon Lagoon and the Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepcion parish church to take in more beautiful vistas, albeit of a different kind.
Finally, venture into the town’s museum to explore one of the largest shell collections on Earth and more than five thousand marine life species—from corals and sea stars to whale skeletons and shark jaws.
Stroll through the picturesque Plaza Mayor, Colonia’s main square, to take in the splendor of Iglesia Matriz (Basilica of the Holy Sacrament), the oldest church in Uruguay. Head to Colonia’s downtown area, and wander through its modern shops, cafes, and gourmet Uruguayan restaurants.
In Carmelo, visitors come to see its displays of weathered 1920s and 1930s vintage cars, making the city seem suspended in time.
Uruguay offers something for everyone: history, architecture, gourmet and street cuisine, shopping, outdoor adventures, and relaxing by the pool or at the beach. Alluring Americas studies your preferences to create a customized travel experience that’s anything but ordinary.
Atlantic City has its boardwalk; Montevideo has its Rambla. At 13.79 miles (22.2 kilometers) long, the Rambla is the longest continuous sidewalk in the world—or so the locals claim. Though that’s still up for debate, what’s certain is its place in the city.
The pathway begins in the west and winds its way through the city, finally culminating in the glitzy Carrasco area. Ride a rented bike (children and family options are available), go for a run, or just leisurely stroll along this 14-mile stretch that offers a healthy way to see the city.
Uruguay’s beaches and lush countryside mean plenty of opportunities to get outside. In Carmelo, outdoor offerings include horseback riding, fishing excursions, camping and swimming, sport fishing on the Río de la Plata, canoe trips, and even polo lessons. Moreover, the fine white sands of yet another Uruguay beach town, Seré Beach, is one of the city’s most beautiful features.
Accommodation options in Uruguay are as diverse as the country itself. Those interested in luxury travel in Uruguay can find high-end resorts and hotels with on-site spas, gourmet food options, and all the classic amenities. Uruguay beach towns Punta del Este and Carrasco have some seriously swanky options.
If you’re taking a family trip, an estancia is an option. These lodges are in more rural areas and often offer extras in the form of area attractions, such as horseback riding. Accommodations vary: some are converted farm buildings while others are more contemporary. If camping is more your speed, head to the Parque Nacional Santa Teresa along the northern coast, which offers more than 1,200 sites.
You may be wondering, Is Uruguay safe? The country’s crime rates are lower than its neighboring countries, it enjoys a stable democratic political system, and it’s been called the safest country to visit in all of Latin America.
Furthermore, one of more the interesting facts about Uruguay is that no visa is required—you’ll just need your passport. Make sure it’s valid for six months beyond entry into the country.
Carrasco International Airport is the country’s largest, only about thirty minutes outside Montevideo. Rent a car at one of the numerous agencies, or hop on the bus to head into town.
Alluring Americas can help you customize your vacation, but we recommend the following destinations to take in all this vibrant country has to offer.
This is our Alluring Uruguay. Whether you’re looking for Uruguay luxury travel, respite in quaint Uruguay beach towns, or countryside exploration, Alluring Americas can craft a customized travel itinerary to suit all your needs. Because we handcraft private, culturally immersive experiences, your trip is perfectly curated to reflect your curiosity and passions. Whether you need a romantic getaway or an unforgettable family adventure, Alluring Americas is the luxury travel company that will lead you on the journey of a lifetime.