Uruguay is one of the smallest South American countries, encompassing only 68,000 square miles of land, which is just slightly bigger than Washington State in the USA. Located in the southeastern region of South America, Uruguay is bordered by Brazil to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and Argentina to the west. This country is home to 3.3 million people, with 1.5 million inhabitants, or 43% of the population, residing in the capital, Montevideo.
The country’s landscape features lush plains and rolling hills, with fertile coastal lowlands. An estimated 90% of the population was formed by European descent, in addition to Portuguese immigrants in 1680. The Spanish, however, founded Montevideo in the early 18th century.
Uruguay’s capital is called Montevideo. It is a smaller, quieter, and more laid-back city, compared to its big sister of Buenos Aires about 200 kilometers away. The colonial buildings, built during the rivalry of the Spanish and Portuguese, are what give the city a very special charm. Though Montevideo is the largest city in Uruguay, the country has only about twenty urban towns.
Montevideo is one of the major ports of South America. Besides being the country’s biggest city, it is also the governmental, financial and commercial center of Uruguay. Uruguay’s economy is strongly dependent on agricultural products and their exportation. Surprisingly, Uruguay is one of the most economically developed countries in Latin America.
Montevideo has become quite the focal point of Uruguay due to the city’s central location, income revenue, rich history, dense population, and cultural activities. From museums, theatres, concerts, popular festivals, international exhibitions and shows, there is much to do during the day. This city also has an entertaining nightlife scene concentrated in the old part of town. Here you will find an ever-increasing amount of pubs, restaurants, tango shows, discos and bars! Located on the riverfront of Rio de la Plata, Montevideo includes a spectacular pedestrian walkway along the river for locals and visitors alike. Other unique luxuries of Montevideo, in addition to its beaches, are the enormous parks and green areas installed plentifully throughout the city.
Uruguay’s Atlantic Coast and beaches are among the South American tourist hot spots, especially Punta del Este which has upwards of hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. Most commonly, you will find many Argentines and Brazilians who spend their summer vacations here at the beaches of Punta del Este. It is also highly utilized by those looking for first-class hotels, elegant casinos, and prestigious yacht clubs.
Since Uruguay is home to world-class beaches, the summer months of December through February bring lots of vacationers. Along with warm sun, relaxing beach days, and city explorations, be prepared for the Montevideo summer crowd! The average daily temperature for summer months can be extremely hot along the coast and slightly cooler inland. The months between April and November bring strong winds and cooler temperatures which are great for windsailing and paragliding!
Generally, Uruguay seems to have been greatly influenced by its neighbors, as you will find similarities in speech, food, culture, and traditions as are found in Argentina and Brazil. Still, Uruguayans hold a unique, pleasant attitude towards life and friendly foreigners. They enjoy talking about their country, and if you have the chance, use this opportunity to learn more about Uruguay and its culture first-hand.