December 12, 2017

Montevideo Travel Guide

Montevideo is the largest city in Uruguay and also the nation’s capital. More than twice as large as any other city in the country, it encompasses nearly 50 percent of Uruguay’s entire population. The city lies on the East bank of the Rio de la Plata, and Buenos Aires, Argentina is almost directly opposite on the West bank.

 

In the mid-18th century, the Spanish Empire developed Montevideo into a major port city. Today, it continues to thrive as one of the most important harbors in all the Americas. While a major port for trade, it’s also a popular dock for cruise ships. The city’s sandy beaches and cheap goods are perfect bait for the hungry tourist.

 

The country of Uruguay has a high standard of living, literacy rate, and excellent social services. It’s said to have the best medical care system in South America. Of course the city has it’s bad areas, but overall, I found Montevideo to be cleaner than the capitals of other South American countries.

 

The city’s architecture, which is unrivaled in South America, is due to the influence of European immigrants. These populations include the Spanish, Portuguese, French, and British. When walking around you’ll see different styles ranging from colonial to Art Deco.

 

The most popular area of interest for visitors is the Ciudad Vieja (Old Town). It’s a colonial grid on a small peninsula that was once surrounded by protective walls. Since it’s so close to the water, many streets have a constant breeze. Just east of Old Town, you’ll find the center of the city, Plaza Independencia. The square is made up of many public buildings including the 26-story Palacio Salvo, which is the tallest in Montevideo. In the middle of the plaza is a 30-ton statue of the country’s independence hero, Mausoleo de Artigas. Below street level, an honor guard keeps 24-hour watch over Artigas’ remains.

 

The city’s main avenue, 18 de Julio, starts at Plaza Independencia and runs east through Plaza Cagancha. It can become very crowded, so watch out when crossing the street. You’ll find lots of opportunities to shop here, as well as just west of Plaza Indendencia. To the West, street venders sell mate cups (a tea-like beverage), clocks, jewelry, and other handcrafted goods. Although Argentina is the world’s largest producer of Mate, Uruguay consumes twice as much per capita. You’ll often see locals walking the street with their mate in hand. Also west of the Plaza on Sarandi are many nice cafes and restaurants.

 

Montevideo is a worthwhile side trip to take if visiting Buenos Aires. Most of the city’s main attractions can be seen in just a few hours. Probably South America’s most laid back capital, it is a large city that still has a small town feel.

 

 

 

——————–Montevideo Travel Tips——————–

 

When to Go
October through March is the best time to visit Uruguay. The temperature is warm and the sun is shining.

 

What to See
– Plaza Independencia
– Ciudad Vieja
– Palacio Salvo
– Iglesia Matriz
– El Cabildo
– Museo de Arte Contemporaneo
– Teatro Solis
– Palacio Taranco
– The Riverfront
– Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes Juan Manuel Blanes

 

What to Eat
Most dishes consist of meat or pasta, but seafood is also popular. Be sure to try a Chivito. It’s a type of sandwich consisting of both egg and beef and is absolutely delicious.

 

What to Drink
Mate is very popular. Try a Grappa Miel which is a honey and alcohol mixed drink.

 

Getting Around
The city center can be explored on foot. Taxis are relatively inexpensive and the buses are safe and convenient.

 

What to Buy
As in Argentina, leather goods are very popular. You can also find great deals on handcrafted items, and being the world’s largest exporter of wool, the sweaters are very well-made.

 

Language
Spanish

 

Currency
Uruguayan Peso. One peso is comprised of 100 centavos.
Many venders will also accept Argentine pesos

 

Tipping
In restaurants, it’s customary to tip about 10% of the bill. Taxi drivers do not require tips, although you may round off the fare for convenience.

 

 

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