25 Cool Things To Do In Montevideo

25 Cool Things To Do In Montevideo

There are more things to do in Montevideo than you’d imagine. Though this city is often overlooked for its more popular neighbors, it actually is an interesting place to spend a few days exploring its main tourist attractions and taking in the chilled atmosphere.

Montevideo may lack the buzz and the chaos of other South America capitals – traffic isn’t nearly as bad as that of Buenos Aires. It may not have the picture perfect tourist attractions. But what it lacks in architectural delights, it surely makes up in vibe and in cultural events.

Take my word for it: Montevideo deserves to be visited, and you’ll end up enjoying it way more than you can anticipate.

In this post, I will highlight what to do in Montevideo and share some useful tips to help you plan your trip there.

TIP: To make the most of Montevideo if you have a short time, I recommend going on a guided tour. These are the best ones that you can book online:

Continue reading to discover all the things to do in Montevideo.

things to do in Montevideo

Plaza Indipendencia is one of the unmissable sights in Montevideo

25 Things To Do In Montevideo

Pass by Plaza Indipendencia

One of the first things to do in Montevideo is visiting Plaza Indipendencia. This is the most important square in Montevideo and the easiest place to start exploring the city. Located at the center of the square there’s Artigas Mausoleum, a monument surmounted by a massive statue representing the hero of Uruguayan independence.

Plaza Indipendencia is lined with important buildings such as Palacio Estevéz, which was the seat of the government until 1985. Palacio Salvo is located on its eastern side and on the western side you’ll find the Puerta de la Ciudadela, one of the few remnants of the colonial town, which was almost completely demolished in 1883.

Admire Palacio Salvo

Among the unmissable things to do in Montevideo, there’s seeing and even going inside Palacio Salvo. This building of 27 floors and 100 meters used to be the tallest one in South America when it was inaugurated in 1927. It’s built in a mixture of Art Deco, Renaissance and Gothic style and is often seen as the building that best reminds visitors and locals alike of Montevideo’s most prosperous times. You can enter the building and visit it – get your tickets here.

Montevideo attractions

Palacio Salvo is one of Montevideo’s iconic buildings

Explore the Ciudad Vieja

West of Plaza Indipendencia and through the Puerta de la Ciudadela you’ll find Montevideo Ciudad Vieja. This is by far the most charming part of town, a mixture of crumbling old buildings and newer ones where you’ll find quaint coffee shops and small boutiques. It’s a nice place to walk around, taking photos and just enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.

If you would like to get to know this part of town a bit more in depth, you should opt for a guided tour. This is the best tour of the Ciudad Vieja:

Visit Montevideo Cathedral

In a city that doesn’t have nearly as many churches as other capitals, visiting churches is one of the things to do in Montevideo. The Cathedral, located in the Ciudad Vieja, is a nice place to visit. Built from 1790 in the place of a small brick church that had existed since 1740, it was named Metropolitan Cathedral by Pope Leo XIII in 1897. Make sure to stop by while exploring the Ciudad Vieja.

what to do in Montevideo

Seeing a show at Teatro Solis is a great way to appreciate its fantastic acoustic – photo courtesy of Ana Raquel S. Hernandes (flickr)

Attend a show at Teatro Solis

Close to Plaza Indipendencia, Montevideo’s most important theater was first inaugurated in 1856. It was completely renovated in the last 15 years, and enjoys a fabulous acoustic. You can go on a guided tour or, even better, go to a show to fully appreciate its magnificence.

Learn about Uruguay’s history at Museo Historico Nacional

One of the things to do in Montevideo is learning about the history of the country.

This museum is spread along three buildings in the Ciudad Vieja. The best bit is the Casa Rivera, once the residence of Fructuoso Rivera, Uruguay’s former president and founder of Partido Colorado. It has an interesting collection of documents, paintings, furnishings and other artifacts documenting the history of the country from its origins until its independence.

Mercado del Puerto Montevideo

The mouthwatering array of meat at Mercado del Puerto

Eat at Mercado del Puerto

There is little doubt that among the things to do in Montevideo is going to Mercado del Puerto to gorge on meat.

If you only have a few hours in Montevideo, drop everything else and just head to Mercado del Puerto for a meat extravaganza (or not, if you are vegan or vegetarian). The building where the market is located, on Rambla 25 de Agosto de 1825 228, has been beautifully restored, and it’s a good place to get an idea of the local way of life.

More than anything else, in a city where good restaurants abound, this is the best place in town to have a proper steak. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen (and wanted) that much meat in my life. There is an endless array of fantastic parrillas (parrilla means grill, and that’s the word used to refer to restaurants whose main focus is barbecued meat) where parrilleros can be seen piling stacks of meat and vegetables over the biggest grills known to men.

Eating at Mercado del Puerto isn’t cheap – but it’s worth every penny. It’s open every day from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm – a good spot for lunch, but you won’t find it open for dinner.

Drink mate

I used to think that the Argentines were obsessed with their mate, then I visited Montevideo and realized that Uruguayans have taken their mate obsession to a whole new level. If there is a place in South America where you should try it, this is it: mate is a serious business – or shall I call it “ritual” here.

Virtually every person you meet walking down the street holds a cup and carries a flask of hot water (rigorously at 84 degrees Celsius) along with a bombilla (the metal straw used to sip mate) and a bag of yerba (mate powder).

Mate isn’t the kind of drink you’ll be able to get at a coffee shop. There used to be a “materia” but it closed down, so your best bet to enjoy it is hang out with a local and ask to explain more about it – I am sure you’ll be able to find someone at your hotel or hostel that is willing to share his or her mate with you – because drinking mate is one of the things to do in Montevideo.

Rambla Montevideo

One of the beaches along the Rambla of Montevideo

Attend a tango show

Not many people know it, but tango is as much an Argentine thing as it is Uruguayan and one of the best things to do in Montevideo is going to a tango show or, even better, attend a milonga and learn how to tango. There are several milongas in town, as well as tango shows – they typically also involve dinner. If you don’t know where to start, you can book one online here or here.

Attend Montevideo Carnival

If you happen to be there at the right time of year, one of the things to do in Montevideo is attending its carnival.

Montevideo Carnival is one of the largest in South America, and known to be the longest Carnival celebration in the world. It usually starts in January and goes on until early March. The best bits are the Desfile Inaugural, which usually opens up the celebrations, and the Desfile de las Llamadas, which takes place for two consecutive days at the beginning of February.

A show you may want to attend during Carnival in Montevideo is the Carnival Tablados. It’s a night show that features four to seven groups and that takes place each night until early March.

Visit the Museo del Carnaval

If you can’t visit Montevideo during its amazing Carnival, you may want to do the next best thing: visit the Museo del Carnaval, where you’ll be able to appreciate the collection of costumes, masks and photos documenting more than a century of this tradition.

Enjoy a show of Candombe

Candombe is a popular musical tradition that involves drumming and dancing and that is commonly heard during Montevideo’s carnival. Its roots are to be found in African slave music and in traditional European folk dance. In other words, it’s quite unique.

It is so much part of Uruguay heritage that in 2006 the Chamber of Deputy adopted a bill to celebrate the National Day of Candombe – Afro-Uruguayan Culture and Racial Equity, each 3 of December. In 2009 Candombe was inscribed in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

A show of Candombe is a great way to get to know Uruguayan culture and spirit better. Shows are held every Sunday. You can even join a guided tour where you’ll get a proper explanation of what the music and the dance mean – it’s among the things to do in Montevideo.

Rambla

Enjoying some down time at the Rambla

Walk or bike along the Rambla

Among the most local things to do in Montevideo, there is walking along the Rambla.

Montevideo’s waterfront is called Rambla and it runs along the city’s coastline for 22 km. This is the best place in town to go for a run, to bike or to simply walk. Locals love hanging out there. When the weather is nice, and at weekends, they can be seen enjoying a game of volleyball in one of the grassy stretches, biking, or simply doing what they love most: drinking mate.

TIP: Pretty much any hostel in Montevideo will be able to rent you a bike. Alternatively, you should be able to rent a bike at Orange Bike.

Hang out at the beach

One of the top things to do in Montevideo is spending time at the beach. Walking along the Rambla you can get to the main beaches in town. Montevideo is directly facing the estuary of the Rio de la Plata, so don’t expect clear waters. Yet, there are some nice beaches where you can enjoy the sun, play a game of volleyball, and just relax. Among the best there are Playa Ramirez and Playa de Los Pocitos.

Get puzzled by Castillo Pittamiglio

Castillo Pittamiglio is located along the Rambla, between Punta Carretas and Pocitos. It was the house of eccentric alchemist and architect Humberto Pittamiglio. While the facade is in and of itself worth stopping for, the interior is even more interesting.

Montevideo Ciudad Vieja

Vintage commercial signs in Montevideo – photo courtesy of Ana Raquel S. Hernandes (flickr)

Get a bargain at Sunday’s Feria de Tristan Narvaja

One of the nicest things to do in Montevideo if you happen to visit during a weekend is going to the Sunday’s Feria de Tristan Narvaja. The country’s largest open air market is the place where you’ll find all sorts of artisan jewels, second hand clothes, antiques, old books, and even fruits and vegetables. It’s a cool place to visit, even if you have no intention to shop.

See a soccer game at Estadio Centenario

Second to Uruguay’s obsession for mate, there’s the obsession for futbol – soccer. Come to think of it, I think these two obsessions go hand in hand, as a typical scene will be that of people watching a game while drinking mate. Anyways – if you fancy mingling with the locals, make sure to go watch a game at Estadio Centenario.

The stadium was built between 1929 and 1930 to host the 1930 FIFA World Cup and can seat more than 76000 people.

For a heated game, try to attend for the superclasico – Nacional vs. Peñarol. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Montevideo.

Visit the Museo de la Historia del Arte

If you are into art, visiting the Museo de la Historia del Arte is what to do in Montevideo. It’s located in the undergrounds of Palacio Municipal, and has an interesting collection of original pieces and reproductions of famous ones coming from Egypt, Persia, Greece and Italy and even the Americas.

Go to the Museo de Arte Precolombino e Indigena

This good museum has a permanent collection of artifacts and documents that explain the life and traditions of the now extinct indigenous peoples of Uruguay. There also are exhibits about other indigenous groups in the Americas.

And to Museo Blanes

Located in Prado, this lovely museum is dedicated to Juan Manuel Blanes, Uruguay’s most famous painter. The paintings are beautiful, and so is the mansion where the museum is set. It’s a nice place to spend a couple of hours.

Explore the Botanical Garden

The Jardin Botanico is one of Montevideo attractions that you shouldn’t skip if you feel like walking in a place that is extremely peaceful and relaxing. It’s located in Prado.

Visit Fortaleza del Cerro

The name couldn’t be more clear: this fort was built on the highest hill (cerro) of Montevideo in the 19th century. It was used to protect the population and the harbor, and it now is a nice place to admire the views of the city – one of the nicest things to do in Montevideo.

day trip from Montevideo

Punta del Este is a nice place for a day trip from Montevideo

Go on a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento

To be fair, Colonia is so lovely and full of atmosphere (and tourists) that you should spend more than a day there. But if that is all you have, then go and appreciate this lovely colonial town with cobbled alleys, bright white buildings with colorful gardens, vintage cars and lovely restaurants.

Colonia is at 2 hours drive from Montevideo and there are several daily buses going there. A guided day trip may be the most efficient way to visit. These are the best guided tours to Colonia del Sacramento departing from Montevideo:

Or to Punta del Este

Punta del Este is one of the trendiest summer holiday destinations in South America – it’s where rich Argentines go spend their vacation. The beaches are nice, there are plenty of good restaurants, and there is an overall sophisticated yet chilled vibe.

It’s at just 2 hours drive from Montevideo, and there are regular buses. In case you want to go on a guided tour, these are the best ones departing from Montevideo:

Go on a wine tasting tour

You may not know it, but Uruguay has its very own wine production, with tannat grapes and wines being the star of the show. One of the nicest things to do in Montevideo is getting out of town for a wine tasting tour. These are some excellent wine tasting tours:

Uruguay

Montevideo is easy to explore

Practical Information To Organize Your Trip To Montevideo

When to visit Montevideo

Montevideo is great in the spring and summer months. It tends to get hot in the summer, but that’s also when carnival takes place so you may want to endure the heat and enjoy the show. Summer is also the time to enjoy the amazing beaches of Uruguay!

Where to stay Montevideo

There are some excellent accommodation options in Montevideo, with something suitable for all tastes and budgets. I have selected the best options for you:

Guided tours of Montevideo

To make the most of the city, you may want to join a guided tour. There are several good ones around. I have selected the best:

How to get to Montevideo

By plane

Montevideo is connected to other cities in South America and to North America and Europe (mostly Spain) by plane. Montevideo International Airport is at about 25 km from the city. To get to the city you can opt to get a bus, a private transfer or a taxi. The bus is the most convenient way – you can opt on any bus that says Montevideo; the bus stop is right outside the terminal.

Taxis are more expensive and often uncomfortable, so your best option if you don’t want to take the bus is to get a remis – a private transfer. It costs around $40 USD per car, so if you are traveling with friends it doesn’t end up being too expensive. You can book it here.

By ferry 

There are several daily ferries connecting Buenos Aires to Montevideo, run by either BuqueBus or Colonia Express. The fast ferry takes about 1.5 hours. The ride costs around $55 USD.

By bus

There are regular buses connecting Montevideo to Buenos Aires, Colonia del Sacramento, Punta del Este and Punta del Diablo. Buses in Uruguay are usually punctual, reliable and inexpensive – but you should book them in advance as it is a common means of transportation.

How to move around Montevideo

The best way to explore Montevideo is on foot, and save for the area of the harbor the city is quite safe. Alternatively, you can rent a bike – it’s particularly pleasant to bike along the rambla. Buses work well and they are a reliable and inexpensive way to reach the places that are a bit further from your hotel.

Other useful information

Montevideo is easy to explore, but a guide may come in handy for when you’re stuck with no wifi or for any time you feel you need more information. These are the ones I recommend:

As for any other trip, I recommend purchasing a good travel insurance for your trip to Uruguay. Make sure to read my post Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.” Get your travel insurance here.

Further readings about Uruguay and South America

Most of those who visit Uruguay do so during longer trips to South America, usually pairing it with Argentina. Here are some posts you may find useful:

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The Most Incredible 7 Things To Do In Uruguay

The Most Incredible 7 Things To Do In Uruguay

There are many more things to do in Uruguay than meets the eye, travelers are in for a treat. 

Compared to the rest of the Spanish speaking countries in South America, Uruguay is tiny and often wrongly ignored by travelers. The common misconception is that there aren’t many places to visit in Uruguay. However, all those who travel to Uruguay will fall in love with the country, and end up wondering why they did not consider visiting sooner and staying longer as there are so many things to do in Uruguay.

I certainly did. I arrived in Uruguay at the very end of a long backpacking trip that took me from Mexico and Guatemala all the way down to Chile and Argentina. I was tired and just needed a place to relax and rest my sore backpacker’s bones. My back hurt from carrying around a backpack full of memories and (well, yes!) bottles I picked along the way. For as tired as I was, I enjoyed my time there, relaxing at some amazing Uruguay beaches, and finding some incredible things to do in Uruguay.

Read more about Argentina on my post “Great things to do in Argentina.”

I could not wait to board the flight that would have taken me back to Sardinia. I did not expect much from this small country, although some Uruguayan friends told me that Uruguay beaches were some of the best in South America.

Uruguay is locked between Argentina and Brazil, yet unbelievably different. Uruguay tourist attractions are varied, although the country is yet untouched by mass tourism. Most visitors are Argentinian and Brazilian vacationers who travel to Uruguay to enjoy its beaches between December and February. By the beginning of March, most of the traffic is gone, the beaches are quiet, and you will be able to enjoy peace and quiet.

There are many places to visit in Uruguay, and I could have easily spent weeks exploring the coast and its interior. But I had very limited time. So, the following destinations and activities gave me a good feel of the country and allowed me to leave with some great memories. So, here is my list of the best Uruguay tourist attractions and must dos.

things to do in Montevideo

Things to do in Montevideo: a walk on the rambla

7 Incredible Things To Do In Uruguay

Dance, eat asado and support your favorite team in the lively Montevideo

The capital city of Uruguay, Montevideo, is also the biggest city in the country, with roughly 1.3 million inhabitants. It is a place of contrasts, where the modern offices of downtown sit next to the old buildings of the historic centre (such as in Plaza Indipendencia).

There are many things to do in Montevideo, but while there, I definitely did not skip a visit to the Mercado del Puerto, where I could gorge on a great “asado” (barbecue). Since I happened to be in town on a Saturday afternoon, I took a walk along the Rambla – Montevideo’s waterfront: this is where I got to spot the locals sipping “mate”, a bitter tea made of dried and chopped up yerba leaves.

things to do in uruguay

Eating a good asado at Mercado del Puerto: one of the things to do in Montevideo – courtesy of flickr.com

Tango lovers may be glad to find out that among Montevideo attractions, there are a number of good milongas: the city holds the title of “birthplace of tango” as much as Buenos Aires, and both cities have been granted the UNESCO title of intangible cultural heritage for holding the roots of tango.

Uruguay tourist attractions

Tango in the streets of Montevideo – one of the things to do in Montevideo – courtesy of www.tangocity.com

Also, I found out that Uruguay has the longest Carnaval of South America, lasting a full 40 days. One of the best things to do in Montevideo is experiencing the Desfile de las Llamadas – an all night long parade accompanied by the drumming of candombe, an instrument brought to Uruguay by African slaves in the 18th century. Carnaval is so big in the country that there even is a Museo del Carnaval. There even are packaged tours that offer dinner, tango and candombe all in one day.

Make sure to read my post 25 Cool Things To Do In Montevideo.”

These are some of the best tours and activities in Montevideo:

And these are some of the best places to stay in Montevideo:

things to do in uruguay

Attending the Carnaval is one of the most fun things to do in Uruguay – photo courtesy of Jimmy Baikovicius (flickr)

One amazing, fully south-american thing I managed to do in Montevideo is go support my team at a “futból” match at Estadio Centenario. Football is the national sport here, and it is taken very seriously, so I was prepared to support my team of choice. This was a full local experience, and perhaps one of the best things to do in Uruguay.

things to do in Uruguay

Things to do in Montevideo: support your football team – courtesy of Dante Pribaz

Drink up some Tannat

Yup, the word has got out that Uruguay has some great wines! Wine has been produced in the country for over 250 years – an inheritance of the Italian, Spanish and French settlers who brought vines from their homeland.

But only recently Uruguayan wines have become more well-known. About one hour north of Montevideo, mostly between Canelones and San José, the wine region is home to some great “bodegas”, wineries that offer some of the best wines of South America. Nothing better to accompany my asado, right?

Here’s some of the best wine tours in Uruguay:

things to do in Uruguay

Colonia del Sacramento – one of Uruguay tourist attractions

Visit the picturesque Colonia del Sacramento

If there is a place to visit in Uruguay, this is Colonia del Sacramento – perhaps Uruguay top tourist attraction. Many visit Colonia on day trips from Buenos Aires, but I actually preferred a couple of nights to fully enjoy this lazy small city.

It is possible to get there via a 3 hours bus ride from the Tres Cruces terminal in Montevideo. However, I was coming from Argentina, so I opted for a ferry. Colonia Express and Buque bus both have a regular ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia that takes about one hour to cross the Rio de la Plata.

The Barrio Histórico of Colonia del Sacramento has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. A simple walking tour of Colonia, a pretty town founded by Portugues colonisers in 1680 allowed me to breathe in its history and charme, and if my breath was taken away by the heat, I could rest under the shade of the sycamore trees.

These are some of the best tours of Colonia del Sacramento:

I strolled along the cobbled streets of the centre, such as Calle de los Suspiros, where the bouganvillea bushes pop out from colorful and beautifully kept colonial houses. For a nice view over the mighty Rio de la Plata I walked up the lighthouse located near the Plaza Mayor.

Vintage car lovers will be able to spot many ‘50s cars parked at the side of the street. At sunset, there is nothing better than sipping a cold Pilsen beer while admiring the sunset over the Rio de la Plata. Finally, I concluded my day with a tasty dinner (“rabas”, or fried calamari, are delicious here) in one of the cozy restaurants around the Plaza Mayor.

Uruguay tourist attractions

Travel to Uruguay – via a vintage car?

It’s easy to find a good place to stay in Colonia del Sacramento, although it may get crowded at weekends and in the summer when lots of people arrive on day trips from Argentina. I stayed at Posada Las Barrancas, a bit outside the centre. It is a lovely brand new hostel, with clean dorms, good beds, a fully equipped kitchen and good wifi.

These are some of the best hotels in Colonia del Sacramento:

Relax, surf and hike in Punta del Diablo

In terms of Uruguay beaches, nothing can beat Punta del Diablo, in the region of Rocha, and visiting this beach is one of the things to do in Uruguay that I loved the most. A 5 hours bus ride from Montevideo, this village is a world apart.

This used to be (and to a great extent still is) a fishing village, where no more than 1000 people live in the winter months. But in recent years it has become increasingly popular among Uruguay tourist attractions. Holiday cottages and hostels have sprouted, but thankfully the coast has remained untouched. Punta del Diablo keeps being one of the best beaches in Uruguay, with its sand dunes and the fishermen still going by their usual business.

Uruguay beaches

Uruguay beaches? Punta del Diablo!

The top thing to do in Punta del Diablo is being lazy under the sun. It simply is the perfect place to relax, go for a walk at sunset, enjoy the sea breeze, breathe in the clean air. The beach is large, sandy and clean. There are plenty of friendly dogs running about, and they often decided to befriend me. In my case, they even liked to pose for pictures too. If I felt more active I went to rent surf boards or horses. There are some good waves to be surfed.

Uruguay beaches

Punta del Diablo – among the best beaches in Uruguay

I like hiking, so I went to the beautiful Parque Nacional Santa Teresa, which is about 35 km south of the Brazilian border, is guarded by the Uruguayan army and can be easily reached from Punta del Diablo. Once I got off the bus, I headed to the waterfront and then go North. In about half hour, I reached Playa Grande, a long sandy beach that leads to the southern limits of Parque Nacional Canta Teresa.

There is a natural reserve that hosts various species of animals, a camping ground, and the Fort of Santa Teresa, built by the Portuguese and the Spaniards between 1762 and 1793.

Punta del Diablo is quiet at night. I headed to the waterfront for a walk and some live music. That’s also where most restaurants are. My favorite is Resto Pub 70, in Avenida de los Pescadores, right in front of the police station: owned by an Italian family, they prepared home made pasta with a variety of sauces. The choices are limited, but the pasta delicious and the recipes authentic (they passed the Italian-picky-eater test, so you can be sure). Which reminds me that eating is one of the yummiest things to do in Uruguay.

I like star gazing, and I soon realised I was in for a treat: there hardly is any light at night, which makes Punta del Diablo perfect to stare at the sky in search of my good star.

There are many cabañas, charming hotels and budget hostels in Punta del Diablo. December to February are busy months and one may have to book well in advance. March is definitely quieter. I opted for Compay Hostel, a cool surfers spot. The wooden building has a good kitchen, lovely outer areas full of cozy couches and hammocks, spotless common bathrooms and good wifi. The owners also run a twin hostel in La Pedrera, Uruguay, another great beach popular with artists, surfers and families and one in Montevideo.

These are the best accommodation options in Punta del Diablo:

things to do in Uruguay

Punta del Diablo – Rocha: one of the best Uruguay beaches

Act VIP like in Punta del Este

Completely different from Punta del Diablo, Punta del Este is THE place to visit in Uruguay to feel like a real socialite. Punta del Este has some of the best beaches in Uruguay, and it is where people go not only to lay in the sun, but also to peek at the glamorous people wandering about.

It is perhaps the most expensive destination in the country, and is in fact considered to be the “Hamptons of South America”, Punta del Este is a favorite destinations of celebrities, packed with stylish hotels and restaurants, exclusive clubs, and a yatch harbor. Visiting Punta del Este is for sure one of the things to do in Uruguay.

These are the best tours of Punta del Este:

And these are the best places to stay in Punta del Este:

best beaches in Uruguay

One of the coolest things to do in Uruguay is visiting Punta del Este. The Hand is it’s symbol

Get lost in Cabo Polonio

A world apart from Punta del Este, Cabo Polonio may well be the wildest spot in the country, and never disappoints visitors. Sure enough, visiting is one of the top things to do in Uruguay. A protected region since 2009, it is hard to reach: I had to catch a bus that then left me on Ruta 10, from where I had to hop on a 4×4 that will took me across the sand dunes. The other option would have been to hike the 7 km there, but I forgot to carry plenty of water with me so I did not. An alternative is that of joining a guided tour.

Read more about why I recommend taking a guided tour at times on this post

A colony of sea lions populate Cabo Polonio, but they are not the only residents. From August to October it is also possible to spot austral whales. There are a few shacks and wooden houses scattered alone the shoreline. However, most don’t have electricity or running water. This makes Cabo Polonio the perfect place to escape modern life and return to nature, and a must when it comes to the things to do in Uruguay!

things to do in Uruguay

Visiting Cabo Polonio is a must for those who travel to Uruguay

Cabo Polonio can be visited on a day trip from the nearby Barra de Valizas (a bit over 4 hours by bus from Montevideo), from where one can enjoy a 12 km walk along the beach, on a wild path that follows the ocean line.

Learn the skills of a gaucho

Uruguayans love the thought of a cowboy riding off into the sunset: it speaks of a time when life was simpler, when gauchos could lead cattle on the vast open plains of the country, helping create one of the greatest industries that would help it become one of the most prosperous states of South America. Riding horses, anywhere in the country, is surely one of the coolest things to do in Uruguay.

things to do in Uruguay

Things to do in Uruguay: learn some gaucho skills – courtesy of Carlo Alcaraz Pribaz

Among Uruguay tourist attractions, there is the possibility of spending some time in a “estancia”, a ranch where guests can stay in old farmhouses, ride horses and learn new skills such as cattle herding. Estancias are mostly in the interior of Uruguay, giving visitors a chance to get away from the more well known coastal regions.

These are the best estancia experiences in Uruguay:

things to do in Uruguay

Things to do in Uruguay: visit an estancia – courtesy of Carlo Alcaraz Pribaz

Now that I know the main Uruguay tourist attractions, I think I should hurry up, before everybody discovers them!

Have you been here? Do you have your own list of things to do in Uruguay? Let me know in the comments below!

If you need assistance in creating your personalized itinerary in Uruguay or care to know about more things to do in Uruguay, you can contact me in private through the contact form.

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