Uruguay, a country, often overlooked by travelers. It does not have an ancient city like the Machu Picchu in Peru and it does not have otherworldly salt flats (Bolivia). But maybe that could be just the reason to visit Uruguay. People here are interested to meet travelers and their is a real Uruguayan existing culture. Read below my tips for one week of traveling through Uruguay. This route will take you roughly 10 hours and 715 kilometers.
Colonia del Sacramento Mot travelers to Uruguay are coming from Buenos Aires. The easiest way to reach Uruguay is with the Seacat Boat to Colonia. This city was discovered in 1680 by the Portuguese and in 1762 taken over by the Spanish and there you have it: a colonial city was born. That’s not completely through in 1826 it was bombed by the Brazilians and in 1842 again by the Argentineans. Due to its strategically location – across Buenos Aires – and it was seen as a smart transport route – and a lot of people were interested in controlling this city.
The city was completely renovated with the help of the government and the city even got a spot on the UNESCO world heritage list in 1995. Colonia has a lot of boutique hotels and good restaurants. I recommend to walk around and feel the breath of this city and have a drink with the Rio de la Plata behind you. Visit the most photographed street of Uruguay the Calle de los Suspiros, eat something in El Drugstore, pass by the many, many old timers and climb the lighthouse for a good view. One day in this city is enough to know and explore everything. You can take a bus in the evening towards Montevideo (or if you prefer the next morning). I posted a photo report about this colonial city and also I wrote something about bus providers, bus routes and departure times in Uruguay.
Montevideo Uruguay’s Capital. It has a lot of history – but I will not ‘bother’ you with that right now. For your first day visit Ciudad Vieja – the old city – eat a marvelous peace of meat in Mercado del Puerta, ride your bike at the rambla, stop at some of the city beaches, watch the sunset and eat in the evening in one of the many bars Montevideo has to offer.
On your second day visit one of the vineries just outside the city and be surprised by the taste of the Uruguayan Tannat wines. Also I wrote a post about the must-do’s in Montevideo and about the Bouza Bodega Boutique vineyard. Also we wrote a post about good restaurants and places to go out in the Pocitos neighborhood.
Piriapolis This pearl I recently discovered and I hope to visit this city shortly. Ideal if you want to escape the crowd in Punta del Este during summer. Spent a day at the beach or climb the Cerro Pan de Azucar mountain, take the ski lift to the San Antonia hill and straddle along the rambla. In this post you can read more about climbing the nearby Cerro Pan de Azucar.
Cabo Polonio Go back to basic in the Uruguayan Hippie village. Use your time relaxing in a hammock, chill with the locals, take surfing lessons, visit the sea lions and last but not least enjoy the breathtaking sky with all the lighting stars. This place is only reachable by a big 4×4 truck who is taking you across some sand dunes. The origin of this village is an interesting story to tell you. Joseph Polloni, captain of the ship Nueastra Señora del Rosario, navigated its ship to nearby rocks in 1753 and he just decided to stay here and this city was born. Read here more about a recent post I wrote about Cabo Polonio.
Cerro Chato Not really Cerro Chato itself, but moreover all the estancias in the surrounding, like the one we visited: Estancia de los Platanos. A typical Uruguayan farm where you could ride a horse like a real Gaucho, help the farmers with their work in the family company or you could simply enjoy the beauty of the silence around you. Read more about our experiences at this estancia.