A couple of weeks ago I started writing a series of posts on the places in the world I’d like to go to, including Jordan and New Caledonia. I never did get it finished, so I’m continuing today. The funny thing about these places is that they’re off the usual tourist trail. No beaches in Thailand or Machu Pichu for me. Today, for the third place on my list, I’ve chosen Uruguay. There are a few reasons why and I have to say that for a while back in my early-30s I was obsessed with getting there. If I hadn’t had a small baby at the time, I might have splashed out and made a trip to South America.
It’s one of the few countries in South America that I can visit without the dreaded yellow fever vaccine (I’m allergic) but that’s fine because even if I could go to all the rest, I’d still choose Uruguay. Here I’ve listed the some of the reasons to visit Uruguay I think should be shared.
Location – Sandwiched Between Argentina and Brazil
It’s entirely possible that in one trip to Uruguay you could end up seeing three countries. It’s really well-located and Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is really close to the border with Uruguay. While there isn’t such a big Brazilian city close to the border, you could still have a flying visit to Brazil while there. That really doesn’t serve much purpose but if one of your goals in life is stamps in your passport, it’s a good place to go.
Something that really appeals to me in Uruguay are the Atlantic beaches. I often dream about Punta del Este when I’m trying to get through a particularly cold and grey Scottish winter. I signed up to a Uruguayan news feed on Snapchat a couple of years ago and the first thing I saw was a glamorous woman, who surprisingly spoke perfect English, although I was sitting with my Spanish phrasebook to hand, ready to do some translating. She was posting a diary style video of what young people in Uruguay typically do at Easter. It looked incredible. It was all beach visits, evening visits to the fairground, eating churros. I can’t imagine anything better.
Around half of the country’s population lives in the capital city, Montevideo. The city is a gorgeous mixture of colonial buildings and modern high-rise architecture, with lush green-treed plazas and a market at Mercado del Puerto. Apparently the city is one of the most laid-back capitals in the world, or so I’ve read, and that could be because marijuana is legal there, but only if you are Uruguayan. The locals can grow it, use it and carry it without fear but for us tourists, it would be illegal.
Every year, from the middle of January until around two months later, there’s a party happening throughout the country that could rival Brazil’s Rio Carnaval. The celebrations are largely based on candombe, a style of musical rhythm which was the brainchild of African slaves. There’s dancing and drums all over the streets and it’s yet another reason why every dark winter night, I think of Uruguay and the fun they’re having down there.
Have you ever been to Uruguay? Share your stories with me. Please! I’ve never met anyone who’s been there and I am dying to know what it’s really like.