Are you looking for some of the best things to do in Uruguay?
As an interesting nation in South America, a trip to Uruguay should be something all travelers and backpackers to Latin America aspire to.
Uruguay is a country is full of beautiful places, delicious food, warm people, and interesting Uruguayan things!
With over half of its people living in the capital, Montevideo, its rich culture and incredible history; there’s much to see in Uruguay.
Things to do in Uruguay
In this guide, we’ll explore Uruguay, some of the best things to do, how to get there, staying safe as well as the best time to visit.
Did you know Uruguay is the only country in Latin America which is situated entirely outside of the tropics?
Arriving to Uruguay
If you arrive in Montevideo as I did, looking for some things to do in Uruguay, I recommend you head straight to Colonia del Sacramento.
Uruguay Typical Costs and Budget
🇺🇸 1USD – 🇺🇾 44UYU
My daily budget:
Up to 2.2K UYU daily
Is it possible to travel to Uruguay on a Budget? Of course 🙂
See the Uruguay travel basics below to get an overview that may help you save your hard-earned cash so you can reserve it for other things.
Places to Visit in Uruguay
Without further ado let’s dive into the list of what to do in Uruguay and start by looking at the oldest town in this beautiful country.
Colonia del Sacramento
A good place to start is with a trip to the tremendous Colonia del Sacramento, which should be at the top of your Uruguay travel list.
This awesome little town, just on the Rio de la Plata, is the oldest city in the country and hosts some truly special sights.
A short visit to the town has become by far one of the most popular activities to be enjoyed in Uruguay.
Arguably the most interesting thing to do is to enjoy a leisurely trek around the old town, either with a special tour or all by yourself.
The stunning nature of the walls, first built in 1745, are a true testament to the rich history that Uruguay has been through.
This part of the Rio de la Plata region was deeply valuable, and the gate and walls were used to defend the town from attack.
It’s still in stunning condition today and should be a place that you take the time to come and see.
Other popular places to see in the area include:
- The Church Matriz
- El Faro Lighthouse
- Bodega Turistica Bernardi wineries
Uruguay tourism is on the rise and definitely offers a new set of challenges for any new backpackers who arrive in the country.
If you’re stuck on what to buy in Uruguay, I recommend you try out the Mate tea. It makes a great gift to carry back for friends and family too.
Just like the Mate in Argentina it’s among the most stunning in the country, and will keep you energized for the trip ahead!
Colonia del Sacramento is a truly special place and one that you should almost certainly make the time to come visit.
Places to stay in Colonia
- Viajero Colonia → Stay in a 19th century building
- El Galope Horse Farm → Located in the countryside
- Viajero Posada → Balcony views of Rio de la Plata
Whilst in Colonia on my short trip to Uruguay, I found exploring the dock area to be one of my favorite activities to do in Uruguay.
Punta del Diablo
Whilst wondering what to see in Uruguay, don’t let the name put you off; there is a rich specialty and charm about the Punta del Diablo.
A truly enjoyable tourist trap that lets you see ‘real’ Uruguay.
One of the best things to do here is explore the town. It can feel eerily quiet at times and can be a little off-putting at first. However should still make it on your list of attractions in Uruguay to visit.
Other popular things to do in Punta del Diablo include;
- Try the local food
- Explore the Artisan market
- Enjoy the nightlife
Generally, though, it’s the kind of experience that you should look to enjoy; a proper, old-school Uruguayan beach town.
Not only a special venue but one of the reasons why the town’s population can boost by as much as 30x in the summer.
The walk through the town and one of the best beaches in Uruguay can be quite long, and it can be quite arduous on the old feet.
That aside, though, any trip to the quaint beauty of Punta del Diablo an absolute must help signify and unify the experience of your trip.
If backpacking Uruguay or on a budget, you many want to check out Diablo Tranquilo as it’s short walk to the beach.
On a visit to Punta del Diablo you’ll find that is not only one of the best places to visit in Uruguay if you have the time but a rewarding one.
Dayman Hot Springs
If you’ve been on the road a lot and looking for the more unique things to do in Uruguay. A trip to the Dayman Hot Springs in Salto, one of the most important cities in Uruguay, is an absolute must.
Uruguay is for travelers who like to relax, and the hot springs of Salto make that stupidly simple. If you visit Uruguay and have the budget, this is for you. The waters are known to be therapeutic for most.
With plenty of spots for eating and enjoying yourself around the picnic tables, you can really settle into the culture here in an instant.
I suggest that you get ready for a rather troubling journey though. But if you’re driving in Uruguay it really does make the ideal place to visit.
💡Smart Travel Tip
Termas springs can be hard to reach as the public transport is hard to manage. There’s a bus that says Termas Del Dayman; just hop on that!
Overall, the hot springs are a cultural marvel that you would do well to see; it’s a rich part of Uruguayan culture and makes spending time in Salto even more enjoyable than normal.
Santa Teresa National Park
A nation of rich and lasting beauty Santa Teresa National Park is a crown jewel to many Uruguayans.
The richness of the location is easy to see, with the stunning blend of beaches and forests a sight for sore eyes.
It’s a great place for camping, too. With some awesome bungalow houses up for rent, you can easily find accommodation with as many as 7 people been able to camp for under 200 pesos.
Given its over 200 acres long, you’ll find ample space to rest! The perfect place to soak up the Uruguay scenery.
- Buenos Aires to Montevideo
- Safe places in South America
- South America Packing List
- Backpacking Uruguay Itinerary
Take the time to see this wonderful combination of rich natural wonderment. Definitely, one of the best places to visit in Uruguay.
Santa Teresa is one of the things to do in Uruguay you can do with family, friends or by yourself.
Either way, you won’t regret this uniquely wonderful representation of Uruguayan nature.
Montevideo Port Market
While the capital and largest city in Uruguay is a truly special place to spend your time, the richness of the port market is a 100% must-see.
When I was looking for things to do in Montevideo, this is exactly what I did. There are also some private tours well worth doing. You’ll be more than impressed with what’s on offer in this part of the city.
From the rich European-inspired architecture to the rich blend of coffee shops, artisan designers, restaurants, and creative types.
You’ll find everything from stunning steakhouses to souvenir shops, clothing stores and leather tanners.
Just be warned if you are someone with sensitive eyes and/or lungs; this place gets pretty smoking during the day!
Either way, a trip down to the wonderful Port Market of Montevideo would be something that would be hard for most visitors to this amazing city to dismiss.
If staying at Medio Mundo Sebastien and Pablo will help you with directions so add this market to your list things to do in Montevideo.
Punta del Este
Last on the list, but one of the most popular things to do in Uruguay is to visit Punta del Este. You can even do a day trip from Montevideo.
Punta del Este is a stunning coastal resort and is a fantastic tourist trap. Spanning along the Atlantic coast, this amazing little venue makes it very easy indeed for you to enjoy your time here.
Perfect for backpackers and tourists, families, and happily married couples Punta del Este makes relaxing a piece of cake.
The best thing to do is take a trip to the amazing Casapueblo which is a museum complex and a truly special thing to see! It’s perched atop a cliff looking across the Punta Ballena.
It’s an amazing location for education, learning about the nation itself and just learning to appreciate the richness of Uruguay as a whole.
Another attractions to make time for:
- Ralli Museum
- Puta del Este Port
- Hand-sculpture and Brava Beach
There are many other things to do in Punta del Este of course. If arriving by road, Tas D Viaje is only 3 blocks from the bus station.
Out of all the places in Uruguay, this is probably the best place to start. Also, you’ll find ‘the hand’, is a sculpture that is Uruguay is famous for.
Uruguay Travel Tips
See these travel tips for Uruguay to ensure you have the best stay whether you’re on vacation, backpacking, or traveling with friends.
⤵️ Dan’s Travel Tips For Uruguay:
Travel Insurance for Uruguay
I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.
If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.
On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.
Best Time to visit Uruguay
If you’re wondering what the best time to visit Uruguay is.
The natural climate here is very warm, so make sure you are prepared to deal with the rich humidity of this part of Uruguay; it can be unbearable if you come unprepared.
I learned this across the river living in Buenos Aires in the summer.
Books to Read on Uruguay
Interested in South American cultures? These books may interest you:
Great reads if you wish to learn more about Uruguay before you head out on your trip.
Best Things to do in Uruguay
So, whether it’s staying with gauchos or drinking mate, or you just need some inspiration, I hope you found some inspiring ideas above!
If you’re thinking of traveling to Uruguay, go for it! It can be much more tender, rich, and refined than in countries such as Brazil or Argentina.
However, this tiny little landscape might not pack much of a punch on a map, but it’s loaded with culture, heritage, and character.
Remember to start with the above when planning your trip to South America and you’ll quickly see why Uruguay is so universally loved!
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