Hello dear readers,
My name is Annie and I am gonna talk about Uruguay. Some of you -probably if you live in the US- won’t even know where Uruguay is, so let me explain; It is a country in South America located between Argentina and Brazil and has 3 million people living in it. If you take a look at a map you will notice it’s very small in comparison with its brothers but it wouldn’t be so small if it was placed in Central America, Europe or next to Japan.
Weather: Uruguay is in the south of the continent, it means its not tropical, so you shouldn’t expect to find monkey, bananas and semi naked girls dancing in a yate in the Caribean sea. What can you expect? A very humid country with cold winters without snow and nicely hot summers. Average temperature in winter during the day is 13C and 31C in summer.
The people – Uruguayan have strong mediterranean european roots, 80% of the population are direct descendants of Spaniards and Italians though they don’t yell while talking. You can be sure Uruguayans are very easy going, highly educated and respectful. They will try to help you whenever they can. Uruguayan are modern and conservative at the same time; Most of them agree with same sex marriage, marijuana legalization and abortion, but at the same time they don’t like to stand out in any way. They have low profile in almost all they do. They are the opposite of the Brazilian who are so colorful, outgoing and happy. Uruguayan might look gray, but they are happy in their own way.
Traditions:Uruguay has the longest carnival in the world. Yes, 24 days of nightly shows. All this happens through February so if you happen to be there by that time make sure to go to the “tablado” (something like a public show with singing and acting). Even the black population is less than 2% Uruguay most popular carnival parade is called “Desfile de Llamadas” that honours the black slaves that came from Africa.
Drinking “mate” is a strong tradition in the country as well. It is a hot beverage with “yerba” and hot tea and everyone drinks it; young, old, poor or rich, it makes no difference, just like AIDS. You will see the people drinking mate on the streets or malls even schools and work places.
Something you must know if you want to try it: mate is a drink that people share, it means everyone suck from the same “bombilla”. Uruguayans won’t invite you because they think you won’t like it (since it has bitter taste) so you will have to ask for it.
Montevideo:Its the main city and the capitol of the country with more than the 50% of the population living there.
Places to go: Mercado del Puerto (to try the better meat in the world), la rambla (boardwalking), Parque Rodo (nice park in front of the river), Ciudad Vieja (the old part of the city), street markets, the neighborhoods Pocitos, Centro, Carrasco.
There are tons of things to do in Montevideo, you can always ask for info in one of the many touristic spots, just remember if you’re looking for beaches you have to go to the north.
Beaches:If you go to Uruguay I suggest you do it in summer time.
Uruguay got some amazing beaches on cute towns with original landscape and charming names like “Punta del Diablo” (it includes the word Devil in it). I will talk about 3:
Punta del Este:If you like posh beach resorts with expensive mansions and crazy parties for rich people then you should go there. Will have lots of things to do during the day and night. Have in mind you will need some cash to spend and some of the parties are private so you won’t get invited. This beach resort/city is also the chosen place for Argentinians who like to brag about their vacations to their co-workers. Lately it’s been a favorite for cruisers too so you will find people from all around the world including actors and singers who like to go there.
Cabo Polonio:You will love this place if you’re a hippy at heart (or a true romantic). This is the true example of a natural landscape surrounded by sand, sea and sea wolves. This beach resort doesn’t have electricity or water and that’s on purpose: the Rocha minister wants it that way, to preserve the natural side of it. Going there will be a great beautiful experience for sure.
Punta del Diablo:This one is my personal favorite. It’s a small fishermen town that get their peace interrupted every summer by crazy people wanting to have fun. Yes, this beach resort is the chosen one of the youth. If you’re in you’re 20’s you will have the time of your life there. Warning: if you want to go with your family instead, don’t do it on the first week of January because that’s crowded with the horny youth looking to get your daughters. So anyways, the town has cute little cabins in front of the sea, several places to eat, pubs to drink and night clubs to go in the night.
Sports: Uruguay loves football! Did you know the first World Cup happened in Uruguay? And they won it! That happened in 1930, and they won the cup again in 1950 and finished among the semi-finalists in South Africa 2010. Also Uruguay is the country with more American Cups (15), including the last one in 2011. All this is amazing if you think they only have 3 million people.
The main football teams and Nacional and Peñarol and if you want to experience football passion from the inside you can go to the Centenario stadium in Montevideo to see a game.
Food:Meat meat meat! What, are you a vegetarian? Then you will have some trouble finding proper vegetarian (let alone vegan) food. Uruguay has the best meat in the world and they export it to the world making that their #1 money resource. If you like meat you have to try “Asado”, ” “Chivito”, “Choripan”. Other than meat you can also try “Torta fritas” “Dulce de leche” “Alfajores” “Ricarditos”, and don’t forget the national alcoholic drink: Grapamiel!
Tip: If you want to get some uruguayan love then don’t confuse them with Argentinians. Yes, they look the same, the roots are the same and speak with the same accent but these are different countries and Uruguay has a brotherly love/hate relationship with Argentina because of football and them giving themselves credit for Uruguayan things like dulce de leche, asado or empanadas. Deep inside they love each other but don’t say things like ”you look like Argentinians”.
Well, basically this is all you have to know about that beautiful country Uruguay.
I let this video I like very much because the objectivity of it. Enjoy!