The Interior of the Palacio Legislativo in Montevideo
Language and Currency
What is Montevideo Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is there anything of "Don't Miss" quality?
Are there any great restaurants or bars?
Spanish is the official language in Uruguay, but many Uruguayans speak at least a little English. The currency is the Uruguayan peso.
Panoramic View of Montevideo Taken From the Millennium at Dock
Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America, but boasts of a healthy economy, impressive living standard, and the best social services in South America. One and half million people, or over ½ of Uruguay’s population reside in the capital city of Montevideo, located at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata. Cattle and sheep estancias (ranches) occupy over ¾ of the land. The coastline, however, is one long sandy beach. A scenic riverside road starting near the port and ending at the city limits links the beaches. Within the city proper, the beaches lie along the river, so water quality is not the best. To truly enjoy the beauty of an ocean beach and crystal clear waters travel to Punta Del Este, the premier resort city, located 86 miles east of Montevideo. Montevideo is an architect’s delight, with styles ranging from colonial to art deco. Sidewalk cafes, chic shops, restaurants, parks, gardens, and casinos can be found within the city limits.
Montevideo enjoys a mild year round climate. Average temperature in the summer (December – March) is 75, although it can get hot and humid. Winter days can be rainy, but the average temperature is still a mild 52.
Ships dock at Puerto de Montevideo and the terminal is very close to city center. It is approximately 1 mile from the pier to the center of town. Metered taxis are readily available at the port, and it is very easy (and reasonable) to hire a cab at a negotiated rate for the day.
Shopping is limited to a few downtown shops along Av. 18 de Julio and some workshops around Plaza Independencia. There is also a shopping mall downtown at Av. Luis Alberti de Herrera.
Leather goods, jewelry and local crafts are the main items to purchase in Montevideo. I found the leather, however, to be of lesser quality and more expensive, than that found in Argentina.
A city tour of this compact city can be accomplished in a few hours. The most impressive landmark is the 3 story Palacio Legislatvio built in 1908. This Legislative Palace is open to the public and worth a trip inside. A statue of General Gervasio Artigas, the Father of Uruguay, is the focal point of Independence Square in the center of town. The General’s ashes are contained at the base of the statue and at night a spotlight is turned on the urn so that he will never be in the dark. Perhaps the most interesting museum in Montevideo is the Museo Del Gaucho Y La Moneda. This museum pays homage to the heart and soul of Uruguay, the gaucho. There is even an impressive matte display (a hollowed out gourd that is used for "cowboy tea"). The Museo Historico Nacional is another option. Take a walk past the 18th century buildings in Ciudad Vieja (Old Town), or stroll along La Rambla, the street that follows the beaches from Old City to Carrasco. In the afternoon and on weekends the Mercado Del Puerto, the Port Market, is always bustling. You can always venture out of town to Punta Del Este, the chic beach resort 86 miles east of Montevideo, or spend a day in an estancia (working ranch). Wine tasting/tour at one of the local wineries (although I didn't find Uruguayan wine to be very exceptional), or visiting one of the casinos are other ways to spend your time.
Again, I did not find any bars or restaurants that I would recommend. But, if you find any on your visit, please share your discoveries.