Best time to go to Uruguay


temperature & rainfall

Uruguay is a four seasons kind of country, with the sun shining from Oct-Mar, without the searing heat of the tropics further north. You’ll encounter plenty of Argentine, Brazilian and Uruguayan tourists in the height of summer (late Dec-Feb), particularly around beach resorts such as Punta del Este, so Oct-mid Dec is the best time to visit Uruguay for good weather and emptier beaches. Expect crowds and price hikes around Easter and Carnival (mid-Jan to late Feb). Atlantic breezes keep temperatures mild all year, with low-mid 20°Cs in summer, and an average of 12°C in winter, but do expect fierce coastal winds.

Things to do in Uruguay


what to do in Uruguay, & what not to

What to do in Uruguay…


Latin America is not really a destination for self drive vacations, with countries too big, too jungly, too mountainous or – occasionally – too dangerous to even consider heading off on a solo road trip. Uruguay bucks the trend. It is small enough to mean you can cover some serious ground on four wheels, with no need for internal flights. It is safe, with great infrastructure, and – perhaps best of all – very little traffic.
Uruguay is a fantastic place for low key cultural encounters. Unlike some of the more contrived experiences in the Andes or Amazon, ranch stays, fishing villages and gorgeous colonial cities keep things real here, and you really will be traveling – and living – like a local. On a traditional estancia, muck in with the gauchos, rounding up cattle and eating hearty meals with your hosts. Mooch around the cobbled streets of seaside towns and fishing villages, or hang out at the lively central markets and brush up on your Spanish in friendly local cafes and bars.
Montevideo has to be one of Latin America’s safest, quietest and prettiest capitals. The Ciudad Vieja (Old Town) has a distinctly Southern European feel with its Art Deco buildings. The palm tree lined Plaza Independencia stands over the subterranean mausoleum of liberator José Artigas, and is dominated by the impressive Palacio Salvo, once the tallest building on the continent.

What not to do in Uruguay…


Head straight to the fancy resorts. Punta del Este may be the “French Riviera of the South”, but expect to pay for the privilege. Punta attracts well heeled guests from Argentina and Brazil, who sail here in their yachts and stay in resorts. It’s an interesting daytrip, but we’d really recommend heading to Uruguay’s wilder coastal outposts instead for quiet beaches, endless dunes, fishing village hospitality and maybe the odd sea lion.
Whizz through. Many South America overlanders see Uruguay as somewhere to border hop for that all important passport stamp. Their loss. While Uruguay is a popular stop on coast to coast tours, or en route from Buenos Aires to Iguazú Falls, do try and spend more than a day or two here for a glimpse of quite a different side of Latin America. It’s also a wonderful destination in its own right, touring with a small group for a week, or on a two-week self drive adventure.
Ignore the wildlife. With behemoth Brazil right next door, it’s easy to dismiss Uruguay’s wildlife offerings. But the low key animal encounters here are rather rewarding in their own way. Kayak around coastal lagoons, looking out for abundant birdlife, which is undisturbed by the gentle paddling. Head to Cabo Polonio, home to one of the largest sea lion colonies on the continent, and with dolphins swimming in its warm waters. And from September to November, look out for migrating whales offshore.

Uruguay travel advice


tips from our friends in South America



David Nichols, from our leading supplier of Uruguay vacations, Journey Latin America, shares his top Uruguay travel tips:

Why Uruguay?


“Uruguay is perhaps overlooked by most tourists because it’s a small country in a continent of giants. This is also what makes it a unique destination; unlike some larger countries you can experience its attractions without taking internal flights. You can get a real feel for a country whilst out on the road. Uruguay has a population roughly the size of Greater Manchester so the roads are amazingly quiet compared to what we are used to in the UK. Beyond the well known resort of Punta del Este, the country is lined with quiet beaches and dotted with rural estancias, wineries and excellent hotels in often remote settings. It all makes having your own wheels very useful.”

Itinerary tips


“Remember Uruguay is a major producer of high quality wine. Plan to spend a night or two in the Carmelo region so that you can sample the local blends without having to drive. I love the province of Rocha, in eastern Uruguay. Everything is wilder, greener and even more relaxed. The coastline is perfect for long walks on the beach.”

The best time to go to Uruguay


“If you plan to spend time on the coast, personally I would choose mid November to mid December, or February and March. The weather is warm, hotels good value and driving should be a pleasure. It’s worth remembering things can get hectic on the coast between Christmas and mid January, and during Carnival, when Uruguay is hugely popular with South American sunseekers. The outside world is also beginning to discover Uruguay hosts an exuberant Carnival. You might consider timing your visit to coincide with the big parades in Montevideo in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday.”

Packing advice


“Take binoculars. Although little known as a destination for birders, Uruguay has 550 types of bird and being overwhelmingly rural you notice them everywhere. Spring (September to October) and autumn (March to April) is best time, with lots of migrating species.”
Photo credits: [Tempchart: casaseneleste] [Why: Ambrose Little] [Best time: Carnaval.com Studios] [Helpdesk: Shant]
Written by Vicki Brown
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