Travel in Latin America
For a small country, beaches are big in Uruguay. The South American nation has more than 400 miles of coastline, according to the Uruguay Ministry of Tourism and Sports. Because of that, the sea could play a big role in your vacation in the country, though the colonial history and cosmopolitan flair of Montevideo might also catch your attention. Whatever your fancy, know that traveling to Montevideo is reasonably priced, with a wide variety of options for accommodations and access. The country is also relatively safe for travelers, according to the U.S. State Department, as of spring 2010.
You can fly to Montevideo through the Carrasco International Airport. When flying, keep in mind that the airport in Buenos Aires has many more international flights, so prices may be significantly lower for flying there. Flights between Buenos Aires and Carrasco are served by Aerolineas Argentinas, Pluna and Sol Airlines. American Airlines has flights between Carrasco and Miami. Pluna, Gol, Iberia, LanChile, Copa and TACA also have service between Carrasco and other cities in South America and Europe. Check the Carrasco Airport website for the latest information on flights in and out of Montevideo.
If you need to reach Montevideo from Argentina, you can get there by ferry. High-speed ferries leave from the Tres Cruces bus station, the city center and Old Town (Ciudad Vieja) to Buenos Aires several times a day. The trip lasts about two and a half hours. You can also take a shorter ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia, the closest Uruguayan city to Buenos Aires, and then continue by bus to Montevideo. Check the schedules at the Buquebus website for information on getting to and from Montevideo.
If you're going to Uruguay from a location other than Buenos Aires, you could take a bus. Expreso Brujula and Coit both have service to Asuncion, Paraguay. The station also serves buses going to and from Mendoza, Corrientes, Santa Fe, Parana and Rosario, Argentina. Check the Tres Cruces bus station website for tickets and times.
Montevideo's location along the Atlantic coast gives it a south Florida feel. Because of that, you'll have no shortage of hotels and other accommodations to choose from when planning your trip. Hotels range from upper crust, priced in U.S. dollars, to budget rooms that are easy on the pocketbook. Villas and apartments are also available for rent throughout the city. Check out visit-uruguay.com to get started searching for hotels and other accommodations, or check with your favorite hotel chain, as many of them have rooms in Montevideo.
While so many tourists spend their time on the white sand beaches during their stay in Uruguay, there are many other activities to choose from. Montevideo's Ciudad Viejo is alive with history, with many old buildings restored to their colonial splendor. You could spend several days touring Montevideo's palaces and churches, roaming through the city's Mercado del Puerto (Port Market), sipping the local flavors of Uruguayan tea, called "mate" and trying your hand at the tango, Uruguay's signature dance. For some fresh ideas for tours around Montevideo, check out the sample tours provided by the Uruguay Ministry of Tourism & Sports.