So the first question, I know you are all wondering* is…where in the world is Uruguay? Is it a country in Africa? Is that a city in Indonesia? No, no. Uruguay is in South America. I have included a map to help educate your souls.
The second question you are asking is a bit harder to answer. You are all wondering what is there in Uruguay? Honestly, I spent two days there and I have yet to come up with a solid answer, other than excessive amounts of mate. The entire country is under 3.5 million people, with about half of that living in the capital Montevideo.
We flew into Montevideo in order avoid the hefty American-flying-into-a-Buenos-Aires-airport tax. We spent two days in Montevideo, then took a bus up to Colonia, hopped on a boat and then ferried across the border to Buenos Aires, Aregentina. The ferry was actually pretty cool. On the way there it took 1 hour and on the way back it took 3 hours. It was like a cross between a movie theater, airplane and cruise ship. All in all I was rather confused/amused with the experience.
But back to what Uruguay has to offer. I did a self-made walking tour of the old historic part of Montevideo–saw some fountains, old plazas and statues. I arrived on a Saturday and everything closes at 2 pm (of course) so there wasn’t much to do. Highlight was probably watching the sunset along the coast.
The next day was Sunday, which means even less things are open. So I just spent the day on the beach tanning and laughing at the copious amounts of people drinking mate with their thermoses on the sand.
One amusing part of the trip was the money. So my friend and I had lunch and casually dropped 500 with a 50 peso tip. (The conversion rate is 1 USD to about 20 Uruguayan pesos. So lunch was really only about $13/person).
Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed with Uruguay. To meet it seemed like the forgotten step-child of Argentina (they speak with the same Spanish accent and drink the same–if not more–amount of mate) just with less culture and fewer things to do on the weekend. I will, however, admit though that the customs officials of Uruguay are the best. They have the neatest stamps of all the countries I visited and always stamped within the lines of the passport. And for that, I thank you Uruguay.
*Fun fact: the word “wondering” is absolutely impossible to translate into Spanish.