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Surprising Uruguay

Uruguay

Gorgeous beaches, picturesque villages and the dynamic capital Montevideo: Uruguay has all the ingredients for an amazing trip. The country offers a friendly and relaxed way of life, some swanky jet set beach resorts and delicious gourmet cuisine.

Three days in Uruguay
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Small but delightful

Uruguay measures 176,000 km2, so it’s tiny in comparison to its gigantic neighbours Brazil and Argentina. But the country packs a lot of attractions and its compact size makes it easy to explore. Uruguay is also one of the safest countries in South America. From KLM destination Buenos Aires, it’s just a short ferry ride across the river to Uruguay. Join us on a three-day trip through this fascinating country.

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Small but delightful

Uruguay measures 176,000 km2, so it’s tiny in comparison to its gigantic neighbours Brazil and Argentina. But the country packs a lot of attractions and its compact size makes it easy to explore. Uruguay is also one of the safest countries in South America. From KLM destination Buenos Aires, it’s just a short ferry ride across the river to Uruguay. Join us on a three-day trip through this fascinating country.

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The Monaco of South America

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The Monaco of South America

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Morning

Harbour and hand

The centre of the Punta del Este peninsula is the perfect place for a stroll. What began as a botanical garden grew into Latin America’s top jet set resort in the 1950s. A lengthy dictatorship expelled the rich and famous for years, but today the resort is once again the place to see and be seen, as one look at the marina will confirm.

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On the eastern side of the beach, the Mano de Punta del Este sticks out of the sand. This giant hand has become the symbol of the city.

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Afternoon

Time for the beach

For the best beach experience, head to the western village of José Ignacio near a lovely lagoon; this really is the place to be. During the very short high season, just a few weeks around the Christmas and New Year period, it is the preferred destination of the rich and famous. However, the village hasn’t lost any of its laidback charm. One would never guess that the unassuming restaurant, Parador La Huella, is one of the best restaurants in Uruguay. Nestled between the dunes of Playa Brava, it looks like a beachside café, but after a quick glance at the menu you can see that it offers high-end award-winning cuisine. 

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Evening

A perfect sunset

Watch the sun sink into the Rio de la Plata from Casapueblo, Punta’s most famous resort. In addition to a hotel, the building also houses a museum and an art gallery. The surreal architecture is the brainchild of Uruguayan artist Carlos Paez-Vilaró. He dedicated the resort to his son, one of the survivors of the well-documented plane crash in the Andes. Once the sky has transformed from bright orange to a deep dark blue, head for dinner at restaurant Las Terrazas.

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Soak up the culture in Montevideo

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Soak up the culture in Montevideo

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Morning

Maté and MAM

Begin the day with a cortado (espresso with a bit of hot milk) in the old Mercado Agrícola. After a renovation, the impressive wrought-iron market building has reopened as delicatessen market ‘El MAM’. More than 100 market stalls sell the best Uruguayan products, ranging from cheese to specialty beers. This is also a great spot to shop for souvenirs. Pick up one of the gourd cups used to serve the bitter-sweet local maté drink. 

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Afternoon

Wine and olive route

Just half an hour outside of the city centre, you can find vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. Along the Los Caminos del Vino wine route you will find the Establecimiento Juanicó vineyard. This is the perfect spot to taste Uruguay’s famous Tannat wines. Combine wine tasting with lunch, it’s easy to sample the country’s finest gourmet cuisine. 

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Even bread with olive oil is a taste experience: the olive oil produced in this region was recently voted the best in the world. 

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Evening

Dinner and dance

The discussion of whether tango is originally Argentinian or Uruguayan doesn’t seem to matter at El Milongón. At this venue the dance is performed in combination with candombe, a mixture of African styles which is distinctly Uruguayan. Despite the presence of many other travellers, the dinner presentations give the venue a very authentic feel. 

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To experience the dance in its natural element venture out into the streets – not only during carnival, but also on weekends in Barrio Sur and Palermo.

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Charming colonial architecture

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Charming colonial architecture

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Morning

Viewing history from above


Spend several hours sightseeing in the cosy World Heritage site of Colonia del Sacramento. From the top of the lighthouse you can enjoy a great view of the city and the leafy cobblestone streets. However, the spiral staircase to the viewing platform can be quite a challenge on hot days. After your descent from the top, stroll down to the central square for a refreshing cold beer or ice cream at one of the many outdoor cafés.

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Afternoon

Railroad history

Just beyond the ruins of the bullfighting arena stands the Colonia railway museum. Although very small, the museum evokes Uruguay’s glory days at the beginning of the twentieth century. In addition to restored train carriages and the reconstructions of some of the original stations, the museum also boasts a café, a library and an art gallery where time has stood still for the last 100 years. Travel back in time with lunch in an antique dining carriage.

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Evening

A sigh of pleasure

Visit the photogenic street Calle de los Suspiros (literally the ‘street of sighs’) which was once the home to the ‘ladies of virtue’. Today’s attractions on this picturesque street include the Galería de los Suspiros and the tiny but very cosy wine bar El Buen Suspiro

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The former is a great place to purchase modern Uruguayan art. El Buen Suspiro is a popular destination for dinner or picadas – small portions of delectable cheeses, cold cuts and savoury quiche-like pastries.

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