Best 30 Places To Visit In Uruguay - Updated 2024

best places to visit in uruguay
Contributing Writer
| 13 min read

Uruguay spreads down the coast in South America and offers beautiful beaches and a lush green interior. The capital of Uruguay is Montevideo, where visitors can head to Plaza Independencia, where a Spanish citadel used to stand. Visit the Ciudad Vieja, or Old City, with its beautiful colonial homes and art deco architecture. Head to the beautiful Pocitos beach to relax on the clean sand, or visit Punta del Este, where Mansa Beach can be seen and the famous “The Hand” sculpture. Explore the Rio de la Plata estuary where good fishing is available. While visiting the country, the following gives more detail of some of the best places to visit in Uruguay.

1. Montevideo (from USD 36.0)

Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay and nestles on Montevideo Bay. This tour will take you around the various architectural landmarks in the city and enjoy a visit to the various neighborhoods of the city. Enjoy coastal views as you go on this three-hour tour. Head to Plaza Independencia, which lies between the Old Town and newer Montevideo. View the Italian Gothic-style Palacio Salvo and the city’s original gate. Stroll along the beach promenade, while browsing the local shops.

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The Best Montevideo City Tour

Duration: 3 hours

85 reviews

2. Punta del Diablo

Barcas en la playa de Punta del Diablo, Rocha, Uruguay - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user rodoluca used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This quaint fishing town turned seaside resort is located on Uruguay’s eastern coast and has several excellent beaches. These include Playa de Los Pescadores (Fishermen’s Beach), with its colorful fishing boats and Rivero Beach, popular for its strong surf and lined with waterfront bars. Enjoy beautiful sunsets at Playa de la Viuda, or head to Playa Grande and the Santa Teresa National Park with its beautiful forested areas and hiking trails.

Punta del Diablo

Address: Punta del Diablo, Rocha Department, Uruguay

Website: Punta del Diablo

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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3. Tacuarembó

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Carohv91 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Tacuarembó is known as the heart of Uruguay and is, in fact, heart-shaped. It is renowned as being the birthplace of Carlos Gardel, the famous tango singer. Visit the museums to learn more about the town, the tango, and Gardel. The city is home to many musicians, writers, artists, and sportspeople. The city is surrounded by meadows and flat hills with many natural wonders that have been used in the local film industry. There are also many murals and sculptures around the city.


Address: Tacuarembo, 45000 Tacuarembó Department, Uruguay

Website: Tacuarembó

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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4. Nuevo Paysandú

Nuevo Paysandú
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sinergia Club Bike used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located in western Uruguay and nestled along the Uruguay River, Paysandú is an attractive and historic seaside city. A visit to the Historical Museum reveals exhibits of various weaponry while a tour of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary nearby is famous for its large organ. Even the Paysandú cemetery is of interest to visit, with its mausoleums and gravestones including sculptures of saints and angels. Enjoy an open-air concert in the summer months at the Rio Uruguay Amphitheater, located right next to Municipal Beach.

Nuevo Paysandú

Address: Paysandú, 60000 Paysandú Department, Uruguay

Website: Nuevo Paysandú

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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5. Durazno

Durazno Discovered
Source: Photo by user Vince Alongi used under CC BY 2.0

Located in the heart of Uruguay, Durazno is popular for its many festivals and the beaches on the Yí River which runs through the city. The area is popular for recreational fishing in the Yí and Negro Rivers and in the Rincon del Lagos Bonnet. The hub of the city is the Parque de la Hispanidad where many important festivals are held, including the Folklore Festival. Visit the San Pedro parish, which was destroyed by fire and rebuilt into what is considered by many to be an architectural jewel.


Address: Durazno, Durazno Department, Urugu

Website: Durazno

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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6. Carmelo

Rambla de los Constituyentes
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hoverfish used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Carmelo lies on the Rio de la Plata in the west of the country and is popular for its beautiful beaches, including Playa Seré. Carmelo is surrounded by many wineries, the products of which can be enjoyed on wine tasting tours. Explore the Rambla de Los Constituyentes, which runs through the city to the yacht marina. Visit the Casa de la Cultura Cnel Ignacio Barrios, which is a cultural center housed in the former home of Uruguayan artist Ignacio Barrios. Also head to the Museo de Madera, or Wood Museum, to view many attractive exhibits carved from wood.


Address: Carmelo, Colonia Department, Uruguay

Website: Carmelo

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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7. Nueva Helvecia

Plaza de los fundadores de la Colonia Suiza
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Diego Ocampo Herrera used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Nueva Helvecia is known for its Swiss heritage and is located in the Colonia Department of Uruguay. The city is a short drive from the coast where the Rio de la Plata meets the Atlantic Ocean. The historic town resembles Switzerland in many ways and many of the homes bear Central European crests. This is due to the European settlers (mainly Swiss) who founded the town in 1862 and began to grow crops. The town was then considered among the most important agricultural areas in the country. The name, Nueva Helvecia, translates to New Helvetia, the original word for Switzerland.

Nueva Helvecia

Address: Nueva Helvecia, Colonia Department, Uruguay

Website: Nueva Helvecia

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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8. Salto

Prevención y control del vector del dengue en Salto, Uruguay
Source: Photo by user Pan American Heal... used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Bordering Argentina in northwestern Uruguay, the city of Salto lies on the Uruguay River. Enjoy exploring Calle Uruguay, a popular and lively shopping street with many cafes, or head to the Cathedral San Juan Bautista in Plaza Artigas, to see a 1939 Hammond organ and many oil paintings. Enjoy a show or play at the Larrañaga Theater, dating from the 19th century. Head out to the southeast of the city to enjoy the natural hot springs and spas of Termas del Daymán. Soak your troubles away.


Address: Salto, Northwestern Uruguay

Website: Salto

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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9. Piriápolis (from USD 41.5)

best places to visit in uruguay | piriápolis

This enjoyable nine-hour tour heads out from Montevideo on a scenic drive past Canelone to Piriápolis. On the way, view the beautiful mountainous scenery and forests before stopping off at Punta del Este with the Los Dedos (The Fingers) sculpture. Enjoy views of the De la Plata River prior to your arrival in Piriápolis – the “City of the Sun.” Take in the famous Argentino Hotel in the city and the wonderful views from the top of San Antonio Hill. Visit the historic Pira Castle and the scenic hiking spot of Cerro del Toro, with its famous bull statue. Drive past the beautiful mansions with their lush gardens before heading back to Montevideo.

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From Montevideo: Punta del Este Full-Day Tour

Duration: 9.0 hour

579 reviews

10. Cabo Polonio

Faro, Cabo Polonio, Rocha, Uruguay - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user rodoluca used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Nestled in the Rocha department on the eastern coast of Uruguay, Cabo Polonio is only accessible by walking through the famous sand dunes, or by driving in a 4x4 vehicle. The small hamlet is worth the trouble, however, with its Dunas de Cabo Polonio nature reserve to explore and the beautiful beaches of La Calavera and Playa Cabo Polonio. There is also a lighthouse to view – the Faro de Cabo Polonio pictured here.

Cabo Polonio

Address: Rocha Department, Eastern coast of Uruguay

Website: Cabo Polonio

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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11. La Paloma

La Paloma | 151227-6913-jikatu
Source: Photo by user Jimmy Baikovicius used under CC BY-SA 2.0

La Paloma is mostly known for its beautiful beaches, varying from calm sun-bathing spots to some with strong waves, ideal for surfing. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful curving beaches or watch the Southern Right whales here in winter and spring. El Cabito is ideal for the children, while adults prefer Bahia Grande, La Balconada or Los Botes. Many tourists love to enjoy the gorgeous sunsets at La Balconada. Those who enjoy fishing should head to the fishing port, while shopping and restaurants are available in the town center.

La Paloma

Address: Rocha Department, Eastern coast of Uruguay

Website: La Paloma

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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12. José Ignacio

Faro Jose Ignacio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user ViviAC used under CC BY-SA 3.0

José Ignacio is a sleepy fishing village for much of the year but transforms into a popular resort for surfers and tourists from November through February. Brava Beach is ideal for surfing, while Mansa Beach is a quieter spot, popular for its sunset views. Laguna Garzon is a protected natural area and lake, ideal for walks and picnics. The town features many cocktail bars, grill restaurants, and yoga studios, ideal for a relaxing vacation. Bring your family to the popular resort at this sleepy fishing village.

José Ignacio

Address: José IgnacioMaldonado Department, Uruguay

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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13. Rocha

Laguna Negra, Rocha, Uruguay
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ubirajara Buddin ... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

RocRocha is capital of the Rocha Department in Uruguay and is a coastal city with many attractions. Pinar de la Coronilla is the popular and main public beach, while the Santa Teresa National Park is a wildlife refuge, ideal for casual strolling and exploring. Visit the Fortaleza de Santa Teresa, a protective fort or head to one of the other popular beaches, including Playa de Punta del Diablo and Playa La Moza. Enjoy boating and fishing on the Laguna de Rocha (Rocha Lake). Come with your loved ones to enjoy the sun and fresh air.


Address: Rocha27000 Rocha Department, Uruguay

Website: Rocha

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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14. La Pedrera

La Pedrera
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Elvis Boaventura used under CC BY 3.0

La Pedrera is quiet outside of the summer months but is a lively and popular seaside resort November through February. The town is located close to Cabo Polonio. The El Desplayado beach is perfect for families with children and surfers. Head to the beach that features a lifeguard service and free Wi-Fi is available. On clear evenings, the light from Cabo Polonio Lighthouse can clearly be seen. Punta Rubia is the next beach in line on the coast, a small and quieter beach. La Pedrera has a boardwalk to stroll, with an observation deck offering spectacular views.

La Pedrera

Address: La Pedrera 27004 Rocha Department, Uruguay

Website: La Pedrera

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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15. Atlántida

Playa de Atlántida Canelones Uruguay Verano 2012 - panoramio (5)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Andrés Franchi Ug... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Atlántida is located in the Canelones Department on the Costa de Oro (Gold Coast), 45 km (28 mi) from the capital city of Montevideo. The resort town has popular beaches, including the excellent Playa Mansa Beach. A visit can be enjoyed to The Eagle, a landmark of the city in the form of a stone house in the shape of an eagle. Atlántida also houses a zoo with a variety of different species to view. Visitors can try their luck at the local casino.


Address: Atlántida, Canelones Department, Uruguay

Website: Atlántida

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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16. Maldonado

Sendero Deborincha, Maldonado, Uruguay | 130216-8229-jikatu
Source: Photo by user Jimmy Baikovicius used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Capital of the department of the same name, Maldonado nestles on the coast of Uruguay. The Playa Mansa is a popular beach, ideal for families with its calm waters, while fun boat visits can be made to Gorriti Island, a tiny island with beaches. Punta Ballena also features quieter beaches as it points out into the ocean. Art lovers will enjoy the Museo Casapueblo, with its exhibits of contemporary art and architecture. Visit the tiny island with your family.


Address: Maldonado, Maldonado Department, Uruguay

Website: Maldonado

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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17. Fray Bentos

Frigorifico Anglo... - Fray Bentos - Rio Negro - Uruguay
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Elbetobm used under CC BY-SA 3.0

You will be forgiven for immediately thinking of meat pies when hearing the name of Fray Bentos, and while that industry started here, the town is much more than a factory. In fact, the remains of the factory, that fed people in many countries, are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can tour the old factory, which was started by a German, due to the many cattle in the region, necessary for the delicious meat pies. The charming and now sleepy riverside town with its colonial charm is well worth a visit and there are good beaches and relaxing wine-producing areas within easy access.

Fra Bentos

Address: Fray Bentos, Río Negro Department, Uruguay

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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18. Chuy

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Georgez used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The city of Chuy straddles the border with Brazil, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Laguna Merin. The city is popular for the Uruguay-Brazil International Avenue, which features many duty-free shops and restaurants. Of interest to note, on the one side of the border, people on the avenue speak Spanish and pay in pesos, while on the Brazilian side of the avenue, they speak Portuguese and everything is sold in reals. The city works together with its namesake over the border each year to throw a huge, joint carnival party.


Address: Chuy, Rocha Department, Uruguay

Website: Chuy

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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19. San Carlos

San Carlos, Uruguay
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mx. Granger used under CC0

Quaint San Carlos is located in southern Uruguay in the Maldonado Department. The beautiful Parroquia San Carlos de Borromeo church is well worth a visit and the church’s cemetery is considered to be a national heritage in Uruguay. Visit the quaint Molino Lavagna, a historic former mill in the city, or enjoy fresh air and relaxation in the San Carlos Park, with its pretty gardens. A popular tourist attraction is the Red Ranch, a traditional cattle ranch on the outskirts of the city, with green spaces for playing sports or having a picnic and a swimming pool.

San Carlos

Address: San Carlos, 20400 Maldonado Department, Uruguay

Website: San Carlos

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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20. Las Piedras

City Las Piedras
Source: Photo by user Marcelo Campi used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Las Piedras is located in southern Uruguay, north of Montevideo in a wine-growing district. The city is also well known for its horse racing and for ostrich farming. It was here that Uruguay battled for independence from the Spanish in 1811. Visitors can enjoy wine tasting and purchase excellent wines at the local wineries, including the Pizzorno Winery and Vinos Finos H. Stagnari and find out about the history of the area at the Museo Julio Sosa.

Las Piedras

Address: Las Piedras, Canelones Department, Uruguay

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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21. Rivera

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Odacir Blanco used under CC0

The city of Rivera straddles over two hills in the Santa Ana Hills. Rivera is one of the largest cities in Uruguay and is a commercial and manufacturing hub. The city trades in cattle, fruit, and vegetables, as well as manufacturing cigars, cigarettes and textiles. Rivera is conveniently linked to Tacuarembo and Montevideo by road and rail. Visitors to the city can enjoy eco-tours in the surrounding areas, as well as guided winery tours.


Address: Rivera, Rivera Department, Uruguay

Website: Rivera

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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22. Artigas

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jorge Rod. used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The city of Artigas is named for the national hero, José Gervasio Artigas who fought for the emancipation of the Rio de la Plata and to form a federal nation. The hero’s remains have been interred under a monument in the main square in Montevideo. Places of interest to visit in the city are the Obelisco de la Ciudad, a war memorial and the Plaza Artigas, a public square. Enjoy a relaxing walk in the Paseo 7 de Septiembre Park and garden with its pretty water features. Learn about the Uruguayan heros and go back home with more.


Address: Artigas, 55000 Artigas Department, Uruguay

Website: Artigas

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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23. Minas

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mx. Granger used under CC0

Minas is the capital of the department of Lavalleja and lies in a landscape of rolling hills. The rich flora and fauna of the city’s surroundings make it ideal for hunting, fishing and hang gliding, while the rivers and lagoons are perfect for rafting and sailing. Fun hiking is to be had in the Parque Salus, on the outskirts of the city, with many hiking trails among the pine and myrtle trees. There are also many roses and ferns planted in the gardens. Enjoy the view from Cerro Arequita, a granite hill with a fascinating cave to visit, surrounded by indigenous forest.


Address: Minas, Lavalleja Department, Uruguay

Website: Minase

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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24. Ciudad de la Costa

Puente americas canelones
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Maxpana3 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Located in the Canelones Department on the banks of the Rio de la Plata, Ciudad de la Costa is an extension of Montevideo’s metropolitan area. The city also borders on the Costa de Oro (Gold Coast). Of interest in the city, the Isla de Flores is a protected area with historic ruins and a lighthouse, while a popular beach is Playa Carrasco. Learn about the Uruguayan army in the Aeronautical Museum Cnel Jaime Meregalli. Parque Roosevelt is a pleasant visit, with its park and garden dedicated to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Ciudad de la Costa

Address: Ciudad de la Costa, Canelones Department, Uruguay

Website: Ciudad de la Costa

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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25. San Gregorio de Polanco

Mural on a building in San Gregorio de Polanco

San Gregorio de Polanco is a spa town on the banks of the Rio Negro, in the department of Tacuarembo. The small town is popular with visitors during the summer months for its 20 km (12 mi) of white sand beaches and clear waters of San Gregorio Lake. Swimming and fishing are both popular activities here. The town’s homes are painted with beautiful landscapes and scenes, making the town the only Open Museum of Visual Arts in Latin America. Among the artists involved in the more than 100 murals are Gustavo Alamón, Felipe Ehrenberg, Augusto Esolk and Tomás Blezio. Each mural is preserved for five years and is then replaced with a new piece of art to encourage people to return to the town.

San Gregorio de Polanco

Address: San Gregorio de Polanco, 45200 Tacuarembó Department, Uruguay

Website: San Gregorio de Polanco

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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26. Paso de los Toros

Paso de los Toros
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Marianela Sosa used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Paso de los Toros lies on the Negro River, surrounded by nature with fishing and camping available at the Dr. Gabriel Terra Dam. The countryside is dotted with water attractions and restaurants to stop off for a delightful meal. You may also enjoy hiking and fishing in Paso de los Toros. In the city itself, strolling the 18 de Julio Avenue takes visitors to the downtown area, with its many shops and restaurants, as well as beautiful gardens. The Santa Isabel Gothic church is also a beautiful visit with its pretty interior.

Paso de los Toros

Address: Paso de los Toros, 45100 Durazno Department, Uruguay

Website: Paso de los Toros

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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27. Melo

Escuela Melo Uruguay
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Joaquinsh used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Melo is located in the Cerro Largo on the border with Brazil and the city tends to be multi-cultural with both Spanish and Portuguese spoken widely. The main attraction is the Plaza Constitucion, where there is a monument to the hero, José Gervasio Artigas. Nearby is the Cathedral, which was founded in 1876. A popular meeting spot in the city is the Plaza Independencia in the city center and there are a number of pretty parks throughout the city for relaxation in the fresh air. Families enjoy the municipal zoo with many animals, including pumas, tigers, lions, llamas and many more species. A pretty place to visit next to the Conventos River is the Zorilla de San Martin Park, which has two patios decorated with beautiful, original Spanish ceramic tiles. The Municipal Summer Theater is held here each year.


Address: Melo, 37000 Cerro Largo Department, Uruguay

Website: Melo

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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28. Mercedes

Plaza Independencia, Mercedes,Soriano.
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Modesty Zuniga Paz used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located in western Uruguay, Mercedes is a city nestling on the Rio Negro. The historic Independence Square is famous for the Gaucho de Asencio equestrian statue. Located nearby is the 19th-century cathedral, built with a neoclassical style and with twin bell towers. Stroll the promenade by the river, with its many statues and sculptures along the way. Head to Castillo Maua to visit an art gallery, winery, and paleontological museum, all set together on a 19th-century ranch.


Address: Mercedes, Soriano Department, Uruguay

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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29. Punta del Este (from USD 32.0)

This enjoyable four-hour tour introduces you to the modern seaside resort of Punta del Este. Your guide will take you to view the whimsical Los Dedos (The Fingers) sculpture in the sand at Playa Brava. Stroll around the coastal seaport with its beautiful yachts and go window shopping in Artigas Square and Gorlero Avenue or buy local handicrafts including Uruguayan products made from wood, glass, and leather. Head to Casapueblo to view the nine-story villa designed in Mediterranean style by the Uruguayan sculptor and painter Carlos Páez Vilaró.

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Punta del Este City Sightseeing Tour

Duration: 4 hours

14 reviews

30. Colonia del Sacramento (from USD 65.0)

This full-day tour from Montevideo will take you to the 17th-century city of Colonia del Sacramento. Gaze at the historic architecture with its Spanish and Portuguese influences while learning about the history of the city. The town has been declared a UNESCO site of Historical Patrimony of Humanity. Visit the Portuguese Museum with exhibits relating to the naval adventures of the Portuguese seamen. Tour the fascinating Barrio Histórico (Historic District) and head to the port. Visit Fernando Beach and relax for a while before heading to the Reserva Forestal to view Uruguayan native plants and animals.

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Colonia del Sacramento - Full day tour from Montevideo

Duration: 10 hours

4 reviews

Have fun discovering everything Uruguay has to offer

Montevideo Uruguay
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jikatu used under CC BY-SA 2.0

When visiting this lively Latin American country, make sure you visit some of the great historic cities, beautiful beaches and natural parks. You can also drop by the museums, wineries, and art galleries. As you move through the cities with your partner or family, learn the history of each city. Here are some of the best places to visit in Uruguay.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Anne Sewell was born in England, but has spent most of her life in Africa - Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa - and now resides on the beautiful Costa del Sol in southern Spain. She loves writing...Read more

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10 Recommendations To Explore The Best Of Montevideo, Uruguay

10 Recommendations To Explore The Best Of Montevideo, Uruguay