Uruguay, South America’s smallest country, is squeezed in between Argentina and Brazil. The Atlantic Ocean boasting beautiful beaches sits to its east, Brazil to the north and Argentina to the west. It’s a South American country a little less travelled, which means the crowds are less and experiences are abundant.
Surfers: head to Punta del Diablo along the north shore which has decent swell all year round or Cabo Poloni where you can see sea lions and the lighthouse. Summer is the season of fun as the population swells and parties erupt on the beaches.
Punta del Este has numerous beaches, elegant seaside homes, yacht moorings and an array of high-rise apartment buildings along with pricey hotels and glitzy restaurants. It’s known as one of South America’s most glamorous resorts, popular with the wealthy from Argentina and Brazil.
Go horse-riding with gauchos around Minas or relax in the star-studded Punta del Este. Soak in a thermal spa near Salto or venture to the island of Valle del Lunarejo and enjoy its nature and wildlife.
Carnaval Dance fills the country for the whole month of February and is one of the best South American festivals to attend. There is much drum beating, lavish costumes and dancing, street parades and the electrifying rhythms of traditional Afro-Uruguay music. For those visiting out of carnival time, there may be a practice session you can attend.
Fray Bentos, with its pretty riverfront promenade, is Uruguay's newest Unesco World Heritage site. It is the southernmost overland crossing over the Río Uruguay between Argentina and renowned as a meat processing plant with an interesting historical story. Then there are the buildings, architecture and cuisine to be sampled. Uruguay is laidback and one of South America’s most enticing secrets.
With travel all year round, Uruguay does experience four seasons. Summer is peak tourist time for visitors from Argentine and Brazil flocking to beachside resorts. From October to mid-December is the best time to visit Uruguay for good weather and emptier beaches. Holidays such as Easter and events like Carnival (mid-Jan to late Feb) will see price hikes. The Atlantic breezes keep temperatures mild all year, with summer reaching low-mid 20°Cs, and winter averaging 12°C.