Horseback riding in Uruguay

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Equestrian tours in Uruguay

Uruguay Mini Guide
   Source: World Travel Guide

Overview

As South America's smallest Spanish-speaking country, Uruguay is often overlooked by tourists visiting the region. However, with its vibrant nightlife and stunning coastline Uruguay is well worth discovering.

Due to its strategic position on the north shore of the Río de la Plata, Uruguay's territory was hotly contested from the first European settlements, initially by Spain and Portugal, then by the emerging regional powers of Argentina and Brazil. Uruguay officially gained independence in 1830.

A delightfully low-key, hospitable place, modern Uruguay enjoys a high standard of living but draws fewer tourists than neighbouring Brazil and Argentina. Visitors here can melt into the background and experience the everyday life of a different culture - whether riding horses under the big sky of Uruguay's sparsely populated interior or strolling with throngs of mate-drinking locals along Montevideo's 15km- (9 miles) long beachfront.

The three most popular destinations are the culturally vibrant capital Montevideo, the picturesque 17th-century port of Colonia, and the trendy coastal resort Punta del Este, which lures jetsetters from around the globe to its sandy beaches, fine restaurants and party-till-you-drop nightclubs. Visitors with more time should explore the dunes and lagoons of Uruguay's long Atlantic coastline, soak in the hot springs near Salto, or spend the night at a tourist estancia amidst the wide-open grandeur of gaucho country.

 

Passport/Visa

Passport Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

Visa Required?

British

No

Australian

No

Canadian

No

USA

No

Other EU

No

Return Ticket Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

 

Passports

Valid passport for the duration of your stay is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.

Visas

Visas for Uruguay are not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to three months.

Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Uruguay, or consult the list at www.dnm.minterior.gub.uy/visas.php.

Types of Visa and Cost

Tourist visa : US$42

Applications to:

Consulate (or consular section at embassy); see Contact Addresses.

 

Money

Currency

Peso Uruguayo (UYU; symbol $U) = 100 centécimos. Notes are in the denominations of $U2,000, 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of $U10, 5, 2 and 1 and 50 centécimos.

Currency Exchange

Visitors are advised to buy local currency at banks and exchange shops, as hotels tend to give unfavourable rates. Inflation in Uruguay, though less severe than in other Latin American countries, leads to frequent fluctuations in the exchange rate.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are the most commonly used credit cards. ATMs marked with the green Banred or blue Redbrou logo serve all major international banking networks, including Cirrus, Visa, MasterCard and Maestro.

Traveller's Cheques

Traveller's Cheques can still be cashed at some banks and exchange shops in major tourist hubs. US Dollar traveller's cheques are more widely accepted than those issued in Sterling.

Banking Hours

Mon-Fri 1300-1700.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date

Feb 15

£1.00=

$U45.07

$1.00=

$U31.11

€1.00=

$U34.63

 

Health

Vaccinations

 

Special Precautions

Diphtheria

Sometimes

Hepatitis A

Yes

Malaria

No

Rabies

Sometimes

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

No

Yellow Fever

No*

Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.

* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from an infected area.

Food and Drink

Mains water is considered safe to drink. Drinking water outside main cities and towns may be contaminated and sterilisation is advisable. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat.

Health Care

Uruguay has an excellent medical service. Private health insurance is recommended.

 

Getting There

Getting There by Air

Airlines with regular service flights to Montevideo's Carrasco airport include Iberia (IB) (www.iberia.com) and TAM (JJ) (www.tam.com.br). The most expensive time for flights to Uruguay is between Christmas and February; the cheapest is during the winter months (June - August).

Approximate Flight Times

From Madrid to Montevideo is 12 hours and from Miami is 9 hours.

Main Airports

Montevideo (MVD) (Carrasco) (website: www.aic.com.uy) is 19km (12 miles) from the city (journey time - 35 minutes). To/from the airport: There is an airport bus to the city centre. Taxis are also available. Facilities: Duty-free shop, post office, restaurants, car hire, pharmacy, travel agencies, ATMs and a bureau de change.

Air Passes

Oneworld Visit South America Pass: valid within Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Participating airlines include American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA), Cathay Pacific (CX), Finnair (AY), Iberia (IB), LAN (LA) and Qantas (QF). The pass must be bought outside South America in the country of residence. It allows unlimited travel to 34 cities. A minimum of three flights must be booked; prices depend on the amount of flight zones. For further details, contact one of the participating airlines (website: www.oneworld.com).

Departure Tax

US$40 on international departures (US$19 to Buenos Aires), payable in cash (Uruguayan pesos or US Dollars) or by credit card. This is sometimes included in the air fare; check with your airline.

Getting There by Water

Main ports: Montevideo, the main international port, is served by cargo lines from the USA and Europe.

High-speed ferries operate between Montevideo and Buenos Aires (journey time - 3 hours) (website: www.buquebus.com).

There are also services from Colonia (160km/100 miles west of Montevideo) to Buenos Aires by ferry and a hydrofoil service. A port departure tax may be levied.

Getting There by Road

Modern coaches with bar, TV, WC and radio travel regularly between Brazil and Uruguay. The journey time from Montevideo to Porto Alegre (Brazil) is 11 hours 30 minutes; to São Paulo 30 hours; and to Rio de Janeiro 36 hours. Buses link Montevideo with Asunción and Iguazú Falls in Paraguay, Santiago in Chile and numerous destinations in Argentina including Buenos Aires. More information is available from the website www.trescruces.com.uy.

 

Climate

Uruguay has an exceptionally fine temperate climate, with mild summers and winters. Summer is from December to March and is the most pleasant time; winter and spring can get chilly due to wind and rain, but temperatures remain dependably above freezing.

Required Clothing

Mediumweight clothing for winter; lightweight clothing and raincoat required.

 

Contacts

Embassy of Uruguay in the USA Telephone: (202) 331 1313 or 4219 (consular section). Website: www.uruwashi.org Opening times: Mon-Fri 0900-1700; Visa section: Mon-Fri 0900-1300 and 1400-1600.
Embassy of Uruguay in the UK
Telephone: (020) 7937 4170. Opening times: Mon-Fri 0900-1700; Visa section: Mon-Fri 1000-1600 (appointment only).
British Embassy in Uruguay
Telephone: 2622 3630 Website: www.ukinuruguay.fco.gov.uk Opening times: Mon-Thu 0900-1300 and 1400-1730, Fri 0900-1430; Jan 0830-1430.

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