Population: 3.5 million
Time Zone: GMT -3
Driving side: Driving is on the right hand side.
Languages: Spanish, Portuguese
Religion: 66% Roman Catholic
Emergency #: Police - 109
Highway police - 108
Fire brigade - 104.
For such a small country, Uruguay has a huge amount of culture and tradition. Theatre is very popular and famous Uruguayan playwrights such as Mauricio Rosencof feature prominantly.
Many of the countries atrists and writers have received international acclaim such as the painter Pedro Figari and the countries greatest writer Jose Enrique Rodo.
Music and football are another of the countries passions as is meat which uruguayans have a voracious appetite for and beef platters (parrillada), steak sandwich (chivito) and spicy sausage wrapped in a hotdog roll (hungaros) are all a most to try when visiting the country.
Uruguay Popular Destinations
Montevideo - the capital of uruguay has a beatiful mix of colonial Italian, Spanish and Art Deco style that make the city a feast for architecture buffs.The cities most intriguing feature is the Ciudad Vieja the colonial core and favourite public space in the city. Montevideo is also the favourite place among Argentines to come for their summer break and relax on one of the sandy white beaches.
Uruguayan Riviera - Montevideo's east coast is probably the most westernised place in the whole of the country. The coast features expensive beach resorts, golf courses and lots of sandy beaches that are great for watersports. One of the major resorts is Atlantida which initself is stunning but is also a base to visit the lovely surrounding countryside and visitors can also attempt to climb Cerro Pan de Azucar which is 493m high.
Uruguyuan Littoral - this is the countries most important agricultural area located west of Montevideo. The town of Mercedes has some wonderful beaches which are good for fishing, swimming and boating. The lively colonial city of Colonia is another attraction of the area because of its charming atmosphere. Walk along the cobbled streets and admire the old style whitewashed buildings. Another town to visit is Paysandu which is Uruguay's second largest city and has some fantastic museums.
Punta del Este - this is one of the most exclusive and glamourous destinations in South America. There are many expensive beach resorts as well as top class golf courses, yacht clubs and stunning residential areas. Punta del Este also has fantastic beaches and just off the shore is Isla de Labos which has a nature reserve with a sea lion colony as well as the ruins of a 18th century fortress on Isla Gorriti.
La Mansa - this is a series of smaller beaches starting from downtown Punta del Este to Punta Ballena, 14km westwards. The beaches are calm and ideal for bathing and windsurfing. The views are also wonderful overlooking the Punta del Este bay.
Montoya - this beach located in La Barra just before you get to Manantiales is the prefered beach among families and loved by teenagers. The beach has good waves making it great for watersports.
Moving Around Uruguay
There are no domestic flights in Uruguay except for the domestic leg of some international flights. Travelling by car should not be a problem but just watch out for hazardous traffic in Montevideo and the winding hilly terrain in the countryside. Local public transport is mainly by metered taxi and bus which are reasonably priced and run to all major destinations very frequently.
National festival and holidays
Carnaval - held on the Monday and Tuesday immediatley before ash Wednesday every year. This is without a doubt the countries premier event with dancing and partying. The whole of the country lines the streets where performers play drums and dance in dazzling costumes.
La Semana Criolla - known as holy week and held over easter, this showcases a more traditional side of the country. Activities include folk music, cowboy stunt riding, horse breaking and delicious BBQ's (asados).
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