Change Yourself…Change The World.


Travel Tips- Uruguay
October 28, 2009, 12:27 pm
Filed under: Travel Tip, Uruguay

Hello friends,

I decided that it would be a good idea to put some travel tips on Uruguay, such as good buses to take, restaurants to check out, places to go, things to see… I have realized more than ever that many guide books are outdated or have missing information. Therefore, I thought I would tell you exactly what I did and give a little ‘review,’ so for those that stumble upon this website that are going to Uruguay can use this information while they travel! This is also useful for those who want to travel cheaply. I stayed at a cheap hostel, never took a taxi, and managed to make my way around Uruguay pretty comfortably.

Without further ado,
Uruguay

My budget:
I spent 200 dollars while I was there (50 a day, including food, accommodation, travel expenses, and gifts). This was enough for me to travel around on buses, stay in a hostel for four days, get a few gifts for friends and family, and eat very well (including me splurging on a meal at Puerto Mercado). If you want to spend the BARE MINIMUM within four days, you can probably get by on 100, though you may have to skip a meal or two. If you can find someone to host you on Couch Surfing then you could probably be there for even cheaper (BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN COUCH SURFING! I ONLY couch surf with Peace Corp Volunteers myself because I know they’ve gone through extensive back round checks).

The most important tip about Uruguay:
It is better to go to Uruguay during the WEEK DAYS rather than the weekends (especially in Montevideo). Most people give Montevideo a bad review because the tourists usually go on the weekends- however, on Saturday and Sunday, most shops are closed, and the merchants aren’t outside. This is why you should go on the week days, because you will see a completely different side of the country.

Safety:
Montevideo, in my opinion, is one of the safest cities in South America. I walked around Ciudad Vieja (the old part of town) in a lot of deserted areas by myself to the point where I felt uncomfortable because someone could have easily mugged me- and I had no problems whatsoever. I spent my entire weekend walking around and I was fine. I wouldn’t recommend walking around Ciudad Vieja at night though, especially alone. Walking around the main center close to the Ciudad Vieja Hostel was fine when I was hurrying back there at night, even though there was no one around.

To get to Montevideo from the airport, you can take any one of the 700 buses (748, etc.) that go into Montevideo- at the date of writing, they cost 26 pesos, or a little over a dollar. Also, if you are changing money to Uruguayan pesos, only change as small of an amount you can at the airport, since you can get better exchange rates all around the city. You can get a map of Montevideo at the airport of downtown Uruguay, which is where I myself stayed. The best place to stay (in my opinion) is by Ciudad Vieja- you can see it all the way to the left on the map, where the land kind of juts out to form a peninsula. Ask the bus driver to let you off near Plaza Independencia (“¿Puedes decir conmigo cuando este autobus está cerca de la Plaza Independencia?”), and you’ll be able to find the hostel pretty easily, or anywhere else in the general area that you want to go to.

The hostel I stayed at in Montevideo was called ‘Ciudad Vieja Hostel.’ You can find it on Hostel World). They give a special discount if you book on hostel world, although they do charge you a booking fee so I suppose it evens out. I thought this was a very decent hostel, mostly because the staff is really nice and helpful, and they give you a lot of information about what you can do, as well as offering services such as bus tickets, tango shows, spanish lessons, etc. The beds are comfortable, they have free internet, and a pretty standard but delicious breakfast. This is where most of the tourists come to, but it’s not a ‘crazy’ hostel- not too loud, not TOO many people. I would recommend it. Also, the staff speaks English, which is a definite plus.

The best place to check out in Montevideo is the Puerto Mercado, which is right around Ciudad Vieja. It is a large warehouse converted into small and elegant restaurants, surrounded by spitfires with a variety of meat and seafood. It is absolutely delicious, cheap, and I highly recommend it. Outside there are lots of merchants and dancing to go around, so it’s definitely a little hot spot for locals and tourists alike. If you are REALLY looking to be cheap, there is also a stand of empanadas inside Puerto Mercardo that are absolutely DELICIOUS. There are about 50 different varieties and they only cost about $1.25 each. I had a capresse one and a calamari one… best empanadas I’ve ever tasted. You can also generally get a chorizo sausage at one of the restaurants (try the ones where you can sit at the counter) for two or three dollars, and they’ll give you all of the bread (including delicious dipping sauce) and water that you want.

My favorite part about Montevideo was wandering around Ciudad Vieja and seeing the gorgeous buildings and merchants with antiques. This is how I generally spent my time there, and I encourage you to also. Walking along 18 de Julio (the main street and right in front of Plaza Independencia) is also fun.
I have heard that ‘Playa Pocitas’ is the best beach in Montevideo. You can take the 104 bus from Ciudad Vieja to there. At the date of writing it costs 16 pesos.
If you want to go to Colonial Del Sacramento, Punta del Este, Punta del Diablo (these are the best places to go to in Uruguay, so I’ve heard), you can take any bus from the terminal ‘Tres Cruces.’ The bus you can take from Ciudad Vieja to Tres Cruces is CA1, and it costs only 9 pesos.

I did travel to Colonial del Sacramento. It took almost 3 hours to get there by bus, and it cost about 160 pesos (about 9 dollars) one way. The buses are very comfortable and it was a pleasant journey for me. At Colonial del Sacramento, you can rent scooters, golf carts, and cars to drive around. I almost rented a scooter (but decided not to because I didn’t want to spend the money). You can rent all of these things right outside of the bus station. I am not sure how much cars or golf carts cost, but the scooter was 200 pesos for 2 hours.
As for the rest of Colonial del Sacramento, it was a very beautiful place and I’d recommend everyone going there (especially if you want to go to Buenos Aires, because you can take a boat). I didn’t do much but walk around, but they also have other hostels there (Ciudad Vieja Hostel has a sister hostel there as well) and lots of restaurants and shops.

To get back to the airport from Montevideo, you can take the terminal close to Plaza Independencia (unfortunately I forget the name, but if you consult the map you’ll see a small blue bus which means ‘station’ that’s close to the Plaza). This costs 26 pesos as well.

Uruguay is an amazing country with all kinds of places to explore and things to do. I highly recommend you go there!!

Hope that helps and happy travels,
Brittany


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