Travel Guide South America Uruguay Montevideo



Street in Montevideo

Street in Montevideo

© snatterand

Montevideo, the capital and largest city of Uruguay, is set along the Rio de la Plata, across from Argentina. Thanks to its harbour, the city has one of the most important ports in the American continent. According to the 2011 census, the city proper has a population of 1,319,108 (about one-third of the country's total population) in an area of 194.0 square kilometres.




The most interesting area for visitors are the old town (Ciudad Vieja) and Centro. The city's major sights, monuments and museums but also accommodation, theater and shops can be found there. The old town stretches along a small peninsula that abuts Montevideo Bay and the Centro immediately to the east.




The summermonths of November to April are warm, sometimes hot, with temperatures around 28 °C to 30 °C during the day on average and around 18 °C at night. During the wintermonths of June to September temperatures average between 15 °C and 20 °C during the day, dropping around or just below 10 °C at night. Rainfall is spread out throughout the year quite evenly, averaging around 80 mm a month. The autumn months of March and April are just a little wetter.

Avg Max28.4 °C27.5 °C25.5 °C22 °C18.6 °C15.1 °C15 °C16.2 °C18 °C20.5 °C23.7 °C26.5 °C
Avg Min18 °C17.9 °C16.2 °C12.9 °C10.2 °C7.7 °C7.2 °C7.8 °C9.1 °C11.5 °C14.2 °C16.3 °C
Rainfall86.8 mm101.5 mm104.6 mm85.5 mm89 mm83.1 mm86.4 mm88.2 mm93.9 mm108.5 mm89.3 mm84.4 mm
Rain Days88889910881098



Getting There

By Plane

Uruguay's primary airport is Montevideo-Carrasco International Airport (MVD), which serves flights to and from North and Central America, the rest of South America, and Spain. PLUNA Airlines (website in Spanish) is the national airline, and operates flights to Asuncion, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Córdoba, Curitiba, Florianópolis, Foz do Iguacu, Porto Alegre, Punta del Este, Bariloche, Rosario and Santiago de Chile. Several other airlines have destinations throughout South America as well, and to cities like Miami, Panama City and Madrid.

By Car

If you are driving into central Montevideo, be aware that many hotels do not have their own parking spaces and it can be challenging finding somewhere to park. Parking houses in the city charge per hour and long term parking is generally expensive. They do also not take responsibility for the cars parked there.

By Bus

There are regular bus connections to all major cities and towns in Uruguay, including to Punta del Este and Colonia del Sacramento, the two popular coastal cities. There are also frequent buses to and from destinations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay. The city's central terminal is called 3 Tres Cruces terminal after the district it is located in.

By Boat

Buquebus has connections to/from Buenos Aires. There are several boats a day. The ferry arrives in the 2 Ciudad Vieja district of Montevideo, situated very close to downtown - a cab ride to a hotel in El Centro or Pocitos is much shorter and cheaper than from the airport.



Getting Around

By Car

Car rental is cheaper if booked ahead but be aware that places like the airport and the ferry terminal charge higher rates then the same agencies in other locations around the city.

Taxis are plentiful but not too cheap. It helps to know a little Spanish. A ten-minute cab ride costs about UYU100. Taxis are metered and upon the end of your ride you are shown a chart depicting distance and cost (though on some vehicles this chart will be on the window between you and the driver). Generally there are two fare schedules. The first is for Monday-Saturday from morning to mid-evening. The second fee schedule is for Sundays and late at night, and is slightly more expensive. Tipping is not expected, but you might round up to an even number to be polite. It is also not uncommon to sit on the front.

By Public Transport

Montevideo is not a large city and it boasts a very efficient public transportation system, so getting around is not difficult at all. If you are not bashful about your Spanish, feel free to ask people which bus route you need to take to get to your destination as it can be effective and cheap.

Administración de Ferrocarriles del Estado (AFE) operates local trains to suburbs and towns northwest of Montevideo in the departments of Canelones, San José and Florida.

By Foot

Montevideo is a relatively safe city and if you are getting around by foot, you will have time to see the beautiful architecture of Montevideo. The city is built on a slight hill, the spine of which extends into the Rio de la Plata to create the point that was the original city (Ciudad Vieja). From the Plaza de la Independencia, the main street that extends east from the plaza is 18 de Julio Ave. El Centro (downtown) is in this area and there will be lots of shops and places to change money.

By Bike

Less windy days are good for bike rides along the beach promenade. If something on your bike breaks, head for one of the Bicipuntos service points. Most city streets do not have designated bike lanes, so cycling around can be challenging, especially on weekdays. However a bike is a good way for getting around the parks in and around the city.

Bikes can be rented at reasonable rates at some hostels and at Plaza Matriz in the old town.




Potatoes, rice, salad and such is usually ordered separately. If you just order e.g. a steak as it is stated in the menu and you will literally only be served a steak. Portions are usually large. In areas frequented by tourist restaurants often offer menus with several courses.
Cover charges (cubierto) are frequent in Montevideo's restaurants. They are usually around UYU50.




There's a wide choice of places in Montevideo for going out for a drink. However, before midnight there is very little going on, and while bars are open before that you might be the only patron. In the old town it is not hard to find cafés and dance and music locals where you can experience the local culture. The street Bartolemé Mitre in the pedestrian area of the old town has plenty of cafés and bars to choose among, but prices tend to be higher than elsewhere in Montevideo. Many establishments have a happy hour and by good weather you can enjoy your drink outside. The streets of 25 de mayo (Bacacay) and Sarandi are pedestrianized and have a range of bars and restaurants with good atmosphere. A little bit to the east, the streets San Jose and Sariano run parallel to Avenida de 18 Julio. On both of those streets you can find good places to spend the night. Finally, district of Pocitos is also a popular place for drinking and partying with several popular bars.




Many hotels in central Montevideo are dated and badly maintained, but this does not apply to all hotels there. The ones near Plaza Independencia are of high standard and popular among foreign dignitaries. Districts to find good hotels include Parque Rodó, Punta Carretas, Pocitos, Buceo, Punta Gorda and Carrasco.


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Foreigners are required to have a work permit, which reportedly is easy to get. Many native English speakers work as language teachers; however, the pay is not always good. As most Uruguayans do not speak anything but Spanish, Spanish proficiency is practically mandatory if you intend to work and live in the country.




Keep Connected


Antel is the only provider of landline Internet service, while Dedicado is the main provider of fixed wireless Internet service. WiFi is ubiquitous and can be found in virtually all decent hotels as well as many restaurants, cybercafes, and shopping malls.

Antel WiFi hotspots are normally available only to Antel landline Internet subscribers, unless you are in a place with free service like Carrasco International Airport, in which case a public username and password for free access are prominently posted and always username: antel password:wifi. Dedicado WiFi hotspots are free for everyone.


See also International Telephone Calls

Uruguay's country code is +598. Montevideo and suburbs have phone numbers beginning in two, while the rest of the country has phone numbers beginning with 4.

The national landline telephone monopoly is Antel, which provides all public pay phones and is also the sole provider of landline Internet service. Although Antel pay phones only take Antel's proprietary magnetic cards, it is possible to use international calling cards to call home by taking the phone off the hook, waiting for a dial tone, and dialing the correct access code. However, note that many public pay phones are not properly maintained. If you do not hear a touch tone emitted for each key, that means the phone is defective and you must try another one. Antel also operates a cell phone network, and in this field competes with two private companies, Movistar and Claro. All three have numerous kiosks and stores throughout the country. The standard is GSM and both the European (1800 MHz) and North American (1900 MHz) frequencies are used.


The national postal service is Correo Uruguay. Most of their post offices are very hard to find and are open from 9:00 am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday; some are open from 9 am to 12 pm on Saturdays. Letterboxes for depositing outbound mail are made out of cheap blue translucent plastic and are extremely difficult to find outside of post offices. Some post offices have three boxes: one for the local city, one for domestic mail ("interior") and one for international ("exterior"). Uruguayan letterboxes are designed only for indoor use. Keep in mind that Correos licenses many retailers, such as pharmacies, as postal agents, and letterboxes can sometimes be found around those agents' premises as well. If you want to send packages overseas, check international companies like FedEx, DHL or UPS, as they have competitive rates and are fast.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: -34.894119
  • Longitude: -56.067451

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