Uruguay may be the second smallest country in South America but when it comes to tourist activities, the Hispanic nation is brimming with options.
Often overlooked because of its more popular neighbors, Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay is must-see place with its own brand of visual delights including old world architecture and historical cities.
Here is our list of top five things to do when in Uruguay.
1. Visit Colonia del Sacramento. Colonia del Sarmiento is Uruguay’s oldest city. It is also the only Portuguese-influenced town in the country. A UNESCO World Historic Heritage site since 1995, it is known for its historic quarter. Today, this European settlement produces textiles and has a free trade zone.
2. Drink mate at La Rambla. During weekends, locals hang out at famous boardwalk along the shores, La Rambla. Here, they gather with friends and drink mate—a traditional hollowed gourd which is also the national drink of Uruguay (and Argentina too.) It is common to see Uruguayans carrying leather thermos with hot water and a “gourd” cup with green leaves. At La Rambla, locals enjoy the simple joys of life—jogging, walking along the shores or just simply bonding with family, friends and loved ones.
3. Soak up the sun in Punta del Este. Punta del Este is one of South America’s top seaside resorts. It is known for its beautiful beaches and nightlife. According to TravelMath.com, this resort city is like Uruguay’s East Hampton. In addition to the sun and sand, Punta del Este offers others attractions such as Casapueblo which is a seaside house-turned-art museum with a beautiful sunset view.
4. Experience the farm life. Uruguay is still a largely agricultural country, and the gaucho (like America’s cowboy) culture is very strong. The best way to experience this is to visit an estancia—a large rural estate—and enjoy homemade meals, go on horseback riding and chat with a real life gaucho.
5. Eat local food. Did you know that Uruguay is one of the world’s biggest consumers of red meat per capita? Their national dish is a kind of barbecued beef called asado, and popular dishes include beef platters, chivito (steak sandwiches), barbecued kidneys and sausages like the morcilla dulce—a type of blood sausage cooked with ground orange fruit, orange peel and walnuts). For drinks, locally made soft drinks, beer and wine are commonly served. An example of this is cleric which is a mixture of fruit juice and wine. For dessert, try flans with dulce de leche andalfajores or shortbread cookies.
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