Uruguay Holidays: an Overview

You just know a destination is a winner when the great and the good of the neighbouring countries flock there in their droves. Even more impressive when those two neighbours are places as spectacular in their own right as Brazil and Argentina. So, whisper it quietly, little Uruguay is the holiday destination to watch in Latin America, and after a recent research trip we're suitably smitten. If we had to pinpoint one thing that's sets Uruguay apart, it's probably those beaches and the achingly hip towns that line the shore

Image of Will Boocock
Image of Saskia Wilson

Saskia and Will are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • Uruguay makes a great addition to a holiday in Argentina, and boasts colonial history, a growing wine industry, and hotels catering to the most demanding traveller
  • Riding enthusiast? Experience a day in the life of a gaucho while on a holiday to Uruguay. The country's ranching traditions are very strong, and some estancias have even begun to diversify, opening their own restaurants and showcasing their cheeses and wines
  • One of the oldest towns in Uruguay, Colonia del Sacramento is a must-see - it's renowned for its beautifully preserved historical centre, which is also a World UNESCO Heritage Site

Luxury Travel in Uruguay: the Detail

Many people might think of Uruguay as a 'deeper cut' - somewhere to go once you've well and truly caught the Latin American bug in the big guns like Brazil, Argentina or Peru. Well, there's a certain logic to that, but Uruguay has more than enough attractions for the Latin American first timer as well, with the added advantage that these attractions are in relatively easy reach of each other - particularly when compared to the distances involved in either of the country's vast neighbours.

Some scene-setting statistics - Uruguay has just 3.5 million inhabitants in a space three times the size of England, meaning it's a whole heap less crowded than the place we call home, and those wide open spaces just happen to be extremely attractive, too, made up of endless pristine beaches, beautiful rolling hill country and vast plains of cattle grazing pastures. Add a healthy dose of fascinating colonial history, a burgeoning wine industry and boutique hotels to rival any in the continent and this is a cracking addition to our Latin American portfolio.

Did you know

  • In the local Guarani language, 'Uruguay' meant 'river of painted birds'
  • Uruguay is the only Latin American country outside the tropics

It gets better - this is the sort of country that active types will adore, be their chosen mode of transport a horse, a mountain bike, a surfboard or a kite surfer. Riders can enjoy the full gaucho experience and even try their hand at that most glamorous of sports, polo; the many wineries can be explored by (increasingly unstable, presumably) mountain bike and the coastline has beaches and breaks to suit all standards of surfers, kited or otherwise.

Uruguay also offers, trekking and cooking courses and the chance to spend time with some of Latin Americas most charming and laid back people.

The trendiest of the beach towns, Punta del Este, Jose Ignacio and Cabo Polonia, play host to an impossibly beautiful crowd in the summer months, so work on that tan and toning regime before you arrive and then prepare to party hard. They also attract a serious crowd of jetset party animals come Christmas and New Year. Fortunately, the hoteliers we work with can open all the right social doors so you can join in the fun.

If you can drag yourself away from all this hedonism, a combination holiday with Argentina works a treat as the best way to arrive in Uruguay is flying into Buenos Aires and hopping across the River Plate.


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Original Highlight

Image of Will Boocock

If it's beaches, a spot of surfing or kite-surfing you’re after, head to the exclusive beach spot of José Ignacio. It's got the best boutique hotels, and cuisine to die for - but it has a short high season, so plan ahead.

Will, Original Traveller

A note on price

Uruguay is relatively small and it's easy to pack in a lot in without taking expensive domestic flights. Aside from high season, where there seems to be no upper limit on hotel rates, a two week itinerary starts from £3,500 per person including international flights. Learn more about our pricing

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 24°C / 75°F
  • Rainfall — 8cm / 3.2 inches
  • Water Temp. — 22°C / 71°F
Flight from London

13:00 hrs

Time Difference

GMT -3 hrs


Top picks for Uruguay

El Balcon del Abra

El Balcon del Abra

Uruguay

The posada El Balcón del Abra is located in a manicured park surrounded by beautiful trees and towering palms, and with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and hills.

Where to stay

Pueblo Barrancas Eco Lodge

Pueblo Barrancas Eco Lodge

Uruguay

Located in a rugged oceanfront landscape hidden within forest and dunes, Pueblo Barrancas Eco Lodge is just a few short footsteps from the beach.

Where to stay

Bahia Vik

Bahia Vik

Uruguay

Bahia Vik is the latest member of the stylish Vik retreats family. This chic beach boutique is nestled in ten acres of the sandy dunes of Mansa Beach on the Jose Ignacio Peninsula with magnificent views of the Southern Atlantic Ocean.

Where to stay

Playa Vik

Playa Vik

Uruguay

Sister property to Estancia Vik, Playa Vik is very much a work of art in itself, with wacky architectural design and fantastic sea views.

Where to stay

Posada del Faro

Posada del Faro

Uruguay

The good value Posada del Faro is one of our favourite hotels in Jose Ignacio, tucked away behind the lovely (and relatively quiet) Playa Mansa.

Where to stay

Guardia del Monte

Guardia del Monte

Uruguay

Located on the edge of Castillos Lagoon, Guardia del Monte is one of the few remaining working cattle ranches that still cater to guests, and with beautiful surrounding it’s a personal favourite of ours.

Where to stay

We really did have the most amazing time and i was very impressed with Original Travel, your attention to detail was spot on and all worked seamlessly. I especially liked the travel documents you sent, very bespoke.

Anthony

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