Where is Uruguay located?

What countries border Uruguay?

Uruguay Weather

What is the current weather in Uruguay?

Find more about Weather in Montevideo, UY
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Uruguay Facts and Culture

What is Uruguay famous for?

  • Family: In the cities, most people live in modern apartment buildings or small houses. The very poor live in shantytowns called... More
  • Fashion: Western style of clothing is worn. Uruguay's gauchos (cowboys) wear baggy pants called "bombachos", wide brimmed black hats that offer... More
  • Visiting: Uruguayans frequently drop in on their friends. Telephoning first is not necessary. Hospitality is always extended to visitors. A gourd... More
  • Recreation: Young boys spend hours playing soccer on the street or in parks. Young women may join a volleyball or basketball... More
  • Diet: Uruguayans eat meat at most meals. Beef and lamb are relatively cheap and Uruguayans prepare them in many ways. The... More

Uruguay Facts

What is the capital of Uruguay?

Capital Montevideo
Government Type presidential republic
Currency UYU
Total Area 68,037 Square Miles
176,215 Square Kilometers
Location Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil
Language Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
GDP - real growth rate 2.8%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $21,800.00 (USD)

Uruguay Demographics

What is the population of Uruguay?

Ethnic Groups white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian, practically nonexistent
Nationality Adjective Uruguayan
Nationality Noun Uruguayan(s)
Population 3,387,605
Population Growth Rate 0.25%
Population in Major Urban Areas MONTEVIDEO (capital) 1.672 million
Predominant Language Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
Urban Population 92.5%

Uruguay Government

What type of government does Uruguay have?

  • Executive Branch: chief of state: President Tabare VAZQUEZ (since 1 March 2015); Vice President Lucia TOPOLANSKY (since 13 September 2017); note -... More
  • Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory More
  • Citizenship: citizenship by birth: yes citizenship by descent: yes dual citizenship recognized: yes residency requirement for naturalization: 3-5 years More
  • National Holiday: Independence Day, 25 August (1825) More
  • Constitution: several previous; latest approved by plebiscite 27 November 1966, effective 15 February 1967; amended several times, last in 2004 More
  • Independence: 25 August 1825 (from Brazil) More

Uruguay Geography

What environmental issues does Uruguay have?

  • Overview: The Repú blica Oriental del Uruguay (the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, or roughly translated, the Republic East of the River... More
  • Climate: Except for a small subtropical area in the northwest, the climate is even throughout Uruguay. Temperatures are generally mild, but... More
  • Border Countries: Argentina 579 km, Brazil 985 km More
  • Environment - Current Issues: water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal More
  • Environment - International Agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification,... More
  • Terrain: mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland More

Uruguay Economy

How big is the Uruguay economy?

  • Economic Overview: Uruguay has a free market economy characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated workforce, and high levels of social... More
  • Industries: food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages More
  • Currency Name and Code: UYU More
  • Export Partners: Brazil 22.1%, US 8.4%, Germany 5.4%, Argentina 5.1%, Mexico 4.2%, Italy 4.1%, Paraguay 4.1%, Spain 4% More
  • Import Partners: Argentina 23.1%, Brazil 17.5%, US 8.9%, Mexico 4.7%, China 4% More

Uruguay News & Current Events

What current events are happening in Uruguay?
Source: Google News

Interesting Uruguay Facts

What unique things can you discover about Uruguay?

  • Birthday celebrations in Uruguay include the principal ritual of a birthday is the cake with candles and lights out, with the eternal song "Happy Birthday to you" At the end of the song, the birthday person blows out the candles and all guests applaud or cheer, some make jokes, whistle loudly, and touch the birthday person's shoulder or head. When a girl reaches the age of 15, she puts on a formal dress and dances a waltz with possible suitors.
  • By law, children under fifteen cannot work unless they have a special permit. In practice, however, many children younger than fifteen work in restaurants and family businesses. The prevalence of children begging in the streets of the cities increased during the 1990s.
  • Festivals of music and dancing are held throughout the year in different towns and cities. Montevideo hosts a Candombe festival in May and a tango festival called Joventango in October.
  • In 1939, the Graf Spee, a small German battleship, after sinking several British ships in the Battle of the Atlantic, was cornered near Montevideo harbor by the British navy. The Uruguayans were not sympathetic to the Germans and insisted that the battleship leave the harbor. Rather than surrender to the British, Captain Hans Langsdorf sent his crew ashore and scuttled his ship in the Río de la Plata. This event is remembered as an important confrontation early in the Second World War.
  • In the west, along the River Uruguay, there are several well-known hot springs, such as Termas de Daymán and Termas del Arapey, where the waters are rich in minerals. People go there to relax in the warm waters and relieve ailments such as arthritis.
  • Just outside Montevideo, in the town of Atlántida, is a remarkable church designed by Uruguayan engineer and architect Eladio Dieste and built in 1959. The brick walls of the church curve in and out like the waves of the sea.
  • One of the longest murals in the world was painted by the Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró. The mural stretches along the side of a tunnel that connects the two buildings of the Pan American Union in Washington. Vilaró also painted a mural for the United Nations building in New York City.
  • Personal visiting cards are common in Uruguay. New acquaintances or business people will exchange cards when they first meet. Among young people this custom is not common, but it is still expected among professional working people.
  • Students have to make their own way to school, since there is no school bus system. In the countryside, getting to school is more difficult, since schools in rural zones are widely dispersed. Some students have to find lodgings near their school or university.
  • The Costa-Gavras movie, State of Siege (1973), is set in Uruguay in the early 1970s. It explores the conflict between Uruguay's government and the leftist Tupamaro guerrillas.
  • The drinking of yerba mate is a respected tradition in Uruguay. Sharing a gourd of yerba mate is also a good way to socialize and exchange information. During the military regime of the 1970s, when public gatherings of citizens were discouraged, drinking mate was one way that people could still get together and talk freely.
  • The gauchos, or Uruguayan cowboys, chase rheas on horseback and throw boleadoras at them to tangle their feet. Boleadoras are leather thongs tipped with leather-covered stones. Inuit hunters in Canada use a similar weapon to snare small birds.
  • The official name of Uruguay is La Repú blica Oriental del Uruguay, which means 'the Eastern Republic of Uruguay.' This name refers to the country's location on the east bank of the Río de la Plata. The word 'Uruguay' is thought to have come from an indigenous word meaning 'the river of shellfish.'
  • The ombú is a huge evergreen tree that grows in the prairies of Uruguay. It can reach great heights and provides a point of reference as well as shelter for travelers.
  • There is a small community of Jews in Montevideo. Most are Ashkenazic immigrants from Eastern and Central Europe.
  • Uruguay's soccer team won gold medals at the Olympic Games in 1924 and 1928. The Uruguayans were also the first to host, and to win, the World Cup, in 1930. They won again in 1950.
  • Uruguay is a member of MERCOSUR, an economic alliance uniting Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
  • Uruguayan women obtained the right to open separate bank accounts in 1918.

Watch video on Uruguay

What can you learn about Uruguay in this video?

Uruguay Travel - Sights, highlights and insider tips Marco Buch - YouTube

Uruguay Travel Information

What makes Uruguay a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Uruguay is a constitutional democracy with a large, educated middle class and a robust developing economy. The capital city is Montevideo. Tourist facilities are generally good with many five star accommodations at resort destinations such as Punta del Este and Colonia de Sacramento. Spanish is the national language. English is frequently understood in major tourist hotels or resorts but is not widely used outside those areas. The quality of tourist facilities varies according to price and location.

Crime

Street crime is common throughout Montevideo and criminals may resort to violence when the victims resist. Common targets for criminals may include tourists, individuals openly carrying valuable items, and motorists in unlocked vehicles stopped at busy intersections, including Montevideo's riverfront road known as the Rambla.

You should exercise reasonable caution to minimize your exposure to crime. Criminals are opportunists and prey on unwary people, particularly those carrying cameras, pocketbooks, laptops, or backpacks. Lock your valuables in secure hotel safes and empty your wallets of excess credit cards and cash. If dining at an outdoor restaurant, keep an eye on your belongings at all times. While driving, it is best to keep all car doors locked, windows open no more than one inch, and purses, bags, briefcases, and other valuables out of sight on the floor or in the trunk. Parked cars, particularly in the Punta Carretas and Pocitos neighborhoods, also have been broken into.

Parts of Montevideo’s Ciudad Vieja are popular tourist attractions, but the only sections of Ciudad Vieja with continual police patrols are Plaza de la Independencia, the pedestrian street Sarandi, and the Mercado del Puerto. Muggings have occurred in other parts of Ciudad Vieja - particularly for travelers walking alone or couples walking at night. A smart alternative is to call for a taxi for evening travel between restaurants, bars, and hotels. Muggings and other street crime also have occurred in residential districts of the downtown area, including Pocitos and Punta Carretas.

Montevideo continues to experience armed robberies of patrons at crowded restaurants. Most of these crimes have occurred late at night, so you should exercise additional caution if you choose to dine late.Burglaries and attempted burglaries are increasingly common in upscale residential neighborhoods, including Carrasco, Montevideo. A combination of preventive measures including rigorous use of locks and alarms, strong grillwork on all windows, guard dogs, keeping a residence occupied as much as possible, and using a security service is recommended.

During the summer months (December-March), beach resort areas such as Punta del Este see an increase in the number of petty street crimes and residential burglaries.

Exercise common sense in your activities in Montevideo and in Uruguayan resort areas, and be attentive to your personal security and surroundings in these areas.

Uruguayan law enforcement authorities have increased the number of patrol cars in residential areas and of uniformed policemen on foot in areas where criminal activity is concentrated. Patrol cars are clearly marked and equipped with cellular phones. Most police do not speak English.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Uruguay, you are subject to its laws. If you break the law in Uruguay, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is important to know what activities are legal and what activities are illegal wherever you go. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. Criminal penalties can be more severe than those in the United States for similar offenses. There are also some activities that may be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. Engaging in sexual conduct with children and using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country remains illegal in the United States and may subject you to prosecution in the United States.

Persons violating Uruguay’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Uruguay are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available, as you may be breaking local law.

The Uruguayan Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing strictly enforces all regulations regarding hunting permits, as well as seasonal and numerical limits on game. Visitors who contravene local law are subject to detention by the authorities and the seizure of their weapons. Under Uruguayan law, seized weapons can only be returned after payment of a sum equivalent to the value of the property seized. Hunters are also subject to stiff fines for hunting without all appropriate permits.

Arrest notifications in host country: Uruguayan law enforcement officers are trained to automatically notify the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the U.S. Embassy immediately if you are arrested or detained.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Facilities for medical care in Uruguay are considered adequate. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Safety and Security

Protests, some with anti-U.S. sentiment, are common in Uruguay, particularly near the Legislative Palace, City Hall, and the Universidad de la Republica (University of the Republic) in Montevideo. U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Uruguay should take common-sense precautions and avoid large gatherings or events where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest. If you encounter a protest, you should walk the other way or enter a commercial establishment until the protest passes and should avoid taking pictures.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in a foreign country, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The Uruguayan Ministry of Transportation is responsible for maintaining safe road conditions countrywide. The Uruguayan Ministry of Interior highway police (tel. 1954) are responsible for traffic safety on highways and other roads beyond city limits. In urban and suburban areas, transit police and municipal employees share road safety responsibilities.

You may drive using your foreign driver’s license in Uruguay. Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. Seat belts are mandatory. Headlights must be on when driving on highways and other inter-city roads 24 hours a day. Children under 12 years must ride in the back seat. Motorcyclists must wear helmets. The use of cellular phones while driving is prohibited. Right turns on red lights and left turns at most intersections marked with a stoplight are not permitted. Drivers approaching an intersection from the right or already in traffic circles have the right of way. Flashing high beams indicate intent to pass or to continue through unmarked intersections. Many drivers ignore speed limits, lane markings and traffic signs. If you plan to drive, use caution and drive defensively.

Drivers who are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be fined and their license may be confiscated and retained for up to six months. Drivers who are involved in accidents that result in injury or death are brought before a judge who will decide if incarceration is warranted.

Uruguayan law requires drivers to have both hands on the steering wheel at all times while driving. Failure to do so may bring a charge of distracted driving ("imprudencia en el manejo"). This includes talking on a cell phone and drinking "mate" (a traditional Uruguayan herbal beverage) while driving. The fine charged is approximately $25.00 (U.S.). Speed limits are posted on highways and some main roads. Most taxis have no seat belts in the back seat. Cycling outside the capital or small towns is hazardous due to a scarcity of bike paths, narrow road shoulders, and unsafe driving practices.

Illumination, pavement markings, and road surfaces are sometimes poor. Route 1, which runs between Montevideo and Colonia or Punta del Este, and Route 2, between Rosario and Fray Bentos, are particularly accident-ridden because of heavy tourist traffic. The frequency of road accidents rises during the summer beach season (December to March), Carnaval (mid-to-late February), and Easter Week.

Within Montevideo, the emergency number for the police, fire department, rescue squad, and ambulance service is 911. In the rest of the country, dial 02-911 to connect with the Montevideo central emergency authority, which will then contact the local emergency service.

SEMM (tel. 159) and UCM (tel. 147), Montevideo-based ambulance services manned by doctors, have agreements with emergency medical units in other cities. Coverage in rural areas may be limited.

For emergency roadside assistance, call the Automobile Club of Uruguay at 1707, "Car Up" at 0800-1501, or the Automobile Center of Uruguay at 2-408-6131/2091.

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