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Home to a diverse population, regular visitors to Uruguay for many years mainly included Argentines, Brazilians, Chileans and non–South Americans. With the crash of the peso, however, Uruguay has become a much more popular destination in recent years. With the sumptuous beaches and relaxed way of life, it’s easy to see why.

The first trap for many visitors is Colonia del Sacramento. The Portuguese founded Colonia in 1680 to smuggle goods across the Río de la Plata into Buenos Aires. With its delightful cobbled streets and gorgeous views of the Rio de La Plata, this charming city that is guaranteed to captivate you on your visit. A trip to Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital and by far its largest city, is certainly worth an extended stay. An eclectic and vibrant city, it boasts art deco influences in the downtown areas as well as neoclassical buildings mixed with skyscrapers. Ciudad Vieja, which is in the heart of the historic center, you will find a plethora of charming cafes and galleries, as well as museums. The city’s thriving artistic scene includes theater, art and clubbing which will keep you entertained in the evenings – the beachfront discos being a particularly popular draw.

For an alternative to the big city draws, a trip inland will provide an alternative taste of Uruguay. Tacuarembo is a recommendation for this type of travel. The alleged birthplace of tango legen Carlos Gardel, it offers many smaller town alternatives to big city life with some popular festivals including the Fiesta de la Patria Gaucho, which is a particular cultural highlight. The Museo del Indio y del Gaucho is a recommended visit for historical insight into the area.

Cities in Uruguay