Uruguay is emerging as one of South America’s favorite destinations. Its capital Montevideo has a warm, temperate climate, pleasant sea breezes and miles of boulevards.
From Montevideo’s Telecommunications Tower you can see the hill that gave the city its name.
Another tower, the Palacio Salvo looms high above the Plaza Independencia in the City Center. Under this square is the mausoleum for the country’s revolutionary hero José Artigas.
Nearby Plaza Matriz is the city’s oldest square and home to the 18th-century Metropolitan Cathedral, the focal point of Uruguay’s Old Town.
Soccer is big here and in 1930 Uruguay hosted and won the first-ever FIFA World Cup in the Estadio Centenario.
Another proud local tradition is “parrilla” and the best way to try it is to buy cuts of meat in the Mercado del Puerto, and have those cooked for you on the spot.
The 19-mile long promenade, La Rambla leads to the city’s favorite playground: De Los Pocitos Beach.
To the west along the river is the UNESCO-listed Old Town of Colonia del Sacramento, with its landmark lighthouse, sleepy Plaza de Armas, historic Portón de Campo and atmospheric Street of Sighs.
To the east of Montevideo, if you follow the coast, is Piriápolis. This beach resort offers great views from its hilltop San Antonio Temple.
The next highlight on this road trip is the lighthouse of La Paloma on the Cabo de Santa María peninsula.
On your way to the lighthouse of Punta del Este, don’t miss eccentric Casapueblo, a wonderful hotel and art gallery designed by local artist Carlos Páez Vilaró in Punta Ballena.
Uruguay may be small, but its big heart and relaxing vibe create a lifetime of memories.