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Dynamite comes in small packages: Experience incredible Uruguay

Uruguay is a charming South American country that offers a mix of vibrant cities, historic towns, beautiful beaches, and serene countryside. Whether you're interested in culture, history, nature, or relaxation, Uruguay has something for you… 

Montevideo: Classy capital 

Coastal Skyline of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay

As you arrive in Montevideo, the capital city, you're instantly enveloped in its dynamic spirit. The cobalt expanse of the sea stretches along the Rambla, a promenade where locals and visitors alike take leisurely strolls, the soft sea breeze a constant companion. Meandering through the labyrinthine streets of the Old Town or Ciudad Vieja, a sense of history seeps through every cobblestone, each building a silent witness to the passage of time. In the heart of it all lies Plaza Independencia, a bustling square where history intertwines with modern life. Nearby, the Solís Theatre stands as a testament to Uruguay’s rich culture – we’d highly recommend catching a show while you’re in town. 

Also be sure to check out the Mercado del Puerto, a bustling market renowned for its traditional Uruguayan barbecue (asado), and Plaza Zabala a historic square that honors Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, the founder of Montevideo. Top it all off with a visit to Parque Rodó, a tranquil park with lakes, sculptures, and green spaces that’s perfect for relaxation. 

Colonia del Sacramento: UNESCO-grade charm 

Stone colonial buildings of UNESCO Site Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Colonia is a charming coastal town that offers a glimpse into Uruguay's colonial past. Its cobblestone streets and well-preserved architecture make it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Barrio Histórico contains a treasure trove of well-preserved colonial architecture. Cobbled lanes wind around colorful facades, leading to the Plaza Mayor, where the echoes of ages past resonate. This is the heart of Colonia, surrounded by quaint cafes and restaurants and perfect for people-watching. 

We’d also highly recommend visiting Colonia's lighthouses (for stunning panoramic views of the town and the Rio de la Plata) and the Museo Portugués where you can learn about the town's history and the historic interactions between Spanish and Portuguese settlers. Finally, seal the deal with a stroll down Calle de los Suspiros – arguably the most romantic street on the planet. 

José Ignacio: Beachside tranquility 

Lighthouse in Jose Ignacio near Punta del Este, Uruguay

José Ignacio is a small, upscale beach village near the resort town of Punta del Este that’s known for its pristine beaches, luxury accommodations (known as posadas), and laid-back atmosphere. Relax on the sandy beaches of Playa Brava, known for its strong waves and picturesque sunsets. Or retreat to the calmer waters of Playa Mansa for a spot of swimming and water activities. 

If your energy levels allow (there’s no shame in splatting out in Jose Ignacio!), climb the iconic José Ignacio Lighthouse for breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline. And, for something a little different, explore the local art galleries that showcase the work of Uruguayan and international artists. Whatever you do, be sure to eat, drink and be merry with the beautiful people of Latin America. 

Carmelo: Wine and nature vibes 

Bodega wine tasting sign in Carmelo, Uruguay wine region

Carmelo is a serene town located along the Rio de la Plata known for its vineyards, wineries, and natural beauty. The vine-clad Bodega Narbona invites you to explore its rich heritage, guiding you through the art of winemaking as you savor the complexities of each vintage. Meanwhile, Finca Narbona weaves a tale of opulence and simplicity, where wine and farm-to-table dining are the order of the day. Once you’ve had your fill of wine, stroll along the waterfront promenade of Puerto Camacho to visit the famous yacht club, and enjoy fresh seafood. If you’re keen for a dose of nature, Parque Nacional Esteros de Farrapos e Islas del Río Uruguay is an untouched wonderland of wetlands and woodlands that’s renowned for its birdwatching. 

From the bustling streets of Montevideo to the cobblestone paths of Colonia, the languid embrace of José Ignacio's beaches, and the vineyard-clad haven of Carmelo, Uruguay invites you to weave your own tale. Experience it for yourself with SA Expeditions on our (fully customizable) Buenos Aires and Uruguay highlights tour.  

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