Montevideo, Uruguay is a tiny city with a big heart. If you’re thinking about visiting South America, consider adding this delightful gem to your itinerary! After spending three months in Montevideo, these are our top pros and cons to help you update your travel bucket list:
PROS: THE ARCHITECTURE / THE RAMBLA / THE PEOPLE
There is a glorious mix of colonial and art deco architecture in this city. I am a huge fan of ornate doors, and Montevideo more than delivered. Check out this fantastic guide to Montevideo’s architectural delights.
The Rambla is a beautiful promenade that follows the Rio de la Plata from Ciudad Vieja, past Parque Rodo, all the way to Pocitos. It is offers an amazing glimpse into Uruguayan culture. You will see locals fishing, drinking yerba mate, skating, and making the most of this scenic walkway.
The locals in Montevideo are probably some of the nicest people we have ever encountered in all of our travels. During our stay here, the people we had the pleasure of interacting with were kind, patient and helpful. We also found them to be enthusiastically inquisitive as well as delightfully eager to share their advice and opinions.
- Public Transportation: There are very affordable options within the city and to nearby cities.
- Food: They take their meat very seriously and tend to have a more purist approach to barbecuing: minimal seasoning and high quality cuts grilled to perfection. Also, be sure to try the “flan con dulce de leche.” I pretty much just want to add dulce de leche to everything now.
CONS: THE INTERNET / THE RIVER / THE PRICES
Perhaps because it is a small city, we found that most business had a limited, sometimes nonexistent, online presence. This made it difficult to find information regarding services and hours. On the bright side, it forces you to brush up on your Spanish and talk to locals. Our go-to English-language internet resource during our time here was Guru’guay.
Because the beaches line the Rio de la Plata, the water is dirty and brown. While we did see some people swimming, we were not brave enough to try it ourselves, especially after seeing how many dogs defecate in the shallow waters. That being said, the beaches are still lovely for laying out and enjoying the local culture.
For long-term travel, Montevideo is surprisingly expensive when it comes to groceries, goods and accommodations. We spent as much on monthly expenses here as we did in major cities in Europe. The locals we met echoed the same sentiment, but added that it is even more difficult for them as the prices keep going up, but the wages remain the same.
- Sunburns: According to the internet, there is a hole in the ozone layer in this area. Wear lots of sunscreen. I learned this the hard way and have the tan/burn lines to prove it.
- Dog Droppings: Watch your step! Seriously, no one picks up after their dogs. I also learned this lesson the hard way on day one.
The pros definitely outweigh the cons. Montevideo is a gorgeous city whose people welcome you with open arms. With destinations like Punta del Este, Colonia and Buenos Aires just a few hours away, it can also be a great starting point or home base from which you can easily explore other cities.
It is also a great destination for travelers from the Northern Hemisphere because the seasons are the opposite. While our loved ones back home were enduring a cold winter, we were relaxing on the beach enjoying a South American summer.