This itinerary offers the best of Uruguay in 2 weeks. Colonia del Sacramento is a charming historic town that’s a gentle entry point into this typically overlooked country in South America. In Montevideo, there’s plenty of sightseeing to do in the well-preserved old town or you can simply relax at a cafe. For the best Uruguayan beach experience, head to fashionable Punta del Este – either as a day trip or for a stay unto its own. Enjoy your wanders in Uruguay!
Days 1-4: Colonia del Sacramento
Just a 90-minute ferry ride from Buenos Aires lies one of Uruguay’s oldest towns, Colonia del Sacramento. Start at the Plaza de Armas and explore the historic district where you may stumble on a few antique cars. Stroll La Calle de Los Suspiros (“Street of Sighs”) and enjoy an alfresco lunch at locals’ favorite, El Drugstore. Rent a bike to ride along the chocolatey brown Plata River, considered the world’s widest river. Climb the steps of El Faro Lighthouse for a panoramic view. Take a local bus out to Uruguayan wine country and try the country’s signature Tannat.
Days 5-12: Montevideo
From Colonia del Sacramento, it’s a three-hour bus ride to reach Montevideo, the laidback capital of Uruguay. In Plaza Independencia, the city’s main square, you can visit the underground mausoleum of José Gervasio Artigas. Stroll through Old Town and enjoy a mate at one of the many outdoor cafés or experience a traditional Asado (essentially a barbecue) at Mercado de Puerto. A glimpse into Uruguay’ carnival celebrations can be found at the Museo del Carnaval. Visit the extensive Botanical museum and gardens, sunbathe at Playa Pocitos or wander the beautiful El Prado neighborhood. For a memorable day trip, enjoy a tour and wine tasting at family-owned winery, Bodega Bouza. For nighttime fun, head to El Milongon to witness a spectacular performance of Argentine tango and the renwoned Candombe.
Just two hours by bus from Montevideo is Uruguay’s most popular beach resort town, Punta del Este. Find your spot on the crowded beaches (all free public access) or stroll Las Ramblas, the boardwalk stretching along the coastline. Compare the rougher waters of Playa Brava (“fierce”) with the more tranquil Playa Mansa (“tame”). Between these two beaches, enjoy a photo op at La Mano (“The Hand”), a sculpture of a giant hand emerging from teh sand. Seek out the Iglesia Candelaria and the El Faro lighthouse, or simply wander the town’s picturesque neighborhoods. To get close to the rich and famous, head to the Port of Punta del Este to check out the multimillion dollar yachts.