I was in Buenos Aires and visiting other parts of Argentina for a few days. Uruguay was so close that not visiting the famed capital, Montevideo would have been unthinkable. Montevideo has plenty to offer, including exciting football matches, one of the best steaks in the world, delicious seafood, and free walking tours.
How Do I Get there
I traveled by Colonia Express ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. The cruise takes about an hour to get there and then transfers to the Colonia Express bus for another hour to reach Montevideo. The ferry terminal is located at Av. Elvira Rawson de Dellepiane 155, Puerto Madero Sur, Buenos Aires.
Buquebus Ferry also has services to Colonia del Sacramento and Montevideo. The Montevideo service takes 2h15m and arrives close to downtown Montevideo. The Ferry terminal is located at Antártida Argentina 821, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires.
Uber is the best way to get around Montevideo. Uber accepts credit and debit cards from all major providers, including MasterCard, Visa, Maestro, Discover, Diners Club International & American Express. I have used my Uber account in Uruguay and paid with my US credit card many times. Download the app at home, though, so you can enter your US credit card. It’ll be accepted anywhere you go in the world that Uber services. The charge goes directly to your credit card, and Uber submits it, so there are no local issues.
Where To Stay
Montevideo is a small city and really easy to get around. So no matter where you stay it will be close distance wise. Here are a few areas you can consider.
City Center (Centro) – This is the downtown area dominated by the main avenue, 18 de Julio, which is busy day and night. I stayed at the Presidente Hotel across Plaza del Entrevero On either side of the avenue. There are many hotels in the area.
Old City (Ciudad Viejo) – This is Montevideo’s historic center. It is also the business district, so quite busy during the weekdays.
Punta Carretas – This neighborhood is a few miles from the historic old city, primarily residential for the upper middle class.
Best Time to Visit
Summer – December to February. In summer, the temperature is mostly around the higher 20s and early 30s. This is the high season, so the hotel and other prices are on the higher side.
Winter – June to August. Winter temperature remains around 15º C during the day and remains in the single digit at night. I was there in early June. The temperature was mild during the day and remained around the low teens at night. All the beaches were deserted.
Autumn and Spring are the best time to visit – Autumn – March to May and Spring – September to November. Day temperatures are mild, around 20º C.
Walking is the best way to explore the old town and historical area. Check out Montevideo’s Free walking tour.
US Citizens do not need a visa for a visit of fewer than 90 days if they are traveling on a tourist passport. Check the visa requirement for your country of citizenship.
How Safe is Montevideo
Montevideo is one of the safest cities in Latin America, but travelers could encounter small-scale crime like any other big city. I recommend taxiing when dark or avoiding walking alone in the old town area. Also, minimize exposing your expensive camera or smartphone in public.
Top Things To Do In Montevideo
Plaza Independence in the City Center
Plaza Independencia is the most visible and important plaza in Montevideo. The famous 18 de Julio avenue starts from here, and on the other side is the beginning of Ciudad Viejo.
Hang Around Estévez Palace
The Estévez Palace is located in Plaza Independencia. Once, this place used to be the working place of the President of Uruguay and has been eventually changed into a museum, housing artifacts and souvenirs of the Uruguayan presidency.
Beautiful Palacio Salvo building in Montevideo, located at 18 de Julio Avenue and Plaza Independencia.
Visit Solís Theatre
The Solis Theatre is one of Uruguay’s most essential and famous theatres. It is located on the boundary between the old city and the center of Montevideo. They offer guided tours of the building regularly, including some performances by actors.
Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral
This is the main Roman Catholic church of Montevideo. It is located at the corner of Constitution Square in the center of Old Town (Ciudad Viejo).
Visit Palacio Taranto
Palacio Taranco is built in the center of the Old Town (Ciudad Vieja), Located in front of Plaza Zabala. It is the home to the Museum of Decorative Arts in Montevideo, which houses collections of European and Persian textiles. In addition, the palace is frequently used as a meeting point by the Uruguayan government.
Lunch at Port Market (Mercado Del Puerto)
Historical old-fashioned market located in an old city surrounded by Uruguayan barbeque restaurants. Their BBQ is done right in front of you, so it’s difficult to decide which restaurant to choose from all of those great-looking restaurants. It’s no doubt that this place is a little touristy, but it’s fun to try out local meat delicacies along with great Uruguayan wine. If you are a meat lover, then this is the place to be.
Best place to have Uruguayan beef
Restaurants inside Port Market
Steak from the grill taste so delicious
Our food was grilled right there
Visit Playa de Los Pocitos
Pocitos is an upscale beach barrio (neighborhood) in Montevideo. The ride from the Ferry Terminal or Port Market all the way to white sandy Pocitos Beach is picturesque. Which goes through Ramirez Beach, Punta Carretas, Punta Carretas lighthouse, De Los Pocitos Beach, and Montevideo sign.
Punta Carretas Lighthouse
Punta Carretas Lighthouse, also known as Punta Brava Lighthouse in Punta Carretas Montevideo. A great place to relax away from the city and enjoy the picture-perfect view of the coastline. Not that far away from Pocitos Beach.
Montevideo Agricultural Market (Mercado Agricola Montevideo)
The Montevideo Agricultural Market (Mercado Agricola) is a National Heritage Site. This is a beautiful historic building over 100 years old; the building was recently renovated to offer fruit, vegetables, fresh products, and different kinds of food. In addition, there is a food center that prepares all kinds of typical Uruguayan dishes and shops that sell souvenirs and handicrafts.
Plaza de Cagancha
Plaza de Cagancha, or Plaza Cagancha, also known as Plaza Libertad, is a square in Montevideo. It is located in the city center neighborhood on Montevideo’s main avenue, 18 de Julio Avenue.
Hotel Presidente, 18 de Julio 1038, City Center, Montevideo
Crystal Tower Hotel – Aquiles Lanza 1323, Montevideo City Center
El Fogon, San José 1080, Montevideo
Uruguay Natural Parrilla Gourmet, Dr. Héctor Miranda 2432, 11300 Montevideo
Great restaurant in the heart of Montevideo. Delicious Uruguayan steak cooked right in front of us with local red wine unbeatable. I will definitely recommend this place, just give it a try. They also have a great wine collection. Great service as well. The chef was happy to pose did not mind to pose for photo op.
If you love meat or seafood then this restaurant is a must. I was staying at the Hotel Presidente and the restaurant is an easy walk from our hotel, got recommendation from the hotel and also from our tour guide. It is one of the favorite restaurants among locals for its authenticity so we had to check it out.
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