South America has its own charm when it comes to international tourism and one could truly say that no one is a travelling veteran until he has braved it. Occupying a space of 176,215 square kilometres and boasting with a total population of just under 3.5 million people, Uruguay has been named “the country of the year” by The Economist in 2013. So, without further ado, let us see why!
Though most people consider Uruguay only slightly upon the map of tourists, it is a world-leader in some aspects of social development. For example, same-sex marriage is completely legal and everything that goes with it, including same-sex sexual activity, same-sex adoption, gay and lesbian service in the military, and so on. In fact, this South American paradise is so gay-friendly that its capital city, Montevideo, is considered one of the most exquisite locations that a gay couple could visit. Anti-discrimination laws have also been passed and they are vociferously respected. LGBT people, hesitate not!
If you are one of those people who wish to enjoy a controversial puff, be sure to hit the road and visit Uruguay! Why? Because cannabis is completely legal! Furthermore, the production and sale of this plant will not grant you a nasty visit from the police. It is, however mentioned, that you should not grow more than 6 plants if you are visiting or living there. Cannabis grower clubs, however, can grow up to 99 plants a year. Definitely a happy country when it comes to this part of freedom (wink)!
Tipping in Uruguay depends on the service itself and not its quality. What this means is that you should always tip if you have the money. Leaving a 10% extra in restaurants is an absolute must – in fact, it is considered to be part of the basic local etiquette. Tipping cab drivers and porters is also customary but for the former it depends on the distance – the longer the distance, the larger the tip. Oh, and do not forget the pizza delivery guy either, for he will most indubitably expect a little bit of courtesy from your part (wink)!
4. Language barriers:
There is an interesting fact about Uruguay that goes against the current of global standards: there are a lot of English speakers pertaining to the older generation. Though the youngsters are not uneducated by any means, they will often choose to not use the English that they have studied in school. The most English speakers in Uruguay are located in Montevideo, its resort town Atlántida, and, of course, Punta del Este. If you plan on heading out of there, you will find that people only speak Spanish or Portuguese (both languages are recognized as official), so do consider getting down their basics (wink)!
Here’s an interesting thing: Uruguay is not as cheap as other South American countries and it doesn’t wish to become so either. Backpackers should not expect it to be as expensive as the United States of America, but it will still weigh down your pocket if you are not careful. If you have a limited budget, you should stick to housing options that are not too close to the ocean. Why? Because the closer that you get to the majestic Atlantic, the more expensive things get. Oh, and the same goes for restaurants!
Oh, did we spell that wrong? No we didn’t! It’s just the majestic Spanish word for tranquillity! And guess what – it is the most representative word when it comes to Montevideo and its proud parent country. Uruguay is safe and street crimes are much rarer than in other South American countries. Safe, LGBT-friendly, cannabis-friendly – what else do you want (triple wink)?
Did you enjoy our list? What experiences have you had in Uruguay and how have they shaped your overall opinion of the place? Share your thoughts with the world in the comment section below and be sure to check back for some exciting updates from time to time! Safe travels!