in the middle
Uruguay, the second smallest nation in South America, is a Spanish speaking jungle-covered country with an eastern Atlantic coast fringed by sandy beaches and palm-studded cliffs.
Its capital city Montevideo bursts at the seams with captivating 17th-century colonial architecture, heritage museums and art galleries, and boasts a thriving nightlife of cocktail bars and rustic Uruguayan restaurants. Shoppers will love Montevideo, too, as it teems with street markets and malls. In spring, thrumming festivals thrive in the city – travel during February to catch Carnival.
Uruguay offers an abundance of waterfront resort towns. Punta del Este is a modern ocean-side city and resort based in Uruguay's southeastern Maldonado department. Glitzy high-rise hotels sparkle in the central area. Nearby, the sweeping sandy beaches are popular with sunbathers and swimmers, fishers and surfers.
Piriapolis provides another sun-dappled hotel stay with even more nearby beachfront. Also based in the Maldonado department, this slightly smaller resort city overflows with cheap hotels, flashy casinos and bouncing clubs. The city is centred around a bustling palm-lined promenade, and offers access to stretches of uncrowded beach.
Search on dealchecker to find cheap hotels in Uruguay's capital city of Montevideo. This vast, sprawling city glows with a magical mix of Neo-Classical buildings, Art Deco architecture and colonial relics. The Old City's fountain-clad plazas and winding streets host many museums and monuments. It's not all about arts and culture in Montevideo, though – the city celebrates its own expanse of unblemished beach.
In Montevideo, stroll around Plaza Independencia, a vast square – with patchwork gardens – separating Old Town from the modern Downtown. The square is surrounded by key Montevideo buildings, like the 19th-century Neo-Classical Solis Theatre and the epic eclectic Salvo Palace, an early 20th-century stone structure topped with a dome-crowned tower.
Shoppers and foodies, meanwhile, can't miss Montevideo's Mercado Agricola, which was built in 1910 – this mammoth indoor market explodes with cheese sellers, wine stores, fruit vendors and butchers.
Architecture enthusiasts should visit Colonial del Sacremento, a small city in southwestern Uruguay, not far from Montevideo. Colonial del Sacremento is one of the oldest cities in the entire country – its UNESCO World Heritage central area is flush with well-preserved colonial-era buildings, like the Basilica of The Holy Sacrament, a Roman Catholic cathedral built in 1810, but with historic roots back in the late 17th century.