Fun Facts From Globus Tours
- With 105 bars of music, Uruguay has the longest national anthem in the world
- Uruguay is sometimes termed the Switzerland of South America due to its stable democracy and social benefits
- Cows outnumber people three to one in Uruguay
Uruguay remains preserved as a culturally sophisticated and progressive country. Tucked between Brazil and Argentina, the coastal city of Montevideo is the capital and undoubtedly one of the most intriguing cities in Uruguay. Architecturally diverse with modern high-rises and shopping malls amidst art deco and neoclassical buildings, Montevideo offers no shortage of things to do. With many cultural centers, theatres, and lively discos, plus an expansive and beautiful coastline, you can explore much of the city’s attractions just on foot. One stop you won’t want to miss is the Port Market. Located near the main port of the city, shops, restaurants and bars spill out into the alleys and offer hours of entertainment and cultural interest.
About half-way between neighboring Buenos Aires and Montevideo sits the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Colonia del Sacramento – a must see as you enter Uruguay. Immerse yourself in the rich Portuguese influenced architecture and winding cobblestone streets. This beautiful gem, which sits along the Rio de la Plata, is likened to the Riviera – laden with charm and character.
VISAS, PASSPORTS, AND OTHER ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
A visa for your visit to Uruguay is not necessary for US citizens. If you hold a passport from another country, check with your local consulate about requirements for travel to Uruguay.
All passengers traveling internationally are required to have a passport. Most countries require that the passport be valid for at least six (6) months beyond the conclusion of your trip, so please check the expiration date carefully. It is also recommended you have a minimum of three blank pages in your passport when traveling, as many countries require blank pages. Please carry proper identification (your passport) on you and do not leave it in your suitcase or hotel room. Most countries have laws that require you to carry your passport with you at all times.
The country code for Uruguay is 598. When calling to Uruguay from overseas, dial your international access code (011 from the US/Canada), followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. Phone numbers in Uruguay are 8 digits in length. Dialing from the US/Canada: 011 598# ### ####.
The official currency of Uruguay is the Uruguayan peso.
- Banknote denominations: $20, $50, $100, $200, $500, $1000, $2000
- Coin denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 pesos recommended
For the most current exchange rates, please go to our website at Globusjourneys.com/Currency.
Credit cards are accepted in Uruguay in major city centers, and you should have no problems using them in larger shops and restaurants. Visa and MasterCard are the most accepted. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card. Vendors in Uruguay often charge substantial fees to use a credit card (up to 18%), so the use of cash is advisable. The best way to obtain cash in Uruguay is through a bank ATM.
Traveler’s checks are extremely difficult to exchange in Uruguay. Their use is not recommended.
BUDGETING AND SHOPPING
The following budget guidelines are just approximate values or starting values for meals and are per person. Actual prices will vary widely by restaurant and city within a country but below are some averages as provided by our experienced personnel.
- The approximate cost of a soft drink/mineral water/coffee is US $1-2.
- An average lunch consisting of a salad or sandwich and a soda or water starts at approximately US $10.
- Dinner at a mid-range restaurant with dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage starts at approximately US $35-50.
Shopping In open street markets, try not to touch items unless you are interested in purchasing them. If you would like to take photos, please ask permission. Most vendors are happy to have their picture taken with the item you have just purchased. If you are being confronted by vendors, smile, say nothing and then shake your hand low to say no. This is polite and they understand. For many people, saying “No” means I want it at a lower price and they will follow you in attempt to bargain.
In many areas of South America, bargaining for purchases is normal. First, ask for a price. Offer an amount slightly below what you wish to pay. It is important to be polite and smile while bargaining. In most cases, bargaining will not save you a lot of money. Keep different value bills folded and separated in different pockets, that way you can pull out the exact money you need, and sometimes this can close the deal. Opening a wallet or purse to pull a roll of bills out can lead to negotiation problems. Always finish the transaction with Thank You and a smile.
In restaurants, where a service charge is not included, tipping 10% of the bill is standard. Tips should be left in cash and not added to the credit card payment.
Tip taxis US $.50-1.
Tipping hotel staff and baggage handlers approximately US $1 (concierge, housekeeping, porter, etc.) is customary, but not necessary.
ELECTRICITY AND ELECTRICAL OUTLETS
Voltage for outlets is 220V/50 HZ. North American voltage is generally 110V. Therefore, you will need a converter for your travels. Adapters will be necessary to adapt your plug into the outlet, but these may not convert the voltage, so both devices are necessary.
Uruguay has a warm temperate climate as the whole country is located in a temperate zone. To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for Uruguay.
To convert to Celsius, subtract 30, then divide by 2. While not exact, this simple formula will give a close estimation.
Uruguayan cuisine is heavily influenced by Spanish tradition with some Italian influence (pizza and pasta) due to Uruguay’s long history of Italian immigration. Empanadas (hand-sized meat or cheese pies) make an excellent portable, inexpensive, and delicious snack or lunch. You can find them easily at many corner bakeries. At bars, the local specialty is gramajo, a dish made of fried potatoes, eggs, and ham.
Since it is such a ranch-heavy country, Uruguay features excellent (and affordable) steaks. One dish that should not be missed is chivito – combination of skirt steak, tomato, lettuce, onion, eggs, ham, bacon, mozzarella cheese and mayonnaise and fries. Uruguay also enjoys an excellent variety of seafood and fish.
In restaurants, always ask if they have menus in English, as many establishments will.
Bottled water is how many people drink water even at home. Never ask for tap water for many reasons. Ice is rarely used as well.
CUSTOMS AND CULTURE
Greeting and Interaction
- The best way to address people when you do not know their name is to simply use “Señor” (male) or “Señora” (female).
- It’s normal to introduce yourself with a polite greeting of “buenos días/tardes” (good morning/ afternoon or evening).
- Greeting customs in South America also incorporate a lot of personal contact. Women will generally greet other women by kissing once on each cheek, right to left. Men will also kiss women on the cheeks when greeting them, but handshaking is reserved for between two men.
- People here have a tendency to stand relatively close to each other when they are talking. Although you might find that this is perhaps a little too close for your liking, you should just accept that this is normal behavior, and trying to create more space between you and your counterpart could be seen as rude.
Ladies should always travel with tissue. If public restrooms have toilet paper, it is sometimes rationed. Hand sanitizers are recommended to bring with you as some bathrooms may not have hot water and soap. In some public restrooms you are required to pay a small fee.
FEW WORDS OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE
¡Hola! Hi!, ¡Buenos Dias! Good morning!, ¡Buenas Noches! Good evening!, Me llamo _______. My name is _______., ¿Cómo se llama usted? What is your name?, Mucho gusto. Pleased to meet you., ¿Cómo está usted? How are you?, Bien, gracias. ¿Y usted? Fine, thanks. And you?, Mas o menos So-so, ¡Hasta luego! See you later!, Adiós. Good-bye., Por favor. Please., Vivo en ________I live in _____________, (Muchas) gracias. (Muy amable.) (Many) thanks. (Very kind.), De nada. You’re welcome., Lo siento. I’m sorry., ¿Me permite? May I?, Disculpe. Excuse me. (To get someone’s attention.), Con permiso. Excuse me. (For leaving or passing through.), Perdón. Excuse me. (For sneezing, arriving late, etc.), ¡Salud! Gesundheit! (When someone sneezes.) Cheers! (For toasting with drinks.), ¿Me pasa _______ por favor? Could you please pass me _______?, Sí. Yes., No. No., Gracias Thank you, No entiendoI don’t understand, No hablo español I don’t speak Spanish,¿Habla inglés? Do you speak English?, ¿Dónde está el baño? Where is the bathroom?, Está cerca? Is it near?, Está lejos? Is it far?, Siga recto. Go straight ahead., Gire a la derecha. Turn right., Gire a la izquierda. Turn left., Nescito esto. I would like this., Una mesa para dos, por favor. A table for two, please., La carta, por favor. The menu, please., La lista de vinos, por favor. The wine list, please., primer plato appetizers, plato principal main course, postre dessert, Quisiera algo para beber. I would like something to drink., Un vaso de agua, por favor. A glass of water, please., Una Cerveza. Beer, Una Copa de vino tinto/blanco Glass of red/white wine, La cuenta, por favor. The check, please., Incluye la propina? Is the tip included?, Desayuno Breakfast., Comida lunch, Cena dinner, ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy the meal!, ¡Salud! To your health!, Está riquísima! It’s delicious!, Plato. plate, Tenedor. fork, Cuchillo. knife, Cuchara. spoon, Servilleta. napkin, Hielo. ice, Sal. salt, Pimiento. pepper, Azúcar. sugar, Sopa. soup, Ensalada. salad, Pan. bread, Mantequilla. butter, Pollo. Chicken, Carne. Beef, Cerdo. Pork, Quisiera la carne poco cocida. I like my steak rare., Quisiera la carne a medio cocer. I like my steak medium., Quisiera la carne bien cocida. I like my steak well done.
Cero. Zero, Uno. 1, Dos. 2, Tres. 3, Cuatro. 4, Cinco. 5, Seis. 6, Siete. 7, Ocho. 8, Nueve. 9, Diez. 10, Once. 11, Doce. 12, Trece 13, Catorce 14, Quince 15, Dieciseis 16, Diecisiete. 17, Dieciocho. 18, Diecinueve. 19, Veinte. 20, Cien. 100, Mil. 1000.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE COUNTRY INFORMATION
Additional country-specific information for US citizens can be found on the US Government’s website www.travel.state.gov. Here, you can find the most up-to-date information about destination descriptions, passports/visas, safety and security, transportation, travel local laws, alerts/warnings, vaccinations, and more. For citizens of other nations, we recommend you consult your local consulate for travel information, regulations, and requirements.