Family Vacations to Uruguay

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Uruguay – Family Vacation Guide

Tucked between Brazil and Argentina, you could blink and easily miss Uruguay. It’s a tiny country — not nearly as famous as the gargantuan neighbors — and yet it’s ranked first in South America for democracy, peace, lack of corruption and press freedom. What Uruguay lacks in size it makes up for in quality of life. But even if it weren’t exceptionally liberal, inclusive and tolerant, it would still be a great place to visit, thanks to some of the loveliest beaches on the continent and a gorgeous seaside capital, Montevideo. Kids can experience gaucho life here — just as they can in Argentina – but without travelling too far.

Why Go

  • It's Small and Safe

    Uruguay’s diminutive proportions work well: You can just about fit everything into one family vacation. It’s also safe, especially compared with its neighboring countries. There’s a low crime rate.

  • Nature and Wilflife

    There are natural hot springs to visit, camping under huge skies in the unspoiled interior and wonderful wildlife all along the Atlantic coast.

  • Beaches

    Uruguay has beautiful beaches. The most famous are in Punta del Este, a glamorous resort destination. In Montevideo, there are tons of beautiful beaches along the Rio de la Plata. One beach not to miss is Carrasco, located in a Montevideo suburb.

  • Good Weather

    Uruguay’s climate is mild. The summer is the opposite of ours — February to December — and is the high season for Uruguay, meaning there are the most travelers and the prices are at their highest. For fewer crowds and lower prices, consider going in Uruguay’s winter (our summer) or spring or fall. The temperatures are cooler and rarely fall below freezing.

  • Choice of Accommodation

    A wide range of family accommodation includes luxury city center hotels, beach resorts, inns and home rentals.

Where to Go

Punta del Este

Punta del Este is sometimes called the St. Tropez of South America because of its stunning beaches and celebrity-studded visitors. Families love it, too, especially exploring the beaches, visiting the lighthouse and browsing the famous crafts fair. And you can’t miss a family photo in Punta del Este’s legendary hand statue. Located 80 miles from Montevideo, Punta del Este is an easy day trip, but many families opt for a longer stay. You can drive here or take a bus from Montevideo. It’s a one-hour drive from Montevideo’s Carrasco Airport. A lot of travelers also come here on a side trip from Buenos Aires: There’s a ferry that includes a direct land transfer.



Montevideo is Uruguay’s capital and its biggest city. Laid-back, safe and gorgeous, seaside Montevideo is filled with old European architecture. Some of the highlights not to miss include the old city, the Puerta de la Ciudadela (part of the wall that once surrounded the old city) and the Teatro Solis (a theater built in 1856). Nature lovers will want to check out Parque Rodó, a beautiful urban park, and Rambla, a walkway that runs along the coast. There are also a number of lovely beaches on the Rio de la Plata, which stretches into the horizon and looks more like an ocean than a river. In fact, people here call it “el mar,” which means “the sea” in Spanish.

Colonia del Sacramento

A former Portuguese city, Colonia del Sacramento shows its past in its cobbled streets lined with old European-style buildings, its grand waterfront promenade and its historic bullfighting ring (Plaza de Toros). Colonia’s historic quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a relaxing spot to spend a few days. And it’s also a big destination for travelers coming on day trips from Buenos Aires, which is located just across the Rio de la Plata. (It’s one hour away on the fast ferry).

What to Do

  • Colonia del Sacramento’s historic quarter
    This town founded by the Portuguese in 1680 has an historic quarter that is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its 17th-century convent, lighthouse, drawbridge and cobbled streets, it’s a flashback to another era.
  • Carnaval
    Uruguay pulls out all the stops for Carnaval, which is a two-month celebration here, kicking off in mid-January. There are street parties filled with drumming and dancing everywhere you look.
  • Montevideo’s Rambla
    This waterfront promenade that lines the coast is worth a stroll — a long stroll, that is. It’s the longest continuous sidewalk in the world.
  • La Mano, Punta del Este
    You can’t come to Uruguay without making a pilgrimage to this famous hand statue, with fingers sticking out of the beach in Punta del Este. The kids will love it, and you couldn’t ask for a better family photo.

Getting Around

In Uruguay, it’s easy to rent a car and explore. But there are also great buses within Montevideo and around the country; many offer free wi-fi on board.

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