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A day in Montevideo, Uruguay

A day in Montevideo, Uruguay

Old Jul 23, 17, 12:22 am
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A day in Montevideo, Uruguay

My previous trip reports

My Trip To Montreal
Huasteca Potosina: A beautiful part of Mexico few know about
My trip to Peru
My 2 days in Tokyo
3 days in and around Bangkok
Thanksgiving in Guadalajara
A day in Guanajuato, Mexico
A day in Panama City, Panama
A week in Trinidad and Tobago
A weekend in Medellin, Colombia
A day in Santiago, Chile

Disclosure: This is a post from my blog
http://www.travelwithvik.com/2017/06...video-uruguay/

Eleven years ago, on a cold winter day, standing at the ferry terminal in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I had the opportunity to go to Montevideo, Uruguay for a day. I pondered and thought that perhaps it wasnít worth the hassle, so I declined.



Soon after, I lived to regret that, for when would I have a chance to go to a country like Uruguay ever again?



Sometimes in life, we are lucky enough to get a second chance. All these years later, the opportunity presented itself yet again; this time, I would not miss it. With one week to travel around southern South America, I made sure that I would see the destinations that I missed the first time, particularly the alluring city of Montevideo.



There are two ways to get into Montevideo, via a ferry from Buenos Aires or by plane. Coming from Chile, the only realistic option was an airplane. The flight was approximately two hours, my first trip on LATAM airlines. I was impressed, but this may be because I was in premium economy. For such passengers, there is a special check-in and immigration area, as well as access to a VIP lounge in the Santiago, Chile airport.



The Montevideo airport is quaint, modern, and clean. It looks quite new and isnít very large, so itís an easy airport to navigate and quite nice overall. The one issue is that it is quite far outside the city itself. The taxi ďmafiaĒ has a monopoly on the airport, so rates are extraordinarily expensive.



However, I managed to use Uber, and got an excellent driver Alejandro (+598 94 499 744) who extended our ride and showed us the coastline, known as Rambla, and sites within the city as well. This was an unexpected surprise, and welcome since I otherwise probably would not have seen these sites. The most interesting one was the house of soccer star Diego Forlan, a nice pink two story home in front of the beach.



I was stunned to see that one area of Montevideo, where the hotels meet the shore, looks identical to Rio De Janiero. The image is unbelievably similar, and now I understand why many of the tourists here are Brazilian; Montevideo is a safer but similar looking alternative.



The next stop on the unplanned city tour was the local sports stadium, Estadio Centenario. The stadium actually houses a sports museum as well on site. Only later did I realize that this is one of the legendary stadiums of soccer. Uruguay is historically one of the better soccer teams in the world, with two World Cup titles to its name, and more recently a strong finish in 2010 as well.



After this, it was off to the centro. This was a rotunda of sorts, an ovular shaped roundabout with monuments in the middle. This looked different than the normal center of Latin American cities, as it didnít have a plaza with a huge church; as a result there werenít many people sitting in the area. However, this also may have been since it was a cold, rainy day. Nearby was the theatre, but it was closed on this particular day.



After a brief stop at the hotel to drop luggage, the driver let me off at a restaurant called El Palenque. Though Palenque means swordfish in Spanish, the dish to have here was obviously steak. The steak I ordered was gargantuan, and fed me for the day. It was probably the best tasting steak Iíve had in my entire life. Itís not my style to go to upscale restaurants but in this case it was worth it.



After this, it was a walk to the hotel through Ciudad Vieja, or old city in Spanish. This was quite a treat, as there was stunning architecture left and right, along with beautiful greenspaces as well. This was totally unexpected, I knew Montevideo would be somewhat similar to Buenos Aires but I was truly impressed by everything I saw here.



All in all, it was worth the trip, not just for redemption, but because the city was worthy of a visit and beat my expectations. If I had a future chance to come back to Uruguay, I would check out Punta del Este, a beach resort city with colonial architecture, sculptures, and the white Santorini-esque building known as Casapueblo. Perhaps there will be a next time yet again.

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Old Jul 23, 17, 6:56 pm
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I would also like to go to Punta del Este. Thanks.
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Old Jul 24, 17, 6:40 am
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Originally Posted by Bretteee View Post
I would also like to go to Punta del Este. Thanks.
Next time for both of us, thanks for the comment!
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Old Jul 24, 17, 10:20 am
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I spent a day and a half in Montevideo last December. I was pleasantly surprised as well - honestly I initially booked it just to pop into a new country as Buenos Aires was my main destination. But decided to fly into Montevideo and then take ferry. It actually exceeded my expectations and was much more charming than I would have expected.

I took an Uber as well, the taxi rates were crazy especially given the cost of everything else being reasonable.
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Old Jul 24, 17, 10:25 am
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I was in Montevideo and Punta del Este in February as part of a longer South American trip, and loved both of them. Out of the trip, they were probably the two places I was least looking forward to, so it was truly a pleasant surprise and I would love to go back to both of them. Of course it probably helped that both places involved visits to wineries for me.

One of the things I had trouble wrapping my brain around in Montevideo was that, while there were beaches and it looked like the ocean, you really were looking at a river.
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Old Jul 24, 17, 11:43 am
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Originally Posted by jeff191 View Post
I spent a day and a half in Montevideo last December. I was pleasantly surprised as well - honestly I initially booked it just to pop into a new country as Buenos Aires was my main destination. But decided to fly into Montevideo and then take ferry. It actually exceeded my expectations and was much more charming than I would have expected.

I took an Uber as well, the taxi rates were crazy especially given the cost of everything else being reasonable.
Agreed on all of this. We had similar experiences.
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Old Jul 24, 17, 11:47 am
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Originally Posted by wrp96 View Post
I was in Montevideo and Punta del Este in February as part of a longer South American trip, and loved both of them. Out of the trip, they were probably the two places I was least looking forward to, so it was truly a pleasant surprise and I would love to go back to both of them. Of course it probably helped that both places involved visits to wineries for me.

One of the things I had trouble wrapping my brain around in Montevideo was that, while there were beaches and it looked like the ocean, you really were looking at a river.
That's a good point now that you bring it up regarding the beach.
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Old Jul 24, 17, 11:51 am
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Originally Posted by slickvik View Post
That's a good point now that you bring it up regarding the beach.
We were in Punta first and saw the point where the river meets the Atlantic, but for some strange reason my brain still had trouble accepting that I was looking at a river in Montevideo. But that's a testament to the fact that the beaches in Montevideo definitely didn't resemble anything like the terrible beaches on the rivers and lakes around where I live.
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Old Jul 24, 17, 11:52 am
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Originally Posted by wrp96 View Post
We were in Punta first and saw the point where the river meets the Atlantic, but for some strange reason my brain still had trouble accepting that I was looking at a river in Montevideo. But that's a testament to the fact that the beaches in Montevideo definitely didn't resemble anything like the terrible beaches on the rivers and lakes around where I live.
Honestly Montevideo looks like Rio quite a bit without as many tourists.
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Old Jul 28, 17, 10:56 am
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Thank you for giving me a walk down memory lane

There was a period at the turn of the century when I made multiple trips to Uruguay on business. I spent many Saturdays walking the length of that beach road in your pictures and remember UA upgrading us to First on the short hop from EZE on one trip -- I had th seat fully flat on the 121 configuration within minutes
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Old Jul 28, 17, 11:31 am
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Originally Posted by pdsuk View Post
Thank you for giving me a walk down memory lane

There was a period at the turn of the century when I made multiple trips to Uruguay on business. I spent many Saturdays walking the length of that beach road in your pictures and remember UA upgrading us to First on the short hop from EZE on one trip -- I had th seat fully flat on the 121 configuration within minutes
What flight was that? I only saw Air France/KLM and Aerolineas Argentinas from EZE to MVD.
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Old Jul 29, 17, 5:29 am
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Originally Posted by slickvik View Post
What flight was that? I only saw Air France/KLM and Aerolineas Argentinas from EZE to MVD.
This is going back almost 17 years.

UA used to have a quick jump from EZE to MVD I recall we were on a 767 having been upgraded to First (no idea why) with the then President of Uruguay sat behind me.

The plane literally went straight up and straight down.
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Old Jul 29, 17, 9:52 pm
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Contemplating doing similar at my South American trip this year. Is it worth it just for the day do you think? I'll be coming from Buenos, but don't really have a massive amount of time.
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Old Jul 30, 17, 1:03 pm
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Yes, worth it. I stopped by Santiago but looking back I should've just based in Buenos and done a day trip to Montevideo, was not impressed by Santiago
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Old Aug 4, 17, 6:15 pm
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slikvik, great tr. I had always wanted to visit Uruguay. Last feb. we did a cruise to Antarctica on seaborne. It stopped in Montevideo twice. What a great city. I do think it is much smaller and less intimidating than Buenos Aires.
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