Uruguay – Everything You Need to Know

Uruguay is a state in southeastern South America. In the north and east, it borders with Brazil, in the west – with Argentina, in the east and south it is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

The name of the country comes from the Uruguay River, which is translated from the language of local Indians as “river”.

General information about Uruguay
  • Official name: Eastern Republic of Uruguay
  • Capital: Montevideo
  • Territory area: 176.2 thousand square meters. Km
  • Total population: 3.5 million
  • Administrative division: The state is divided into 19 departments.
  • Form of government: Republic.
  • Head of state: President.
  • Composition of the population: 88% are immigrants from Europe, 8% are mestizos, 4% are Africans.
  • Official language: Spanish, on the border with Brazil – a dialect based on a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese.
  • Religion: 66% – Catholics, 2% – Protestants, 2% – Jews, about 30% of the population do not profess any religion.
  • Internet Domain: .uy
  • Mains voltage: ~ 220 V, 50 Hz
  • Country dialing code: +598
  • Country Barcode: 773

 

Climate

The subtropical climate of the country is moderate. Since Uruguay is between 30 and 35 ° S in a narrow part of the continent, its climate is transitional between the temperate zone and the tropics.

Winters are short and mild, frosts are extremely rare. The average temperature of the coldest winter month, July, is about 10 ° C. Thanks to this, cattle can graze all winter and do not need expensive premises for wintering.

The summer is warm, the average January temperatures fluctuate between 22–27 ° C. Sometimes, on hot and humid days, the temperature rises above 38 ° C, but the heat is easier to tolerate due to the cool day breeze.

Rains fall more or less evenly throughout the year, and their total number increases from south to north from 970 mm in the area of ​​the La Plata estuary to 1270 mm in the far north. The maximum rainfall occurs in autumn, but at least 125–150 mm of rain falls in the season.

 

Geography

Uruguay is a state in the southeastern part of South America, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. In the north it borders with Brazil, in the west with Argentina, in the east and south it is washed by the Atlantic Ocean. Area 176 220 sq. km. The total length of the border is 1564 km (the length of the borders with Argentina is 579 km, with Brazil – 985 km). Coastline: 660 km.

The highest point is Mount Cerdral (Cerro Catedral) 514 m. Hilly areas to the south are gradually replaced by lowlands, which are a continuation of the Argentinean pampa. The shores of Uruguay are low, leveled, lagoon type.

 

Flora and fauna

Flora world

The zonal vegetation of the main part of Uruguay is a tallgrass prairie. The greyish-colored grasslands are excellent natural pastures and still largely retain their pristine character. In the hills, tall grass gives way to less nutritious low turf species.

Forests occupy about 4% of Uruguay – less than in any other South American country. They stretch ribbons along the valleys of the western rivers, primarily the Rio Negro, and are found on the northwestern hills. The most important tree species include astronium, rosewood, guava, mesquito, zestreda, oak, willow, and acacia.

In the southeast of the country, in the vicinity of the cities of Minas and Rocha, local species of palm trees are found among the prairie; pines and eucalyptus trees planted to protect sandy soils from erosion grow on the dunes of the east coast. In some places, there is an ombu tree that was once characteristic of the Argentinean pampa.

Fauna world

When the Spaniards began to develop the territory of Uruguay, there were relatively many cougars, tapirs, deer, seals, as well as rhea and many other birds. During the development of the country by Europeans, most of these animals died out. The remains of wild fauna are concentrated in forests and inaccessible areas.

Common mammals include deer, pampas cat, puma, pea (American ostrich), tapir, wild boar, fox, wild cat, armadillo, anteater. and various rodents. Among the birds, wild ducks, a swan, a heron, a vulture, a crane, a hummingbird, a rabbit owl, anhinga, parrots, partridges, storks, cardinals, and lapwings are common.

 

Banks and Currency

Uruguayan peso (international designation – UYU, domestically – U $), equal to 100 centesimos. In circulation are banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 pesos, as well as 50 centesimo coins and 1, 2, 5 and 10 pesos.

Banks are open from 10.00 to 16.00 on weekdays.

Money can be exchanged at banks (the most favorable rate), exchange offices at travel agencies and shopping centers, in hotels, at the airport. Most major international credit cards are accepted at hotels and malls. Uruguayan ATMs do not accept North American or European credit cards. There is no black currency market.

 

Useful information for tourists

Along the coast of Montevideo and the Gulf of La Plata, there is a chain of fashionable resorts, the most famous of which is Punta del Este.

The capital of the country Montevideo is also very popular – a large banking and financial center, a city in which classicism is combined with widespread baroque, modernism – with old buildings of colonial times. The ultra-modern buildings are surrounded by parks and beautiful bridges connecting the banks of the great river.

Thermal springs, a well-equipped ocean coast, the cities of Piriapolis and Colony are also interesting. The country has about 10 national parks.

Tipping in expensive restaurants and bars is up to 10% of the bill (although often it already includes a service charge), in cheap eateries – 1-2 pesos, in a cafe and on the beach it is not accepted to tip, the porter at the hotel or airport should be given 5-10 pesos, the taxi driver is rounded up the bill (when using cars of various brands, the amount may vary, for the inclusion of air conditioning a separate fee is charged).