Check the other cities here: Travelling across South America in 15 Days
This is it! Definitely going north in our trip! We started in the warm and tropical lands of Colombia and have been to amazing places in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, and today the place we will visit is going to mark the last Spanish speaking country we will be in! Prepare for fun and amazing times and enjoy Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay!
Montevideo is not only the capital, but also the largest city of Uruguay. The city has a rough population of 1.4 million citizens – which is almost one-third of the population of the country – and is considered the most cosmopolitan southern city of the Americas. It is located on the southern coast of the country, also touched by the bank of the Silver River, or Río de la Plata. As Medellín is known by its high standards of sustainability, Montevideo is – since 2006 – in the top rankings of cities with the highest life quality in Latin America. And if that doesn’t make you crazy to go there, try the following touristic attractions!
As Argentina (its neighbor country), Uruguay is also very famous for the Tango – So if you didn’t have the time to enjoy a class in Buenos Aires, here’s your last chance, because Montevideo also offers the same kind of activity. But Uruguay is also famous for other things – for instance, it is becoming known among South Americans for the president’s policies towards sexuality, drug legalization and abortion which, despite of divergent opinions, shows that it is a country ruled by a party famous for its open-mindedness. In relation to that, you can see in Montevideo the first monument in South America dedicated to sexual diversity: it was raised in 2005 (in the Policia Vieja area) and in its engravings it reads “Honoring diversity is honoring life; Montevideo is for the respect of all identities and sexual orientations”.
For the lovers, you can experience the same activity that many bridges offer in Europe: in the 18 de Julio Avenue there is a fountain that, as the legend goes, if you put a padlock with your and your lover’s initials engraved and throw the key in the fountain, you are both bound to come back to that very same place and celebrate your eternal love. And by the way of European habits, not far from there you can go to Pocitos, a neighborhood that concentrates a high amount of foreigners and expats. If going to the beach with clean sand and calm waters isn’t enough, you can also enroll in one of the expat meetings that happen there every month to make new friends and discuss about what the city has to offer.
But Pocitos is not the only beach landscape you can enjoy here: at The Rambla you find the seafront promenade that stretches by 13 miles – from the port to the suburbs – and where you can go for a stroll or a ride with a long and wonderful view. When you feel tired and hungry, you can give yourself the chance to pig out like the locals eating an entire Chivito, a sandwich that is the national dish of Uruguay, filled with filet mignon, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, olives, bacon, eggs, ham and mayonnaise. If you survive your first one, you will feel so local that even your Spanish accent will change!
For more relaxed sightseeing, don’t forget to have a look at the following attractions:
– Palacio Salvo: the icon of Montevideo, once a glamorous hotel and today converted into apartments, is still an amazing landmark of the city;
– Palacio Taranco: get the Downtown Abbey experience at the Decorative Arts Museum, where you can see the appearance of a former home of a wealthy early 20th century family, with French and Spanish art and furnishings;
– Plaza de la Constitución: where the Museo Gurvich is located – dedicated to the Lithuanian artist and Jewish immigrant José Gurvich.
– Torres García museum: Gurvich’s mentor also has a museum of his own, not to mention the fact that he is up to now Uruguay’s most famous artist;
– Punta Carretas Shopping Centre: for some retail therapy or a film, this is the ideal place to go in Montevideo. Did I forget to mention that it was also a former prison?
Next stop: start practicing your Portuguese, because from now on and on the next five days we will finish our trip across South America in Brazil! First stop: São Paulo! Stay tuned!