The second smallest country in South America, Uruguay is a jewel in the Atlantic Ocean.

Its name, Uruguay, means “river of the colourful birds” in Guarani, the language of the natives.  It is a celebration of nature and beauty.

Spanish colonists brought Spanish language and tradition to Uruguay but like in all South American countries, natives made it their own. Nowadays, Uruguay is one of the most democratic countries in South America and some call it “the Switzerland of South America”.

Uruguay’s capital is Montevideo and was founded in the 18th Century. The city is structured around the Old Town (Ciudad Vieja), a citadel built by the Spanish conquistadors. Montevideo has many museums and monuments. It even has a Museo del Carnaval and a sexual diversity monument, the first in South America. On the monument it is written “Honouring diversity is honouring life; Montevideo is for the respect of all identities and sexual orientations”. This says a lot about how open minded and free-spirited the people of Uruguay are, even though a Catholic country.

Montevideo is also a place to admire colourful houses, see rich markets and eat very well in traditional restaurants. Visit Barrio Reus neighbourhood for its architecture and Mercado del Puerto for good food. After all these cultural lessons, relax on the city’s beaches. White sand beaches compete in beauty and entertainment. Choose Playa de los Pocitos or La Rambla or any other beach and you will not be disappointed.

If you like surfing, you should go to Punta del Este, a resort city in the Southeast of Uruguay. Strong surf enthusiasts should go to Brava Beach, while those looking for calm waters should head to Mansa Beach. The Hand, a giant sculpture, is also one of the attractions of Brava Beach. From Punta del Este you can travel to Isla de Lobos to see sea lions or to Gorriti Island to see 18th Century fortifications and amazing beaches.

Uruguay has two very different UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One is the Colonia del Sacramento historic quarter (Barrio Histórico), built by the Portuguese in the 17th Century. The second one is Fray Bentos Industrial Landscape, which illustrates the entire meat production and packing process. Built in the 19th Century, it is now a museum spanning across 263 hectares.

It is quite a journey from Australia to Uruguay, but the adventure deserves it. Put on the shoes of an explorer and discover the colonial style of Uruguay. Discover its wonderful beaches, its love of nature, its history and beliefs. Discover a magical world filled with intelligent and resilient people. Uruguay is a fascinating place to visit.

Now you’ve got some great ideas for your trip, don’t forget to arrange travel insurance as soon as you’ve made a booking.  Get a quote today or call one of our friendly team on 1300 819 888 to discuss your requirements.