20 Reasons to Fall in Love with Uruguay Right Now
Uruguay is the smallest state in South America and, we think, a hidden gem. They celebrate Independence Day on August 25. It was on that day in 1825 that Uruguay declared its independence from the Portuguese Empire. In 2012, it was named The Economist’s Country of the Year with the magazine describing it as, “Modest yet bold, liberal and fun-loving.” With Uruguay’s Independence Day upon us, we thought we’d take a moment to chat about this awesome country, and encourage a little Uruguay tourism, with 20 reasons to fall in love with Uruguay right now.
1. Yerba Mate
Mate is Uruguay’s national beverage—unofficially, of course. It’s a tea made from leaves that many people drink daily. Some carry a thermos of hot water as well as a mate (a hollowed out gourd, to drink from) and a bombilla (the metal straw that filters the drink) with them to engage in the social ritual. Traditionally, the brewer can even convey moods or desires by the way it is prepared.
Now you may think of Argentina as the Tango capital of the world but this sexy dance also has roots in Uruguay.
3. Legal Marijuana
Like a few of the United States, in 2013, Uruguay passed legislation legalizing the production, sale and use of marijuana. If that doesn’t up Uruguay tourism, we don’t know what will.
Chivito is Uruguay’s popular steak sandwich and it’s worth every greasy calorie.
Milonga has the same basic elements of the Tango but incorporates a relaxed body and more freedom of movement and stance.
6. Uruguay’s Constitution
Uruguay’s first Constitution was established on July 18, 1830, and was modeled after that of the United States.
7. High Literacy Rate
Uruguay’s youth literacy rate for those 15 years of age and older is 98%. Amazing, right? We think so. In case you were wondering, 14% of adults in the United States are illiterate.
8. Museo del Gaucho y de la Moneda
As far as Uruguay tourism goes, The Cowboy & Coin Museum in Montevideo is worth a visit, for sure.
9. Calle de los Suspiros
The Street of Sighs in Colonia del Sacramento features original cobblestone roads and historic signs and architecture from a time long ago. The stories of how it got its name are fascinating, too, but we’ll leave that up to your tour guide.
10. Abortion is Legal
This is a rarity in South American countries and means that women can safely be supported with whatever their decision may be.
11. La Pedrera
If you’re hungry for a real sunny Uruguay vacation, Le Pedrera offers a more laid back, bohemian beach experience than in Punta del Este. Though that one’s good, too.
12. Montevideo Carnival
The Montevideo Carnival is an event is not to be missed. It starts in January and lasts for 40 days, leading up to Ash Wednesday.
13. Punta del Este
Punta del Este is a hip beach vacation spot for jet-setters and is reminiscent of Miami Beach.
14. Colonia del Sacramento
Here you’ll find historic architecture and a haunting feeling of being connected to the past.
15. Hot Springs
This is a must for your Uruguay vacation. Many say the hot springs have healing properties. You’ll find different waters in the springs that reportedly have different properties to help what ails you.
16. José Mujica
The President of Uruguay donates 90% of his income to low-income housing and provides his own transportation in the form of his Volkswagen Beetle. When he travels internationally, he flies coach. He’s also said, “If we lived within our means—by being prudent—the 7 billion people in the world could have everything they needed. Global politics should be moving in that direction.”
17. Marriage Equality
Uruguay became the second South American country to pass a law allowing gay marriage in May.
18. Cabo Polonio
If you really want to get away from it all and be forced to leave modern (in)conveniences and distractions behind, the rustic fishing village, Cabo Polonio boasts almost no electricity.
Uruguay is rated in the top 10 of International Living’s places to retire thanks to the relaxed lifestyle and community feel.
20. Health Care
Uruguay has great healthcare for all with free clinics available for all residents. There’s also a higher-end privatized hospital system if you prefer. Either way, you’ll be taken care of.
La Cumparsita Tango – Gerard Matos Rodriguez – Tango Dancers
The song was originally an Uruguayan carnival march whose melody was composed in early 1916 by an architecture student in Montevideo, an 18-year-old man named Gerardo Hernán “Becho” Matos Rodríguez, the son of Montevideo's Moulin Rouge nightclub proprietor Emilio Matos. On 8 February 1916, Matos Rodríguez had his friend Manuel Barca show Orchestra leader Roberto Firpo the music in the cafe called La Giralda.
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