Montevideo is the capital and largest city of Uruguay, home to almost half of the country’s total population. According to populationmonster, Montevideo is one of the largest cities in Uruguay.
Before the Europeans invaded and colonized the country, Indian tribes lived in these territories, the Charrua tribe was especially warlike. There was no trace of militancy by the 17th century, when the Indians agreed to peaceful trade with the Portuguese. Today, the city is inhabited by immigrants from Europe, who are considered perhaps the most hospitable people on the continent.
At the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, an economic and cultural boom began in Montevideo, which continues to this day: new districts are being built, parks are being laid out, new companies are opening, and tourism infrastructure is developing. The city retains its colonial architecture but is otherwise very modern and lively. There are many parks, greenery and boulevards, and right in the city there are gorgeous sandy beaches.
“Monte” means “mountain” and “vide eu” means “I see” in Portuguese. According to legend, these were the words that someone from the team of the navigator Ferdinand Magellan shouted out when the ship approached the coast of Uruguay just a few years after the discovery of the country. However, linguists consider this version very controversial.
How to get to Montevideo
Montevideo has the only international airport in the country – Carrasco, you can get here from Russia only with transfers in Europe or the USA. Flying through the US is longer and more expensive, and you will also need a transit visa, so connecting in Europe is the most convenient.
Two airlines fly through Madrid to Montevideo – Iberia and AirEurope, the flight will take a little less than 20 hours, including transfers, and will cost from 1000 USD round trip. The prices for all airlines in this direction are approximately the same and depend only on seasonality – in the summer, from November to March, they are consistently higher.
British Airways flies through London to Uruguay, the travel time is about 23.5 hours with a transfer, and Lufthansa flies through Frankfurt, here the transfer is longer, the total flight duration is about 27 hours.
If you are flying from London to Montevideo later than midnight on the same day, you will need a UK transit visa, which must be obtained in advance.
You can get from the airport to the city by regular buses or taxis. Copsa and Cot buses run to the Tres Cruces city bus station, they are equipped with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi, the fare is 100 UYU per passenger, the journey time is 30 minutes.
A taxi at the airport can be caught for about 900 UYU to the center of Montevideo, you can also take a regular city taxi for 500 UYU, but you need to call it by phone. There are special stands in the arrivals area for calling a taxi, most likely you will have to wait a bit. You can pay in a taxi in both Uruguayan pesos and dollars, but in dollars the price will be 10-15% higher.
Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly to Buenos Aires (flights start at 700 EUR round trip during the sales period) and from there take a ferry to Montevideo. Ferry transportation to Buenos Aires is handled by Buquebus, tickets can be bought online (site in English). There are quite a lot of flights, the road will take about 2 hours one way and will cost from 55 USD. There is a small cafe and a duty free shop on board.
Carrasco Airport is considered the most beautiful on the continent. This building is in a futuristic style, reminiscent of a flying saucer, and on the second floor there is a terrace with an observation deck overlooking the runway.
Weather in Montevideo
The climate in Montevideo is mild subtropical, the average air temperature in summer (in January) is + 24… + 26 ° С. The beach season here begins at the end of October and lasts until May, the hottest month is February, the water in the area of local beaches warms up to +23 °C.
During the winter (June to September) and off-season, Uruguay’s capital is overcast and rainy, while April to November is often windy and rainy. The coldest month of the year is July. The air temperature usually does not drop below +10… +12 ° С, but when cold air masses invade from the Antarctic, frosts sometimes occur and frost falls (this does not happen every year).
Montevideo has a large selection of tourist accommodation, although tourism here began to develop relatively recently. There are both expensive five-star hotels of large international chains (Best Western, Radisson, Barcelo, Sheraton, etc.), as well as small family hotels and guest houses. The largest flow of tourists occurs in the summer, especially during the carnival (from January to March), so it is better to book a hotel for these dates as early as possible.
The most popular area for tourists is the Old Town (Ciudad vieja). Despite the fact that this is the center of the city, housing here is relatively inexpensive, you can rent a good three-ruble note for 50-70 USD per day. Prices for 4 * hotels start from 80 USD per day, 5 * – from 170 USD per day for a double room. Please note that hotels in the center are usually located in old buildings, but they have been well renovated and have new furniture and appliances.
All hotels in Montevideo correspond to the declared “star rating”.
The Pocitos and Carrasco districts are located to the east of the center of the capital, within walking distance from the beaches, and real estate prices here are significantly higher than in the center. Accordingly, hotel accommodation in these areas will cost 15-20% more.
If you plan to ride around the area, pay attention to the Tres Cruces area, where the city bus station of the same name is located. You will have to walk to the sights, but there are no problems with parking, there are many shops and cafes, and prices are about the same as in the center, or slightly lower.
For those who come for a long time, it is more profitable to rent an apartment. Daily housing is rented to tourists reluctantly and at exorbitant prices, but for a period of a month or more you can rent a one-room apartment near the center for 400 USD, a three-room apartment near the beach – for 1200 USD.