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Uruguay Guide

Driving

Uruguay, South America's second smallest country, is often frequented by tourists for its southern Atlantic Ocean coast destinations including Punta del Diablo and unique cultural havens such as the capital, Montevideo. Toll roads make it easy to zip between the large cities of Colonia del Sacramento and Punta del Este.

Driving Tips for Uruguay

The standard of roads varies here. Main toll roads between cities are always kept in good condition; however, country roads plied by heavy vehicles can be dangerous in bad weather. Signage is ample yet street lights can be scarce.

Driving licences: UK drivers are able to drive here with their full UK photo licence or an International Driving Permit.

Which side does Uruguay drive on: the right.

Speed limits:
Motorways: 55mph (90kph) or 68mph (110kph)
Rural areas: 55mph (90kph)
Built-up areas: 31mph (50kph)

Alcohol limits: 0.03 per cent compared with the UK limit of 0.08 per cent. Alcohol levels exceeding 0.03 per cent may result in harsh penalties.

Driving age: 18 years; 23 years to hire a vehicle.

Seatbelts: compulsory for driver and every passenger. There are currently no child seat laws in place.

Mobile phones and GPS: mobile phone use while driving is strictly prohibited. GPS may be used but is not required.

Cost of fuel in Uruguay: slightly cheaper here than in the UK.

Car hire and fuel payment: credit card payment is widely accepted at the majority of petrol stations, which are scarce in the countryside and on highways, and car hire companies. UK card holders are advised to inform their card supplier of their travel plans before leaving the UK.

Insurance: third-party insurance is often included with car hire, but excess insurance is recommended.

Traffic and parking: traffic in Montevideo is disorganised and parking scarce. Because of this, drivers often leave their vehicles near shopping malls or train stations. Cars should not be left on the street at night.

Transport

Trains
Some tourist trains exist but they don't have fixed schedules.

Taxis
Uruguay has taxis that are both safe and affordable. They are cheaper than in most Western countries, charging around £1.25 per kilometre. Prices are fixed as taxis have meters.

Buses
Buses run from the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre. Transport is also possible from Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza and Entre Rios (Argentina), Santiago (Chile) and Asuncion (Paraguay). Domestic buses from Montevideo to other cities around the country, such as Salto (fare: £20) and Colonia (fare: £5.50), are frequent and supplied by the likes of Copsa and COT.

Ferries
Boats from Buenos Aires to Montevideo and coastal havens such as Punta del Este are possible with Buquebus. Colonia Express and Seacat. Fares range between £20 for regular services and £25 for fast services. The same companies can be used for domestic sea travel between Uruguayan cities.

Airports
Montevideo’s Carrasco International Airport is located in Canelones, which is a 20-minute taxi ride (fare: £40) or a 1-hour, 15-minute bus ride (fare: £1) from the capital (a distance of nine miles). It has no direct passenger flights to the UK, so UK travellers need to connect via a European city such as Madrid, a US city such as Miami or a South American city like Buenos Aires. Domestic flights run between the capital and Rivera, on the Brazilian border, and Salto, in the northwest, known for its thermal baths.

Explore

Exploring Uruguay

Most visitors begin their Uruguayan explorations in Montevideo, the country's capital. Highlights include walking around the Ciudad Viega – the Old Town – and marvelling at South America's former highest building, the Plaza de Independecia.

Chuy is a popular Brazilian border town for those on their way to the continent's largest country and is known for providing access to the Fuerte San Miguel – a captivating Spanish fortress.

Of all the cities, Punta del Este in the southeast is arguably the most popular. It is a mesmerising beach resort which is known for its offerings of sea and sand, casinos and yachting. Just as frequented are rival coastal destinations including Punta del Diablo and Cabo Polonio.

History buffs should make sure they squeeze in a trip to Colonia. As its name suggests, it is an old colonial town on the Rio de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires. This recognised UNESCO World Heritage site is accessible from both Argentinean and Uruguayan destinations by boat.

The country's best museums are often regarded as being in Durazno. Casa de General, a regional museum of history and Gaucho art, is among the most popular attractions, as is the Sports Museum. Animal lovers often head to the city's zoo.

Weather

A subtropical climate is experienced here, with locations around the country vulnerable to sudden alterations in weather. The best time to visit is generally considered to be around Christmas when averages of 30°C are commonplace. In some cities at sea level, including Paysandu, highs of 44°C are a frequent occurrence. Those that prefer a cooler climate may enjoy visiting in July as this is when temperatures drop.

All cities in Uruguay

We compare car rental suppliers in each of the following cities: