|Population :||3,3 millions|
|People||88% European descent, 8% Mestizo, 4% Black|
|Religion||66% roman catholic, 2% protestant, 2% jewish|
Uruguay may be pint-sized but it's certainly big-hearted when it comes to attractions. It contains one of South America's most interesting capitals, charming colonial towns and a cluster of internationally renowned beach resorts.
Uruguay -the smallest Hispanic country in South America- is boxed into the eastern coast of South America by Brazil to the north and Argentina to the west. To the south is the wide estuary of the Río de la Plata, while the Atlantic Ocean washes its eastern shore. For the most part, the country's undulating topography is an extension of that in southern Brazil, and includes two lowly ranges - the Cuchilla de Haedo and the Cuchilla Grande. The terrain levels out west of Montevideo, while east of the capital there are impressive beaches, dunes and headlands. Five rivers flow westward across the country and drain into the Uruguay River.
The country's flora consists mostly of grasslands, with little forest except on the banks of its rivers and streams. In the southeast, along the Brazilian border, are lingering traces of palm savannah. Wild animals are scarce, although rhea (a bird-like ostrich) can still be seen in areas near major tributaries.
The climate is temperate, even in winter, and frosts are almost unknown. Winter (June to September) temperatures range from 10 to 16ºC (50 to 61ºF), while summer (December to March) temperatures lie between 21 to 28ºC (70 to 82ºF). Rainfall, evenly distributed throughout the year, averages about 1m (3ft) over the entire country.
Uruguay's main attraction is its beaches, so most visitors come in summer. Along the littoral, summer temperatures are smotheringly hot, but the hilly interior is cooler, particularly at nightspecially at night.
There are no compulsory health requirements for entry into Uruguay. You are advised to take Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccine before entering. Avoid eating and drinking local products from street vendors and restaurants with suspect hygiene or refrigeration practices.
Uruguay currency is Uruguayan Peso; 1 US Dollar = 29.70 Uruguayan Peso. Bank notes come in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1.000 and 2.000 Peso; coins are 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 Peso. It is advisable to take US Dollar travelers checks or currency as this is more readily exchanged than other currency. Credit cards are accepted at most major hotels, restaurants and shops. Banks are open from 13.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday. Money changer (Casa de Cambio) and ATMs can be easily found through the city.
Uruguay time is 3 hours slower than GMT.
The electric current in Uruguay is 220-240 volt. Most wall outlets in Paraguay take European style plugs that have two round prongs.
The official language in Uruguay is Spanish.
Climate in Uruguay is humid subtropical. There are a lots of high winds and rapid changes in weather as fronts or storms sweep across the country since Uruguay is located within the temperate zone. There are four seasons in Uruguay; Spring (September – November), Summer (December – February), Autumn (March – May) and Winter (June – August).
Uruguay Food & Drink
Uruguayan cuisine is influenced by international cuisine and is based on the European cuisine, particularly Spain, Italy, and Portugal. Many foods such as asado (meat barbeque) pasta, sausages and desserts are common in Uruguay.
Uruguayan wines are of good quality. Popular drinks include clericó (wine mixed with fruit juice) and medio y medio (half dry white wine and half champagne). Yerba mate, a bitter tea of Native American origin, is extremely popular with locals.
Wearing a short-sleeve shirt and short or long pants is recommended in summer since it can be very hot in Uruguay. Winter are usually cold and sometimes rainy, fleece jackets, medium-weight coats, sweaters and long sleeve shirts is recommended since the temperature can be very cold at night. Wearing a short-sleeve shirt and short or long pants is recommended in summer (December – February). Be sure to bring confortable footwear if you are going hiking.
Street crime like bag snatching and pick-pocketing, occurs in Montevideo. Muggings and robberies (occasionally armed) also take place. Keep valuables, spare cash and spare credit cards in a safe. Take care when withdrawing money from ATMs and where possible use machines that are not on the street. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing expensive jewelry. Consider carrying cash and bank cards in separate pockets and only take with you the money you need at the time. Try to keep away from isolated or poorly lit areas at night and avoid walking downtown or in the port area alone