Backpacking Uruguay

You want to surf, have fun and action, but also get to know the people and the country? Then Uruguay is the place for you! Endless coastlines and a good dose of culture await you.



Have fun exploring our ideal backpacking route for Uruguay.


Important Basics

Official language – Spanish
EnglishSpanish
HelloHola
Goodbyechau
Thank youGracias
Yes
NoNo
Capital City

Montevideo

Form of government

Presidential republic

Best time to travel

November – March

Currency

Uruguayan peso

Telephone area code

+598

Fun Facts
  • Only around 3.5 million people live in Uruguay. That is significantly less than in Berlin.
  • When you pay with a VISA-Card, you receive a discount in supermarkets, restaurants, and clothing stores.
  • If you wear a baseball cap in a supermarket, you must take it off when entering.

Cities

Montevideo

The capital impresses with stunning nature, small parks and long avenues. Besides a beautiful coastline and lots of beaches, there are several cultural activities to be done in Montevideo. For example, visit museums such as the Crime Museum, the Aviation Museum, the National Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Zoological Museum – many of which have free entry.

The city’s symbol is the Palacio Salvo, an Art Deco building worth seeing. On the Plaza Independecia, the marketplace, you will also see the equestrian statue of Artigas – the national hero who fought for independence. Underneath the statue is the mausoleum with his remains. Enter the old town, Ciudad Vieja, through the old city gate and explore the best cafés, shops and restaurants. The Puerto Mercado is next. In the market hall, you can do some shopping. Our tip: The best view over Montevideo is from the city hall’s 22nd floor and it is for free.

Stay overnight in El Viajero Downtown for €11 in an eight-bed dorm.

Punta del Este

For about 9 euros, you can take the bus to Punta del Este. Here you have a great opportunity to learn to surf or improve your skills. Many of the hostels located here are in the direct vicinity of the beach and offer many leisure activities.

From there it is easy to go surfing. Afterwards, you can visit the 45-meters high lighthouse, or Punta del Este’s landmark: a half-buried hand called Los Dedos. Isla Gorriti is especially great for water sports enthusiasts, since you can dive to the sunken sailing warship, Agamemnon. On the other side lies Isla de Lobos, where you can watch sea lions from the ship. Until the early morning hours, a vibrant party scene begins at midnight.
Spend the night in Tas D Viaje for about €12 in a ten-bed dorm.

Cabo Polonio

Take the bus to the next city for about €21. This small fishing village is famous for not having electricity, running water or cars. You have two beaches to choose from, the smaller one right around the corner or the Playa Sur, which lies over a hill. The lighthouse next to the village is a meeting point for sea lions and their babies. Enjoy a candlelight dinner at night; quite romantic!

An eight-bed dorm in Hostel Lobo costs about €20 per night.

Punta Diablo

Go to this surfer paradise for about €11 by bus. The small village is located on the Atlantic coast and only has about 1,000 inhabitants. It is a mere 40 kilometres from the border town Chuy to Brazil. Fishing is still the main activity here and there are four really beautiful beaches. On the right side lies the Playa de la Viuda, on the left Playa de los Pescadores, Playa del Rivero and the about five km long Playa Grande. Enjoy a wild party at night on the beach or discover the town’s few restaurants and bars. Also remember to visit the small supermarkets and shops.

You can stay in the Hostel Vente al Diablos for about 11€ per night in a ten-bed dorm.

Colonia de Sacramento

Continue by bus for about €30 to the small town of Colonia del Sacramento. It is located at the Rio de la Plata and is Uruguay’s oldest city. On the opposite shore, only 50 meters away, you can see Argentina. The city has many colonial buildings which are still in good condition. One of the most important sights is the historical city centre with its cobblestone pavement and city wall.

The former bullring, Plaza de los Toros, is also near-by. Playa Ferrando is a beautiful beach with barbecue areas to prepare the famous asado (grilled meat). Uruguay has a lot to offer even if it is mostly beach, sports, and culture.

Stay at El Viajero for about €10 in a ten-bed dorm.

Afterwards, return to Montevideo by bus and spend the night in El Viajero for about €11 in an eight-bed dorm. Explore all the items on your bucket list you haven’t crossed off yet and fly back home with great memories.


Montevideo

Montevideo

The capital impresses with stunning nature, small parks and long avenues. Besides a beautiful coastline and lots of beaches, there are several cultural activities to be done in Montevideo. For example, visit museums such as the Crime Museum, the Aviation Museum, the National Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Zoological Museum – many of which have free entry.

The city’s symbol is the Palacio Salvo, an Art Deco building worth seeing. On the Plaza Independecia, the marketplace, you will also see the equestrian statue of Artigas – the national hero who fought for independence. Underneath the statue is the mausoleum with his remains. Enter the old town, Ciudad Vieja, through the old city gate and explore the best cafés, shops and restaurants. The Puerto Mercado is next. In the market hall, you can do some shopping. Our tip: The best view over Montevideo is from the city hall’s 22nd floor and it is for free.

Stay overnight in El Viajero Downtown for €11 in an eight-bed dorm.

Punta del Este

Punta del Este

For about 9 euros, you can take the bus to Punta del Este. Here you have a great opportunity to learn to surf or improve your skills. Many of the hostels located here are in the direct vicinity of the beach and offer many leisure activities.

From there it is easy to go surfing. Afterwards, you can visit the 45-meters high lighthouse, or Punta del Este’s landmark: a half-buried hand called Los Dedos. Isla Gorriti is especially great for water sports enthusiasts, since you can dive to the sunken sailing warship, Agamemnon. On the other side lies Isla de Lobos, where you can watch sea lions from the ship. Until the early morning hours, a vibrant party scene begins at midnight.
Spend the night in Tas D Viaje for about €12 in a ten-bed dorm.

Cabo Polonio

Cabo Polonio

Take the bus to the next city for about €21. This small fishing village is famous for not having electricity, running water or cars. You have two beaches to choose from, the smaller one right around the corner or the Playa Sur, which lies over a hill. The lighthouse next to the village is a meeting point for sea lions and their babies. Enjoy a candlelight dinner at night; quite romantic!

An eight-bed dorm in Hostel Lobo costs about €20 per night.

Punta Diablo

Punta Diablo

Go to this surfer paradise for about €11 by bus. The small village is located on the Atlantic coast and only has about 1,000 inhabitants. It is a mere 40 kilometres from the border town Chuy to Brazil. Fishing is still the main activity here and there are four really beautiful beaches. On the right side lies the Playa de la Viuda, on the left Playa de los Pescadores, Playa del Rivero and the about five km long Playa Grande. Enjoy a wild party at night on the beach or discover the town’s few restaurants and bars. Also remember to visit the small supermarkets and shops.

You can stay in the Hostel Vente al Diablos for about 11€ per night in a ten-bed dorm.

Colonia de Sacramento

Colonia de Sacramento

Continue by bus for about €30 to the small town of Colonia del Sacramento. It is located at the Rio de la Plata and is Uruguay’s oldest city. On the opposite shore, only 50 meters away, you can see Argentina. The city has many colonial buildings which are still in good condition. One of the most important sights is the historical city centre with its cobblestone pavement and city wall.

The former bullring, Plaza de los Toros, is also near-by. Playa Ferrando is a beautiful beach with barbecue areas to prepare the famous asado (grilled meat). Uruguay has a lot to offer even if it is mostly beach, sports, and culture.

Stay at El Viajero for about €10 in a ten-bed dorm.

Afterwards, return to Montevideo by bus and spend the night in El Viajero for about €11 in an eight-bed dorm. Explore all the items on your bucket list you haven’t crossed off yet and fly back home with great memories.

Uruguay Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home - Montevideo
Home - Montevideo
Flight
300
eight-bed dorm
11
2. Montevideo
Montevideo
-
eight-bed dorm
11
3. Montevideo
Montevideo
-
eight-bed dorm
11
4. Montevideo - Punta del Este
Montevideo - Punta del Este
Bus
9
ten-bed dorm
12
5. Punta del Este
Punta del Este
-
ten-bed dorm
12
6. Punta del Este
Punta del Este
-
ten-bed dorm
12
7. Punta del Este
Punta del Este
-
ten-bed dorm
12
8. Punta del Este - Cabo Polonio
Punta del Este - Cabo Polonio
Bus
21
eight-bed dorm
20
9. Cabo Polonio
Cabo Polonio
-
eight-bed dorm
20
10. Cabo Polonio
Cabo Polonio
-
eight-bed dorm
20
11. Cabo Polonio
Cabo Polonio
-
eight-bed dorm
20
12. Cabo Polonio - Punta Diablo
Cabo Polonio - Punta Diablo
Bus
11
ten-bed dorm
11
13. Punta Diablo
Punta Diablo
-
ten-bed dorm
11
14. Punta Diablo
Punta Diablo
-
ten-bed dorm
11
15. Punta Diablo
Punta Diablo
-
ten-bed dorm
11
16. Punta Diablo - Colonia del Sacramento
Punta Diablo - Colonia del Sacramento
Bus
30
ten-bed dorm
10
17. Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento
-
ten-bed dorm
10
18. Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento
-
ten-bed dorm
10
19. Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento
-
ten-bed dorm
10
20. Colonia del Sacramento - Montevideo
Colonia del Sacramento - Montevideo
Bus
8
eight-bed dorm
11
21. Montevideo – Home
Montevideo – Home
Flight
300

Total price.

Flights 600,00
Transportation 79,00
Tours 0,00
Accommodation 256,00
Total953,00

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Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Chivito: A sandwich with meat and salad, which the locals eat for breakfast. It is also a great meal for backpackers to start the day with.

Soups

Cold rocket soup: Hot and spicy soup served with cooked meat and a cold broth.

Main courses

Asado: Beef that is usually prepared on a simple wooden grill. It is served with rice and grilled vegetables.

Pulpa: A traditional dish, consisting of mainly boneless beef. It is served with fried rice or bread.

Morcilla dulce: Sweet blood sausage marinated in orange peel and various spices.

Drinks

Cana: dieser einheimische Schnaps ist der absolute Favorit der Locals.

Yerba Mate: Bitter tea, which is a big part of Uruguayan culture.

Uruguay

The exchange rate for 100 Uruguayan Peso = 2.22 euros (as of April 2022). See prices for certain products and the cost of living below.

Cost of living 

Food

Free time

Personal hygiene

Dos

Drink Mate: this is not just a simple drink; Mate is close to the locals’ heart. The traditional tea is an absolute must-drink on every trip.

Visit a traditional BBQ: It is called asado in Uruguay and is at every corner.

Look for beaches that aren’t in the tourist centres. Challenge yourself to go off the beaten track – this is where you will find the real treasures.

Security – you don't have to worry about your safety in Uruguay!

Don'ts

Don't expect any fancy food: the locals are very conservative, something that is reflected in their cuisine. The same traditional dishes are served again, and there isn’t a lot of variety, but everything tastes delicious!

Don't expect Uruguay to be a low-priced country: South America is usually a backpacker's paradise but in comparison, this country is more expensive.

Do not expect modernity: Uruguay is a trip into the past. For example, this applies to music since they still listen to traditional sounds.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

No

Temporary national ID

No

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

Not necessary 

Vaccine

Yes

Additional Remarks.

If you travel to Uruguay, you should consult a health care provider before your departure to discuss vaccination requirements. We also recommend researching the visa requirements for your country before your departure. Vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, and a basic immunisation against polio are recommended. It is also recommended to have a vaccination against Hepatitis A and – in case of closer contact with locals – Hepatitis B as well.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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