Uruguay

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Flag of Uruguay Uruguay
Information
Language: Spanish
Capital: Montevideo
Population: 3,477,779
Currency: Uruguayan peso (UYU)
Hitchability: <rating country='uy' />
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<map lat='-32.6' lng='-55.5' zoom='6' view='0' height='300'/>

Uruguay is a country in South America.

More than half of Uruguay's population is concentrated in the capital of Montevideo, meaning a very low population density in the country's interior. In the Uruguayan countryside you will doubtlessly encounter some of the most laid back, friendly folks you could imagine. Humble, generous and curious about anyone passing through, it is the people rather than the geography that make travel memorable in this overlooked corner of the continent. A stable, democratic country with low levels of corruption, high levels of education, and the noticeable absence of the class division, Uruguay is often called the Switzerland of South America. Check it out. The tranquility of the countryside and the openness of the people will leave an impression on any traveler.

As far as hitchhiking/vagabond traveling go, Uruguay's a pretty easy place to hang out. Probably about 1 in 4 cars will give you a lift (outside of Montevideo). Unfortunately there are many stretches of desolate (but pretty) highway where you'll be lucky to see 4 cars pass in an hour. Expect long waits. The coast, from Chuy to Colonia De Sacramento, is more trafficked and therefore an easier place to get a lift. The beaches aren't stunning but there are some cool towns, sand dunes, and even sea lions to be seen. Whether arriving to or departing from Montevideo, expect to use public transportation to get you into/out of town.

Sleeping out

Montevideo is the only city in the country where it's not recommended to sleep on the street. In the rest of the country, you can sleep rough without a care. Football stadiums are recommended. Scale a wall, watch out for night shift workers, and cozy up in a press box. Pretty luxurious. And you can shower at just about any service station for a dollar or two.

Food

Don't forget to try alfajores, a cookie-ish delicacy. Opt for homemade ones or the brand Punta Ballena. And to maximize your experience, you'll need to drink a lot of mate. For Uruguayans, yerba mate is practically a religion. Everyone carries a thermos and a mate gourd pretty much everywhere they go. "Me convidas con un mate?" is a good way to start a conversation and make a new friend. If you really wanna make friends here, point out that Uruguay advanced further in the World Cup than its two football powerhouse neighbors. And of course, Forlan is better than Messi.