When thinking on going on vacation to South America, cities like Buenos Aires, Medellín, Santiago and Lima surely cross your mind but Montevideo… until now. After reading this article, the capital city from Uruguay will be your first option to visit.
The less traveled and underrated neighbor of Argentina, Uruguay, has a lot to offer, especially its capital city Montevideo.
Located on the southern coast of the country and just across Río de la Plata from Argentina, the difference between Montevideo and Buenos Aires resides on its laid-back attitude seen mostly on the beach, the café culture and the Parisian architecture.
Montevideo counts with 17 miles long seafront esplanade called Rambla. Locals spend a lot of time on the sandy river beaches of Río de la Plata, drinking mate and reading a book. A good thing about Montevideo is that its prices aren’t as inflated as other more popular and touristy cities of Latin America.
Even though the country’s population is very young (only the 15% of the population are above 60 years old), Montevideo is a city of traditions. You can have a coffee at Café Brasilero, which dates back to 1877, or dance tango at popular Baar Fun Fun. But tango isn’t the only rhythm you can enjoy in Montevideo. Across the city neighborhoods you can hear dozens of drummers banging the heavy beat of Candombe. African slaves brought this music to Uruguay in the 19th century and have this carnival-like performance feeling.
But if you are more a foodie type of person than a dancer, Mercado del Puerto is the place where you have to go. Get freshly baked empanadas, richest asados (broiled meat) and the freshest seafood platters, all with a cold beer or a glass of wine. The market opened its doors in 1868; its structure was build in Liverpool, England, and was shipped to Montevideo. Don’t miss Don García for a grilled steak and Los Pingüinos for a picada (wooden board piled with sliced cheese, different meats and olives).
And going back to that glass of wine that we mentioned earlier, even though Urugay doesn’t produce the same amount of wine as Argentina, local production is getting better. Taste a Chardonnay or Albariño at Boca Negra vinos y tapas or at Barolo Wine Bar. But if you want something different, try “medio y medio”, sweet sparkling wine mixed with a dry white wine. This drinks gained popularity in the late 19th century and now is a must when in Montevideo.
Now you know the secret: the hidden gem of Latin America is Montevideo.