ABOUT Uruguay is located in South America. It borders on the Republic of Brazil to the North, on the Republic of Argentina to the West through the Uruguay River, on the Río de la Plata to the South and on the Ocean to the East. Uruguay is well-known for its hot spring resorts, which combine the healing properties of their waters, spa and esthetic treatments, as well as aquatic parks. The museums, and historical houses and the art sites preserve the cultural heritage of their society, a living treasure made up not only by assets and evidences from the past, but also by the interpretations made by the new generations. Tightly related to the attractions in each destination, national and regional museums specialized in fine arts, anthropology, natural science, religion, history and sites, amongst other fields may be discovered all throughout Uruguay. The Art Museum of Durazno inside the House of Culture. A visit to this venue connects with the most important artistic expressions in the region. The General’s House is one of the most important historical monuments in which the Eastern Shore was created. In the middle of Independence Square is the mausoleum of General Jose Artigas. Inside, the most important events of the Father of the Uruguayan nation are remembered. Between the Districts of Minas and Piriápolis, there is a place that catches the eye of all visitors. It is the Castle of Piria, a building that submerges you deep into history. Located beneath the surface of the ground in Northwestern Uruguay, more precisely on the littoral area and always close to the Uruguay River, there lies one of the largest groundwater reservoirs in the world, the Guaraní Aquifer. This water system occupies part of the Argentinian, Brazilian, Paraguayan and Uruguayan territories. In the latter, the waters temperatures range between 38ºC and 46°C, which turns this site into an excellent place for the exploitation of thermal waters emerging from the depths of the Earth. The benefits of these waters have been known by men since ancient times and have been used as a source of health since time immemorial. As a result of their high content of mineral salts, the hot springs located in this Uruguayan region are used for immersion baths and turn out to be ideal to be consumed as drinks, as a stomach sedative and as a diuretic. The properties of the water and the wonderful natural surrounding environment have led to the development of an attractive and varied infrastructure to enjoy the water that comes out from the Earth. At present, important hot spring resorts await the visit of tourists who wish to enjoy “health tourism”. Reaching the country by air thirteen airlines arrive in the Carrasco International Airport, located in Montevideo. All of them sell regular commercial flights and air cargo. Situated 18 kilometers to the East of the downtown area, the main air terminal in the country is equipped with basic infrastructure, various amenities and international police, migration and Customs. Several private companies provide shuttles and taxis to town and to the hotels. Travelers must pay an airport tax of USD U$S 29 for international flights. Uruguay features a main paved road network with radial structure which responds to the characteristics of the territory and covers all communication needs in the inland areas. Over 80 passenger transportation companies offer various routes inside the Uruguayan territory. This is a convenient and inexpensive way of traveling inside the country. Tourists must hold a valid passport. They must also fill in a form for temporary admission. Mobile phones must be declared at Customs in order to get a line inside the country. Remember to declare all electronic items less than one year old, such as: photographic cameras, video cameras etc. In some places, it is advisable not to consume tap water, drink only mineral water and avoid eating fresh vegetables, fruit with skin and ice.
CLIMATE As it is located in the temperate zone of the Southern hemisphere, the climate at Uruguay is moderate with average temperatures ranging from 12ºC in the winter to 25ºC in the summer. Sunny days are predominant during almost the entire year. However, it is usual that the weather presents certain instability. The winds blowing from the North bring humidity and heat to the area, whereas the pampero gusts (the wind blowing from the pampas) and the Southern wind are colder and drier.
BEWARE Street crime exists in Montevideo, but is usually restricted to handbag snatching and pick-pocketing. Mugging and robberies (occasionally armed) do occur, but increased police patrols in Montevideo’s port and old town areas have helped reduce street crime. Where possible, you should consider keeping valuables in a hotel safe, and exercise caution when withdrawing money from ATM's. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing ostentatious jewellery. At night try to keep away from isolated or poorly lit areas and avoid walking downtown or in the port area alone. Other parts of Uruguay, including Punta del Este, are considered relatively safe, but you are nevertheless advised to remain alert and take similar precautions.