Uruguay is a relatively small country in southeastern South America. Its name comes from the Guarani’ language meaning “river where the painted birds live”, and refers to the Uruguay River, of which Uruguay is located on its eastern bank. It is bordered by Brazil to the east and Argentina, across the Uruguay River, to the west.

More on Uruguay

Covering 176,215 sq km (68,037 sq mi), Uruguay has a population of just 3.4 million (2011 estimate). Its capital and largest city is Montevideo. Uruguay is three hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-3) and two hours in summer. Traffic is driven on the right here. The phone IDD code is +598.

Uruguay is the most economically developed country in South America, with the highest nominal GDP and the highest ranking in Human Development Index. It is also regarded as one of the least corrupt country in Latin America. In 2010, Uruguay had a nominal GDP of $40.714 billion, equivalent to a per capita GDP of $12,130. Its per capita GDP at purchasing power parity stood at $14,342.

The Spanish arrived in present-day Uruguay in 1516, but due to native hostility and absence of precious metal ores such as gold and silver, did not make any colonial inroads until the 17th century. For a while both Spain and Portugal vie for control of Uruguay.

Uruguay declared its independence from Spain in 1825, though the independence was only recognized in 1828. As with the rest of South America, Uruguay had its share of unrest, particularly in the 1950’s when demand for Uruguay’s agricultural products brought a steep decline in living standard resulting in labor unrest.

Uruguay was in a state of emergency from 1968 and lived through the 1970’s in a constant state of political turmoil. Democracy only returned to the country after the national elections of 1984.

Planning your visit to Uruguay

Visitors who do not need a visa to enter Uruguay include the nationals of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa_Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech_Republic, Denmark, Dominican-Republic, Ecuador, El_Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong_Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New_Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South_Africa, South_Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United_Kingdom, United_States and Venezuela.

The main airport and gateway to Uruguay is Carrasco General Cesa’reo L. Berisso International Airport, located 5 km from downtown Montevideo. Most flights is between destinations in South America, the only exceptions being the American Airlines flight from Miami and the Iberia flight from Madrid.

Major Cities in Uruguay

1. Montevideo – capital
2. Chuy
3. Colonia
4. Durazno
5. La_Paloma
6. Paysandu’
7. Piria’polis
8. Punta_del_Este
9. Salto

Places of Interest in Uruguay

1. Cabo Polonio
2. Fortaleza de Santa Teresa
3. Punta del Diablo

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Uruguay

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