Being one of the smallest South American countries, the Republic
of Uruguay is largely overshadowed on the tourism map by its more
popular and bigger neighbours, Brazil and Argentina. However this
largely flat country of rolling plains, hilly meadows and rivers,
bordered by hundreds of miles of fine sandy Atlantic beaches,
sports some fascinating towns (including its atmospheric capital,
Montevideo), unspoilt seaside resorts, and some of the cheapest and
most delectable steaks you will find anywhere.
From the charming cobbled old town of Colonia del Sacramento (a
UNESCO World Heritage Site) hung with flowering jasmine, to its
cattle ranches populated with daring
(cowboys) and the bright, brash
international beach resort of Punta del Este, Uruguay is a
playground to delight any traveller.
Uruguay was first colonised by Spain during the 16th and 17th
centuries, having been spared the worst of the conquest of the
Americas by the fact that the country had no gold or silver. The
Spanish introduced cattle farming, and beef exports today remain
the mainstay of the Uruguay economy, along with a fast-growing
Politically the country is stable, economically it is fairly
prosperous, and it has one of the lowest crime rates in South
America. Add to this its friendly and welcoming people, and the
wonderful, sultry summer sunshine, and most people will find that
Uruguay is one of the world's most accommodating destinations.