Deserted beaches, glamorous holiday spots, natural prairies, vast sand dunes are just a few of the diverse environments offered to those visiting Uruguay.

Visitors can go bird and whale watching, see hot springs, visit Unesco World Heritage Sites – Colonia del Sacramento and the Fray Bentos industrial landscape among them – and much more.

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Montevideo, the capital city, harmoniously combines modernity and tradition, while environmental conservation and protection put Uruguay at the forefront of sustainability.

Uruguay has mild weather year-round, without extreme seasons or dangerous climate phenomena.

Can you travel to Uruguay?

Due to Covid-19, visitors cannot enter Uruguay. At the moment, the only people who may enter the country are Uruguayan citizens and foreigners with permanent and legal residence in the country. Those foreign citizens who need to enter Uruguay for work-related purposes or family reunification are allowed to request an exceptional entry permit. Anyone arriving in Uruguay must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to Uruguay, and has instituted a ban on arrivals from Uruguay, which came into effect on January 15, after a new variant of coronavirus was identified in Brazil. Any British or Irish nationals, or those with UK residency, would also need to quarantine for 10 days at a government-listed hotel on their return.

How is Uruguay planning to reopen to tourism?

Uruguay is making preparations to receive tourists again, although there is no exact date for the opening of the borders.

The government is working to create strict protocols for travellers arriving at airports and ports, and for hotels, restaurants and shopping malls that have been approved by the Ministry of Public Health.

How can you travel to Uruguay?

In normal conditions, there are different ways to reach Uruguay.

By air: Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo has flight connections all over the world. Punta del Este and Colonia also have international airports.

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By land: A large road network connects the main cities in Mercosur with the principal Uruguayan tourist destinations, and a series of international bridges on the Uruguay River make distances even shorter.

By sea: There are daily lines of ferries and ships that connect Buenos Aires with Colonia and Montevideo, many of which can take vehicles as well as foot passengers. Numerous sports marinas also provide access to private vessels and yachts.

To reach Uruguay from the UK requires a connecting flight. The airlines that connect Europe with Uruguay (one stopover) are the following:

  • Iberia (stopover in Madrid)
  • Air Europa (stopover in Madrid)
  • Air France (stopover in Paris)
  • Latam (stopover in São Paulo)

Currently, the government is negotiating with different airlines to restart their flights.

Can cruise ships dock in Uruguay?

Uruguay is working hard to reopen its entry points to cruise ship tourists and land borders in a safe and sanitary manner.

To this end, the experiences of the humanitarian corridors used in the case of cruise ships such as Greg Mortimer, and the protocol for disembarking passengers and crew used in that case, have been taken into account.

Since May, a Binational Treaty of Sanitary Action has been in force between Uruguay and Brazil. In its framework the countries created a Single Sanitary Epidemiological Unit with a common criteria to solve new outbreaks in the area.

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What safety measures can tourists expect in Uruguay?

The use of face masks is mandatory on public transport and recommended on the streets or where the recommended social distance (1.5 metres) cannot be maintained.

Large family gatherings are not recommended. Special efforts are made to protect the citizens who are most at risk, the elderly and people with pre-existing illnesses.

Public services are open but with limited availability.

On June 26, the Uruguayan government approved regulations to reopen tourism, hotels, restaurants and swimming pools. The protocols include prevention measures for work in common areas, cleaning services, reception, plus social distancing, use of masks and alcohol gel.

It also takes precautions in case of Covid-19 infections. Each hotel and restaurant establishment will have a control stamp, which must be in a visible place on the entrance door.

For the time being, this protocol will be aimed at domestic tourism, as there is no definite date for opening the borders to international visitors.

PICTURES: Shutterstock

Last updated February 15, 2021