Destination guide: Montevideo, Uruguay
Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay and one of the most beautiful cities in South America. It borders the Atlantic Ocean and, in each of its corners, you’ll find friendly, warmhearted people who welcome foreigners with open arms.
Fly with LAN to Montevideo and dance to the rhythm of milonga and tango, marvel at the colonial architecture of its historical center and enjoy the best of Uruguayan cuisine, with barbecues, pasties and sparkling wine.
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Montevideo - Practical Information
Montevideo lies almost directly across the Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires. For many visitors, the most intriguing area is the Ciudad Vieja, the formerly walled colonial grid straddling the western tip of a peninsula between the sheltered port and the wide-open river. Just east of the old town gate Puerta de la Ciudadela, the Centro (downtown) begins at Plaza Independencia, surrounded by historic public buildings of the republican era.
Av 18 de Julio, a major thoroughfare and traditionally the capital’s main commercial and entertainment zone, runs east from here through Plaza del Entrevero and Plaza Cagancha before reaching the Intendencia (town hall) at the Centro’s eastern edge. Street numbering is easy to follow – each city block represents a range of 50 numbers. Note that some streets change their name on either side of Av 18 de Julio.
From Plaza del Entrevero, Av Libertador General Lavalleja leads diagonally northeast to the imposing Palacio Legislativo, home of Uruguay’s General Assembly. At the northeastern end of Av 18 de Julio are Montevideo’s Tres Cruces bus terminal and Parque José Batlle y Ordóñez, home to the city’s 75,000-seat soccer stadium. Running north–south from the bus terminal to the beach and lighthouse at Punta Carretas is Bulevar Artigas, another major artery, while the nearby Av Italia becomes the Interbalnearia, the main highway east to Punta del Este and the rest of the Uruguayan Riviera.
Many points of interest lie beyond downtown. Westward across the harbor, 132m Cerro de Montevideo was a landmark for early navigators and still offers outstanding views of the city. Eastward, the Rambla, or waterfront road, leads past attractive Parque Rodó at the southern end of Bulevar Artigas, then snakes through a series of sprawling beach suburbs that are very popular with the capital’s residents in summer and on weekends. These include Punta Carretas, Pocitos, Buceo (home of the yacht club) and Carrasco, an exclusive residential district near the airport.
Weights & Measures
Nationals of Western Europe, Australia, the USA, Canada and New Zealand automatically receive a 90-day tourist card, renewable for another 90 days. Other nationals may require visas. For extensions, visit the Dirección Nacional de la Migración ([tel] 02-916-0471; Misiones 1513; [hrs] 9:15am-2:30pm Mon-Fri) in Montevideo, or local offices in border towns.
Personal belongings, camera gear, laptops, hand-held devices and other travel-related gear can be brought into the country. The export of archaeological items and goods made from rare or endangered animals, such as snake skins, cat pelts and jewelry made with teeth, are prohibited. Avoid carrying plants, seeds, fruits and fresh meat products across borders.
Most shops open weekdays and Saturday from 8:30am to 1pm, then close until mid-afternoon and reopen until 7pm or 8pm. Banks are generally open weekday afternoons only. If serving breakfast, restaurants open around 8am. Lunch is generally between noon and 3pm, and dinner is generally not eaten until after 9pm or even as late as midnight in urban areas. Bars may open as early as 6pm, but often remain empty until at least 1am, when everybody finally gets around to going out.
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