A safe country, growing, culturally alive and full of beauty: This is Uruguay's identity card. An evocative nation: you will have the opportunity to find yourself immersed in scenes of everyday life, herds of gauchos on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere or walks on the promenade amongst people sipping mate. If you visit the capital of Uruguay, you can't help but try the infusion of mate grass, which here besides being a habit is almost an institution. For a fascinating journey, cosmopolitan Montevideo, picturesque Sacramento Colony and the party-loving Punta del Este are great destinations.  If you want to dare and push yourself a little beyond the borders, there is a village that seems to have been suspended in time in Cabo Polonio. Discover with us the treasures of this nation.
  • Montevideo
  • Punta del Este
  • Casapueblo
  • Colonia del Sacramento
  • Piriapolis
  • Cabo Polonio
  • Punta del Diablo
  • La Paloma and La Pedrera
  • Fortezza di Santa Teresa

Montevideo

A sparkling and creative city with a rich cultural life that has multiple faces in its 20 kilometres of length. Montevideo knows how to change, from the industrial port to the exclusive district of Carrasco along the beach. In the business district in the city centre, styles mix, historic buildings flank other buildings developed with elegance and design. To the south-east the city is once again ready to change its identity with shopping malls alternating with seaside resorts, such as Punta Carretas and Pocitos

Un altro gioiello di Montevideo è dato dal Teatro Solis, ritenuto uno dei più bei teatri moderni del mondo. È il principale punto di riferimento per le arti dello spettacolo. Inaugurato nel 1856 e completamente rinnovato, ha un’acustica superlativa. Imperdibile il Mercado del Puerto, un tempo il più bel porto del Sudamerica, oggi trasformato in un centro pittoresco e vivace, costellato di ristoranti e mercati. È un posto animato e vivace, soprattutto nel weekend, e un luogo di ritrovo per gli artisti, gli artigiani e i musicisti di strada della città. Montevideo è anche sede di musei molto interessanti, a cominciare da quello del Gaucho. Con sede nel riccamente decorato Palacio Heber, questo museo riesce a trasmettere molto bene il profondo legame esistente tra i gauchos, il bestiame e la terra. La collezione di manufatti storici comprende tra l’altro bardature per cavalli, oggetti d’argento e utensili per il mate di ogni forma. Tra i musei più popolari anche Torres Garcia, che ospita opere appartenenti all'epoca dell'arte contemporanea e del cubismo, e spazia tra insoliti ritratti di icone storiche e dipinti affini a quelli di Picasso creati da Joacuin Torres Garcia. L'edificio ha un grande valore da un punto di vista architettonico e al suo interno ospita un teatro e una libreria molto popolare.

Per un momento da non dimenticare si può visitare il quartiere di Cerrito de la Victoria, nel centro-nord di Montevideo: si trova su una collina da cui si può godere un bellissimo panorama, mentre un tempo era usato dai militari per difendere e controllare la città. La costruzione principale del Cerrito de la Victoria è il Santuario nazionale, una delle più grandi chiese cattoliche dell'Uruguay. Tra gli altri quartieri che si possono visitare c’è El Prado, un barrio residenziale situato leggermente al di fuori della parte centrale della città. È una delle zone più tranquille di Montevideo, conosciuta anche come il “polmone della città”: qui sorge il Parque Prado, il più grande tra i 6 parchi pubblici di Montevideo. Nell’elenco delle cose da vedere non può mancare la Fortaleza del Cerro, fortezza costruita sull'omonima collina ad un'altezza di 134 metri che domina la città e la baia di Montevideo. Fu l'ultima fortezza spagnola costruita in Uruguay e dopo il 1888 perse la funzione militare restando comunque un importante edificio storico. Per chi, poi, vuole camminare e godersi la natura, non è possibile perdersi la Rambla, una lunga passerella che si sviluppa per oltre 22 km lungo la baia della capitale. Si tratta di uno dei luoghi più amati dalla gente del luogo, non solo per le numerose spiagge raggiungibili dai suoi accessi, ma anche per le tante attività che si possono svolgere durante il tempo libero: rilassanti passeggiate, jogging, yoga, pattini, skateboard.

The city’s soul is never still, creativity lives in theatres in music, in dance venues where you candance or try out tango. In Ciudad Vieja you will find iconic buildings and historic districts. One of the first attractions is the Puerta de la Ciudadela: Montevideo was born on this ancient colonial fortress. Breathe Plaza Independencia and the historic palaces of the capital, starting with the Justice building in the Estevez Palace. Admire the Iglesia Matriz, a building that was built in 1799. Don't forget Taranco Palace, once the residence of the family of the same name. A unique style and original décor that surprises. It hosts the Museum of Decorative Arts.
We then come to the Solis Theatre, one of the world's best-known modern theatres. It is one of the country’s main cultural centres. Its strong point is its acoustics, while its history begins in 1856. Over the years it has undergone several renovations. To experience the local traditions and to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the capital it takes a leap into the Mercado del Puerto, a sparkling and colourful centre, which opens onto restaurants and markets. At the weekend it is now one of the meeting places for young people, but also meeting point artists and craftsmen.
The culture in Montevideo is also in museums as you realise from the start, from that of the Gaucho. The link between gauchos, livestock and land is the essence of its collections and environments. The Palacio Heber is home to a collection of historical artefacts. There's a bit of everything from tools for mate to tools for horse harnesses, to silver objects. The Torres Garcia Museum is also famous: it contains a range from Cubist to contemporary works. You breathe a particular style, influenced by a mixture of history and modernism, which in several paintings of the exhibitions, is influenced by Picasso. Inside the building there is also a bookshop and a theatre.
For an unmissable moment you can visit the neighbourhood of Cerrito de la Victoria, a small fortress north of the capital: the view from the hill is wonderful. Then enter the National Shrine, a symbol church of Uruguay. Other neighbourhoods you can visit include El Prado, a residential barrio located outside the central part of the city. It is one of the quietest areas of Montevideo, defined as the "city lung": here stands Parque Prado, the largest of Montevideo's 6 public parks. 
In the list of things to see, you can't miss the Fortaleza del Cerro, a fortress towering over Montevideo at 134 metres on a hill. Built by the Spaniards, it soon lost his military and defensive function, becoming of significant historical value. For those who want to walk and enjoy nature, you can't miss the Rambla, a picturesque walkway along the bay of the capital. From here you can do a bit of everything: go on to the beaches, walk or do some sports. Or just relax and get lost in one of the clubs or shops that are cut off by this street that extends for 22 kilometres.

Punta del Este

Mild climate, fantastic beaches, crystal clear waters and even a lot of movida with so many VIPs that have been flocking to it for a few years now. They call it the "Saint Tropez of South America." Punta del Este is a popular resort all over South America for its natural beauty, even with a headland that stretches into the ocean. It has two beaches with opposing souls: Playa Mansa ("calm") and Playa Brava ("lively"). 
Mansa is a calm beach, ideal for families, more sheltered from currents and suitable to relax and enjoy a day in the sun. Brava, on the other hand, is perfect for surfing, given the height of the waves. It is frequented by young sportsmen from all over South America. Among the peculiarities of the beach, also the presence of the sculpture of a hand.  
"Avenida Gorlero" is the main road and a very busy boulevard full of people at all hours of day and night.  Shops, clubs, a swarm of colours and opportunities.  If you are passionate about local crafts, take a few steps in Artigas Square. In Punta del Este there is also space for culture with the Ralli museum: it hosts an incredible collection of Modern and contemporary Latin American art, along with other modernist and postmodern European pieces. 
Located in the Beverly Hills neighbourhood, a collection of opulent houses, immense gardens with pools full of luxury and design, reminiscent of the American dream. Around Punta del Este there are other small villages worth visiting: Portezuelo and Solanas.  Beauty will captivate you on Isla de Lobos. Here the atmosphere is magical with dozens of sea lions and the elegance of a lighthouse, which is one of the tallest in the world. 

Casapueblo

Inspiration, magic, creativity: this is what the village of Casapuebloencapsulates, located in Punta Ballena, which in turn is a wonderful peninsula 13 km from Punta del Este. It is the visionary creation of Carlos Vilari, the great Uruguayan artist who dedicated his life to creating this "living sculpture", made of white houses, like small white nests: a work of art dug in stone, perched on the cliff. 
An irregular building that develops over 13 floors, which draws inspiration from the white of the Greek islands and especially from the nests of the hornero bird, which have a kind of small opening on the side and resemble small ovens.
Vilari, who had travelled extensively and had been filled with contaminations and colours from Buenos Aires to Barcelona, decided to create a unique space that knew how to blend in with the landscape in this area east of the Uruguayan coast The buildings had La Pionera, a small tin house, as its centre. Over the years it has been transformed into a house-atelier, full of ingenuity and architectural audacity.
The transformation has continued. Over the years, buildings overlooking the sea have become meeting places and cultural sharing centres: amongst exhibitions, presentations and events. There is also a hotel and an restaurant. In the area tributes to the sun have become famous: on the bay of Portezuelo it has become a rite, almost a custom, that fascinates tourists, to make a greeting to the horizon during sunset.

Colonia del Sacramento

The journey towards magic and enchantment can continue in Colonia del Sacramento, in southwest Uruguay. You will find tranquillity and a warm welcome, and you will feel as if time has stopped. It's a quiet and welcoming destination, where time seems to have stopped. The old town, enriched by stone streets, which are small jewels, represents a successful and perfect fusion between Spanish architecture, Portuguese style and post-colonial influences. For this reason, it was chosen as a Unesco World Heritage Site and became a set for several period films. You can visit a pretty square and the remains of some buildings, including the ruins of the Governor's House.
The Basilica of the Holy Sacrament is one of the Uruguay's oldest treasures.  The style is simple and there is a curious fact about it: it was built in 1500 on the a farm estate. If you want to live in a quiet space where colourful houses give life to a truly unique environment, take a walk, go along Calle de los Suspiros, there will be some corners to look at that will make you sigh for real.
The enchantment is not over, as the shops maintain traces of the ancient houses. There are other important historical points like the Porton de Campo: the historical symbol of Colonia. For those who want a romantic moment or want a particular perspective, there is also a lighthouse, built in 1855. In the same area before there was a convent.
In addition to charm, architecture and history, Colonia also offers beaches that extend for over 5 kilometres, amongst the most popular, Playa Oreja de Negro, Playa Honda, Playa el Elamo. The port of Colonia is, on the other hand, the perfect place for a sunset stroll and to dine in one of the many outdoor restaurants. If you continue, you will find the Bastion Theatre de Carmen. It was a soap factory, then it was transformed in 1880. In addition to the theatre there is a gallery in which part of the ancient walls has been incorporated. The two facilities host exhibitions and events.

Piriapolis

Now we will return symbolically to Italy. Piriapolis is a town located one hundred kilometres from Montevideo, and whose history is deeply linked to Liguria. It was founded by an Italian entrepreneur, Francesco Piria, who took as a reference Diano Marina, the town in the province of Imperia where he had gone to study to escape the war. The two cities are similar as well, and not only for the Mediterranean climate. 
Piria decided to create a kind of holiday retreat for the inhabitants of Montevideo, on the model of Italian seaside resorts. The response was immediate and full of enthusiasm. The inhabitants of Montevideo began to choose Piriapolis as a destination for a trip or for a weekend holiday full of relaxation. To welcome them there was even a monumental hotel, Hotel de los Argentinos, an avant-garde model for many years.
The present remains full of curiosity: from the "Rambla" waterfront to the house of Piria, which is a real castle. Then take the scenic chairlift and enjoy the hills, reminiscent of Liguria. Piriapolis had its moment of glory in the 1970s, many actors and artists chose it as a holiday resort, including Ringo Starr.

Cabo Polonio

There had to be a place suspended in the time where nature was pristine and technology, something superfluous: Cabo Polonio. To the northeast of La Paloma, there is the junction for one of the wildest areas of Uruguay. This is where you can find a small fishing village amongst the sand dunes, on a rocky headland and with s a solitary lighthouse. In 2009, the region was declared a national park and the Uruguayan government has decided to protect it and enhance it with different projects.
Armed with patience, the area is accessible on foot with a 7 km walk or with the help of an off-road vehicle. Despite the growing tourist turnout, Cabo Polonio is still one of Uruguay's most rustic coastal villages. There are no bank branches and electricity is also scarce, produced exclusively by generators and solar and wind farms.
In the village there is a lighthouse, which in 1976 became Uruguay's historical monument. You can climb to the top and enjoy spectacular views, climbing 132 steps. Behind the rocks the main attraction is colonies of seals and sea lions. The origin of the location name dates back to 1735, when a Spanish galleon called "Polonio" was shipwrecked here as a result of a tremendous storm.

Punta del Diablo

Minimalist, but full of charm: Punta del Diablo it is located in the department of Rocha, almost 300 km from Montevideo. In winter the inhabitants are fishermen and artisans, in summer it becomes a sparkling place and frequented by tourists, not only South Americans.
The rules for preserving the beauty of the place are strict: there are no luxury hotels and the buildings cannot be too high. On the coast you will find houses full of colours, small shops and restaurants. In Punta del Diablo visitors can enjoy the white beaches along 10 kilometres of coastline, the landscapes that know how to mix delicacy with a certain angularity, the ocean with its clear waters, popular with surfers. 
You will be able to enjoy even unusual details, such as those of the colours and eclectic shapes of the fishermen's boats: proof of a past life in which they lived together only with seagulls, but also of an activity that continues to this day. For nature lovers, there are also walks and trails to admire the views and landscape beauties. To immerse yourself in the traditions you can then visit the Craftsmen's Fair, which offers typical seafood dishes and street shows. In the evenings in the area there are bars where you can listen to music or places where young people can have fun.

La Paloma and La Pedrera

Two neighbouring villages, in the Rocha department. They are the ideal destination for those who want take a trip or gift yourself a day off by the sea. Paloma offers unique beaches and varied nature: it ranges from rocky coves with deep water, to expanses of white sand. Among the main areas in the area are Los Botes, New, Anaconda, Zanja Honda, La Serena, La Aguada, Costa Azul, Arachania, El Cabito. 
A few kilometres from La Paloma we find Laguna de Rocha, an unspoiled oasis where nature is the protagonist and where you can admire a landscape full of nuances and many animal species. The Pedrera is, on the other hand, another seaside resort very popular with families. In addition to the beaches where you can relax or practice sports, you can enjoy the sparkling city centre with its small shops and restaurants that will be able to cook you traditional Uruguayan dishes.

Fortezza di Santa Teresa

History and nature can live together in the same area. An important historical record is represented by Fortezza di Santa Teresa, which is located in the Rocha department. It was the Portuguese who finished the defensive construction that was supposed to protect the natural corridor on the way between Rio Grande and Maldonado. Inside the property you can also visit a chapel and several rooms with vintage military equipment.

Leave for Uruguay with Costa Cruises

Che si voglia partire dalla storia e dalle tradizioni di Montevideo per riemergere nei quartieri più moderni o residenziali della capitale o che si voglia puntare sulla bellezza dell’Oceano e delle scintillanti occasioni, il risultato non cambia: l’Uruguay è un paese che deve essere scoperto e apprezzato non solo per i suoi tesori artistici e paesaggistici, ma anche per il suo crescente sviluppo che ha portato un miglioramento economico e sociale nella popolazione.  Tra i meriti ci sono anche quelli della cucina in cui il piccolo paese sudamericano sa dire la propria e stupire. Tra i piatti tipici c’è l’asado, un misto di carni grigliate e al fuoco tramite un procedimento che mantiene il cibo tenero e succoso. C’è poi il chivito, un panino con bistecca tagliata a fettine, verdure, formaggio, olive e sottaceti. Il piatto tradizionale per eccellenza, però, è il dulce de leche, una crema dolce di latte, simile al caramello. E ora con l’acquolina in bocca e con le idee chiare su quello che si può vedere in Uruguay, non vi resta che scegliere la prossima meta delle vostre vacanze.

Uruguay is a country that needs to be discovered and appreciated, whether you want to start with the history and traditions of Montevideo to re-emerge in the capital's most modern or residential districts, whether you want to focus on the beauty of the ocean and glittering occasions. We can also add artistic and landscape treasures, but let's also consider it for its development and its social projects that have led to economic and social improvement in the population. 
You can't ignore the treasures of Montevideo and Punta del Este, or visionary wonders of Casapueblo, that you can visit with Costa excursions. Among the merits and discoveries that can be made there are also those related to the cuisine, something with which this small South American country knows how to have its say and surprise people. Typical dishes include asado, a mixture of grilled and fire-cooked meats through a process that keeps food tender and juicy.
Then there's the chivito, a sandwich with sliced steak, vegetables, cheese, olives and pickles. The traditional dish for excellence, however, is the dulce de leche, a sweet cream of milk, similar to caramel. And now with your mouth watering and clear ideas about what you can see in Uruguay, you just have to choose the next destination of your holidays.

Depart with Costa Cruises