Published on August 11th, 2015 | by Mark Chesnut
You-drive-it Uruguay: 4 Must-see Car Rental Road Trips in South America
As one of South America’s tiniest nations, Uruguay is naturally an easy place to explore by rental car. With its good infrastructure, diverse vacation offerings and short travel times, the destination makes for easy rental car road trips. So if you’re planning a vacation or a business trip to Uruguay, consider renting a car and hitting the road to see even more of this beautiful and fascinating nation.
To rent a car in Uruguay, most foreign visitors just need to present a driver’s license, passport and credit card.
Here are 4 must-see destinations for any rental car road trip in Uruguay.
Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, is a gateway hub for many visitors. Founded in 1724, it’s served today by Carrasco International Airport, and is a lively metropolis with lots of tourism activities and attractions. Top picks include the Ciudad Vieja, the oldest part of the city, Plaza de Independencia, the soaring Palacio Salvo (one of South America’s tallest buildings), and the national history museum, which is set in several historic former homes. Other cultural institutions include the Museum of Natural History, the Museo del Carnaval and the National Museum of Anthropology. You’ll also want to make time to stroll the Rambla, the waterfront promenade, and to sample fresh meats and pasta, prepared Uruguayan style.
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2. Colonia del Sacramento
For a trip back in time, head to Colonia del Sacramento, a historic small city founded in 1680 along the banks of Río de la Plata. The historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is great for strolling and photography; you’ll want to park your car so you can stroll down the postcard-perfect streets and explore buildings that date to the days when the city was founded by the Portuguese. Top sites include the Portón de Campo (a city gate with a wooden drawbridge), the lighthouse and ruins of the 17th-century Convento de San Francisco and the Basílica del Santísimo Sacramento, a stone basilica built by the Portugues in 1808. The municipal museum features exhibits about the region’s rich history. (See the UNESCO video below for a glimpse of the beautiful architecture.)
3. Vineyards of Uruguay
You may hear more about the wines of Argentina and Chile (they are, after all, larger countries). But the wines of Uruguay more than hold their own as well, and the vineyards — which are close to the town of Carmelo, not far from Colonia — provide rewarding stops for car rental road trips in Uruguay. Top vineyards include Cordano Almacén de la Capilla, one of the oldest, Familia Irurtia, which also hosts dance performances, and El Legado.
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4. Punta del Este
For sun and sand, visit Punta del Este, the ever-stylish vacation paradise on the Atlantic coast. Peak season here is in July and August. You can enjoy Uruguay vacation activities here that range from boating to fishing, but beaches and nightlife play a big role in the destination’s long-standing popularity with the in crowd. Large luxury hotels like the Conrad and small, stylish boutique hotels like Vik assure that you’ll have a comfortable place to rest from your drive around Uruguay.