Driving Guide Uruguay

Uruguay Driving Guide

Uruguay is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

2021-04-09 · 9min read

There are a handful of misconceptions when people are talking about Uruguay. Questions start to build up about the country regarding its location, activities you can do there, and whether people even know about this country, and it doesn’t stop there. Uruguay may be small if you look at it on the world map, but it offers a vast room for exploration with several tourist spots here and there. Give this place a chance, and who knows, maybe you’ll end up coming back for more.

How Will This Guide Help You?

If you’re looking for a countryside experience with a hint of glistening sandy beaches, then you’re on the right page. Take this guide with you as you wander its busy streets, indulge in the region’s etiquette’s driving rules, and discover places and activities that are unique to Uruguay. You’ll also find some tips and tricks to help you understand their livelihood and a typical Uruguayan day.

General Information

Uruguay is part of the fifteen countries that make up South America. Brazil and Argentina overshadow Uruguay as two of the largest bordering countries with similar cultures and practices that are passed down for generations. If this isn’t on your checklist, then you’d better reconsider your decision.

This tucked-away country is a blend of Argentine plains and Brazilian cordilleras or mountain ranges. It is one of the select countries for infrastructure despite its size compared to other Southern American countries. As you head to its busy roads and sidewalks, you’ll be surprised how progressive Uruguay is, from its dependable bureaucracy to the alluring lifestyle choices to choose from, and here’s how you can start.

Geographic Location

Uruguay is the second smallest country after Suriname. Due to its advantageous location, the region is one of South America’s progressive nations. You can locate the Southern Hemisphere country between 53 and 58 west longitudes and 30 and 35 south latitude. Argentina borders it on the west and Brazil on the north and northeast.

Languages Spoken

Almost all the Uruguayan citizens speak and write in Spanish or Uruguayan Spanish to communicate in their everyday life. The Spaniards have imparted their culture, especially their language, to the first Uruguayan people who lived in the area. But there are people, the minorities of the population who have settled that speak Italian, Portuguese, German, Plautdietsch, and Russian.

Land Area

The country has a total land area of 176,215 km² where an export-oriented agricultural sector dominates it. You will notice plains, valleys, and elevated regions similar to southern Brazil. Products such as wheat, soybeans, livestock, beef, and fish are some of their lands' uses. Uruguay’s workforce is well-educated and paid sufficiently, and that’s how their economy is always on top of the game.

History

The land where Uruguay stands now has once supported a small population of 5,000 to 10,000 Charua Indians. The Spanish colonizers took over the ground and began to settle in the 16th and 17th centuries. After some years of resisting during the 18th century, Uruguay became an independent country in 1825. The government is still developing and proves to be a progressive region that offers many opportunities and destinations for visitors and travelers alike.

Government

Uruguay is a constitutional democratic country. The president is elected for a five-year term and becomes the head of state, and oversees the government. S/he gets to choose the cabinet members, sets the government policy, and controls the nation’s legislature. Overall, the country has 19 departments, and an elected governor heads each of the divisions.

Tourism

Several visitors and travelers ask, “Is going to Uruguay expensive?” Truth be told, the country has a stable economy, good governance, and a better quality of life for its constituents among all the South American countries. With these attributes, Uruguay earned its title, “The Switzerland of South America.” Though the pandemic crisis affected the visitor count for the past months, the region boasts its high-rise buildings, colonial homes, and vast wine industry.

Uruguay has over 3.4 million inhabitants, and almost a third of them live in Montevideo, the capital. Montevideo is known and tagged as the “City of Roses” because of the marvelous gardens and parks. The country welcomed approximately 3.22 million visitors in 2019 and ranked 35 out of 165 countries for safety and peace order, data taken from the Global Peace Index in 2020.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

Uruguay is an excellent place to chill and relax. You don’t need to worry if you have the intention to commute and try their public transport or drive your way through their streets as they are completely safe even for first-time travelers. If you’re wondering if you need an English international Uruguay permit, then here’s what you need to know about international driver’s licenses and how to acquire them.

Is A Local Driver’s License Valid in Uruguay?

Foreign drivers are allowed to drive around Uruguay roads, given that it is supported by an international driver’s permit or IDP. Driving in Uruguay without an IDP will be subject to a road rule offense as the local authorities disapprove of this action. You can obtain your international driver’s permit at the International Driver’s Association’s website and fill out the essential details for a smooth and easy transaction.

Does an International Driver’s Permit Replace a Native Driver’s License?

An international driver’s permit does not replace your valid driver licenses. It is a translation of your local license to avert any language barrier between your country of origin and the country you plan to visit. Obtaining an international driver’s permit gives you an advantage as it will serve as your ticket when you rent a car for a more private experience. But note that your IDP will never be used as a substitute for your valid ID; it’s just a permit only for driving purposes.

Who Can Apply for an International Driver’s Permit?

Any foreign tourists and travelers are encouraged to obtain an international driver’s permit as long as they are 18 years old and a valid driver’s license holder. If you are driving in Uruguay with a license issued from your origin country, it should be accompanied by an IDP all the time. Your IDP will protect you and the people you’re with should there be an unexpected accident while you’re driving abroad. 4

The international driver’s permit in Uruguay is authorized by the 1943 Washington Convention, 1949 Geneva Convention, and the 1969 Vienna Convention. These current road rules regulations govern and oversee all the international driving matters in the state.

Who Needs an International Driver’s Permit?

Primarily, you need to get an International Driver's Permit if your plan includes hiring a car from a local car rental company. Skipping the commute process and grabbing a private vehicle for your scheduled itinerary, driving in Uruguay with an IDP makes your travel experience a lot easier. If you trouble yourself with all the requirements, an international Uruguay permit can be delivered straight to your doorstep as the IDA provides express shipping.

How Long is an International Driver’s Permit Valid?

The legal validity of an international driver’s permit in Uruguay is one (1) year. That is why all foreign drivers should be mindful of the date that their IDP will expire, as it is prohibited to drive with an expired IDP, let alone a local driver’s license only. Ensure to provide your correct zip code, as driving in Uruguay is not permitted without an IDP.

All other foreign drivers are expected to obtain their individual international driver’s permit to operate around the vicinity. The authorities are firm with the road rules implemented, so you have to keep it somewhere safe and accessible should there be a random check from the local traffic enforcers. Updates on international Uruguay permits can be checked using the International Driver’s Association’s website.

Renting a Car in Uruguay

Every traveler has contrasting tastes when it comes to exploring the place s/he visits. Others may enjoy commuting, but driving around Uruguay is your best option to cut the dilemma of riding public transport here and there. The country comprises elevated grasslands severed by small rivers. Renting a car saves you time and energy to get to your planned destination, so here are some tips to consider as you create your itinerary in Uruguay.

Car Rental Companies

Uruguay has different car rental companies to choose from, such as Avis, SunnyCars, Keddy, Europcar, Hertz, and more. If you plan on driving in Uruguay, your UK license or any local license will be presented to the company of your choice. There’s nothing wrong with hiring one once you reach the airport, but chances are it will be more expensive as they charge you more than booking it online. Car rental companies with most offices found in cities are:

  • Avis: 12 locations
  • Europcar: 9 locations
  • SunnyCars: 12 locations
  • Hertz: 8 locations
  • Keddy: 10 locations
  • National Car Rental: 8 locations

Documents Required

It is imperative always to prepare all the documents needed to drive abroad. You should bring your valid passport, visa, an international driver’s permit to support your native driving license, and the car insurance documents issued by your chosen car rental company. These will be checked should there be a checkpoint on the road you’re taking, so it’s best to prepare than to delay your road trip.

Vehicle Types

There are multiple selections of vehicle types that you rent once you reach the borders of Uruguay. Driving in Uruguay is made possible due to their vast, cemented roads for a better driving experience. Vehicle types range from economy to SUV cars, preferred by group travelers and even first-time goers. Station wagons, pickup trucks, and luxury vehicles are also booked by foreign drivers online.

Driving in Montevideo, Uruguay, signage is much more convenient if you’re traveling with your family and friends. Pro tip here, you should book a car from rental car places in Montevideo at least one day before your travel date; this will get you a below-average price than booking it on the day of your travel.

Car Rental Cost

On average, a car rental in Uruguay costs $121/day. But there are cheap rentals for travelers on a tight budget and prefer a private tour. Car rental such as Avis is $27/day, Dollar at $50/day, and Sixt at $38/day. Be sure to fasten your seatbelts and make yourself aware of the road signs as you hit the road!

To make it easier for you, here are some most rented vehicle types and how much do each of them cost:

  • Economy: $34/day
  • SUV: $99/day
  • Compact: $40/day
  • Minivan: $165/day
  • Standard: $40/day
  • Luxury: $173/day
  • Intermediate: $44/day
  • Pickup Truck: $119/day
  • Commercial: $49/day
  • Standard SUV: $219/day

Age Requirements

The minimum age requirement for a Uruguayan citizen to obtain a driver’s license is 18 years old. If you rent a car, rental companies allow drivers who are ages 23 years old and beyond and a holder of a local driver’s license for at least one year. Furthermore, some companies require a young driver surcharge (fee depends on the company) for local ad foreign drivers 25 years old and below.

If you don’t have one yet, your IDP can be accessed online through the International Driver’s Association’s website. You just need to fill out the information asked, and you can have it delivered straight to your home as IDA provides express shipping. Ensure you type in the correct information, such as your address, and your international Uruguay permit is good to go

Car Insurance Cost

Car rental companies have varied prices for insurance coverage. You can choose if you add a Roadside Assistance Cover that costs UYU 426.17 - UYU 639.26 per day or a Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) around UYU 852.35 - UYU 1,278.52 per day. It is expensive to add these coverages, but it is best to stick with the car rental company’s standard or minimum legal coverage if you’re on a budget.

Car Insurance Policy

When you pick a car rental company, never leave the office if they haven’t given you the car insurance documents. Though cases like these are rare, the company should inform you of the insurance before you hit the road. Most car rental companies cover the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), while some have Personal Accident Insurance (PAI). You need to clarify this to the company or add features you think you will need for your travel.

If an unexpected circumstance such as an accident happens to you while driving in Uruguay or the city you’re in, immediately dial 911 for police, medical, and fire assistance. Your car rental company will also help handle the concern as stated in the agreement you signed with them.

Road Rules in Uruguay

Uruguay may be a small country, but its people don’t want to move and live somewhere because there’s no place like this region. Its calming beaches and wistful countryside vibe have bewitched travelers into coming back for a convenient experience. And they indeed come around for more.

Important Regulations

The road rules inside the borders are similar to what you’re following in the country of your origin. Some road signs are written in Spanish, but some signage is translated into English to guide foreign drivers. You have to watch out for these signs along the way as they will warn, inform, and prohibit you as you head on the main and rural roads.

Drunk-driving

Uruguay has palmy beaches and hefty resorts that spark upbeat vibes and nightlife for active travelers. And what way to enjoy this ambiance without a drink or two, right? But a word of caution here: you can drink but don’t ever attempt to drive, and there’s no way around it.

Drink-driving is a major offense in the region. The government has imposed zero tolerance on drinking and driving, and all locals and foreign travelers must observe this policy. This regulation was first enacted in 2015, where the old rule for alcohol blood level was 0.03% or 30 mg/ltr blood. The authorities have the right to revoke Uruguayan licenses and confiscate foreign driving licenses for six months should you be deemed under the influence of alcohol.

Intersection roads

Many intersection roads are found in main cities like Montevideo, and some don’t have stop signs installed. Foreign drivers find this setup confusing at first, but once you learn the ropes, it will be easier the next time around. Furthermore, the car to the right has the right of way. So, if you’re new to this, you just need to look on your left and if the vehicle stops when he sees a car on your right, then stop as well.

One-way streets

One-way streets are a thing as you take the driving routes in Uruguay. Almost every city has one-way streets, even in tiny places you can imagine. But the good thing here is it doesn’t disturb the flow of traffic as long as you make sure that that specific road is a one-way street. Don’t worry; signage indicates the flow of direction, so you just need to keep an eye on those signs before making that turn.

Drugs and driving

Driving when you’re under the influence of illegal drugs is strictly prohibited by the authorities. This action will cause unwanted accidents on the road that will endanger other drivers’ lives as well. If proven, you will be held in custody, pay a huge fine, and be jailed for executing such atrocious behavior.

Driving in Uruguay

One driving rule in Uruguay is that headlights must be turned on all the time, whether it's daytime and especially at night. It’s similar to other countries’ road rules, such as Finland, where they keep their headlights on no matter the time; it must be kept on. The same orders apply in Uruguay, and the government mandates it.

Parking

You might have difficulty finding parking spots in Montevideo, especially during summer where tourists flood the area. Street parking is free everywhere on Sundays, but parking lots are paid via Kiosk, parking App, or SMS.

General Standards of Driving

The motorists and public transport drivers strictly observe the driving rules in Uruguay. And as a foreign driver, you should be aware of these rules so that you won’t get in trouble, may it be from a fellow driver or a traffic enforcer. Having it said, here are some general rules that will help you as you navigate the streets of Uruguay.

Speed Limits

Driving routes in Uruguay include intersection roads, one-way streets, highways, and secondary roads. Like any country in this world, the government has regulated speed limits depending on the route you are using. Since 2017, they keep adding speed cameras around Montevideo to catch drivers who tend to over-speed in an unlikely street or road.

Speed limits help maintain the flow of traffic and avert car collisions and remote accidents. For urban areas' roads, the speed limit is 45/60/75 km/h. Open roads and highways are at 90/110 km/h. If you don’t want to get a ticket from a traffic enforcer, it is advisable to follow these speed limits and pay attention to the road all the time.

Seatbelt Laws

Seatbelts are mandatory for both local and foreign travelers. It is a requirement to wear seatbelts placed at the front and rear seats. Children below 12 years old should occupy the back seat and be accompanied by an adult. Many instances have been recorded that seat belts have saved lives during unexpected car collisions, so the government encourages people to utilize them.

The United Nations has introduced car seats for children should they ride a vehicle. This method has been adopted by countries such as Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and most of Asia. Car seat models ECE R44 and R129 are intended for travel use whenever babies and children are inside the vehicle and protect them from external disturbances.

Driving Directions

You can use mobile applications such as Waze or Google Maps to lead you to your destination. Do make sure that you’re using the hands-free feature as it is prohibited to operate your phone while driving. There are highways, intersections, and one-way roads in the region, so you have to be attentive if you turn left or right to the correct direction. This way, you will prevent possible turnbacks that will cause traffic on your lane.

Traffic Road Signs

Traffic road signs are essential reminders for vehicle drivers always to be mindful of the road they are currently using. Uruguay’s roads are a mix of cemented roads in inner cities and rough roads along the region’s peripheries. Some of these are identical to what you generally see in the country of your origin but if not, then pay close attention to them, signage that you might encounter on the roads’ side.

Warning signs include:

  • Warning for an unpaved road surface
  • Deer crossing in the area - road
  • Traffic light ahead
  • Warning for curves
  • Uncontrolled crossroad ahead
  • Speed bumps in the road
  • Warning for bikes and cyclists
  • Roads bend from right to left.
  • Steep ascent ahead
  • Stop and give way to all traffic

Information road signs include:

  • Motorway begins
  • Parking permitted
  • Pedestrian crossing - People can cross
  • Motorway ends
  • One-way traffic

Mandatory road signs include:

  • Turning right compulsory
  • Mandatory parking spot
  • Cyclists must use a mandatory path.
  • The direction of traffic on the roundabout
  • Ahead only
  • Road with two-way traffic
  • Pass on right only

Priority road signs include:

  • Warning for an uncontrolled crossroad with a road from the right
  • The direction of traffic on the roundabout
  • Crossroad with the sharp side on the right side
  • Stop and give way to all traffic.
  • Uncontrolled crossroad ahead
  • Warning stops and gives way ahead.
  • Roundabout ahead
  • Give way to all traffic

Prohibitory road signs include:

  • Entry not allowed
  • Driving straight ahead prohibited
  • No turning/U-turn not allowed
  • Cyclists not permitted
  • Turning right prohibited
  • Overtaking not allowed
  • Stopping and parking are forbidden.
  • Pedestrians not allowed
  • Vehicles - cars prohibited
  • Motorbikes not allowed

Right of Way

The right of way in Uruguay is the car on the right in intersection roads. Local drivers have adapted this perception as they have observed it since the beginning of their driving experience. Remember that you need to stop or yield once you see an oncoming vehicle on the right. You can sense it as other drivers gradually stop when there is an intersection road ahead. Local drivers are polite and will let other cars go first rather than competing with each other.

The legal driving age in Uruguay is 18 years old. A Uruguayan citizen can start driving a vehicle as long as he can attend a driving school and pass the exam based on what he learned from the theories and application. By then, he will be granted a driving license in Uruguay that will act as a valid ID hereafter.

Under other conditions, you should be at least 23 years old for car rental companies to allow you to rent a car. You must also be a holder of a driver’s license for a minimum of 12 months. Usually, companies require an underage fee if you are not older than 25 years old, and this specific fee depends on the car rental company you choose. It ranges from $10 to $15.

Laws on Overtaking

In Uruguay, driving distances differ from one place to another. Some routes lead you to longer drives, but if you ask the locals for possible shortcuts, they will gladly teach you some tricks up their sleeves. The residents are amicable and accommodating to foreign travelers - they even start small talks to keep you occupied.

Road laws are adhered to by drivers and motorists. When driving around Uruguay, there are no specific rules about overtaking but over speeding is frowned upon by the locals. They don’t feel the need to overtake unless the streets are not crowded or in a hurry for something. You can overtake vehicles in front of you with caution, given that there are two lanes on the road you’re taking. Do not attempt to overtake if there are oncoming vehicles on the other side of the road.

Driving Side

While other countries implement that you should drive on the left side, Uruguay observes the right side as the standard use for drivers and motorists. Usually, the outer side of the lane is used for drivers who drive at a slower pace. Sometimes, it is used for quick pullovers with hazard lights turned on. But if the road is not that busy, always prefer the right side, whatever road type you take.

In this type of case is where your international driver’s permit comes into the picture. You can acquire your IDP at the International Driver’s Association’s website and provide information similar to what’s printed on your local driver’s license. For more updates, your international Uruguay permit status can be checked and followed up on the website.

Driving Etiquette in Uruguay

If you have been traveling for quite some time, you will notice that every country you visit has its own set of rules and etiquette. Learning the basic driving etiquette will save you from any dispute with your fellow drivers, and it is also a way of respecting the road rules and traffic enforcers. To keep you in the loop, here are some scenarios you might experience along the way and how to handle them professionally.

Car Breakdown

Car rental companies maintain the condition of the cars they rent out to foreign drivers. Though you can be at ease about it, it is essential to run a quick check to ensure the vehicle is up for the adventure you plan to go to next. Car breakdowns can be avoided, but it will surprise you once the engines stop roaring and speed gradually slows down.

If your car breaks down in the middle of the road, try your best to move it to the roadside to create traffic from the vehicles on the same lane. You can inform other drivers about your situation to help you, especially if they’re a resident. Seek assistance from towing company services or directly contact the car rental company. Their representative will help you out of the situation, so you don’t need to worry once s/he arrives.

Police Stops

The Uruguayan Police are friendly and accommodating to foreign visitors but are strict with implementing road rules. These people will help you with directions if you feel you are lost, and they enforce public security for the welfare of both citizens and travelers around the area.

For Foreign drivers, the police will just check your documents if you have them. You should be driving in Uruguay with your license issued from your country and an international driver’s permit translated into Spanish. Be sure to attach the car insurance documents as you hand over the papers as it is equally important as your local license and IDP.

Asking Directions

If you compare Brazil and Uruguay’s land size, you could tell with just one look that Uruguay is a modest country. First-time tourists admit that even with an itinerary, driving in Uruguay can be confusing sometimes. But it’s part of the fun as you explore the place with excitement and curiosity, right?

The Spanish language is widely used in Uruguay. Although some brochure guides are translated into English for tourists’ convenience, if you’re traveling alone and somehow got lost in the crowd, saving up some common Spanish phrases will help you a great deal. So here’s how you can ask for directions in Spanish:

  • I’m looking for the closest Metro Station.
  • Translation: Busco la estación del metro más cercana.
  • Where can I take a taxi?
  • Translation: ¿Dónde puedo tomar un taxi?
  • How do I get to the park?
  • Translation: ¿Cómo llego al parque?
  • I’m looking for an ATM.
  • Translation: Estoy buscando un cajero automático.
  • Do you know if the mall is around here?
  • Translation: ¿Sabes si está por aquí el centro comercial?
  • What is the best way to go to…?
  • Translation: ¿Cuál es la mejor forma de ir a…?

Checkpoints

Checkpoints are installed at the roads’ side to regulate vehicle drivers coming in and out of the city, municipality, or a specific place. Some travelers get nervous whenever they spot a checkpoint ahead, but you don’t have to if you’re carrying the documents needed for your travel.

Once you spot a checkpoint, manage your speed to a crawl and slightly roll down your window, so you can better communicate with the police. They might ask a few questions related to your destination and ask for the documents to check them. It will be handed back to you, and they will give you a signal that you’re good to go.

Other Tips

Driving etiquettes should be adhered at all times, especially if you’re not driving in your country of residence. Paying attention to these pieces of information will guarantee you the smooth travel experience you desire to have. Furthermore, here’s what you need to know more about gas stations in Uruguay.

Are There Gas Stations in Uruguay?

Gas stations in Uruguay are open from 6 AM to 8 PM every day, while some stations in big cities are open for 24 hours. Fuel is expensive in the region; that is why if you’re on a tight budget, you have to carefully divide your money for your food, gas, and other expenses in between. The price range for unleaded gasoline is $54.95, while the premium is $57 per liter.

Park attendants in some tourist destinations are regular occurrences. They are mostly kids who will look after your car while you’re gone, and in return, you will pay them for their service. These attendants will also help you park your vehicle or guide you as you return from the parking space. Again, you can ask them for driving routes in Uruguay or shortcuts to take so that you can get to your next destination faster.

Driving Conditions in Uruguay

Travelers driving to Uruguay have seen places that most scheduled tours haven’t explored. Renting a car gives you the advantage to navigate at your own pace. You get to see hidden gems pinpointed by the locals and take joy in this breathtaking experience right in this tiny country.

You have to be aware of the driving situations, and conditions of the place as these will help you plan your trip. Knowing the road situations will equip and paint a picture of what it will be like once you hit the primary, secondary, and rural streets. Laid out below is some information about the situations in Uruguay you might find useful for your travel.

Accident Statistics

As of the 2020 Uruguay Crime and Safety Report, the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded traffic deaths of 16.6 per 100,000 citizens, which amounted to 50% higher than the United States data. In 2018, Uruguay reached 1.75% or 471 of total deaths. In this category, Uruguay ranked #112 out of 195 countries, and the government is doing its part in educating drivers to be more careful when driving to Uruguay.

Contributing factors to these fatalities include low lighting, substandard road surfaces, and inadequate pavement markings. Many road signages have been overlooked by drivers and motorists, which resorted to some unfortunate events. Moreover, driving license applications are given proper attention, so only qualified and responsible drivers can drive around the region.

Common Vehicles

Even if the gasoline in Uruguay is expensive, since the quality of life is high and citizens are content with the system, a growing number of people acquire cars for personal use. But because of the pandemic, there is a downward projection of the car market in August 2020 with a 6% decrease.

In 2018, Suzuki, a Japanese car manufacturer, was the best-selling car brand with 18.45 percent sales. Then there’s Chevrolet at 15 percent and Volkswagen at 14 percent. In 2020, Volkswagen changed the game as the brand catapulted its way to the top spot, just 200 sales more than Suzuki. Furthermore, Fiat secured the 4th spot with more than 40 percent of sales just last year.

Toll Roads

A toll road is a private and public road that requires a specific fee for a vehicle to gain passage. Uruguay has toll roads, especially along the Main Colonia - Punta del Este route but don’t worry; they are not expensive as you thought they would be. Each toll road costs 90 pesos (roughly $2), and the same system applies to Rocha - Montevideo route.

Road Situations

Uruguay is one of the most developed countries in South America and continues to improve for the betterment of the economy and its citizens. The road situation in the region is overall stable and decent. It has cemented highways that connect major cities, municipalities, and sought-out places. There are long stretches of straight roads that drivers and motorists take advantage of and speed up, especially if a few vehicles are using the road.

The government maintains national roads, but some local roads’ conditions can be inconstant and full of surprises. If you find yourself off the paved roads, do expect that gravel and dirt roads will be ahead. Also, beware of potholes as they are seen everywhere. They get filled with water after a drizzle or rain, and dirt roads tend to get slippery, so you need to be more careful when taking these sections.

Driving Culture

The people of Uruguay are very welcoming and hospitable. Uruguayan drivers are decent drivers who make sure that every passenger feels safe while riding public transport. Driving distances in Uruguay depend on the vehicle you ride. Metered taxis will take you to where you need to be within minutes while buses stop at every hailing passenger spotted on the side of the road.

Driving in Uruguay now is effortless and without worries. Don’t overthink the requirements; your international Uruguay permit can be express shipped once you apply at the International Driver’s Association’s website. Get yours now, so you don’t delay your planned travels!

Other Tips

These road conditions should inform you of what it’s like getting behind the wheels in the region. It doesn’t cost you to consider the information as it will avert you from unwanted collisions and accidents. Also, if you plan to drive at night, here’s a piece of advice for you.

Is it Safe to Drive at Night?

Leaving at night is discouraged by the government as most crimes happen late at night. Driving routes in Uruguay are inaccessible at nighttime, so it’s best to pursue it the next day. If you need to travel at night, it is best if you prebook a taxi. It is also advised not to park your vehicles on the streets as robbers might break the windows. Paid parking is a viable option here. Avoid walking out alone late at night, and always be in groups if you wish to travel at night.

Things to do in Uruguay

From the mountain ranges to its untainted coastlines, you’ll never get wrong once you choose this place as your next landing-place. Don’t forget to bring your local driver’s license and IDP. If you still haven’t gotten yours, double-check the information you typed in, like your address, and your international Uruguay permit will be shipped in no time. But in the broader perspective, have you considered applying for a job staying in Uruguay?

Drive as a Tourist

Securing an international driver’s permit is one thing you should do to drive as a Uruguay tourist. There are many places and destinations to explore, so driving would be an excellent option if you want to take hold of your time. Just ensure that the necessary documents are tucked safely in your vehicle, and thus, you won’t have problems when police stops or checkpoints are at one point.

Work as a Driver

Driving jobs in the region only if you are an official resident. Truck driving jobs in Uruguay is possible as long as you have your local driving license and are willing to exchange it for an Uruguay driver’s license. Driving in Uruguay with a UK license or any foreign license while driving for a living is not allowed. If you have made up your mind, you can head straight to the Intendencia de Montevideo located at 1360 Avenida 18 de Julio and bring:

  • Uruguayan cédula (Identity Card)
  • Your local driving license
  • Valid passport
  • International driver’s permit
  • A verified document or proof that your last visit to Uruguay is less than a year. You can present your passport or flight ticket.
  • A medical exam that the office approves (they can give you a list of accredited facilities.)

For your IDP, you can apply online at the International Driver’s Association’s website. It can be translated into different languages such as Spanish, Japanese, or English. The international Uruguay permit will then be delivered straight to your home as the IDA offers express shipping worldwide.

Work as a Travel Guide

Working as a travel guide in Uruguay would be challenging as most job openings in the region focus on factory or office work. Though there are vacancies, you have to search them manually on the internet or word of mouth from your family or colleagues. If you wish to work as a tour guide, you can browse websites online and check for new openings in museums, aquarium parks, and other establishments.

Apply for Residency

If you wish to apply for residency, you can travel and enter first as a tourist. The government is giving you 90 days, so while you’re exploring the region, you can personally process the application and go to Uruguay’s National Immigration Office. For more information, you can check their official website, but the documents you’ll need to bring are:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if married)
  • Police clearance/certificate issued by the country you have lived in the last five years
  • Proof of income

Other Things to do

Uruguay emulates the Spanish culture that they have been practicing even up to this date. You can’t leave the place without bringing a souvenir with you - to remind you of the experiences you gained and the memories you’ll cultivate. Check out these exciting souvenirs that will make you remember your travel to Uruguay.

What Can I Bring Back Home from Uruguay?

Mate is inculcated in the Uruguayan tradition. It is a bitter, caffeinated beverage mainly made up of herbs found in the area. If you’re fond of the ocean, bring some seashells sold at souvenir shops situated near Uruguay’s beaches. Wool clothing is also a good idea. It is made of Merino wool, which gives you optimal warm protection from cold temperatures. Leather products and the famous gaucho hat can be squeezed into your luggage before zipping everything inside.

In case you lost your IDP, you can get a replacement for free once you access the International Driver’s Association’s website. Ensure that you provided accurate information like your zip code. Driving in Uruguay is exciting and fun as long as you secure an IDP. Get yours now!

Top Destinations in Uruguay

Aside from the sophisticated infrastructures built in most cities, Uruguay has top-class tourist spots to keep tourists and travelers occupied. The place is perfect for first-time goers and even family trips; you get to enjoy destinations that fit your liking. Compiled below are some of the most visited tourists in Uruguay that you shouldn’t miss.

La Paloma

La Paloma is situated on the Atlantic Ocean’s coastlines and a popular beach resort for foreign travelers and Uruguay residents. It features its white sands and pristine waters that tourists love to soak and dive in its whooping waves. Anaconda Beach is widely known within the area and a famous spot for those who love sunbathing and getting skin tan. This quiet part of Uruguay is well-suited for deep relaxation and meditation.

Driving Directions:

  1. Get on Cap. Juan Antonio Artigas/IB/Route 101 from Acceso a Partidas and Accesos Aeropuerto.
  2. Follow IB and Route 9 to Route 15 in Rocha.
  3. Follow Route 15 to De María in La Paloma.
  4. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on Route 15.
  5. Turn right at Av Del Navío.
  6. Turn right onto De María.

Things to Do

  1. Kitesurfing in La Paloma

    If you love water sports, then you better try kitesurfing. La Paloma produces strong winds that carry you up, up in the sky. It might scare you at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find yourself taking your second and third attempts.
  2. Surfing the strong waves at La Paloma

    Strong winds produce strong waves, and tourists and travelers enjoy this so much - surfing. You can enjoy surfing the waves of La Paloma every season, but summer is the best way to go there.
  3. Fishing in La Paloma’s sea, lagoons, and streams

    If it’s a hobby or a newfound experience, fishing is an activity that is loved by many. You can fish in La Paloma’s sea, lagoons, and even streams as long as you know that fishes live and thrive there. You can catch shrimps, croakers, and catfish if you get lucky enough.

Punta del Este

Punta del Este is one of the most luxurious places ever found in the region. It is commonly called the Monaco or Saint-Tropez of South America; this is where bars and casinos and drinking pubs stand as rich people flood the area day and night. Punta del Este has a beachfront setting where you can watch sunsets and sunrises in a fascinating feeling. Different watersports can be tried and seen in a massive body of water ahead.

Driving Directions:

  1. Get on Cap. Juan Antonio Artigas/IB/Route 101 from Acceso a Partidas and Accesos Aeropuerto.
  2. Continue on IB to Punta del Este.
  3. Continue on Av Brasil to your destination.
  4. Turn left onto Av Brasil.
  5. Make a right onto Av. Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
  6. Enter the roundabout.

Things to Do

  1. Swimming and sunbathing

    Punta del Este is a famous spot for its beautiful beaches - the Brava and the Manda. People visit these beaches during high or peak season, where you can jive to the lively beach vibe at nighttime.
  2. Photo opportunity at The Hand

    Ready your smartphone or DSLR and pose right at the large emerging fingers from the sand at Parada 1 on Playa Brava. Many have known this, but it is a sculpture called “Man Emerging Into Life,” and it has since pulled visitors in the area.
  3. Visit the seals up close

    You can check out the marina and watch huge seals in motion while fishers toss food to these gentle creatures. You will typically see them lumber up onto the marina walkways, so it would be impossible not to spot them.
  4. Try Punta del Este’s Chivito

    Chivito is a steak sandwich originated in Punta, which translates as “baby goat.” It is stuffed with a slice of hot beef and appetizing ingredients only known by their chefs. Don’t miss this chance to try one for yourself.

Colonia del Sacramento

If you’re fond of a historical dwelling, then this spot is right for you. Colonia del Sacramento holds archaic events dating back when Uruguay was still under Spanish and Portuguese colonizers. It is also one of the oldest cities in the region that boasts its ancient cobbled streets and sturdy homes still standing until now. Around the vicinity, you can check out the towering lighthouse, restaurants, and food stalls on the side.

Driving Directions:

  1. Get on Cap. Juan Antonio Artigas/IB/Route 101 from Acceso a Partidas and Accesos Aeropuerto.
  2. Merge onto Cap. Juan Antonio Artigas/IB/Route 101.
  3. Get on Perimetral Wilson Ferreira Aldunate/Ruta 8 Brigadier Gral Juan Antonio Lavalleja/Route 102 in Montevideo from Cap. Juan Antonio Artigas/Route 101.
  4. Continue on Perimetral Wilson Ferreira Aldunate/Route 102. Take Cno. Los Camalotes to Brigadier Gral. Manuel Oribe/Route 1.
  5. Follow Brigadier Gral. Manuel Oribe/Route 1 to Dr Emilio Frugoni in Colonia Del Sacramento.
  6. Continue on Dr Emilio Frugoni. Drive to Calle Exodo.
  7. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Dr. Emilio Frugoni.
  8. Turn left onto Calle Exodo.

Things to Do

  1. Local museums

    Colonia del Sacramento has many museums and historical districts. You can check them because tickets are inexpensive, so if you have ample time to explore the area, these establishments would be a good start.
  2. Wineries

    Colonia is famous for its quality wines. If you just want to sit back and order a glass of wine, this is a perfect place for you. You can pair it up with your favorite food while enjoying a perfect evening.
  3. Street of Sighs

    Calle de Los Suspiros is better known as the Streets of Sighs and a famous landmark in Colonia. You can see this picturesque view on postcards produced by the city, and it is indeed a stunning place. It holds an old ambiance, which justifies the old infrastructures and streets dating back to the 17th century.

Santa Teresa National Park

Driving Directions:

  1. Get on Cap. Juan Antonio Artigas/IB/Route 101 from Acceso a Partidas and Accesos Aeropuerto.
  2. Follow IB and Route 9 to Departamento de Rocha.
  3. Merge onto Cap. Juan Antonio Artigas/IB/Route 101.
  4. Continue straight onto IB/Ruta Gral. Líber Seregni.
  5. Take the Ruta 9 E ramp to Pan de Azúcar/La Paloma.
  6. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit.

Things to Do

  1. Reconnect with nature

    Santa Teresa National Park has trek trails for everybody who wants to take a stroll in the area. You can take this time to reconnect with nature and admire the beauty and calmness of the ambiance.
  2. Take a yoga class

    Since the park offers a calm space, you can do yoga sessions or enroll in a Santa Teresa yoga class. It is an excellent way to relieve stress, stretch those sleeping muscles, bend more, and do yoga poses better.
  3. Visit the wild refuge

    La Pareja is a wildlife conservatory for birds and other animals in Santa Teresa. You will see many species endangered and close to extinction, and the team running the facility aims to mitigate the unfortunate situation for these animals.

San Gregorio de Polanco

San Gregorio de Polanco is another secluded beach in Uruguay. Tourists visit the place because of the clean, fresh air and the lush greeneries before reaching the white sand. You can bring your yoga mat and do a session in the early morning as you hear the calming waves of the sea. This natural paradise also offers water activities for eager travelers out there as well as great fishing areas.

Driving Directions:

  1. Get on Cap. Juan Antonio Artigas/IB/Route 101 from Acceso a Partidas and Accesos Aeropuerto.
  2. Follow Route 6 to Ruta 43 in Departamento de Durazno.
  3. Take the Ruta 43 ferry to San Gregorio de Polanco.
  4. Drive to Carmen.
  5. Turn right.
  6. Continue onto Calle Carmen.
  7. Continue onto Carmen.

Things to Do

  1. Relaxation and detachment

    If you’re planning to go to San Gregorio de Polanco to shake off stress, then you have come to the right place. It has a great ambiance - the beach, white sand, therapeutic sea breeze. You can even leave the negative vibe to start a fresh mindset and face work with confidence.
  2. Swim at the beach of San Gregorio de Polanco

    San Gregorio de Polanco boasts its stunning waters that tourists and travelers love. Like the other beaches in Uruguay, get to enjoy the area without the hassle of too many people. Extend the relaxation period as long as your mind can take.
  3. Fishing grounds

    There are designated fishing areas in San Gregorio de Polanco where you can catch different edible fishes that you can eat with your family and friends. The sea is abundant with marine wildlife, so it will be easy for you to catch one - or let’s hope you can.

Montevideo

Did you think that the capital will not be featured? Montevideo is the center of bustling streets, high-rise buildings, and everything in between. Tourists and travelers have commented that the city is a breath of fresh air; museums and theaters, and concert venues come together in this lively area. Restaurants and bars are everywhere, making it easier for tourists to roam around and indulge themselves with the vibe Montevideo exudes.

Driving Directions:

  1. Take Accesos Aeropuerto to Route 101.
  2. Head southwest on Acceso a Partidas toward Accesos Aeropuerto.
  3. Merge onto Accesos Aeropuerto.
  4. Take Av de las Américas and Av Italia to Bulevar General Artigas in Montevideo.
  5. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Route 101, heading to Montevideo.
  6. Take the ramp onto Cap. Juan Antonio Artigas/IB/Route 101.
  7. Turn left onto Bulevar General Artigas.
  8. Keep right to stay on Bulevar General Artigas.

Things to Do

  1. Bike ride through Montevideo

    The first thing you have to do in Montevideo, aside from swimming, is a bike ride. It is a fun way of exploring and discovering the area more - and you get to exercise those logs as well. Also, if you have a limited time, you can bike in the vicinity to check it out, and it’s faster than walking.
  2. Visit the flea market on Sunday

    If you’re a person who enjoys purchasing stuff on the flea market, then Montevideo will not disappoint you. You can find antique furniture, old books, and 10-year-old handicrafts in the place. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also sold there, so reserve your Sunday for this exciting activity.
  3. Attend the Montevideo Carnival

    Did you know that Uruguay has the most extended carnival celebration in the world? Montevideo is one of the largest in South America. It starts in January and ends in March. So block the dates on your calendar and plan.

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