Uruguay Overview

Uruguay Overview

Southern America


Official name of the state

Republic of East Uruguay.




According to historyaah, Uruguay is one of the smallest South American states and borders Brazil to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. The Uruguay River, which merges into the Río de la Plata Delta towards the coast, forms the southern and western borders with Argentina. The landscape consists of hilly pastureland crossed by rivers. There are numerous beautiful beaches on the coast. Most of the land is used as grazing land for cattle and sheep. Montevideo is located at the southernmost point of the country, over 50% of the population live here. About 90% of the land is suitable for agriculture, but only 12% is used.


Presidential republic since 1967. Constitution from 1966, last amendment 1997. The bicameral parliament is elected for five years and consists of the House of Representatives (99 members) and the Senate (30 members). The president’s term of office is also five years.

Head of state

Tabaré Vázquez, since December 2014.

Head of government

José Mujica, since March 2010.


220 V, 50 Hz.

Time zone

Uruguay Time: CET -4





Popular souvenirs include leather goods, suede jackets, woolen goods, amethyst jewelry, shoes, purses, antiques, and paintings. The best shopping opportunities can be found in Montevideo, Punta del Este and Colonia del Sacramento.

In the old town of Montevideo, a pedestrian zone with small boutiques and cozy cafés invites you to go shopping. There are modern shopping centers in all major cities in the country, in which products from internationally known brand manufacturers are often available.

On Sunday mornings, the Feria de Tristán Narvaja takes place in Montevideo on Avenida Tristán Narvaja. This traditional flea market extends over several streets and is known for the antiques, books and numerous other items on offer there. The flea market on the Plaza Constitucion in the old town of Montevideo, which takes place every Saturday, is just as varied and worthwhile. There are also numerous antique shops in the old town.

In all the larger towns there are farmers’ markets several times a week, where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables and other specialties from the region. The prices are mostly cheaper than in the supermarket and the quality of the food is excellent.

Uruguayan handicrafts can be found in the area around the port of the capital, as well as at the Ferias Artesanales (handicraft exhibitions) in Punta del Este and Colonia del Sacramento. The Manos de Uruguay cooperative sells woolen goods typical of the country in its shops in Montevideo, Punta del Este and Colonia del Sacramento.

Opening hours

Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sat 9 a.m.-12.30 p.m. Large shopping centers open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.




Roman Catholic (47.1%), along with other Christians (11.1%), Jews (0.3%), others (1.1%) and non-denominational (17.2%).

Social rules of conduct

Manners: Shake hands to greet you. A conversation usually begins with the question of how the other person is feeling. The usual forms of courtesy in Western Europe also apply here, and good behavior is very important. You should always show yourself respectful towards older people in particular. Uruguayans are very hospitable and invitations to private houses or restaurants are often offered. Flowers, for example, are suitable as a guest gift. Anyone who is invited to dinner should try the dishes on offer. In the case of a private invitation in the evening, it is okay to arrive approx. 30 minutes after the agreed time, otherwise foreign visitors are usually expected to arrive on time. If in doubt, you should ask in advance (¿En punto?).

Clothing: In Uruguay, great importance is attached to the external appearance. Well-groomed casual clothing is appropriate in most cases, but more formal attire is expected on formal occasions. For business meetings, a suit with tie and jacket for men and a suit or trouser suit for women are appropriate. Correct clothing is expected when entering churches, arms and legs should be covered. Swimwear belongs on the beach.

Photographing: People should be asked before photographing them. For your own safety, you should be careful not to continuously present an expensive camera to everyone.

Smoking: Cinemas, theaters and public transport are non-smoking areas.

Taxi: In many taxis in Montevideo, cashless payments are made using readers.


Area code +598 Area (square km) 176 215 Population 3444071 Population density (per square km) 19 Population in 2016 Member of the EU No main emergency number 911

Uruguay Overview