Montevideo, Uruguay

viejo-ciudad

I love Montevideo. It’s a smaller, more humble version of Buenos Aires. Bus drivers wave you by rather than speed up to hit you. Stores close on Sundays, and people walk around with giant thermoses and mate gourds to pass the time. We’ve been there twice, and both times we’ve sat back and said, “We could live here; yeah, it would be really nice.” The city borders Rio de la Plata, so it has a serene feel to it.

From Buenos Aires, Buquebus is the easiest way to arrive. You’ll either arrive at Tres Cruces station by bus or at the port by ferry. If you want to go downtown from the bus station, you can either walk (it’s a hefty journey but doable on a nice day), or you can take city bus 188. Exact change is not needed, thank goodness.

Our favorite activity in MV is the Sunday feria at Tristán Narvaja. Starting at Tristán Narvaja street, there are blocks and blocks of fruit, vegetables, books, old clothes, antiques, and odds and ends. At the beginning of the block, the animal vendors set up shop. Unfortunately, I think puppy farm owners bring out their wares. The little puppies and kittens are so scared. They shiver as the sellers hold them in the air for everyone to see. One vendor had goldfish and mini turtles. Another vendor was selling a baby skunk! It was so dear, with a small, black, upturned nose.

Puppy at Tristan Narvaja

Especially if you arrive at the port, walk a couple blocks and visit the parrillas at the port marketplace (Mercado del Puerto). This location seems like the place to be for happy hour as well as a late night hang out. Watch out in the old section after dark, though. Beggars can be particularly insistent–much more aggressive than in Buenos Aires. They are also lurking around the hostels in the area.

mercado-del-puerto

We stayed at the budget friendly Splendido Hotel across from the Teatro Solis (in the old section). This location was great in the Montevideo winter; however, when the weather was nice out, the bars below were really busy until late in the morning. We were kept awake by the thudding dance music and a generator running. I am normally a very deep sleeper, so if the bars kept me awake, they’ll probably keep most people awake.

All that said, if you visit Montevideo in the winter time, you may want to reserve at Splendido, Also, if you plan to dance and drink late into the night, it might be the perfect place because you can walk upstairs when you’re tired. The staff is friendly. Most of the guests are backpackers. Note that some rooms have a shared bathroom. Another recommended hotel is Hotel Palacio in the same area of the old city. Book ahead.

teatro-solis

Since the theatre was so close, we went to see a performance of Bertolt Brecht’s Arturo Ui. The music, scenery, and makeup were all amazing. The play was set in industrial Chicago–gritty and noir. The theatre itself is decorated in the Victorian style.

E. and I did a lot of walking there. Along the port, a lot of the Uruguayans were fishing. We found a cat sullenly waiting for a fisherman to haul his catch on land so he could feast on entrails.

shore-montevideo

My suggestions for seeing Montevideo:

  • Enjoy a glass or wine or dinner at Mercado del Puerto in the Ciudad Vieja
  • Shop for food or souvenirs at Tristán Narvaja feria on a Sunday
  • Take a tour of Teatro Solis and catch a performance if possible
  • Take a bus to a neighborhood outside of the city center such as Pocitos
  • Walk alongside the Rambla Republica Argentina next to the water
  • Sit on a beach near the Punta Carretas section
  • Window shop on Avenida 18 de Julio (the main street in the city center)

10 Comments

Filed under Uruguay

10 responses to “Montevideo, Uruguay

  1. Mom

    Sounds wonderful, except for the part about “living there”. You need to come home!!! LOL

  2. You need to travel further up Uruguay to go to the beaches on your next trip, and rent a little shack for a week.

  3. Your mother’s comment is really funny. Montevideo sounds like an interesting place, especially the market. I like that the bus drivers slow down instead of speeding up!

  4. It’s decided! Erika and I are DEFINITELY going to Montevideo. How much was the Buquebus? Did you get a promoción? How much was the hotel? Did you find any veggie options there? Generally, how expensive is the city? Wait, don’t answer. Tell us tomorrow when we eat Indian food. Un beso, –j2b

  5. Synchronicity? ESP? A dancer I know here often says to me: “You should move to Montevideo.” This is her reply when I say I want to move to Argentina or North Carolina. So I really enjoyed this post. Thank you.

    The cost of living is low. They have a tango scene. There’s the beach. The big city is only three hours away!

  6. i’ve always loved the word montevideo. i’ll never get there….

    Never say never, Goodbear!🙂

  7. I spent a few days here a few years ago, but now really want to return. There’s a deal from Stgo to Montevideo right now. Casualidad? Hmmm. Will have to heavily consider this! And Colonia. And, and, and. See how quickly I get in trouble?

  8. Josh

    Nice blog! I’m actually Planning a trip to montevideo and from there onto buenos aires. I’m doing some research for my trip and this seemed to offer some good ideas

  9. Natasha Novotny

    We are an elderly couple (65 + 78). Would love to be close to the beach (I jog every mornign), yet close to the old city, yet like the modern comforts.
    We want to come to Montevideo for two months February and March and rent a 1-2 bedroom apartment. Any suggestions?
    Thanks!
    Natasha

  10. Hi Natasha,

    We did not rent in Montevideo, but the Argentina company BYT may have some suggestions for Montevideo contacts: http://www.bytargentina.com/index.php

    We worked with them and trusted their services.

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