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Montevideo is the Capital and main city of Uruguay, which are the tiniest yet significant nations of Latin America. Urugay sees more travelers each year than most other South American destinations. Montevideo is visually stunning, and is often touted to be the most picturesque destination in the region. The eating and shopping facilities are nice and varied. The amenities and lodging are also top notch, so it is little wonder that Uruguay is the preferred travel spot for both- Europeans and Americans. Uruguay is flanked by Argentina to the west. Everywhere tourists travel within Montevideo and beyond, they will be treated to several amazing visual pleasures. Lush eco-friendly meadows dotted with sparkling rivers and streams comprise a major part of the landscape and near the coast, beaches are ideal. The conditions at most of the beaches are near perfect, as well as the hot springs just outdoors of Montevideo are enormously popular. Sports are respected in Uruguay, and you'll find options everywhere to see your chosen game or sport.
 
Montevideo is the forgotten city for most travellers who arrive in South America from Australia and head straight to Argentina, Brazil or Peru. Yet only three hours across the River Plate from Buenos Aires, this colonial gem is one of South America's most intoxicating cities.
 
The streets of Uruguay's capital are lined with jacarandas and cobbled lanes that wind through the old city to the sandy shores of the River Plate. There are strong influences from the descendants of the African slave population and a relaxed Spanish outlook on life.
Montevideo was founded in 1724. For much of its early history, the city consisted of what is now known as the Ciudad Vieja (Old Town). By the mid-19th century the city began to grow eastward towards what is now known as Centro. The demolition of the old fort that used to mark the eastern boundary of Old Town enabled the construction of what is now Plaza Independencia. Eventually Boulevard Artigas was built around Centro, but by 1910, suburbs were already developing beyond it which were later annexed into
 
Apart from being the capital, Montevideo may also be the purchasing and selling center as well as the primary draw for those coming to Urugay. From December to April, Montevideo might be the liveliest place around.
 
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships can be found at the expansive pier within the Port of Montevideo. The city center can be found only at a kilometer from the busyport. Montevideo has 24-hour bus service that is unquestionably the most affordable method of transportation inside a modest $.50 per ride. Metered taxis are also available to ferry you across the city. However, it is advisable to book them in advance and not hail them right off the street.Taxis are available upon docking. You can use a Remise a bit like a taxi but more professional and you can ask the company to send you a driver in your language, 
 
Get around
 
By Taxi
Taxis are plentiful but not too cheap (gasoline is expensive in Uruguay). It helps to know a little Spanish. A ten-minute cab ride costs about UYU100. Taxis are metered and upon the end of your ride you are shown a chart depicting distance and cost (though on some vehicles this chart will be on the window between you and the driver). Generally there are two fare schedules. The first is for Monday-Saturday from morning to mid-evening. The second fee schedule is for Sundays and late at night, and is slightly more expensive. Tipping is not expected, but you might round up to an even number to be polite. It is also not uncommon to sit on the front.
 
By bus
Montevideo is not a large city and it boasts a very efficient public transportation system so getting around is not difficult at all. If you are not bashful about your Spanish, feel free to ask people which bus route you need to take to get to your destination as it can be the most effective and cheap option (UYU $20 as of 2013). Alternatively if you know some Spanish there are two websites similar to Google Maps that are useful: Cómo ir  and MontevideoBus . In addition there are both iPhone (Bondi) and Android (SoloBus ) apps to help navigate the bus system.

It is useful to know that if you choose to ride a bus, upon boarding you will pay either the driver or the assistant who sits on the right-hand side of the bus (door-side) a few seats from the entrance. There is a small device that will dispense your receipt, make sure you hold on to it for the duration of your ride as sometimes company supervisors board buses checking for these receipts (making sure no one is riding unauthorized). If you are unsure where to get off you can always ask the driver or assistant to let you know when your stop is coming up and they'll be happy to oblige. Just try to remain visible so they can tell you (though if the bus gets full and you've moved to the back they'll yell out the street name). It is also important to note that you do not need to have the exact fare as the driver or the assistant carry change. Of course, expect disgruntlement if you pay with a large bill.

The city's central terminal is called Tres Cruces. Aside from being a full-fledged mall, it sports companies with fully-equipped tour buses that can take you anywhere in Uruguay and even into neighboring countries. Expect UYU $179.00 one-way to Colonia, about 2 to 3 hours. Efficient and on time. All destinations, timetables and hours are available online . Any bus from the airport marked "Montevideo" will reach Tres Cruces in about half an hour and cost a bit over 30 pesos. It helps to ask the bus driver to inform you when to get off because the Tres Cruces terminal building is rather nondescript from some sides and you may miss it.
By car
You can use a Remise a bit like a taxi but more professional and you can ask the company to send you a driver in your language, for example: you can rent it for an hour and the cost is approximately U$S16. Here is the website http://www.bybremises.com
Taxis are plentiful but not too cheap (gasoline is expensive in Uruguay). It helps to know a little Spanish. A ten-minute cab ride costs about UYU100. Taxis are metered and upon the end of your ride you are shown a chart depicting distance and cost (though on some vehicles this chart will be on the window between you and the driver). Generally there are two fare schedules. The first is for Monday-Saturday from morning to mid-evening. The second fee schedule is for Sundays and late at night, and is slightly more expensive. Tipping is not expected, but you might round up to an even number to be polite. It is also not uncommon to sit on the front.

Car rental is cheaper if booked ahead but be aware that places like the airport and the ferry terminal charge higher rates than the same agencies in other locations around the city. A few phone calls and a cheap taxi ride to a location other than the air or sea ports will save you half the rate for the same car at the same company.

Driving in Montevideo is not too difficult, especially for those visitors from Europe or developing countries that lack strict lane enforcement and have lots of roundabouts. (Visitors from countries with few roundabouts and strict lane enforcement, like the United States, will find it baffling at first.) Road traffic in Montevideo is amazingly light outside of rush hour, and even during rush hour is relatively good compared to, say, North American cities of similar size.

It is not too hard to find parking in most of Montevideo. Indeed, if you do not see a "Reservado" sign, or red and white stripes or red paint on the curb, you can safely assume that one is allowed to park at any particular curb.

The only major obstacle for visitors is that from Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm, there is a "Estacionmento Tarifa" parking management system in place in much of the Ciudad Vieja and Centro. However, the exact method of properly paying for parking under this system is quite mysterious, as the city government's relevant Web page does not explain it very well at all, and the local tourist information offices are unable to explain it clearly in plain English when asked in person. The safer thing to do is to park outside of the tariffed area and walk in.
 
Things To See and Do
 
Ciudad Vieja
Ciudad Vieja is the name given to the heart of Old Montevideo, the center of which is marked by Plaza Independencia, a wide, palm-lined square. The plaza features a statue marking the underground tomb of national hero Jose Gervasio Artigas, a revolutionary leader regarded as the father of Uruguayan independence. Major landmarks in the area include an ornate cathedral constructed around 1790 to 1804, and the Cabildo de Montevideo, the Colonial House of Government. Other historic features are Casa Rivera, the 19th-century home of Uruguay’s first president Fructuosa Rivera; and Casa Garibaldi, the former home of the 19th-century Italian hero Guiseppe Garibaldi who was exiled in Uruguay after joining an anti-royal revolt in Italy. Both buildings house collections of paintings, antiques, furniture and historic artifacts.
 
Mercado del Puerto
Mercado del Puerto is a marketplace made up of storefronts on Piedras, Perez Castilian and Rambla August streets that was established more than 130 years ago and is protected as a National Historic Monument. The marketplace features ornate architectural features such as wrought iron balustrades and an old English chiming clock as a centerpiece. The modern Mercado del Puerto offers a bustling atmosphere; coffee shops and bars; street vendors selling art and souvenirs; and restaurants with shaded terrace seating offering Uruguayan steak specialties.
 
The Carnival Museum
The Carnival Museum, located opposite the port, celebrates the annual festivities of Montevideo’s Carnival. Running from January until March, the city’s festival is the longest in the world and the pride of Montevideo. The museum showcases costumes, vehicles and instruments from past Carnivals and details the African origins of the festival. The displays are arranged in chronological order from colonial-era Carnivals to the most recent, including the costumes worn by the award-winning murgas -- groups of musical performance artists -- from the 2006 festival. 218 25 de Agosto de 1825 Promenade, Montevideo

Plaza Independencia -
Independence Square is definite must see, especially if you are interested in seeing discovering some of the important Montevideo attractions, landmarks and monuments as well as learning about the fascinating History of Uruguay. Some highlights that I enjoyed include the Mausoleum of General Artigas a national hero.
 
You can see Puerta de la Ciudela which is the only remains of the original fortifications of the old city. It boasts walls that are 6 meters thick and really was interesting to see. Of course there are many other attractions in the Plaza, so be sure to visit.
 
Plaza Independencia is a great spot for people-watching, feasting on a local snack, or chilling out in the balmy weather of Urugay. The atmosphere is pleasant and warm, and willcompel most tourists to spend their time outdoors. The locals are content and affable, and when you're able to win them over, you are certain to enjoy their company.
 
The only time you’ll probably be spending indoors is when you’re strolling through one of the town’s intriguing museums. The Palacio Municipal, located at Avenida 18 p Julio, is an opulent structure. The foremost is the Biblioteca la Historia del Arte. This art history library is comprehensive and incredibly useful, plus it functions as a source for education and understanding for the city’s underprivileged. The Museo la Historia p Arte is one of the most visited museums in Montevideo. This art history museum is stuffed with ancient products, great artefacts, and outstanding sculptures.
 
Teatro Solis is located within the Plaza Independencia. It orignally opened its doors in 1856. Anyone who knows about Montevideo will tell you about this theater.In the past it was considered a prominent musical theater which was home to the world renowned performers. Now it offers numerous cultural events throughout the year.

Palacio Legislativo, is the Legislative palace of Montevideo This is a massive structure of awe inspiring architecture is one the cities most impressive tourist attractions and landmarks. The architecture is amazing and it is currently home to numerous significant works of art.  
 
Mercado del Puerto
Mercado del Puerto is a marketplace made up of storefronts on Piedras, Perez Castilian and Rambla August streets that was established more than 130 years ago and is protected as a National Historic Monument. The marketplace features ornate architectural features such as wrought iron balustrades and an old English chiming clock as a centerpiece. The modern Mercado del Puerto offers a bustling atmosphere; coffee shops and bars; street vendors selling art and souvenirs; and restaurants with shaded terrace seating offering Uruguayan steak specialties.
 
Castillo Pittamiglio is located in Pocitos Montevideo. This interesting red brick building was built by the eccentric architect and alchemist Humberto Pittamiglio.Some of the interesting points about this one is that it is somewhat strange, including odd looking rooms and staircases that lead nowhere. It also has a tower and a bridge which was fun to explore.
 
Mausoleo de Artigas
This large monument in the Plaza de Independencia pays tribute to José Gervasio Artigas, one of the heroes of the Uruguayan Independence. Under the monument is the mausoleum, which is open on the weekends. It contains an urn with his ashes and two honor guards keeping watch
 
Ciudad Vieja
Ciudad Vieja is the name given to the heart of Old Montevideo, the center of which is marked by Plaza Independencia, a wide, palm-lined square. The plaza features a statue marking the underground tomb of national hero Jose Gervasio Artigas, a revolutionary leader regarded as the father of Uruguayan independence. Major landmarks in the area include an ornate cathedral constructed around 1790 to 1804, and the Cabildo de Montevideo, the Colonial House of Government. Other historic features are Casa Rivera, the 19th-century home of Uruguay’s first president Fructuosa Rivera; and Casa Garibaldi, the former home of the 19th-century Italian hero Guiseppe Garibaldi who was exiled in Uruguay after joining an anti-royal revolt in Italy. Both buildings house collections of paintings, antiques, furniture and historic artifacts.

Feria de Tristan Narvaja
Feria de Tristan Narvaja is considered the one of the largest if not the largest outdoor fair. It is open on Sundays and stretches out over several city blocks. It really was fun to discover all the interesting things for sale including, antiques, fresh fruits and produce and almost anything that you can imagine. A fun place to spend a Sunday Afternoon and one of the very popular Montevideo Attractions.
 
Pocitos
This barrio lies about 2 miles south-east of El Centro. The Pocitos beach runs east from Punta Trouville for about a mile. Highrise apartments ring the beach along the Rambla, but going in-land a few blocks brings you into an older neighborhood reminiscent of San Francisco's Marina district. Head uphill on 21 de septiembre St. from the Rambla at Punta Trouville for about 7 or 8 blocks to avenue Ellauri, turn left and walk another 4 blocks to Punta Carretas Shopping, a major shopping mall that is built on the remains of a prison (they preserved the prison gate inside the mall).

Pocitos is a trendy part of Montevideo that has everything you could want and all within walking distance. Wthin walking distance are everything from bars and restaurants to the beach and Rrambla as well as movie theaters and cafe's. Pocitos bakeries and delicatessens that offers a wide variety of locally produced culinary treats walk from Rambla down 21 de septiembre street
 
The sexual diversity monument, erected in 2005, is located on Policia Vieja St., between Plaza de la Constitución and Plaza Independencia. It reads "Honouring diversity is honouring life; Montevideo is for the respect of all identities and sexual orientations". It's South America's first monument dedicated to sexual diversity. Other places of interest to gay people include the Edificio Liberaij, where two gay Argentine bank robbers (featured in the 1998 movie Plata Quemada) died in 1965.
 
Beaches
Swim in the sea and lounge by sand dunes on the beach in the neighbourhood of Pocitos – it’s hard to remember you’re still in the capital city with its clean sand and calm water; it’s surprisingly not too crowded, either.
The most effective beach in Montevideo is Miramar, with a lot of marine sports, providers, and snack shops nearby. The swimming the elements is nice, and thousands of travelers flock with this stretch of sand every year. Through the summer season several days, the weather could not be perfect.
The Rambla of Montevideo or beaches of Montevideo stretch on for what seems like forever. There are so many beaches to chose from. You will see people walking and exercising at all hours of the day. There are benches throughout the Rambla, often every 50 feet, where you see people sitting and talking, drinking either the national drink of Mate or coffee and simply enjoying good conversation and good friends.

Eating Out
Rió Alegre can be found on Calle Perez Castellano and it is an in the premier dining institution for thoroughbred local cuisine. The meat and chicken dishes all come highly recommended, as well as the menu is extensive, and the portions, large. Situations are mixed perfectly here, while using ideal combination of ancient Uruguayan and last century traditions and customs. La Casa Violeta can be found at Rambla Armenia. If you would like great meat, this is your manna from heaven. New You is the club to be spotted at if you are looking to hob nob with a stylish crowd. You can find everything from fancy cocktails, great dancing and a spirited atmosphere.

Shopping
Mercado de los Artesanos — This market, located on the corner of Paraguay and Colonia streets, is fantastic! An array of artists and craftspeople converge here to sell wares made from leather, paper, woodwork, and various textiles.

Montevideo Leather Factory, Plaza Independencia 832, + 598 2 908-9541 [19]. This factory has a wide range of leather garments at reasonable prices, and they offer custom-made jackets tailored to your measurements in 24 hours. Opening hours: Saturday till 1700hrs, Sunay till 1400hrs.

Manos del Uruguay — Several locations throughout Montevideo, including one at the Punta Carretas mall. Sells woven goods and other handcrafted items - a little pricey.

Punta Carretas Shopping Mall — A large shopping mall located in a former prison where the military regime used to torture dissidents. It has several levels, a food court, cineplex and full-service dining options. It is currently the most upscale mall in Uruguay (although still small by U.S. standards) and features several boutiques for international fashion brands. The Sheraton Hotel is connected to the mall. The mall has ample parking, but because the developer had to build around the existing prison as part of the development deal, the parking garages are very confusing and difficult to navigate.

Montevideo Shopping Mall — Another large modern shopping mall in the Pocitos neighborhood of Montevideo. It has one huge parking garage (which is easier to navigate then Punta Carretas) but is not quite as upscale.


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