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Montevideo, the capital, contains more than half of Uruguay’s population. Located on the River Plate, which has been one of the essential elements for the development of the territory, Montevideo is also the country’s natural trading centre. It is a delight for lovers of culture. Museums, theatres, exhibitions, shows, popular feasts... there is an intense agenda all year round and the city itself is a collection of art and history. Known as the ’Oriental Republic’ because of its location on the eastern bank of the Rio de la Plata, Uruguay is one of the smallest of the South American republics.

Practical Information

Area: 176 215 km² (68 037 miles²)

Capital: Montevideo. Population: 1.33 million

Population: 3.5 million

Currency: Peso Uruguayo (UYU) = 100 centécimos

Government: Republic since 1830.

Tipping: 10% when no service charge is added.

Time zone: GMT - 3 (GMT - 2 from the second Sunday in October to the second Sunday in March)

Languages: Spanish

Additional descriptions

Uruguay: Social customs

Shaking hands is the normal form of greeting. Uruguayans are very hospitable and like to entertain both at home and in restaurants. Normal courtesies should be observed. Smoking is not allowed in cinemasRead more or theatres or on public transport.

Uruguay: Food and local specialties

The majority of Uruguayan restaurants are parrilladas (grill-rooms). Table service is usual in restaurants. Cafes or bars have either table and/or counter service. Things to know: There are no set licensingRead more hours. The national specialties are: Bife de chorrizo (rump steak). Cazuela (stew), usually served with mondongo (tripe). Morcilla dulce (sweet black sausage made from blood, orange peel and walnuts) and morcilla salada (salty sausage). Dulce de leche (milk sweets). Chaja (ball-shaped sponge cake filled with cream and jam). Uruguayan wines are of good quality. A popular drink is medio-medio (half dry white wine and half champagne). Beers are very good. Local spirits are caña, grappa and locally distilled whisky and gin.

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