I recently had the pleasure of discovering Uruguay, a beautiful country with breath-taking landscapes and a welcoming people, which is quite different from the other countries in Latin America. I found there to be stronger European elements and characteristics throughout, particularly noticeable when you walk through the historic centres of each Uruguayan city which feature traditional Spanish and Portuguese architecture.
Uruguay was explored by Portuguese between 1510 and 1515, colonised in 1516 by the Spanish and subsequently populate by many other European nationals. This colonial heritage is characterised by the many beautiful churches, fortresses, paved streets which can be found throughout the cities and play a significant role in defined in countries heritage. Uruguayan culture is also dictated by these European influences: It inherits a cultural mix mainly Italian (cuisine), French & Portuguese (buildings), German (pastries), and Spanish (dances, language).
I flew to Uruguay with Air Europa, which provided a comfortable seat and good quality service throughout the 13 hours flight. We departed from Gatwick Airport taking a connecting flight in Madrid. Air Europa Airlines remains the most affordable airline to get to Uruguay.
We started our journey by staying 3 days in the amazing city of Montevideo, with larger buildings by the sea intermingled amongst small picturesque streets. This contrast was proudly explained to us by the local people who were pleased tell of the cities history.
There, we spent our time to ensure the quality of our hotels (i.e Sofitel Casino Carrasco, Belmond House, Esplandor); to visit new one (Don Boutique, Oliva Hotel, Alma historica); and to try excursions that we offer to our clients.
From here we continued our journey by driving north along the coast to visit La Rocha, located one hour from Brazil. This marshy region is inhabited by a large variety of land and marine animals. I stayed in eco lodges hotels, such as Las Eduardas and the Anaconda Club Resort, and had the opportunity to visit Laguna de la Roche Bay, Duna Costeras and La Pedreda City, which showed us an overview of what the region has to offer. Additionally, Not very far from La Rocha is Punta Del Diablo which offers breath-taking sandy beaches.
From here we travelled to the "upper" region of Punta Del Este, which attracts more and more people seeking luxury, and high quality of services. From the famous hotel brand VIK which recently opened 3 luxury hotels as well as a selection of first and tourist class hotels such as L'Auberge and Las Cumbres.
We finished our trip to the beautiful city of Colonia, an irresistibly picturesque city, with lots of Spanish heritage, and an amazing view of Buenos Aires.
This was a magic trip and Uruguay's strong European influence made be instantly feel comfortable in a familiar yet exotic environment. We visited many beautiful places, enjoyed gorgeous sandy beaches and shared many memorable experiences with local people.