Written by nofootprint on 10 Jan, 2011
Our first day here was a quiet Sunday and a perfect time to explore Monteviseo. Instead of taking the city tour we opted to explore on our own .This is an easy city to walk about and as a bonus ,taxis are cheap and plentiful…Read More
Our first day here was a quiet Sunday and a perfect time to explore Monteviseo. Instead of taking the city tour we opted to explore on our own .This is an easy city to walk about and as a bonus ,taxis are cheap and plentiful . So a ride back is easy if you venture too far.Armed with a city map that we picked up at the airport we had no problem roaming around and taking in the sights.It is interesting to roam around the Old City. We entered Plaza Independence through ancient city Gates. We are visiting Montevideo during a National holiday so many shops are closed. No worries as there are many street venders scattered around the Old City. I am always an easy mark for hand made earrings and scarves and with the prices here ...who could resist! Also ,there were lots of Street markets offering a variety of goods such as wonderful fresh fruit or handicrafts.Our first stop was the famous Plaza independence. this is popular with locals and tourists. It features a monument in the center as a tribute to the great heroes from the past.Templo MatizThis wonderful old church dates back a couple of hundred years. Inside tells a story through its monuments and tombs to bishops and priest through the years. we see polished marble floors and a unique carved alter. There are so many works of art making this a worthwhile stop.Plaza de la ConstitutionOld pictures flank the corners of this wonderful old square telling the story of life from times long ago.Today people still stroll arm in arm enjoying the area just as they did over 100 years ago.Recommended by a street vender we decided to try the Central Market for lunch. Its only a few blocks away in the Old City ,we found the market easily. It was a real treat and so much better than we imagined. Inside and outside an old covered market , there are many restaurants featuring tempting open charcoal grills . Load boisterous and friendly. We cruised by several before finally choosing. Honestly they all looked so good. we had a seafood casserole between us . It was sold as a single serving but was huge and delicious. A huge breadbasket is included. With drinks the meal cost about $30.00.By now its late afternoon and our feet need a rest so we make our way back. Its an easy walk from Central Market and in no time we're back at our hotel .As often happens we wish we had more time to explore this wonderful historic city.Close
Written by LenR on 15 Apr, 2010
While still in the area of the old city it is worthwhile seeing the Bank of the Republic building with its great columns and impressive interiors. As this is a working bank photographs are not allowed inside. You will have more luck at the National…Read More
While still in the area of the old city it is worthwhile seeing the Bank of the Republic building with its great columns and impressive interiors. As this is a working bank photographs are not allowed inside. You will have more luck at the National History Museum - Casa Rivera, Casa Garibaldi, Casa Lavalleja.Spread among four different historic houses, this national history museum provides guests a glimpse into the country's past. Most of the restored homes once served as residences to some of Uruguay's famous military leaders and politicians. The Museo Romantic contains paintings and antiques. The Casa Rivera, topped by a distinctive octagonal cupola, was home to the country's first president, and the Casa Garibaldi was the residence of a famous navy commander in the mid 1800s. The Casa Lavalleja, circa 1700s and former home of military genius General Juan Lavalleja, also makes for an interesting visit.Giuseppe Garibaldi, the great Italian nationalist, stayed at the Casa Garibaldi in the 1840s. It was at this time he adopted his trademark clothing, the red shirt, poncho, and sombrero used by the gauchos. In 1842 Montevideo was besieged by an Argentine army and Garibaldi took command of the Uruguayan fleet and raised an Italian Legion. In 1846 he was victorious in the Battle of San Antonio, which won him a worldwide reputation as a guerrilla leader. Garibaldi returned to his homeland during the revolution of 1848 and eventually achieved the creation of an Italian state in 1860.The other significant buildings are outside the old city.Palacio LegislativoConstructed by Italian architect Gaetano Moretti between 1908 and 1925, this grand neo-classical structure is a ‘must visit’ while in the city. Located downtown near the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Palacio Legislativo is a government building that showcases outstanding architecture and contains notable artwork throughout. The building has four architecturally breathtaking facades oriented towards the four cardinal points, each decorated with bronze sculptures in turn representing Law, Justice, Science and Labour. It is particularly attractive when floodlight at night. The interior is just as attractive, housing some significant works of art. The military performs daily flag ceremonies at the front entrance, and guided tours are available in both Spanish and English. Tours leave from the back entrance on Ave General Flores.Palacio SalvoPalacio Salvo was constructed in 1928 in a mixture of styles with influences of Italian gothic, and was for decades the tallest building in South America. Following the inauguration, it rapidly became a symbol of pride for the people of Montevideo. To this day it can be found on most postcards of the city and country and remains a national icon. It was designed by the architect Mario Palanti, an Italian immigrant living in Buenos Aires, Palacio Salvo stands 100 metres high with the antenna included. The building was originally intended to function as a hotel, possibly mixed with some private residential units. This did not work out, and it never functioned as a hotel. There is now a mixture of offices and private residences in the building.Teatro Solis Tel: 1950.3323Teatro Solis was built between 1842 and 1856 and the lateral wing was added in 1869. Solis Theatre is a building for drama, comedy, ballet, opera or concerts. It is the oldest functioning great opera house in the Americas. The inauguration took place in the presence of President Gabriel Antonio Pereira, with a performance of the opera 'Ernani'. It reopened in 2004 after a major renovation. Operas, ballets and plays are still performed here, often by visiting international companies. You can see the lovely interior on a guided tour three times every day except Tuesdays and Fridays. The gift shop and small museum in the basement are open to the public at all times.Close
Written by LenR on 13 Apr, 2010
Montevideans head to Buenos Aires when they want to go on an extra-special shopping excursion but there are attractions for visitors in the local stores. Quality and selection are decent here, and prices are lower than in Argentina. Most stores in Centro, along Avenida 18…Read More
Montevideans head to Buenos Aires when they want to go on an extra-special shopping excursion but there are attractions for visitors in the local stores. Quality and selection are decent here, and prices are lower than in Argentina. Most stores in Centro, along Avenida 18 de Julio, offer the usual selection of urban merchandise but there are some good buys in hand-crafted textiles and souvenirs. The truly fun shopping experience is to be found in the city's markets. Here are some personal selections starting with the downtown area.Manos del Uruguay is a non-profit cooperative started in 1968 by five women which today offers high quality, slightly pricey, woollen sweaters, capes, scarves, shawls, blankets, rugs and tapestries as well as a variety of other hand-produced goods including leather goods and wood items. The Uruguayan wool is harvested, hand-dyed and crafted into the finished product by rural craftspeople. Visit one of the eight outlets in Montevideo, including all the major shopping centers, to peruse the inventory and select a piece for yourself. Similar products are found in the Tiendas Magdalena outlets which also dot the city.Mercado de la Abundancia,( cnr San José & Yaguarón, centro Tel: 900-3834) in the city center, is an enjoyable regional food and clothing market open every day except Sunday. It's is also a popular and atmospheric spot for lunch or dinner. This is a smaller version of Mercado del Puerto. The high-ceilinged, open-floor space hosts six restaurants, serving everything from parrilladas to savory crepes, pastas and salads. Mercado de la Abundancia is busiest during business lunch when you are bathed in natural light filtering in through skylight windows. The popular tango school, JovenTango, is also located in a far corner. The Artisan's Market (San José 1312) is a good place to get a true idea of what quality Uruguayan crafts include. Talented artisans offer all sorts of handmade goods, from leather and pottery to wood, wool and bronze items. Prices range from very inexpensive to quite pricey. Plan your trip to the market so that you have plenty of time to leisurely explore the many items, but remember the market's not open on Sundays.Along Avenida 18 de Julio visitors will find a number of antique shops selling a wide variety of goods, from textiles and furniture to knick knacks and jewelry. If antiques are your thing, be sure to carve out a couple hours to leisurely look at the inventory that lines the shelves of these Montevideo antique shops.Tristan Narvaja Market (Avenida 18 de Julio) is an exciting outdoor flea market, that opens bright and early on Sunday mornings, and serious shoppers would do well to be up and shopping early as the area gets quite crowded. Vendors sell everything from clothing, crafts and jewelry to fruits and vegetables. It is surprisingly extensive (could it be 20 blocks long and is good for people watching and exploring. There are crafts, old books, hardware, CDs, new clothes, fruit and vegetables, and just junk. This popular flea market has been in existence for over 50 years. Plaza Constitution in the Ciudad Vieja is another perfect place to browse a fleamarket for unique goods for your collections of what-ever. It appeared that there were no cheap souvenirs for tourists but rather interesting antiques and things of the good old times.Montevideo's Port Market (at Piedras and Yacaré in the Ciudad Vieja) draws people in with tantalizing smells, colourful sights and sounds. This open-air market is open late mornings, afternoons and weekends and offers guests a wide array of shops and eateries. At lunch you can sample authentic Uruguayan foods such as barbecued meats, seafood dishes and empanadas. Produce vendors and craft sellers also line the way as do street musicians on weekends. Located some kilometres from the Ciudad Vieja, Montevideo Shopping Center (Avenida Luis Alberto de Herrera 1290) was the city's first and is still the area's largest. Shoppers can enjoy visiting over 180 shops that include chain stores as well as small boutiques. A nice mix of cafes and eateries also call the mall home as does a 10-screen theatre. The mall offers complimentary transportation to and from many area hotels. Close
We started our sightseeing in Montevideo at the Plaza Independencia and were immediately stunned by a huge display of 2-metre high decorated bears. The whole plaza seemed filled with bears from every country imaginable. They were in rows, curved around the edge of the square…Read More
We started our sightseeing in Montevideo at the Plaza Independencia and were immediately stunned by a huge display of 2-metre high decorated bears. The whole plaza seemed filled with bears from every country imaginable. They were in rows, curved around the edge of the square and close to the huge statue of Artigas. We had no idea what was going on so we made a point of finding out.It turns out that this was part of a global tour of the UNITED BUDDY BEARS promoting a peaceful coexistence which is already in its seventh year travelling around the world. During their previous 17 exhibitions they visited five continents. After they stopped in 2008 in Warsaw, Stuttgart and Pyongyang (North Korea), they were now in Uruguay. In March / April 2009 140 bears had visited Buenos Aires, Argentina. After Buenos Aires they continued their journey to Montevideo, and in May and June they stood "hand in hand" on the Plaza Independencia helping to promote tolerance and international understanding. The display was opened on May 11 by Uruguay’s president, Dr. Tabaré Vázquez, the Mayor of Montevideo, Dr Ricardo Ehrlich and the German Ambassador, Graf von Waldersee. The initiators of the exhibition, Eva and Klaus Herlitz, had travelled to Montevideo to attend the inauguration. We learned that since the first exhibition in Berlin in 2002, more than 20 million visitors world-wide have been able to admire the United Buddy Bears. The bears stayed in Montevideo for five weeks. While we were there, they certainly generated much interest with visits by school children and other groups as well as locals and visitors.Naturally, we had interest in some particular bears. We found the Australian bear then tracked down the Thailand bear for my wife. Probably the one that appealed the most was the Cuban bear with its large cigar. We found it difficult to quite understand the connection between the decoration and the country in a few cases but most were obvious. The whole exhibition was fun and quite educational.The message portrayed by the bears is the Buddy Bears stand together hand in hand in a peaceful circle, promoting tolerance and under-standing among different nations, cultures and religions. Each Buddy Bear has been designed by an artist on behalf of his or her native country. The international artists’ different styles are joined together in one work of art, spreading zest for life. The diverse design of the Buddy Bears – always typical for the respective countries – enables the visitors to experience a journey around the globe. To date, over 1.600.000 € has been raised through donations and auctions in aid of UNICEF and local child relief organizations.Close
Written by SeenThat on 17 Nov, 2005
The Portuguese, who needed a port along the Rio de la Plata, founded Colonia in 1680. Nowadays it is an essential stop to everyone visiting Uruguay. The capture of the city in 1762 by the Spaniards lead to its hybrid look: the streets are not…Read More
The Portuguese, who needed a port along the Rio de la Plata, founded Colonia in 1680. Nowadays it is an essential stop to everyone visiting Uruguay. The capture of the city in 1762 by the Spaniards lead to its hybrid look: the streets are not arranged in the typical grid of most cities along the river, but follow the irregular shape typical of the Portuguese towns, despite that most of the whitewashed houses in the old quarter are built in the typical Spaniard Colonial style.
The old quarter highlights include the Puerta de Campo, which is the original Portuguese gate to the city, built in 1745; the Portuguese Museum by the Plaza Mayor; and the Spaniard Museum on San Jose Road, just next to the old pier. The museums are open from noon until 6pm. Nevertheless, the true highlights are the streets themselves, which take you effortlessly a couple of centuries back into an era long forgotten elsewhere. The fact that there are no cars in the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Quarter strongly contribute to that magical feeling.
To see the famous perfectly preserved vintage cars of the Uruguayans, you must exit its limits for the sake of the nearby commercial quarter and the pier leading to Argentina. The small modern town spans for a few kilometers along the coast to the north. The main point of interest of the new town is the Real de San Carlos, a huge quasi-destroyed bullring that was never used. By the new pier there are many motorcycles for rent; a day rental costs $4. In the same place there are many touts offering rooms in guesthouses next to the Old Quarter. Most rooms cost $5 per night, and there is no extra cost for the tout's work: the same price will be offered if you arrive without them. A typical basic room costs $5 per night. As with all Uruguayan coasts, Colonia is quite a windy place, so you should bring adequate clothing.
Colonia can be reached as a day trip from Montevideo or approached as a stop on the way out of the country towards Buenos Aires. A bus to Montevideo costs some 140URP and the way is almost 3 hours. The buses leave at 5:00 (Mo), 06:20, 09:30, 12:00 (except Su), 14:00 (except Su), 16:00, 18:00, and 20:00. In the opposite direction, the timetable is similar with departures half an hour later. The Buquebus Hydrofoil fast line to Buenos Aires costs 720URP and leaves at 9:15, 17:30, and 21:00; the trip takes about 1 hour. The slow line costs 420URP, takes almost 3 hours, and leaves at 04:30 and at 19:30. The Buquebus has a good cafeteria, which helps to comfortably pass the trip. Therefore, eating a heavy meal before the departure is not recommended; the prices aboard are only slightly higher than those on the coast. At the same counter where the Buquebus tickets are sold, by the pier, you can buy tickets for the Lancha Carmelo. Using this option, you travel first 85km to the north by bus and then cross the narrower Uruguay River with a speed boat to Tigre in Argentina. From there you can continue to Buenos Aires by bus or train (this is the only public train still in use in Argentina). This option is cheaper with a 261URP one-way ticket, or 437URP for a return ticket. It leaves daily at 2:30pm, and the only drawback is the landing place in Argentina, which is considered somewhat dangerous. Very conveniently, the Uruguayan and Argentinean immigration are placed on the Buquebus departing hall; thus you get both stamps on the same spot.
Punta del Este is just a couple of hours by bus to the east of Montevideo. Its name means Eastern Point and hints to the main characteristic of the town, which is built on a short peninsula placed at the exact point of the meeting…Read More
Punta del Este is just a couple of hours by bus to the east of Montevideo. Its name means Eastern Point and hints to the main characteristic of the town, which is built on a short peninsula placed at the exact point of the meeting between the Rio de la Plata (Plate River) and the Atlantic Ocean. The result is the most thrilling beach resort in the southern cone of the subcontinent: rich Brazilians and Argentineans completely crowd the town during the summer season. Its unusual geography leads to a striking characteristic: the southern side of the peninsula has a beach called Playa Mansa, with hot and sweet water, while its northern side has a cold and salty water beach called Playa Brava. Walking along the promenade (Rambla General Artigas), you can choose your splashing style: hot river water is the best for a chilly morning, while the cold water from the ocean will cool you down in a hot afternoon.
You can get a map loaded with local information at the tourist office located at the west end of Inzaurraga Street. Many souvenirs are available at the Feria Artesanal, which is active every evening on Plaza Artigas. The main commercial street is Avenida Juan Gorlero, which hosts many pizzerias and cafes that offer the best economical meals in town.
From the yacht harbor you can take a boat every half-hour to Isla Gorriti, which has sandy beaches, and, with a special appointment, to Isla de Lobos, home to many fur seals. Since this is an exclusive location, a backpacker on tight budget must plan its way carefully. There are no cheap accommodations in the town, but you can overcome the problem in a couple of ways. The simplest one is returning to Montevideo at the end of the day; in such a way, you can leave your luggage and travel light.
The other option is more interesting if you are heading for Brazil: you can take a bus from Punta del Este to the town of Rocha, farther east, and from there you can take a local bus to La Paloma, 28km southeast, by the Atlantic Ocean. La Paloma is a tiny Punta del Este for locals searching for beaches facing the ocean but unattracted to the overwhelming crowds of its big sister. Backpackers will feel at home in their inexpensive guesthouses. Rocha offers good value guesthouses as well, and from there you can follow to Chuy, the border cross to Brazil.
Written by SeenThat on 05 Nov, 2005
Due to decentralization efforts in the late nineteenth century, Montevideo’s sights are spread around; yet the tour is worth the effort, since many of them are extraordinary, and not only in the South American context. However, the downtown area can be explored by…Read More
Due to decentralization efforts in the late nineteenth century, Montevideo’s sights are spread around; yet the tour is worth the effort, since many of them are extraordinary, and not only in the South American context. However, the downtown area can be explored by foot and then be used to reach faraway sights with buses.
A logical place to begin is the port: Puerto de Montevideo by the Rambla 25 de Agosto 1825; if you do not have a map of the city, the Tourism Ministry’s Office there will be happy to provide you with one. As you begin walking away from the port, the places of interest will be:
El Mercado del Puerto (Port Market): less than a block away from the port, at the junction of Piedras and Yacare streets, is a wonderful market where you can taste the flavors of Uruguay from small “empanadas” (filled baked pastries) to massive “churrascos” (beefsteaks). The pedestrian street next to it hosts many stalls selling souvenirs and handicrafts. Afternoons and weekends are the best times for a visit.
Plaza Constitucion: to reach it, walk away from the port through Perez Castellano Street until you reach the corner with Sarandi. The last is a walking street that hosts much of the commercial activity in downtown; you will be pleasantly distracted in your way to the Plaza Constitucion, which is known as Plaza Matriz as well. The last name refers to its main landmark, the Iglesia Matriz (Matriz Church), on the corner with Ituzaingo Street. The cathedral was the city’s first public building and was erected in 1804. Across the square is El Cabildo (Town Hall), Juan Carlos Gómez 1362. Uruguay’s constitution was signed there and now it is a museum. The admission is free and it is open every day except Mondays. On Sunday mornings there is a flea market here as well as open tango shows.
Teatro Soliz: the street parallel to Sarandi to the south is Buenos Aires, there, on number 678 is the wonderful theatre and opera house. Among the artists who have performed here are Caruso, Toscanini, Sarah Bernhardt, and Twyla Tharp.
Plaza Independencia: looking to the north, you will see the main city square, Plaza Independencia. That is the limit between the Ciudad Vieja (Old City), which was enclosed behind walls, and the newer areas of Montevideo. The only testimony to the transition is the beautiful gate at the encounter of Sarandi Street with the plaza; its name is Puerta de la Ciudadela. On the plaza’s center is the very expected South American Horse Rider statue. The tallest building in the city (and in the country) is the Palacio Salvo, with its peculiar shuttle-like structure. It was built between 1923 and 1928 and its 26 floors and 120 meters height transformed it at the time into the tallest building in Latin America.
Av. 18 de Julio: it joins the plaza at its eastern side and is Montevideo’s main avenue. Beyond the hectic activities, you can find the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Av. 18 de Julio 965, 2nd Floor, which is dedicated to contemporary Uruguayan art. From the nearby Plaza Fabini, begins a huge diagonal avenue called Lavalleja (Laa-vaa-shae-haa) from where you can catch a bus to the Plalacio Legislativo. Further east on the avenue is Plaza Cagancha, which hosts several typical restaurants, and beyond it the Palacio Municipal (Municipality). Where Av. 18 de Julio intersects with Av. Santiago de Chile, there is a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David.
Plalacio Legislativo: the most grandiose building in town, the parliament was built between 1908 and 1925. It was built away from the downtown in an attempt to expand the city, nearby is the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Carmen. The building is in a communist sized roundabout and curiously resembles Ceausescu's Palace in Bucharest, but in a smaller scale. The daily flag ceremonies performed at its entrance by the military a little before sunset will remind you that you are still in South America: a military regime ruled the country for a long period.
Tres Cruces Terminal: from Av. 18 de Julio, take any bus with the Tres Cruces signs to get there. The terminal is placed along Boulevard Artigas in a pleasantly green area.
Parque Rodo: the main green area of the town can be reached by bus from Av. 18 de Julio, or by any bus traveling south from the terminal through Boulevard Artigas. It is a very well designed park with a glorious beach, Playa (plaa-shaa) Ramirez. It is the perfect place to end your tour, and you can return to the center just by walking west through the promenade.
Shopping Malls: Punta Carretas Shopping Center is the most fashionable mall, at Calle Ellauri and Solano, next to the Sheraton hotel and somewhat away from downtown. Montevideo Shopping Center, Av. Luis Alberto de Herrera 1290, is close to Playa Pocitos, one of the best beaches in town, and to the Puerto del Buceo. It was the first mall in the city and it is the biggest as well. It offers free pick-up and return service from the main hotels.
Written by Montevideana on 27 Apr, 2010
This year… due to the dollar falling sharply (against the Uruguayan peso) my fiance and I decided to stay during our vacations at home. But we agreed on pretending that we were actually somewhere else. When on vacations we always look for rental houses with…Read More
This year… due to the dollar falling sharply (against the Uruguayan peso) my fiance and I decided to stay during our vacations at home. But we agreed on pretending that we were actually somewhere else. When on vacations we always look for rental houses with the following characteristics: it should be near the beach, it should have a barbecue, a beautiful garden and a comfortable bed. Our own house (fortunately) has it all so, why not staying at home while simulating we are somewhere else? So we did. We stayed in Solymar, Solymar is a seaside resort 25 kilometres away from Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city. It has beautiful beaches and it is very tranquil for long strolls along the unpaved streets or even along the beach. Many people rent houses in the summer to take advantage of the beaches and the peacefulness of the place while being close enough to Montevideo. Although it was a special experience and we really enjoyed it, we are already looking for some place to go in our next vacation. Close
Written by Valerita on 13 Apr, 2010
Can you be a tourist in your own city? Absolutely! What would you do if you don’t have the time or money, or both, to take a long trip to a new exciting destination? Would you just stay at home, watching TV? Well, you could…Read More
Can you be a tourist in your own city? Absolutely! What would you do if you don’t have the time or money, or both, to take a long trip to a new exciting destination? Would you just stay at home, watching TV? Well, you could do that but you can also explore your city. There are so places that we have heard of, places where tourists go, but for some reason we don’t. We think that they are there, waiting for that tourist from an unpronounceable country with a huge camera. (I remember an episode of Friends where Chandler took a first time visitor to New York for a tour of the city; he came back so excited about the things he had seen, wearing I (heart) NY, he had been the tourist!). That is what I will try to do in this journal. Visit my own city and country from a tourist’s point of view. Close