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The tiny country of Uruguay (the second smallest sovereign territory in South America after Suriname) lies between its two huge neighbours, Brazil to the north and Argentina to the south and west. More than half the country’s population of 3.3 million live in the capital, Montevideo.
Visitors to Uruguay often arrive by ferry from Buenos Aires in Argentina, crossing the 1.5 kilometre wide River Plate to the port in Montevideo. Many come on a day-trip, but with so much to explore in Uruguay you should allow more time if possible. You can enjoy the European-influenced architecture of Montevideo and walk through its vibrant port market area, or for a more relaxed cultural experience you could discover the country’s oldest town, Colonia del Sacramento, founded by the Portuguese in 1680 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Evenings in Mondevideo are lively: you can hear the characteristic Candombe music, with its African-derived rhythms, at any time of year – and enjoy carnival every year in February.
For a change of scene you could travel to the country’s long, white, sandy beaches, which cover much of Uruguay’s 660 kilometre coastline. The resorts and upmarket hotels here draw visitors from throughout Latin America and beyond.