An unlikely destination for some, and completely unheard of for others. Uruguay is one of the best-kept secrets in luxury travel, and we can help you create exclusive tours and source high-end accommodation for a trip of a lifetime.
The country’s entire south coast is blessed with beautiful beaches, there’s extensive countryside for hiking and cycling, and the lakes and rivers are prime for canoeing, kayaking or fishing excursions. Montevideo, the country’s most vibrant city, offers everything you could desire for the ultimate food and wine escape – but without the crowds. Even during its busiest periods, you’ll never feel like you’ve entered into an overcrowded tourist hotspot. And as one of the most economically developed nations in South America with a high standard of living, it’s the perfect destination for a luxury break or romantic holiday.
With mouthwatering dishes, premium wines and distinct displays of traditional culture, Uruguay is a hidden door waiting to be unlocked. There’s so much to discover in Uruguay and our local travel experts can help you get started on your journey.
The beaches in Uruguay are a huge draw for holidaymakers, and areas like Maldonado are conveniently close to the capital. The Maldonado department boasts beach towns such as La Barra and José Ignaci, and is also a fantastic destination for sailing. Additionally, it’s a region with some of the finest wineries in South America. You can experience the unique winemaking techniques of Maldonado by visiting its many prestigious estates and enjoying a tasting session afterwards.
Further along the El Rio de la Plata, past the mouth of the river is Carmelo, another region for wine lovers. The immense river frontier is home to areas that make up a huge 60% of all national wine production, and Carmelo wine tours provide a truly scenic experience. In fact, the region is often referred to as Uruguay's "Tuscany" due to its incredible rolling countryside. The region is easily accessible from Montevideo, as well as Argentina’s capital and the main airport in Buenos Aires.
Just north of the capital is the city of Canelones and the wider Canelones department, a charming area known for its golden beaches and Asado barbecue restaurants. Also here is one of the oldest wineries in the country, Varela Zarranz Winery, where visitors get to make their own sparkling wine to take home.
Uruguay has a humid subtropical climate that affects most of the country. Seasonal variations do occur, but extremes in temperature are rare. The warmest and driest time of year is from January to February, an ideal time for horse riding, beaches or wine tours. It can get busy around this time, while March, April and May are a little quieter.
The country goes through its winter months from June to September, with pleasant averages of 15-18°C (59-64°F). It’s important to note that some attractions and restaurants may close during the winter season, and tend to open back up when spring lands in October.
Many visitors enjoy Uruguay’s warm weather and lovely peace and quiet in November. This is a good time for whale watching, and is also ideal for vineyard visits and winery tours.
The country’s crown jewel is its signature red, Tannat, which is a match made in heaven with the red meat used in many of Uruguay’s famous fishes. Historically grown in South West France in the Madiran AOC, this humble grape is now the nation’s predominant variety. Premium Tannat is produced in areas such as Canelones, Colonia and Carmelo. In Colonia the inland soil is rich and fertile, making it ideal for reds. The closer you get to the river, the soil is prime for producing grapes for white wine. If you’re interested in a historic tour, Carmelo is highly recommended. It’s an area that embraces tradition when it comes to winemaking, providing an interesting and educational experience.
In contrast, Maldonado oozes modernity, with new vineyards popping up and wineries with the latest technology and wine-producing methods. Maldonado is definitely an up-and-coming region that must be explored by anyone who enjoys wine tasting. Go inland away from the stunning beaches to see the vineyards that enjoy a cooler, windy maritime climate. Expect to find varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Syrah.
Although off the main tourist map, Uruguay as a destination still has much to offer in terms of accommodation. At Wine Paths, we specialize in tailor-made holidays and can help you find 5-star luxury hotels, boutique stays, villas or exclusive spas.
If you want a great mix of history, culture and sights, the city of Montevideo is the best place to stay. It also makes an ideal base for exploring the country’s distinguished wine routes. From the capital, you’ll be able to plan your journey to Canelones, Colonia and Carmelo, or Maldonado.
Whether you want to be fully immersed into city life in the capital, or you want to escape to a quiet countryside retreat, we can find somewhere to suit you and your travel companions.
Great food is a major part of life in Uruguay, and locals are extremely passionate about quality ingredients and their unique flavours. Taking influences from the Mediterranean (particularly from Spain, Italy, Portugal and France), Uruguayan food is a melting pot of the very best, and is even more wonderful when paired with the right wine.
Asado (barbecued meats) and Chivito (steak and cheese sandwich) are just some of the comfort dishes that go well with the nation’s signature red, Tannat. And restaurants – ranging from casual pit stops to fine dining venues – will have a great wine selection for you to choose from.
For local restaurant recommendations or ideas on where to go, find out more from our local travel expert Damian.
Wine Paths creates luxury holidays that can be completely tailor-made for you and your group. Plan your gastronomy tour and visit the most exclusive wineries and restaurants in Uruguay. Book your holiday or full-day tours online now.