Although Uruguay is a small and relatively unknown country on the world stage, there are some common stereotypes about it and its people that still pervade. Discover why these stereotypes are just that, as this list explores and debunks some of the most common misconceptions about Uruguay.
While climate change has been affecting the weather, Uruguay is still very far from the equator and has four distinct seasons. Spring and summer are incredible, with months of sunshine and plenty of beaches for everyone to enjoy. Autumn and winter, despite being cold and stormy, offer further options for experiencing Uruguay.
It’s a cannabis paradise
Being the pioneering country for the legalization of cannabis doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a marijuana tourist destination. Buying cannabis from a pharmacy is a complex process for Uruguayans and straight up prohibited for tourists and other non-permanent residents.
Everybody loves meat
Another myth is that Uruguay is full of meat lovers. While it’s certainly true that you can get great quality meat and many Uruguayans eat tonnes of it, there are ever-increasing numbers of vegetarians and vegans. This may be because of religious, moral, or environmental reasons, but there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Uruguay to discover.
At the turn of the century Uruguay and neighboring Argentina went through an economic crisis. Jobs and homes were lost and both countries were left devastated for a long time. Uruguay luckily managed to avoid the worst of the 2008 Housing Crisis, but the damage had already been done and inflation is still taking its toll on the Uruguayan population. Imported goods are heavily taxed and even produce at local shops and markets are effected, making it one of the most expensive countries in Latin America. There are many affordable goods and services, but it’s best to come to Uruguay with a budget in mind.
It’s a bite-sized Argentina
Uruguay gets called a mere province of its much larger next door neighbor far too often. Although there are many similarities around the regions of the Rio de la Plata, Uruguayans and Argentinians have very different approaches and perspectives on life, their way of interacting with one another, and their culture in general.
The entire country is by the sea
While most of the population lives within spitting distance of the ocean, there is much more land that stretches for hundreds of kilometers to the north and west. There is plenty to see and do in these areas in the interior of the country that often get overlooked. Another popular misconception is that the capital, Montevideo, is located on the Atlantic, when it is in fact located on the Rio de la Plata, the widest river in the world!
As it is one of the smallest countries in Latin America, it’s easy to mistake its true size. The population is relatively small; there are only 3,45 million Uruguayans in the country as of the 2016 census, so there is an incredible amount of space for each of the residents. If you compare it to many European nations, Uruguay is huge although sparsely populated. For example, you can fit roughly two and a half Irelands into Uruguay, even though it has roughly the same population.
Uruguayans are lazy
Everybody loves football
The national pastime is indeed the most popular sport in the world: football. Uruguay, winners of the inaugural FIFA World Cup in 1930, has a strong footballing cultural dating back more than one hundred years. It is easy to believe that every Uruguayan is mad about football, but Uruguayans also enjoy several other sports, including kitesurfing and rock climbing.