The environment is a big concern in the 21st century, with (almost) every country pledging to change aspects of their infrastructure to combat global warming. Few countries have done more than Uruguay, as 94.5 percent of its electricity and almost 50 percent of all its energy comes from renewable sources.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
How to cook really, really good meat
Uruguay is a country of meat lovers, which is fortunate because they have so much of it! They have several ways of cooking their treasured staple: fried, grilled, smoked, you name it. After you try one of their trademark asados, or grilled beef, you’ll never want to go back.
Their treatment of animals
Animals in Uruguay are generally loved and respected, which is something to keep in mind if you’re travelling here. Most dogs are let loose pretty much everywhere and you will see many people walking their four-legged friends at all hours of the day. Many areas of the country are protected nature reserves because they are the natural habitats of flying, marine, and terrestrial animals.
How to be more friendly
People in Uruguay are amiable, hospitable, and warm to strangers no matter where they come from. More often than not, they are quick to go out of their way to help others and they will strike up a conversation with pretty much anyone.
To find unity through a national sport
For a country with a population of less than 3.5 million, Uruguay has produced some of the best football players in the world. Their reputation stretches back to 1924, when they won their first football world championship and then went on to host the first ever FIFA World Cup in 1930. Even their passion for local teams is palpable throughout the cities and everyone is a fan.
Enjoy a leisurely lifestyle
In general, people in Uruguay are easygoing and laid-back, and like nothing more than lounging on a sunny beach. Even in the capital where you’d expect people to be in a constant rush they are as relaxed and friendly as they come.
A lot of core traditions in Uruguay are communal. Their national beverage, mate, is typically shared in a circle. When cooking barbecue, they will cut meat into small pieces and everyone shares from a common plate. Even when drinking beer, Uruguayans often buy a litre bottle and share it round a circle and only grab a second when the first one is finished.
Uruguay is a country of gauchos, where the free-spirited roam the gently undulating countryside. In some regions of the country, where there are vast plains and few roads, there is no better mode of transport than a horse. Many Uruguayans are skilled on horseback and can probably ride better than knights of yore.
Make the most out of the great outdoors
Every day the streets pulse with motion and energy; people are enjoying the sun in the park, relaxing on a balcony, rollerblading down the street, walking and running along the promenade, and even grilling on street corners. Uruguayans love the outdoors and would be the first to tell you what the weather’s going to be like for the next week.
How to put on a good street market
The street markets in Uruguay are second to none, they are sprawling and seem to last for miles. There are several weekly markets across the country that have absolutely everything under the sun. Hardly a month goes by without an exceptional feria (a specialist market) popping up unexpectedly.
Acceptance and tolerance
Since its independence, the Constitution of Uruguay upholds the rights of all citizens regardless of ethnicity, religious views, or background. These values have been passed down the generations and have created a diverse society that is tolerant and accepting of people.
On an international level, Uruguay doesn’t have much political weight to throw around, but when it does this small country has been a strong advocate for peace and diplomacy. There is much to be admired and learnt from their reserved approach to international affairs.
Uruguay has a historic legacy with innovative social policies that have taken many first world countries years to catch up with. They have free healthcare, free education, and are constantly pushing for equal rights. Most recently, they legalized same-sex marriage, abortion, and the controlled growing and selling of cannabis all in one year.
Focus on technology
In a world increasingly dominated by ever-changing technology, it is very important to stay ahead of the game. For many years Uruguay has funded various initiatives focused on computer science, creating a skilled, computer-literate population. One of their most important projects, called Plan Ceibal, ensured that every child in public school received a free laptop.
Even if you’re strapped for cash, there is a lot to see and do in Uruguay. All public museums have free entry, there are free gigs in bars and restaurants all over the country, and in the summer open festivals seem to pop up everywhere. Sometimes it’s impossible to ignore the culture teeming around every street corner.
The cities of Uruguay may be small when compared to other Latin, Central, and North American cities, but that doesn’t mean they are any less interesting when it comes to urban planning. Most streets in the capital, for example, are lined with a variety of flowering trees that paint them with a new smell and colour every season.
Embrace the sweet side of life
Uruguayans definitely have a sweet tooth. Ask the next one you meet how often they’ve had an alfajor (a typical cake) or bizcochos (crusty sweet and savory pastries) for breakfast and they’ll laugh until they realise it would be impossible to count. Their lavish bakeries are a testimony to themselves, offering a multi-coloured feast for the eyes lathered in dulce de leche!
For a beach-loving country, Uruguayans are conscious of the harmful effects of the sun and take the necessary precautions before exposing themselves to its rays. You can find a gym around practically every corner and public areas with free-to-use exercise equipment. There is even a law that forbids restaurants from giving salt to customers unless specifically requested to prevent hypertension.
It’s not surprising for such a green country to be as aware and committed to recycling, but the ratio of general garbage bins to bins for recycled materials is astonishing! For every trash can, there’s an adjacent recycling station and anytime you buy a beverage in a glass bottle there’s a cash incentive to return it for recycling.
In Uruguay, people have always preferred eating organic, natural produce. Numerous markets are set up in different corners of the cities, offering natural ingredients sent straight from the farms. Livestock can graze and wander the countryside and the chickens are free range. Many people grow their own orchards, even in the capital where there are roof-top gardens in almost every neighbourhood.
How to party
If there’s one thing that Uruguayans can do better than anyone else, it’s party! There are clubs, bars, and even restaurants that are open all night long and only get busy in the wee hours of the morning. The best thing about it is that in almost every bar you’re shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of brand new friends.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.