From cut-price crashpads in Colonia del Sacramento to affordable addresses in Punta del Este, this sometimes pricey Latin American country has plenty of budget-friendly bases to offer.
While Uruguay is one of South America’s more expensive countries, you don’t need to sacrifice comfort or blow your budget when it comes to a great night’s sleep. From capital city Montevideo to glitzy beach resort Punta del Este and the laidback riverside town of Colonia del Sacramento, you can stay at one of the country’s budget-friendly bases, then splash out on life’s finer things such as quality dining, wine tastings or a day out in the countryside.
Located just two blocks from Playa Brava beach in the fun-loving coastal city of Punta del Este, RocaMar Hostel makes for a comfy yet stylish stay. Run by welcoming staff, rooms include dinky doubles and dorms whilst shared spaces include a cool patio bar with a pool table and bikes to borrow. Having saved on your room, splurge on dining at Lo de Tere, one of Punta’s best restaurants with a strong line in fresh seafood.
Located on a piece of prime real estate in capital Montevideo’s upscale Pocitos barrio, Hyatt Centric counts on fabulous waterside views over the Río de la Plata (River Plate). Spacious rooms draw from a neutral palette, ensuring those watery snapshots really stand out. Work up an appetite at the fitness center and indoor heated pool before enjoying a farm-to-table lunch at Plantado restaurant.
Located in Uruguay’s north, a stone’s throw from the Brazilian border, a stay at the fittingly-named Frontier Hotel Rivera means you can breeze easily between the two nations. Take a tropical fruit-forward breakfast on the roof terrace and enjoy the cityscape views. On sunny days, top up your tan on the solarium. Gym bunnies can head to the fitness center for a workout.
Sunseekers will adore Ramona’s picture-perfect location opposite Playa Grande beach in the southern coastal city of Piriápolis – a short drive from scenic Laguna del Sauce lake and Francisco Piria castle. While many of the well-kept rooms, decorated with cowhide rugs, have poolside vistas, our tip is to wake up to the waves with a beach-facing upgrade. Try your hand at cooking an Uruguayan-style barbecue; grills are free for guests to use.
Wake up with Colonia del Sacramento’s romantic old town right on your doorstep when you stay at the charming Don Antonio lodge. With an array of sights, such as Plaza de Armas and the lighthouse, a short walk away, this posada is extremely well located. Well-appointed rooms are airy, with whitewashed walls and many open on the interior courtyard. After a day on your feet, kick back next to the small-but-soothing centerpiece swimming pool.
With a perfect location on the banks of the Rió de la Plata, plump for a room with river views at smart Costa Colonia. Being only a short walk from Colonia de Sacramento’s Ciudad Vieja (Old Town) means you can get lost among the cute cobbled streets and museums, before enjoying poolside downtime back at the hotel. Guests will appreciate the second heated indoor pool in winter. Scandinavian design rules in spacious rooms where king-size beds are the norm.
You can’t avoid waterfront views at Atlántico Hotel, given its location on Punta del Este’s buzzing peninsula – the question is whether you’ll wake up to Playa Mansa or Playa Brava. When beaches pack out in summer, top up your tan in Atlántico’s garden and freshen up in the pool with a cocktail. Minimalist rooms with nautical touches are light and bright; groups of eight should book the spacious two-bed apartment to spread the costs further still.
With a central downtown location, just two blocks from Montevideo’s Plaza Independencia in the Arts District, Smart Hotel is an ideal base to check out Montevideo’s key sights on foot, such as Palacio Estévez. Spic-and-span rooms are airy and decorated with neutral tones; all include a sofa. Stop by the Bar Americano for gastro-pub fare such as bruschetta and mushroom risotto.
Splendido Hotel is set on one of the many renovated buildings in the Ciudad Vieja (Old City) of Montevideo. Not far from the city center, this area is ideal for travelers looking to explore historical parts of the city with all its rich architecture and culture. The hotel was built circa 1900 in the style of Art Decó, a style prominent in the area. Remaining true to its history, Splendido Hotel offers rooms with retro-inspired décor and mid-century vintage design objects. You can see Solis Theater, one of the most beautiful buildings in Montevideo, from the balconies of the rooms.
Quebrada de Los Cuervos is a stunning location for people who enjoy the outdoors. There are multiple walking and hiking trails of varying difficulties, lakes on which to practice water sports and opportunities for horseback riding, not to mention great rock climbing. El Capricho is a former country house turned inn offering family rooms at competitive prices – ideal to disconnect from the city and explore Uruguay’s extensive countryside.
Located a four-minute walk from one of Uruguay’s most coveted beaches and less than 3km (2mi) from the nearest town, Anacahuita Inn is truly a little piece of paradise. All bedrooms include a private deck and sitting area, with views of the sea and surrounding nature. You’ll have free use of bicycles and can also enjoy activities like horse riding and surfing. The inn is powered by solar panels, so you can diminish your carbon footprint while you’re there.
Hotel America is conveniently located in Montevideo city center, just five blocks away from the historic district with its boutique cafés, art galleries and museums. Fuel up before seeing it all with a stay at Hotel America, where you can enjoy the best buffet breakfast in all of Montevideo.
Las Casquivanas offers couples and groups the possibility of staying in a boutique cottage. These cottages are a well-hidden treasure in the heart of Punta del Diablo, a coastal town in the far east of the country. Punta del Diablo took its name from a fearsome reputation as a shipwreck site back in the 19th century. Today, it is a well-known surf spot frequented by both tourists and locals alike.
Declared a Unesco site in 1995, the historic quarter of Colonia del Sacramento is as picturesque as they come. The city was founded by the Portuguese in the late 17th century but was then lost to the Spanish a century later, resulting in a fusion of the Portuguese, Spanish and post-colonial architectural styles. See it all up-close with a stay at Posada del Rio, located close to both the historic quarter and the Rio de la Plata estuary with its beach.