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Uruguay Travel Guide

Republica Oriental del Uruguay was originally known as 'Banda Oriental' meaning East Bank or Eastern Province. Uruguay comes from the Guarani language which commonly means "River of the Painted Birds" and true enough, aside from colorful birds that abound the charming country, Uruguay has rapidly been exposed as South America's best-kept secret.

Located at the southeastern part of the South American continent, Uruguay lies between Argentina on the west and bordered by Brazil on the north. Best time to visit is during summers since pristine beaches are the main attraction in the country. However, those who are not that keen for sun exposure can opt to stay in the mountainous interiors of the country since weather tends to be cooler, especially at night when strong winds coupled with rains cool down the temperature. This happens during late April to November.

Famous beaches in Uruguay are River Beaches like Las Cañas and Santa Ana River Beach. They are coastlines regions ideal for those who seek a peaceful holiday as they are not that crowded. For families or random wanderers, they can enjoy their holidays engaging in water sports and far from the hustle of city life. In areas of Rio Uruguay and Rio Negro, you can even fish from their sandy banks or row a boat out into their serene waters.

Las Cañas is a resort in a privileged natural surrounding of River Beach where more than 90 hectares of lush virgin forests complete with a parade of ceibos, guayabos, arrayanes and espinillos (evergreen Mediterranean shrubs), sarandies, white sandy beaches and cañas or canes (where the names has been taken from). Heading towards 155 kilometers from the capital city of Montevideo lays Santa Ana River Beach. Aside from its unspoiled beaches, it is home to almost half a million native trees that surround its coast which gives it a wild touch and lots of breezy shade.

But if the way to your heart is through the palate, you might be pleased to know that Uruguay is bursting at its seams with delightful cuisine for the hearty eater. While there are many public markets that offer hundreds of excellent Uruguayan meat varieties and ravioli can be bought just about anywhere, when in Uruguay, eat as Uruguayans do! Be sure to try ‘gramajo' at local bars. It is a dish made of fried eggs, hams and potatoes but you can also eat it sans the ham if you wish to. You must also not dare miss 'chivito'. Many health buffs touted it as a heart-attack-on-a-platter sandwich since it is a steak sandwich with all the trimmings, combining juicy Uruguayan meat, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, onion, eggs, ham, bacon, mozzarella cheese, fries and mayonnaise. It's not everyday that you binge Uruguayan style, so do try their dishes while in town and savor their warm cuisine.

If the last thing on your checklist is how to get to Uruguay, take note their major airport is Aeroperto Nacional de Carrasco and it is located in the outskirts of Montevideo. Most international flights from Montevideo make a quick stop in Buenos Aires, Santiago or Sau Paulo before completely going out of South America.

Last but not the least, be prepared to receive a hug and a peck on the right cheek as it is Uruguayan tradition. Embrace them back and carry with you the warm hearted travel experience that Uruguay has unknowingly gave you.

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