Why You Should Visit Montevideo in Fall (There, It’s Spring)
With the days getting shorter and colder, now is the time to start planning for fall travel abroad. And where better to escape the onset of winter than in the southern hemisphere? With spring kicking off here, there’s more to draw visitors to Uruguay than ever before, and the capital has all sorts of warm weather attractions to offer. Here are three reasons to head to Montevideo this autumn.
You Can Eat Outside
As the weather gets warmer, the city moves outdoors and comes alive. Restaurants and bars start expanding onto the sidewalks, and the Rambla (the city’s 14-mile boardwalk) fills up with couples, groups of friends and families going for strolls, thermoses and mugs of mate tea in hand.
Grab drinks at La Ronda, a hip bar with picnic table-style seating, and crowds of hipsters drinking gin and tonics filling the sidewalk in the warm evenings. Eating outdoors is also a springtime bonus—rather than vying for space inside the tiny-but-fabulous barbecue joint La Pulperia, grab a far more comfortable table on the patio for your sizzling, straight-off-the-grill chorizo or ojo de bife ancho cooked rare.
It’s Still Beach Season
Uruguay’s got gorgeous beaches to spare, both in Montevideo and on the coast. The riverside beaches that run the length of Montevideo are scrupulously clean and fill up with sun worshippers as the days get hotter. (Uruguayans love the heat so much that their beach chairs are often placed with their backs to the water, pointed towards the sun for maximum rays.)
Spring is the right time to get out of town, too, heading north up the coast towards chic Punta del Este or the more laidback towns in Rocha. December through February is the high season, but planning an excursion for November means warm days and gorgeous, empty beaches at half the price of a month or two later.
Strong Discounts for Tourists
Save money by going on vacation? Yes, please. Tourists to Uruguay are making out like bandits, as the government has just expanded a program that saves visitors big bucks. Through March 2016, when you use a foreign credit card in Uruguay to pay at a restaurant, bar, cafe and even car rental agency, you’ll receive a discount of 22 percent (this is the IVA, or Spanish equivalent of the VAT, and a significant deduction). As a way to lure tourists, this one is genius.
Nell McShane Wulfhart is based in Uruguay, and writes about South America for Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @nellmwulfhart.