Three Days in Montevideo

Montevideo, Uruguay

January 10th - 13th, 2024

Since I couldn't find any good flights from Northern Argentina to either Bolivia or Paraguay, I decided to add a couple of days in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo. I had been Uruguay previously, but only on a daytrip to Colonia from Buenos Aires. So, I was interested to get to know Montevideo.

The city is located on the shores near the mouth of the Rio de la Plata. The river delta here is almost 100 kilometers wide, so it feels like you are at an ocean, not a river. The city is surrounded by beautiful beaches, but the water is very brown, since the river carries so much silt.

I stayed in the Punta Carretas area, which is a very affluent neighborhood full of nice villas and fancy high-rise apartments. One of the weirder site here is the strange little Castillo del Alquimista, which was built in 1910/11 by an eccentric architect and alchemist as his residence.

There is a narrow peninsula jotting out from Punta Carretas. This was the view from the plane:

I went on a nice walk out to the tip of the peninsula, which has a small military outpost and this 19th century light house on it. I noticed a lot of parakeets in the grass along the way.

This is the view of downtown Montevideo, from Punta Carretas.

The city has a population of around 1.3 million, which is a third of the whole country. The city started out as a Portuguese garrison in 1723, which was taken over by the Spanish only a few years later. It has been Uruguay's capital since the country's independence in 1828.

The Plaza Indepencia, the main city square, overlooked by the iconic tower of the Palacio Salvo, an early 20th century building, that was originally designed as a hotel, but is now used as an office tower.

The city has a very European feel to it, and there is a lot of neo-classical and art deco influence in the architecture.

Consecrated in 1804, the Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral is an elegant neo-classical building, which replaced an earlier colonial brick church on this site.

When you get further towards the harbor. The downtown area is a bit more run down and seems much poorer than the area where I stayed.

Montevideo is a pleasant city and a relaxing place to hang out for a few days. I left Montevideo the next morning for a the short direct flight to AsunciĆ³n.

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