Why go to Montevideo?
Explore the small city or head off to a nearby estancia, winery or seaside resort town
Montevideo is quieter, with fewer attractions, than other South American port cities
A nice port for taking it down a notch on an action-packed cruise
Montevideo Cruise Port Facilities?
Just across the street from the port is the Mercado del Puerto, a beautiful iron and glass port building from 1868 that has been restored with 14 restaurants and stalls and several stores selling local handicrafts. This is a terrific place to taste Uruguay's delicious grilled meats. On afternoons and weekends, there are also outdoor tables with more local arts and crafts. From the market, you can keep walking into the Old City, but motorized transportation (cabs or ship-organized shuttles) is recommended; some of the streets surrounding the market and port are not heavy on tourist traffic.
Just next to the Mercado del Puerto is the Carnaval Museum (Rambla 25 de Agosto) documenting Montevideo's 40-day celebration prior to Lent. The exhibits show the elaborate processions that fill the street. Costumes and paper mache characters are on display, and, if you're lucky, you might even catch some being constructed in the workshop next door. A guided tour is included with admission.
Good to Know?
Mosquitoes: They can be annoying and unwanted travel companions. Be sure to bring along some bug spray to put on before you venture off the ship.
Sundays: Many attractions and shopping stops (such as Mercado de los Artesanos) are closed, and the Congressional building does not run tours on Sundays.
Pickpocketing: Although it is not rampant, it does occur.
If you like to walk, you can get from the port to the center of Montevideo at Independence Square in about 25 minutes. Most cruise lines run shuttles from the port to the square, and taxis are plentiful at the port. You can take them to the square or even as far as the resort town of Punta del Este, about two hours away. Taxis have meters, but it is more common to decide on a fixed price first; they are listed at the taxi stand.
Representatives of the plentiful leather factories in Montevideo send free shuttles to the port to bring travelers back to their showrooms.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The Uruguayan Peso is the official currency. For current conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. There's an exchange bureau inside the port between Piers 1 and 2 and additional exchange bureaus and ATM's just outside the port entrance. ATM's are everywhere in Montevideo. You will find numerous exchange shops along Av. 18 de Julio and around Independence Square. U.S. dollars are accepted nearly everywhere, including in taxis. Credit cards are accepted in most restaurants and stores in the capital.
Spanish is the official language of Uruguay. The citizens of Montevideo share the same accent as their neighbors in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They speak Rioplatenese Spanish, the dialect common around the Rio de la Plata basin. Most Uruguayans don't speak English, but those working in the tourism business speak enough to get by.