Cruises to Montevideo

235 Reviews
Montevideo (Photo:Spectral-Design/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Montevideo

Residents of Montevideo travel to nearby Buenos Aires or Sao Paulo when they crave big-city excitement, which may suggest that there's not much going on in the Uruguayan capital of 1.4 million. But don't dismiss it yet! Montevideo, at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Rio de la Plata, is an intriguing mix of old and new.

The 18th-century buildings in Montevideo's historical "Ciudad Vieja" (Old Town) are just steps away from Plaza Independencia (Independence Square), the bustling, modern main square -- and even that was once a citadel. (One gate's stone base has been left standing to mark the division between the old and new parts of the city.) Montevideo was founded in the 18th century by the Spanish, and over the years its citizens fought against the British, Spanish and Portuguese for independence, as well as neighboring Argentineans and Brazilians. Today, politically and economically stable, the city serves as Uruguay's major commercial center, though colonial customs -- long siestas, afternoon tea -- still exist.

Montevideo is the perfect "kick back and relax" respite from glitzier ports on South America cruise itineraries near Uruguay. It may be sleepier and less cosmopolitan than metropolises in Argentina and Brazil, but Montevideo offers a broad range of possibilities for the day-tripper: monuments, restaurants, gorgeous urban plazas, beaches and a burgeoning arts and culture movement.

  • More about Montevideo

  • Why Cruise to Montevideo?

  • Montevideo Cruise Port Facilities?

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Sapphire Princess
Sapphire Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

18 Night
South America Cruise

1,021 Reviews
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Sapphire Princess
Sapphire Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

14 Night
South America Cruise

1,021 Reviews
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Sapphire Princess
Sapphire Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

17 Night
Antarctica Cruise

1,021 Reviews
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Seven Seas Splendor
Seven Seas Splendor (Photo: Regent Seven Seas)

38 Night
Transatlantic Cruise

48 Reviews
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Virgin Voyages

150 Night
150 Night World Cruise

392 Reviews
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32 Night
South America Cruise

1,021 Reviews
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51 Night
South America Cruise

732 Reviews
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14 Night
South America Passage

1,088 Reviews
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17 Night
South America & The Chilean Fjords

430 Reviews
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35 Night
Antarctica Cruise

1,021 Reviews
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7 Night
Buenos Aires To Rio De Janeiro

1,951 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Patagonia & Argentina Cruise

2,316 Reviews
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21 Night
Southern Atlantic Crossing

430 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Antarctica Cruise

2,316 Reviews
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12 Night
South America Cruise

812 Reviews
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More about Montevideo

Why Cruise to Montevideo?

Pros:

Explore the small city or head off to a nearby estancia, winery or seaside resort town

Cons:

Montevideo is quieter, with fewer attractions, than other South American port cities

Bottom Line:

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.

Getting Around?

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. 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.

Language?

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.

Where You're Docked?

Montevideo's port is actually in a terrific location, just next to the historic center of the Ciudad Vieja at the southern tip of the city. The port is small enough that you can walk right from your ship into the heart of the old town in just a few minutes.


Montevideo Cruise Reviews
Montevideo is often called "little Buenos Aires," and there are many similarities. We booked a city tour of Montevideo followed by a wine tasting, lunch, and a tango show, all of which was every bit as good as what wRead More
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MostlyLegal
Montevideo is an easy port to walk off of and explore the old town on your own. Locals provide a free map at the pier with a walking route and sights of interest. Lots of interesting architecture, a couple of pedestrRead More
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mkesolo
We took a walking tour, which seemed to miss out a couple of things we were supposed to visit (I think we arrived before opening times) but finished at the very attractive Port Market, which had fabulous food stalls,Read More
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Princess123
Cute city and the ship is docked near the downtown so you can explore it on foot.Read More
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Leo T

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