Local traditions and culture in Uruguay

  • Me trying mate.
    Me trying mate.
    by Dizzyhead
  • People drinking mate in the street.
    People drinking mate in the street.
    by Dizzyhead
  • Local Customs
    by Dizzyhead

Most Viewed Local Customs in Uruguay

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    Late dining

    by kyoub Written May 23, 2008

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    Do not expect to have dinner before 9pm, at the very earliest, if you are eating in a restaurant. Most places close at 3pm and do not open again until 9pm.

    I think that is why lunch is the main meal of the day. I know we would have a late lunch and then just a snack at the apartment later on in the evening. The Super Mercados are open for snack attachs.

    sunset
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    Candombe

    by Valeggua Written May 2, 2008

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    Candombe is the name of the important Afro-uruguayan heritage: It's a rhythm created when tambores (drums) are played together.

    I noticed that Candombe is extremely important to the little black population of Uruguay. It's the rhythm of their life.
    Someone told me that all Uruguayans are proud of their Afro-Uruguayan heritage. During Carnaval all Uruguayans, black and white, make music and dance the Candombe!
    It's like a Samba batucada, from Brazil's popular carnaval, but Candombe is more "underground", the carnaval is much more cultural then comercial!

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    Soccer/Football

    by Valeggua Written May 2, 2008

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    I've heard there's a saying in South America: "Other countries have their history, Uruguay has it's futbol!"

    They won the 1st world cup in 1930, and it's the only country in the world who won a World Cup with a population of under 4 million inhabitants.

    I noticed all Uruguayans are soccer fans: every conversation I had, I was questioned: "de que cuadro estas?" (Wich team do you support?).
    The choice is between the two mayor popular and succesfull teams; Penarol and Nacional.

    penarol-nacional

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    drinking Mate

    by Valeggua Written May 2, 2008

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    Uruguayans are no.1 mate drinkers in the world!
    Maté is an infusion of a weed named "yerba", like tea, and it's drinked in a special recipients made out of a dried, hollow "fruit" called mate. You sip it with a metal straw called the "bombilla".

    Uruguayans go everywhere with there maté and the Uruguayans I have met, drink it all day long! It's to be considered as a social drink: After refilling the maté with hot water, it's passed over to the next drinker.
    It's good for diets (as long if you don't eat to much of that Uruguayan meat and sweet deserts!) ;)

    yerba mate uruguay

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  • alza's Profile Photo

    tango and maté

    by alza Updated Mar 24, 2008

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    I was staying in Buenos Aires when I visited Uruguay and didn't know much about either countries yet. My trip to Uruguay was a short one, didn't know what to expect at all.

    In retrospect, Montevideo was like a quieter Buenos Aires (but then, I was there during Carnival, when the city was practically deserted by locals, who had all apparently gone to the seashore.) Colonia felt a bit the same, except that I saw more tourists. But to me, they didn't look like tourists since they were all from Uruguay or Argentina...

    I was already taking tango lessons then, in Buenos Aires. I thought Argentina was THE tango and maté country. To my surprise, I found more tango spirit and more maté drinkers everywhere in Uruguay. And the gaucho culture is more evident in Uruguay, at least in the capital and in Colonia. The little bit I saw of Uruguay left me with a good feeliing. The kind of place where it would be cool to live in. Quiet and dreamy, to me at least.

    My best memory is the time spent in Ciudad Vieja at a gallery, talking to the woman owner. she had an anecdote about every painting in her shop and knew all the local painters. Some fantastic works! I often think that if I ever have the money, I'll order one or two from her. Or maybe I'll just go back and buy them on the spot. Actually, I'm sorry I didn't get to see more of Uruguay and I would love to go back to do that. I'd love to stay at an estancia for a long weekend. Too bad it's so far from my home!

    a passion for vintage cars

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    Social clubs in small Uruguayan cities

    by melosh Written Dec 17, 2006

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    Private social dance clubs seem to be popular in Uruguay. I saw them in several cities but can only tell about the one that I was priveledged to visit in Trenta y Tres. It was called Social Club Bien Raices. This was not some sort of snobby place; a worker at the hotel I stayed in indicated that he had been a member but had to quit because the events too often conflicted with his work schedule. Members all paid a monthly subscription to pay for the music, hall maintenance etc. This was not your college aged or swinging singles type place, but I have never seen in one place so many young people in really old bodies dancing. I literally saw one overweight mature lady walk to her table with a cane, but leave the cane to dance the night away.
    This club required a shirt and tie, and if you can produce one I believe you could get in as a guest. It would certainly be worth a try, because an evening with live music and even livelier dancers in a small town is certain to be an unforgettable cultural experience.

    Before the crowds arrive A Tango/dance band from Montevideo Dancing started with the first note (500 dancers) Wow, this lady can sing!
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  • mcaffa's Profile Photo

    When travelling in Uruguay,...

    by mcaffa Updated Jul 6, 2006

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    When travelling in Uruguay, you will notice that many people drink 'mate', the national drink of Uruguay. Basically, it is like a strong tea. In traditional mate use, the cup (the mate) is often shared among close friends and family - using the same metal straw, or bombilla. Drinking mate is a sign of total acceptance and friendship. It also has excellent health benefits.

    Don't be offended if you (assuming you're a foreigner) are not initially invited, if someone you know or met is driking and passing around the mate. Many just assume that either you don't like it or wouldn't like it. If you've never had it and are dying to try it, just ask what it is that they are drinking and surely they will invite you to try.

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    Parillas

    by realde14 Written Apr 18, 2006

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    Another great thing that Uruguay shares with its northern and southern neighbours Brazil and Argentina is the love of meat. The number of excellent steakhouses or parillas is infinite, and the meat that is served is second to none. Try the mercado del puerto in Montevideo for a large selection of places that serve grilled meat.

    Mercado Del Puerto

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  • pepples46's Profile Photo

    Gauchos

    by pepples46 Updated Nov 11, 2005

    in their national dress, proud and skillful people. their tradition counts back since the nations independence. the 'father' of Uruguay was himself a Gaucho..Jose Artigas, he fought for Uruguays Independence, after years of hart battles between the Portugues and Spanish. Uruguay gained freedom in 1828
    Gauchos know their value, have their own music and culture, mostly working as free man on big Facendas..Farms

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    Only in Uruguay

    by andal13 Written Feb 16, 2005

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    Uruguayan love politics... The country has a long democratic tradition, and on February 15th, 2005, a historical fact happened: the new Parliament (voted on October 31st, 2004) assumed (it is the fifth consecutive Parliament since the end of the last dictatorship (1973-1984), and the President of the Senate, and the President of the Chamber of Deputies, are both former members of Movimiento de Liberación Nacional Tupamaros, the guerrilla force of 60' and early 70', and were elect by popular vote. One of the most touching moments was when the Army paid respects to the Parliament: the soldiers belong to Batallón Florida, the battalion that captured the present President of the Senate more than 30 years ago.

    Los Uruguayos amamos la política... El país tiene una larga tradición democrática, y el 15 de febrero de 2005, un hecho histórico ocurrió: el nuevo Parlamento (votado el 31 de octubre de 2004) asumió (es el quinto Parlamento consecutivo desde el fin de la dictadura (1973-1984), y el Presidente del Senado y la Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, fueron integrantes del
    Movimiento de Liberación Nacional Tupamaros, la guerrilla que actuó en los 60' y comienzos de los 70', y fueron electos por voto popular. Uno de los momentos más emocionantes fue cuando el Ejército presentó sus respetos al Parlamento: los militares pertenecían al Batallón Florida, el mismo que apresó al Presidente del Senado más de 30 años atrás.

    The Real Democracy (from the web)

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    Tortas fritas cuando llueve

    by andal13 Updated Dec 21, 2004

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    An ancient tradition in Uruguay is eating tortas fritas (fried cakes), especially when it rains.
    A rainy day you enjoy the delicious smell that fills the air...
    The fried cakes are very easy to make, but you also can buy them everywhere (they are pretty cheap!)

    How to make tortas fritas:
    In a bowl, put 1/2 Kg of wheat flour; add melted grease enough, and a cup of warm water with salt. Knead the pastry, and make small balls (like a large walnut) between both hands; then, knead each one with a stick, until you make a flat circle (like a plate); build a little hole in the middle of the circle, and then, fry them in a pan with hot grease, till they get a golden colour.

    Una antigua tradición en Uruguay es comer tortas fritas, especialmente cuando llueve.
    Un día lluvioso puedes disfrutar el delicioso olor que llena el aire...
    Las tortas fritas son muy fáciles de hacer, pero también las puedes comprar en cualquier parte (¡son muy baratas!)

    Cómo hacer tortas fritas:
    En un bol colocar 1/2 kg de harina de trigo; añadir la suficiente cantidad de grasa derretida y una taza de agua tibia con sal. Amasar y hacer bolitas (del tamaño de una nuez) entre las dos manos; luego, amasar cada una de las bolitas con el palo, hasta hacer un círculo plano (como un plato); hacer un agujerito en el medio del círculo y entonces, freirlas en una sartén con grasa caliente, hasta que adquieren un color dorado.

    Rainy day

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    Walk the dog!

    by gandara Written May 3, 2004

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    Like in some other cities, in Montevideo, you find professionals who walk the dogs everyday.
    How many pets in Montevideo? Good question! Mainly dogs, few cats, some birds. You find a veterinarian or a pet shop at every corner in Montevideo.

    dogs in montevideo
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    the game of canasta is from montevideo

    by gandara Updated Apr 16, 2004

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    The origin of CANASTA dates back to 1939. At the time, contract bridge had established itself as the card game of choice, especially among professional people. This held true in Montevideo, Uruguay where Segundo Sanchez was a member of the elite Jockey Club. The idea there was to play a relaxing game of cards and then have dinner with fellow associates. But Segundo found it hard to stop playing bridge after just an hour or two. So on most nights, he didn't quit until six hours had transpired. In the morning, he felt dull and mentally exhausted. It eventually dawned on him that he was working two shifts, one in the office and one in the club. He was becoming mentally drained- not good, especially in his profession.
    A moment of truth had arrived. He asked himself: am I an attorney or a bridge player? He decided for the former.
    He still came to the Jockey Club for dinner, but he shifted from bridge to rummy, which other members played for "fun" as a warm-up to bridge. Serrato liked rummy but thought the game involved too much chance. He began to think about a combination of the best elements of bridge, rummy, and a rummy variant named "cooncan." He enlisted the aid of his bridge partner, Alberto Serrato.
    For weeks they played with variations of their basic "blending" idea, discarding at least six before settling on a double-deck partnership game involving melding, adding to melds and the ability to claim the entire discard pile- under the right circumstances.

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    try the mate!

    by gandara Updated Jan 19, 2004

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    Yerba Mate (literally, the "Mate Herb") gets its name from the traditional cup (called Mate as well) used to drink it. This cup, originally a dried and decorated gourd, can be made out of almost anything these days.
    cf : http://www.noborders.net/mate/health.html
    and : http://www.candombe.com.uy/espanol/uruguay/tipicouruguayo/mate/index.htm

    mate
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    Get your share on

    by Alman Written Dec 29, 2003

    Regardless of you you bought ... You should share it with your friends from Uruguay. They'll do the same. Open your food see if anybody wants any, same with your beverage. Its really rude when you dont.

    see were sharing
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