National Geographic selects the top 20 travel destinations each year. Uruguay is among the top 20 for year 2011. The editors of Nat Geo Traveler choose 20 destinations which are innovative and out of the ordinary. Uruguay and Punta del Este are two of them.
A relaxed atmosphere in a country with friendly dimensions (only 68,036 square miles or 176,215 square kilometers) and the beach make Uruguay a favorite destination for South America’s jet set.
The capital city of Uruguay, Montevideo, pulses to the rhythm of candombe. Candombe is the thunderous Afro-Uruguayan, three-drum sound fueling spontaneous street parades, as well as the all-night Desfile de las Llamadas, the featured event of Montevideo Carnival.
In south-western Uruguay one can explore the country’s Portuguese roots strolling the winding, cobblestone streets of Colonia del Sacramento’s 17th-century historic district. Colonia del Sacramento has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Colonia del Sacramento is merely a 50-minute ferry ride from Buenos Aires.
Go west to the hilly interior to play gaucho at a luxury dude ranch or a more traditional working estancia, where tourists can trade labor for trail time.
For sun and surf you can hit the beaches of Punta del Este, a narrow peninsula dividing the waters of the Rio de la Plata and the Atlantic Ocean.
Source: National Geographic