Where to stay in Uruguay
There are numerous first-class hotels in Montevideo and in Uruguay's coastal resorts. Prices tend to be higher during the summer tourist season, especially at the beaches. It is essential to book during Easter Week nationwide, in the summer along the coast and during carnival week in Montevideo. Outside of Montevideo, the cities offering the best range of hotel options are Colonia del Sacramento and Punta del Este. There are also lower-priced hotels throughout the country offering more basic accommodation. A star rating system of 1 to 5 stars is used. The Ministry of Tourism has a hotel listing page on its website (www.turismo.gub.uy/alojamiento).
Aside from hotels, guest houses are the most common form of lodging throughout Uruguay. Most are categorized as residenciales (budget hotels) or hospedajes (family homes). These typically offer fewer amenities and cost less than full-fledged hotels. Because they are often family-run, guest houses also tend to offer a more down-to-earth atmosphere than hotels or inns.
Camping is allowed at numerous designated sites throughout the country; elsewhere it is necessary to get police permission. Campsites are listed on the Ministry of Tourism's website (www.turismo.gub.uy/alojamiento). The largest camping and caravaning area, with over 1200 sites, is in Parque Nacional Santa Teresa along Uruguay's northern Atlantic coast.
Rural farmstay accommodation: Uruguay's most atmospheric lodgings are the tourist estancias (ranches) found in rural areas throughout the country. These generally offer accommodation, full board and daily activities such as horseback riding. Some are located in historic farm buildings, while others are more modern. Look for ‘Estancia Turística’ signs posted along roadways or consult the list of Establecimientos Rurales on the Uruguayan Ministry of Tourism website (www.turismo.gub.uy/alojamiento). Many travel agents in Montevideo can help arrange farmstays, including Lares (www.lares.com.uy) and Cecilia Regules Viajes (www.ceciliaregulesviajes.com).
Inns: Known in Spanish as posadas, Uruguay's inns range from simple family-run affairs to upscale lodgings in historic mansions. The best ones, in tourist destinations such as Colonia del Sacramento and Punta del Este, offer plenty of comfort and atmosphere and cater to travellers looking for a high-end, personalized style of service.
Backpacker hostels: Uruguay is a member of the International Youth Hostel Federation and there are several hostels throughout the country offering cheap accommodation, run by Asociación de Alberguistas del Uruguay (www.hosteluruguay.org). There are also several excellent private hostels, especially in Montevideo and in beach towns along the Atlantic such as La Pedrera and Punta del Diablo. There is no age limit at Uruguay's hostels.