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World Travel Guide > Guides > South America > Uruguay > Montevideo

Montevideo Weather

20°C

Local time Montevideo

Currency

$U

Getting around Montevideo

Public transport

Montevideo is relatively small, so getting around is simple, especially if you speak some Spanish. Montevideo buses are cheap and frequent, but often packed at peak periods. Plan your route carefully as bus stops are not signposted particularly well. Various companies operate in the city, many along very similar routes.

The main operators are COETC (tel: +598 2508 7871; www.coetc.com), COME (tel: +598 2354 3466; www.come.com.uy), Cutsca (tel: +598 19333; www.cutcsa.com.uy), Raincoop (tel: +598 2506 6005; www.raincoop.com) and UCOT (tel: +598 2508 0003; www.ucot.net). Buses run from around 0500 until 2300 and all fares are paid in cash, per journey.

There is no underground rail network in the city.

Taxis

Although the city has plenty of taxis, fares are relatively expensive compared to other forms of local transport. You can hail Montevideo’s black-and-yellow taxis on the street or reserve them over the phone with Celeritas (tel: 1919, in Uruguay only), Radio Taxi Punta Gorda (tel: 1771, in Uruguay only) and many others.

Always ensure the meter is working before you take off. For longer journeys, it may be cheaper to reserve a remis (private) taxi from Aba Transportes (tel: +598 2200 5176). Always agree a fixed fare.

Driving

Although roads tend to be potholed and badly signposted, driving in Montevideo is fairly straightforward because the city’s inhabitants tend to drive slowly and often stop for pedestrians. Passersby are usually willing to help out with directions too.

Car hire

The minimum age for hiring a car is 21 years. Those wishing to do so need a driver’s licence with two years' validity, a passport and a credit card.

Hire cars are available from Avis (tel: +598 2604 0334; www.avis.com.uy), Hertz (tel: +598 2604 0006; www.hertz.com) and Europcar (tel: +598 2604 0350; www.europcar.com.uy).

Due to the relatively high cost of owning and running a car, Montevideo's roads are not as congested as other South American capitals, but it pays to do some research into Spanish-language road signs before setting off.

Bicycle hire

You can hire bikes from Biking Uruguay (tel: +598 2709 0636; www.bikinguruguay.com) at Gabriel Pereira 3297. The friendly staff members, who are cycling enthusiasts themselves, can also arrange guided tours.

One of the best places to go riding is along the riverfront Rambla that runs along the city's southern shoreline, and the Parque Rodó, to the east of Montevideo.

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Hotel Oxford

Recently renovated, but still with old-fashioned touches, this cheap Montevideo hotel is a popular bolthole for business travellers on a budget, though its city-centre location is good for tourists too. The restaurant is basic, but there are plenty of other dining opportunities nearby.

Hotel Plaza Fuerte

In the interesting, old part of Montevideo, this great-value hotel was built in 1913 and is a national monument. Each room has its own décor scheme and all are spacious, while some of the suites have gigantic Jacuzzi baths.

Hotel Palacio

With a great old-timey feel, this ageing classic is a favourite for travellers on a budget. Touches like original tile work, brass bed heads and a few sticks of antique furniture add to the appeal. Rooms at the front have small balconies but can be noisy, while those at the back have good views over the plaza.

La Baguala

A slice of paradise set within 400 acres of privately-owned land, this hotel will see to nearly every need, from a spacious outdoor pool to its own private beach, à la carte dining options to entertainment for the little ones with a fully equipped games room. Breakfast is complimentary and rooms come furnished with flat-screen TVs, safety deposit box and minibar.

Caballo Loco Hostel

Centrally located, just a few metres from Plaza Cagancha in Montevideo's historic centre, this hostel offers between four and ten bed shared dorms. Basic and a little drab, the facilities are extensive and include a bar, cafe, bike hire, laundry service, free Wi-Fi and a communal kitchen.

Cala di Volpe

Guest rooms in this modern hotel, right on the waterfront, are tastefully decorated with dark wood fittings and white walls. Light, modern cuisine is on offer in the restaurant, and the pool and spa have pleasant views over the river.