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Day 64 – Uruguay Is Underrated

December 13, 2010

Location: Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina

Date: Monday, December 13, 2010

Today was some perfect beach weather; sunny, warm, and just breezy enough to keep you from feeling like the side of a tin shed. Where was all this yesterday when I was driven from Punte del Este by beach holiday ruining rain? Luckily, Montevideo has a decent beach so a group of us headed seaside to soak in the warm sun. Just when I was feeling relaxed, it was time to hop on an afternoon bus to catch the ferry from Colonia to Buenos Aires. My Uruguayan holiday (within my holiday) was over.

After a few days here, I can say that Uruguay is an underrated travel destination. Here are a few reasons why:

# 1 – Uruguayans Are More Helpful Than a Capuchin Monkey (And Throw Less Poop): That’s an obtuse way of saying Uruguayans are generally helpful, kind, and very friendly. I’ve heard stories of travelers being invited to peoples’ homes and being shown around town—by the inviter’s parents. Fredrico, a guy I met in Punte del Este drove us to the bus station in his car when he heard we were going to call a cab. The staff at all the hostels I stayed in were noticeably more personable than at most hostels around the world. It’s a chill place. So are the people.

# 2 – Uruguayans Are Sneaky Hot (But Especially the Men) – I am not gay, despite any rumors to the contrary, so let’s start with the women. Argentina is known for its hot women, but Uruguay holds its own. Multiple women, however, have noted that the men here are very attractive. Also, because of their demeanor (see #1, above) they surpass the Argentine men their overblown reputation for hotness. Actual quotes from actual women: “Wow, Uruguayan men are pretty hot. And they’re really nice.” “Three of the five best looking men I’ve seen I met in one night at a party in Uruguay.” Note: the women quoted above do not look like Amy Winehouse walking into rehab or have the same taste in men as post-Timberlake Britney; these are attractive women with above average taste. So ladies, you want a high hit rate in chill, hot, Latin guys? Go to Uruguay.



# 3 – The Mate: Uruguayans Sip It Constantly – Sure, porteños drink yerba mate. But they consider it a relaxation drink. In fact, a porteño wouldn’t drink maté on the job or just walking down the street because it would give the impression that they were lazy. In contrast, Uruguayans drink mate all the time. Seems like everyone in Uruguay walks the streets with a maté cup in one hand and a slim thermos of hot water tucked under their other arm to refill the maté cup. Uruguayans don’t give a damn about looking lazy because what’s lazy to a porteño is “chill” to a Uruguayan. It’s an approach to life I can get behind.

# 4 – The Mate (Again): No Sticks, No Stems – Argentine maté is quite bitter. The Uruguayan version is much smoother. That’s because they pick out the sticks and stems. They take their maté smoother, probably because they drink more of it (see # 3, above). Also, because Uruguayans seem to smoke quite a bit of weed so they’re used to picking out sticks and stems. What? You thought Uruguay, one of the most laidback places on earth, didn’t occasionally get stoned? Did Bill and Ted have an excellent adventure? Did Doogie Howser steal Harold’s car? Does The Dude abide?

# 5 – The Meat – We’ve covered this whole flesh and fire thing here. Read it. Love it.

#6 – The Time Capsule Effect – Uruguay doesn’t seem to have changed in years. It should tell you something that Montevideo is often used as a stand in for Havana in movies. Cuba hasn’t changed in years because of Communism and Castro. Uruguay hasn’t changed because no one here wants it to. They are content (or laidback or perhaps even lazy). They know what they want. They like it. No need to rush around like a porteño with your head cut off. Tranquilo.



Wish I could have stayed in Uruguay longer. Unfortunately, Ushuaia and Patagonia call; I have a flight to the southern tip of South America in a couple of days so it’s back to BA for me.

I’ll be back, though. But probably not for the hot men.

GALLERY: No bonus pictures today.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Doug permalink
    January 9, 2011 8:46 am

    Now I have friend who will partake in mate with me.

    • February 4, 2011 8:30 am

      Yes, you do. I do, however, prefer to take it a little sweet. Not very Porteno, but I think most the laid back Urguayans wouldn’t mind.

  2. Tay permalink
    March 6, 2011 2:40 pm

    Intersting blog, but honestly I know many guys from Uruguay and Portenos are a lot more interesting, better looking and cosmopolitan. About the MATE (no accent on the E by the way, as it does not take such accent in Castellano), Argentines like to drink it either with sugar, without or with orange peel. It is a matter of taste. Please no generalizations — that Uruguayans like it less bitter. Believe me, I have traveled to Argentina so much over the years that I know this to be a fact. Mate drinking depends on individual taste. Nothing more. Uruguayan people for the most part, are OK, but they do carry a chip on their shoulder given their neighbor’s cosmopolitan flair and the size of their country in comparison to Argentina. Incidentally, Uruguay should be happy that Argentina decided to leave them alone to become a free nation in the 19th century — and not annex it to their territory. And Punta del Este was built by Argentines for wealthy Argentines . . . a fact Uruguayans do not want to ever admit.

    • March 6, 2011 6:45 pm

      Appreciate your thoughts. This site is all about sweeping generalizations so I’m glad you’re not disappointed. 🙂

      I was only relaying how many women I met felt about Uruguayan guys looks and demeanor. Note that I just said that Uruguayan guys are sneaky not. Whether they are more interesting, I don’t know. I’ll also leave it up to others to decide if being cosmopolitan is a good thing.

      The idea that Uruguayans like their mate less bitter is based on a few things. First, an Uruguayan said to me, “We like our mate less bitter than the Argentines.” Second, mate without sticks and stems is harder to come by in Argentina, therefore I surmise there is less of a market for the less bitter version, otherwise vendors would sell more of it. Finally, people I’ve met have consistently said, “The mate here (Uruguay) is not as bitter.”

      While individual tastes in Argentina may vary, this is site is all about broad strokes (see above). I stand by my over-generalization.

      Spelling errors are one of the hazards of reading my work. Thanks for the heads up. I will correct as appropriate.

      As for the history bit, from what I’ve read Argentina didn’t hold onto Uruguay because of internal political rifts that prevented it from getting it back (either from Brazil or an independent Uruguay). Not so sure Argentina ever decided to leave it alone or that Argentina should be congratulated for not marching its army into an independent state and taking it over. I think not-annexing is what countries are supposed to do, otherwise, I think Canada should send the U.S. of A. more than a fruit basket every Christmas. Too bad Argentina wasn’t so well-behaved with Bolivia.

      Enjoyed your thoughts. Hope to see more in the future. 🙂

    • Tamarita permalink
      May 24, 2013 6:13 pm

      Tai: Los Argentinos, que se llaman “nuestros hermanos”, nos traicionaron en la historia, tal vez deberías informarte un poco más de la historia.

    • Anna permalink
      November 22, 2013 8:56 pm

      Those ‘argentinians’ that build their wealthy homes in uruguay soil Punta del este, they are not the real average ‘argentinians’ you see everyday in the streets, they are wealthy business people from different parts of the world (manly Lebanese and sometimes arabs or israelies ) and these wealthy people they ‘owned argentina’s land’ they don’t own Uruguay at all, they are coming to build their homes, but they can not take those houses with them to argentina.

  3. Wilson permalink
    April 23, 2011 2:50 am

    Hello , I read this and I agree 100% , I’m from Uruguay , we are very lazy for sure , and guys are much good looking that Argentinians , girls no that hot .. Gracias .

    • Tamarita permalink
      May 24, 2013 6:20 pm

      Yo también soy Uruguaya, y no creo que los hombres sean muy atractivos. Ni tampoco las mujeres!

  4. December 1, 2011 11:24 pm

    I just meet the most beautiful women Ive ever meet today and she was from>…yes you gussed it..Uruguay! most of the people are either decendents of the Spanish and or the Italians> She does talk about Argentina alot. I need to learn more spanish to compliment my french and english.

  5. William Campbell permalink
    December 8, 2012 8:07 pm

    Thanks for the comments about UY. I am Canadian, but my Mum is from Uruguay. I know the country well and is really pretty. Must agree with you people are the country’s best asset. Men are women are not only hot but also chilled and liberal.

  6. Elba permalink
    August 15, 2013 10:24 pm

    I was born in uruguay and now I live in australia. Very few men and women from uruguay are really ‘good looking’, and argentina is the same. Lots of people are mediterranean origin, they are not ‘nordic type’ tall blonde and slender like USA. england, canada and northern european countries, here in australia are more of those ‘hot young men’ especially on the Gold coast queensland, with those young blonde bronze tanned bodies. Is all about personal taste.

  7. Andrea permalink
    June 29, 2015 10:42 am

    I wouldn´t say uruguayan guys are the most attractive overall South America, generalizations don’t fit here… but the mixing of european heritage makes it an interesting convination 🙂 You are more than welcome to come back anytime you want.

    • June 29, 2015 3:50 pm

      The idea that Uruguayan men are the most attractive was not my thought, it was the thought of my friend. I, myself, really loved Uruguay and can’t wait to visit some day again, soon!

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