Well, somebody let the cat out of the bag. Uruguay used to be South America’s best-kept secret, with a handful of Argentines, Brazilians, Chileans and non–South Americans in the know popping in to enjoy the pristine beaches, the atmospheric cities, the huge steaks and the happening nightlife. Then the peso crashed, the place became a whole lot more affordable and people got curious. They came, loved it and went back home to tell their friends. Who came, loved it and went back home to tell their friends.
Which is not to suggest that the place is being overrun. The main drawcards, like Colonia del Sacramento,Punta del Este and Montevideo, have long been set up for tourists, and are dealing with their newfound popularity well. Other destinations, such as Punta del Diablo and Maldonado, retain their charm but are no longer the undiscovered gems they once were. Elsewhere, in the interior (gaucho centralTacuarembó, for example) and the river towns, and particularly in the non-summer months, there’s still a pretty good chance that you’ll be the only gringo in town.