Victoria Plaza Casino (Radisson Hotel, Plaza Independencia 759, Montevideo) – this is perhaps the best casino in Uruguay, which offers patrons baccarat, blackjack, bingo, roulette, and slot machines.
Uruguay Carnival (Montevideo) – in late January and February, the capital holds its annual celebration of carnival festivities (unlike other countries, this carnival last 40 days). Parades of women dressed in colorful costumes dance to the sound of pulsating drumbeats; while the Murgas (a street theater group) stage productions of political satire. During parades often held during that time, Comparsas (groups of candombe drum-beating performers) conduct “llamadas” (or “calls”), often held at Avenida 18 de Julio – where such groups compete against one another for prizes. In this country, Carnival pays homage to the country’s once-sizable African (former slave) population, despite present-day Uruguay’s heavily European population.
The Rambla (Punta del Este) – this is a pedestrian walkway that surrounds the entirety of Punta del Este. Rambla Artigas is the main coastal road that leads past residential neighborhoods and pristine stretches of beach.
The Conrad Resort & Casino (Rambla Claudio Williman, Punta del Este) – this 3.400 m2 casino with 75 tables consists of baccarat, poker, and blackjack, along with 500 slot machines. It’s perhaps the most popular casino anywhere in Uruguay (even holding live entertainment events during the Summer months).
Teatro Solis (Montevideo) — built in 1856, the ornate Teatro Solis is the city’s first premier performance space. The entire theatre has actually been entirely renovated in the last ten years, a project that began in 1998 and ended in 2004, ant the acoustics are truly astounding.
Tambo el Sosiego (Camino Lapataia, Punta Ballena, Punta del Este) — maker of the famous Lapataia-brand “dulce de leche” dessert, gives free tours that walk visitors through the process of making the region’s favorite dessert. The dairy farm and plant are 12 miles from central Punta del Este, easily accessible by car and open seven days a week. See the manufacturer’s website for more info: lapataiapuntadeleste.com.uy
Punta del Este – this beach town east of Montevideo is often compared to Miami Beach, because of its skyline of luxury condo buildings (often facing the beach), trendy nightspots, and frequent gatherings of the Southern Cone’s rich and famous. Nowadays, it’s so popular a beach resort that more than 100,000 Argentines alone flock to its sands each January. Many say that a trip to Uruguay wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this trendy resort town.
Isla Gorriti (Punta del Este) – this pine-covered island (which was once a prison), is located just 2 km. off the shores of Punta del Este. It is worth taking a picnic and settling in the peace and quiet at one of the tables dotted around. There’s also a beach on site.
Isla de los Lobos (Punta del Este) – this island, located 8 km. southeast of Punta del Este, has perhaps the largest colony of sea lions in the southern hemisphere. Visitors can sign up for tours given by various tour company located at Punta del Este’s marina (which should cost around US$40 per person).
Fiesta de la Patria Gaucha (Laguna de las Lavanderas, Tacuarembó) – for those interested in exploring Uruguay’s folk past and gaucho (cowboy) culture, it may be worth the 4-hour drive north from Montevideo to the provincial town of Tacuarembó. “Fiesta de la Patria Gaucha” (Gaucho Country Festival) is an event held annually (every March) there since 1986, which pays homage to the country’s fabled gaucho (cowboy). At least 60,000 attendees show up (many on horseback, wearing gaucho clothing and hats) – a true spectacle. Visitors from nearby Argentina and Brazil also participate. See the event website for details: http://patriagaucha.com.uy