Crammed in between its considerably larger neighbors Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay is located on the Atlantic Coast of South America. Most of its borders consist of large bodies of water — apart from the Atlantic to the east, there is Rio Uruguay to the west separating the country from Argentina, Rio de la Plata to the South, and a series of small rivers to the north and northeast, forming the border to Brazil. The country’s main attraction for expatriates, Montevideo, is located at roughly the same latitude as Sydney and Cape Town.
Uruguay is mostly dominated by plains and low hill ranges, and can be described as a combination of Argentina’s pampas and the highlands of southern Brazil. There are no extreme points of elevation; Uruguay’s highest peak, Cerro Catedral, has an elevation of some 510 m. While hikers and nature enthusiasts might be somewhat disappointed with the lack of natural sights, sun worshippers will be in heaven with the many towns and beach resorts on the Atlantic Coast.
Uruguay is located in the temperate climate zone. Those among you who think of life in South American countries as an endless series of 35°C days might want to think again: while Uruguay does get hot in summer (December – March), its seasons are fairly well defined with windy springs, warm summers, mild autumns, and actual winters. Yearly averages are between ca. 12°C and 21.5°C.
While there is little reason to pack for frosty days, you might want to hold on to your sweater and windproof jacket as winters do get quite chilly and humid. The latter item is particularly important when moving to Uruguay: as the landscape does not feature much in the way of mountains or forest and is mostly used for agriculture, strong winds are common and the weather can change very quickly. Rain is common throughout the year.
For all intents and purposes, Montevideo is the place to be for expats moving to Uruguay. More than half the population lives in the city’s greater metropolitan area where you’ll find job opportunities in most sectors. While there are a number of coastal towns, such as Punta del Este, which are fairly popular with retirees from abroad, chances are that Montevideo will be the top destination for your expat adventure in Uruguay.
While there are no real “expat neighborhoods”, there are three areas which do stand out: Cuidad Vieja, Carrasco, and Pocitos are popular with the international crowd and well-to-do Uruguayans. Rent there might be quite steep even for expats with generous remuneration packages. We recommend looking for temporary accommodation and exploring the city after you move to Uruguay — the neighborhoods mentioned above are only three of more than 60, so you can find your perfect fit.
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