Uruguay at a Glance
Moving to Uruguay
Location and Geography
Snugly 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 unchallenged 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 510m and a prominence of 63m. After their move to Uruguay, hiking and nature enthusiasts might be somewhat disappointed to find that, unfortunately, there is not all that much to discover in terms of natural sights. However, sun worshippers and beach lovers will surely be able to get what they crave at the many coastal 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 its fair share of very warm days in summer (December-March), its seasons are fairly well-pronounced, with windy springs, warm summers, mild autumns, and actual winters. Yearly averages are between 21.5°C and ca. 12°C.
While there is little reason to pack for frosty days, you might want to hold on to your sweater and windbreaker, as winters do get quite chilly and humid. The latter item might be of particular importance when moving to Uruguay: as the Uruguayan landscape does not feature much in the way of mountains (or forest, for that matter: as the land is generally fertile, most of it is used for agriculture), strong winds are a common occurrence, and weather can change very quickly. Rainfall is common throughout the year.
Popular Expat Hotspots
The plural in the above headline might be a bit misleading – 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, and of course, job opportunities in most sectors are most plentiful here. 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 your prime destination on your expat adventure in Uruguay.
While there are no real “expat neighborhoods”, there are three areas which do stand out a bit: Cuidad Vieja, Carrasco, and Pocitos are popular with the international crowd and well-to-do Uruguayans. Rents there might be quite steep even for expats with generous remuneration packages. As is often the case, we recommend looking for temporary accommodation and exploring the city on your own terms after you move to Uruguay – the neighborhoods we mentioned above are only three of more than 60, and depending on your tastes, you might like others even better.