Your guide to being an expatriate in Uruguay

Caffeinate Your Uruguay Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Uruguay is a nation located in the southeastern part of South America, bordering Brazil, Argentina, and the Atlantic Ocean. With a land area of approximately 176,000 square kilometers, Uruguay is the second smallest country in the region (after Suriname). Known for its charming colonial towns, botanical gardens, and pristine beaches, Uruguay's culture blends Spanish, African, and Indigenous influences. With a thriving economy and a low crime rate, Uruguay is considered a safe and prosperous destination for expats.


Expat destinations in Uruguay

Demographics of Uruguay:

Ethnic groups

African: Approx. 9.4%

European: Approx. 87.6%

Indigenous: Approx. 2.8%

Unspecified: Approx. 0.2%


Spanish: Official language

Portuguese: Spoken by a significant minority in border towns

Religion Overview

Uruguay is a secular country with no official religion. However, approximately 60% of the population identifies as Roman Catholic.

Major Religions


Uruguay has a temperate climate, influenced by its coastal location and the nearby Andes mountains. Summers are warm and humid, while winters are mild and dry.

Economy Overview

Uruguay has a diversified, market-oriented economy with a strong service sector and a history of political and economic stability. Its membership in MERCOSUR provides access to a larger market and free trade agreements with several other nations.

Key Industries

  • Services (approximately 75% of GDP)
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture (with a focus on soybeans, wheat, and livestock)
  • Mineral extraction (with a focus on clay, sand, and gravel)

Major Companies

  • Uniabs (healthcare)
  • Banco Santander (financial services)
  • Suministros y Más (automobile parts and accessories)
  • UPM-FELS (alcoholic beverages)

Culture and Language Overview

Uruguay's culture is a blend of European, African, and Indigenous influences, reflected in its music, art, and cuisine. Tango, candombe, and murga are popular musical genres, and traditional dishes include asado (grilled meats), chivito (steak sandwich), and papas fritas (French fries). Uruguayan literature is known for its realism and social critique.

Cultural Highlights

  • Carnaval (pre-Lenten festivities, including music, dancing, and costume parades)
  • Semana Cervantes (celebrating the life and works of Miguel de Cervantes)
  • Independence Day (August 25, commemorating Uruguay's independence from Brazil in 1825)

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Uruguay's terrain is primarily rolling hills and plains, with a coastal plain along the Atlantic shoreline. The most significant geographic feature is probably the Rio de la Plata, which forms much of the country's northern border and serves as a major transportation artery.

Notable Landmarks

  • Colonia del Sacramento (a UNESCO World Heritage site, with well-preserved colonial architecture and cobblestone streets)
  • Puerto de la Muerte (a coastal town named for its location at the mouth of a river that once caused numerous shipwrecks)
  • Punta del Este (a prominent summer resort known for its beaches and nightlife)

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day
  • Simón Bolívar's Birthday
  • Ancestors' Day
  • Carnaval
  • March 12 (a day of protest against dictatorship)
  • Juumberena Day
  • Armed Forces' Day
  • International Workers' Day
  • Sacrifice's Day
  • Independence Day
  • Liberation Day

Political Stability

Uruguay has a stable democratic political system, characterized by peaceful transfers of power between political parties. The country's military remains subordinate to civilian authority, and its judiciary is generally independent. However, corruption and violence related to organized crime remain significant concerns.

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