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Montevideo is the pleasant capital city of Uruguay, a country in South America. It is situated on the east bank of the Rio de la Plata and is the southernmost capital city in South America.
Carrasco International Airport (MVD) is about 15 km east of the city center, in the suburb of Carrasco in the department of Canelones. The airport is linked to the city center via major four-lane divided arterial roads. Route 101 (the national highway running by the airport) terminates at a roundabout where it connects to Avenida de las Americas, which in turn connects to Avenida Italia, which runs all the way to Centro.
Another possibility for travelers who are heading to Montevideo from nearby Buenos Aires is to take the high-speed ferry operated by Buquebus. There are several boats a day. The ferry arrives in the Ciudad Vieja district of Montevideo, situated very close to downtown - a cab ride to a hotel in El Centro or Pocitos is much shorter and cheaper than from the airport.
Ferry service to Buenos Aires is also available via the same company Buquebus or ColoniaExpress via Colonia. The ticket can include the bus from Montevideo to Colonia, it is cheaper and about 1 to 2 hours longer than the direct crossing. You can buy a bus ticket from the city terminal to Colonia.
Montevideo is not a large city and it boasts a very efficient public transportation system so getting around is not difficult at all. If you speak some Spanish, you can also just ask for the best way.
Car rental is cheaper if booked ahead but be aware that places like the airport and the ferry terminal charge higher rates than the same agencies in other locations around the city. A few phone calls and a cheap taxi ride to a location other than the air or sea ports will save you half the rate for the same car at the same company.
Driving in Montevideo is not too difficult, especially for those visitors from Europe or developing countries that lack strict lane enforcement and have lots of roundabouts.
It is not too hard to find parking in most of Montevideo. Indeed, if you do not see a "Reservado" sign, or red and white stripes or red paint on the curb, you can safely assume that one is allowed to park at any particular curb.
The Rambla — This waterside roadway has people biking, fishing, drinking mate, and enjoying the great views.
La Feria Tristán Narvaja Flea Market — Spend part of Sunday morning with the locals on Tristán Narvaja Street, where vendors sell everything from t-shirts to antiques to kitchen supplies.
Pocitos — This barrio lies about 2 miles south-east of El Centro. The Pocitos beach runs east from Punta Trouville for about a mile.
Walking — Montevideo is a relatively safe place. Downtown is in this area and there will be lots of shops and places to change money. You can walk around without worry almost anywhere, and there are lots of side streets and areas you can explore.
Montevideo City Tour — Regular or Private City Tour around Montevideo or visiting wineries, Punta del Este or Colonia del Sacramento.
Mercado de los Artesanos — This market, located on the corner of Paraguay and Colonia streets, is fantastic. An array of artists and craftspeople converge here to sell wares made from leather, paper, woodwork, and various textiles.
Manos del Uruguay — Several locations throughout Montevideo, including one at the Punta Carretas mall. Sells woven goods and other handcrafted items - a little pricey.
Punta Carretas Shopping Mall — A large shopping mall located in a former prison where the military regime used to torture dissidents. It has several levels, a food court, cineplex and full-service dining options.
Montevideo Shopping Mall — Another large modern shopping mall in the Pocitos neighborhood of Montevideo. It has one huge parking garage (which is easier to navigate then Punta Carretas) but is not quite as upscale.
Meat — Uruguay is renowned for its meats, and Montevideo has many parrillas where they are grilled up to perfection. Although both Uruguay and Argentina are large exporters of meat, especially beef, and their meat is renowned for its top quality.
Chivito — This is the local sandwich, made with meat (usually beef tenderloin, not goat as Argentines might guess from the name), slices of hard-boiled eggs, and vegetables. It can be served al plato (on a plate), which means it is going to take a fork and knife to eat it.
Milanesa — similar to Wiener Schnitzel, this is a common meat dish in most of South America, including Uruguay. It consists of a thin slice of breaded beef although chicken and fish versions also exist.
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