Uruguay Country information

Uruguay Country information

The origin of the name Uruguay goes back to the language of the Guarani Indians. Its meaning, which probably refers to the river of the same name, allows for different interpretations, once “river of birds”, or “snail river”.


In the north, the South American country of Uruguay borders on Brazil, in the west on Argentina, with the Uruguay River forming the border. In the south it is bounded by the Río de la Plata, in the east by the Atlantic.

Time zone

The time difference between Germany and Uruguay is -3 hours.


With an area of ​​180,000 square kilometers, Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America. For the most part, it consists of an undulating hill country that usually does not protrude more than 150 m. The highest point is the Cerro Catedral with a height of 514 m. In the vicinity of the Río de la Plata there are extensive grasslands, which form a continuation of the Argentine pampas. The longest river in the country is the Uruguay with a length of 1,790 km and swampy plains spread out along its banks. The Río Negro, which crosses the country, is dammed in the center of the country to the lake Rincon del Bonente and is used to generate electricity.


The warlike tribe of the Charrúa Indians ruled Uruguay until the 17th century. Then their country was also conquered by the Spaniards. But the Portuguese also wanted to claim the land for themselves and there were repeated battles between the Spaniards and the Portuguese, in which the Charrúa Indians were exterminated. Over the years, Uruguay managed to become independent and build a relatively stable government. From 1960 onwards, a serious economic crisis turned into a political one. The Tupamaros, a left-wing guerrilla organization, terrorized the country and brought the military to power. It was not until 1985 that the country was able to return to democracy.


The largest economic factor in the country is agriculture, with cattle and sheep breeding predominating. Agricultural fruits are mostly grown for the country’s own needs. The wine grown is also mainly consumed in the home country. The industry mainly processes products from agriculture, but IT technology is also one of the country’s growing branches of industry today. Tourism is also a growing industry, with most of the tourists coming from Argentina and other South American countries and mostly visiting the coastal towns.


The largest population group of the approximately 3.3 million residents are the whites. They are descendants of the immigrant Spaniards, Italians, Germans and Swiss. The earlier natives were almost completely exterminated, their descendants, who come from the union of Indians with whites, make up only 8% of the population today. The descendants of the black population group reach about 4%. Visit smartercomputing for Emigration to Uruguay.


The largest religious community is the Roman Catholic Church, but there are also small Protestant and Jewish communities. A relatively large proportion, 21%, are of other religious faith or do not belong to any religious community.


The official language is Spanish, although a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese, the Portuñol , has formed on the border with Brazil. In some areas, smaller enclaves of Italian- and French-speaking groups have been preserved, which preserve the language of the immigrant population. The proportion of Germans or people of German origin is also relatively large. Today young people of German origin can, in addition to their Uruguayan university degree, also take a second degree at the Goethe Institute and thus study at German universities.

Food and drink

Hearty beef is actually on the menu every day in Uruguay. The side dishes are mostly “ papas ” (french fries), “ arroz ” (rice) and various marinades. Also popular are ” chorizo ” (spicy sausage) and mocilla “(blood sausage). Typical Uruguayan dishes are “ Gramajo ” (fried French fries with bacon and egg) and the meat stew “puchero”.

The dessert is often “ dulce de lech e” (a caramel cream), as well as fruit salad and flan.

The national drink of Uruguay is mate, which is served at any time of the day. The beer is also highly recommended for Europeans, as it is brewed according to a German recipe.


To enter Uruguay, travelers need a passport that is valid at the time of arrival. No visa is required for stays of less than 90 days.

Medical advice

Current information on vaccinations can be obtained from your family doctor or on the website of the Center for Travel Medicine (CRM).

Security / drugs

Despite the slight increase in crime, Uruguay is one of the safest travel destinations in South America. Current travel advice can also be found at https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/

There is an urgent warning against drug use and trafficking, even in the smallest quantities.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In Germany https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/
In Austria https://www.bmaa.gv.at/
In Switzerland https://www.eda.admin.ch/

Frequently asked questions about Uruguay

What are the entry requirements for Uruguay?

German citizens do not need an entry visa for a stay of up to 90 days when entering the country with a passport that is valid after the trip. The German child ID card / child passport is recognized. At the border post, the person entering the country receives an entry document in the form of a slip that must be returned when leaving the country. This entry slip must be kept carefully, as reissuing it is time-consuming. If you are entering the country directly, especially from a neighboring country, you should make sure that the border guards hand out an entry slip and stamp your passport.

What vaccinations do you need to travel to Uruguay?

A valid vaccination against yellow fever is required when entering from a yellow fever area. In addition, vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis A is recommended, and for long-term stays over four weeks also hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid. We definitely recommend taking out health insurance abroad with repatriation.

Uruguay Country information