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When is the best time to visit Uruguay?

Punta del Diablo, Playa de los Pescadores by Marc Veraart

Did you know that the water is warmest in April when it’s the cheapest time to stay at the beach too? High season is January and February but as you will see that is not necessarily the best time to visit Uruguay.

Calendar showing the best time to visit Uruguay

Uruguay is a temperate country. Not tropical

There are four seasons. The summer includes December to February and the winter includes June, July and August.

In the summer, the temperature is mostly around the high 20s to early 30s. Temperatures can hit 36 C but that is rare, and typically happens around New Year when I always find myself asking why we didn’t buy that AC unit before the holidays kicked in.

Some like it hot

Uruguayan beach in January. Best time to visit Uruguay. Photo: Guru'Guay
Blue January skies off the coast. Photo: Guru’Guay

Summer this far south is December, January and February. Beware though, in high season, the place fills with Argentinians and Brazilians and hotel and rental prices go through the roof.

For deserted stretches of beach the secret is to come in December before Christmas Eve or any time in March. Mid October, November and the first half April can also be warm enough for the beach.

Carnival –which typically starts at the end of January– lasts 40 nights and is usually still on in March in Montevideo. A big bonus.

Or even as late as early April. Shhh… The ocean is warmest in April, having been warmed all through the summer. The weather can be gorgeous. I started writing this article on April 3 and I was dressed in flipflops and a strappy top and it was 28 degrees C out (that’s 82 F).

There can also be occasional periods of rain and cloud at any point during the summer which may last up to four days. But then the sun will come out, dry up everything and you’ll be glad you had a chance to catch up on your reading.

The sun is really strong because there’s a hole in the ozone layer over the South Pole – read my tips and make sure you protect yourself in the Uruguayan sun.

So you like it hot and glitzy?

You may have heard all about Punta del Este, the French Riviera of the South, stomping ground of Frank Sinatra and his 50s Rat Pack and last year host to Mark Zuckberg and Paris Hilton.

If you like the glitzy scene then “Punta” in January will be your bag. Be prepared to pay top dollar for everything – accommodation, car hire, ice-cream.

Punta del Este in September has a particular charm. Best time to visit Uruguay.
Punta del Este, a hotbed of glitz and glamour in high season, has a particular charm off-season. The port in September.

Off-season Uruguay

It’s hard to predict the weather but off-season is a great time to visit Uruguay.

Autumn (March-May) and Spring (September-November) are particularly lovely times weather-wise. Days are mild, around 20 degrees and there are frequent Indian summers.

Nights can be chilly from March on so bring layers. In fact, always plan to bring layers regardless of the season.

Winter in Uruguay

Winter temperature average 15 C during the day and rarely goes below zero at night in the city. Sounds wonderfully mild, right? But it might not be quite what you expect. Read on for the truth about Uruguay in winter.

When is the best time to visit Montevideo?

Sunset from Parque Rodó and Playa Ramirez in Montevideo. Best time to visit Uruguay.
Sunset from Parque Rodó and Playa Ramirez in Montevideo in February.

All year round. Montevideo, despite its small size for a capital city, has tens of cultural events on every week, many of them free of charge.

Montevideans take their public holidays seriously. For instance between Christmas and the New Year, almost everything is closed. If you are in Montevideo then, plan to go the beach (there are ten beaches in the capital), walk or cycle the wonderful 25 kilometres of unbroken rambla (promenade) and make day trips. January, especially the first two weeks, is also very quiet. Enjoy the peace.

Then at the end of January, Carnival starts, and we are on again!

9 Comments

  1. Denis

    March 27, 2017

    Thanks – I want to go in November -do you have a recommended hotel?

    Reply
  2. […] the southern hemisphere so seasonal references are the opposite of the North. See my article on the best time to visit Uruguay for a complete explanation of when each season is in […]

    Reply
  3. sam

    October 17, 2016

    Exceptional website for potential tourist, thank you!
    I want to take tango lessons in Uruguay, any recommendations?
    I was in Bueno Aires few years back and want a change of scenery.
    How’s the currency (peso) doing there compare to Argentina?

    Reply
    • Welshwitch in Uruguay

      October 18, 2016

      Hi Sam, thanks for the compliment! Uruguay is a GREAT place to take tango lessons, especially for beginners and intermediate dancers, because the scene is small and friendly. You can take classes any day of the week. Check out my article on tango milongas and where to go dancing. The Guru’Guay Guide has even more information. You can buy it for your tablet for just 10 bucks. Or from Amazon for a paper copy.

      Argentina and Uruguay are two completely different countries, so you can check the rates for Uruguayan pesos on a good exchange site like xe.com. All the best — Karen

      Reply
  4. Jamie

    September 26, 2016

    This website is incredible – thank you so much! We are leaving on the 9th October for our holiday to Argentina and Uruguay. We heard this is a great time to visit – just warming up I believe and not too crazy before the real summer madness begins!

    First stop BA, then Iguazu before we head across the water to Colonia del Sacremento and then to Montevideo. We are so excited and I can’t wait to come to Uruguay.

    This site has been brilliant with so much useful information about all aspects – better than any travel guide I have come across! Your passion for the country is certainly evident!

    Many thanks

    Jamie

    Reply
    • Welshwitch in Uruguay

      September 26, 2016

      Dear Jamie, thanks so much for taking the time to write! Yes, October is a good month to choose. As an independent initiative we need any support we can get – so do take a look at how you can help us exist! All the very best and have a wonderful time! – Karen

      Reply
  5. Matthew

    September 4, 2014

    Thank you for your blog. You have provided great information to consider as we plan our vaca. I was hoping you could help me with a weather question. We are coming to S. America at the end of November, first stopping in BA before heading to Uruguay. I am wondering if it will be warm enough at the end of November to visit one of your beaches? Thank you.

    MK

    Reply
    • Welshwitch in Uruguay

      September 4, 2014

      Hi Matthew, November is a GREAT time to visit! I went on holiday myself in late November a couple of years ago and we had really terrific sunny weather. And prices for rentals are soooo much cheaper than a month later. Glad you are finding the blog useful! All the best Karen

      Reply

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