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Montevideo's Prado neighbourhood

Mansion in El Prado neighborhood, Montevideo by Guru'Guay

Though El Prado is just a 15 minute taxi ride from the centre of Montevideo, the leafy neighbourhood was established in the late 1800s as the summer vacationing ground of Montevideo’s elite. El Prado is a photographer’s paradise. It’s full of mansions, some still glorious and many falling to romantically wrack and ruin.

The neighbourhood is safe for strolling and definitely recommended for those who like to wander off-the-beaten-track.

#mansion falling to wrack and ruin in #elpradomontevideo

A photo posted by Guru’Guay (@guruguay1) on

 

The botanical gardens in El Prado Montevideo. Photo Guru'Guay

Parque Prado and the Botanical Gardens

In the middle of this decadence is El Prado Park and Montevideo’s Botanical Gardens (free) which my mother politely described as “wild”. Here is none of the prissiness of European botanical gardens. The plants and foliage are winning in their bid to overwhelm the buildings and greenhouses.

The gardens are lovely shady place to escape to on hotter days and perfect for a visit after admiring the Blanes Art Museum (free). Make sure you have afternoon tea at the Hotel del Prado, inaugurated in 1912. Those of a stronger consitution can choose from scores of mysterious herbal liqueurs at Los Yuyos.

Painting by Uruguayan artist, Juan Manuel Blanes. El Prado Montevideo. Photo Guru'GuayThe Blanes Museum and Japanese Gardens

Fifteen minutes walk away in a sumptuous Palladian-style mansion is the Blanes Museum. The museum is named after the nineteenth century portraitist Juan Manuel Blanes. It features Uruguayan art ranging from the nation’s founding to the present day and is dedicated to the works of Uruguayan painters like Pedro Figari and Rafael Barradas.

Make time to walk through the Japanese garden in the grounds which was donated by Japan in 2001 as a symbol of friendship. “This meticulously arranged collection of bamboos, cherry trees, orchids and rocks is a gem,” says The New York Times.

Where to eat and drink: Hotel del Prado and Bar Los Yuyos

Built in 1912 as a recreation centre in the centre of the lovely Prado Park, the building fell into disuse by the 1950s. It was only recently that the building has been recovered and turned into an elegant hotel and tea-room.

Bar Los Yuyos was founded in 1906, this classic bar is famous for its spirits flavoured with herbs (yuyos is a colloquial term for herbs). At one time there were more than 200 flavoured liqueurs, all identifiable simply by their colour, before someone decided to start labelling the bottles in the 1970s.

Twice annual Gaucho fairs

#Gauchos conversing during #semanacriolla in #uruguay #elpradomontevideo

A photo posted by Guru’Guay (@guruguay1) on

Twice a year, gauchos from all over South America descend on the Rural Expo centre (known as the Rural del Prado) in the park for a week-long traditional fair.

Semana Criolla Patria Grande takes place during Easter every March. Agricultural fair with gaucho rodeos and evening concerts during Easter. First edition in 1925.

Expo-PRADO is a similar event and takes place in September every year.

If you are lucky enough to be in Uruguay at this time, make sure you plan time there. There are rodeo-style gaucho sporting competitions during the day and concerts every evening. The music spans from rural folclore to tango to the latest Uruguayan rock stars.

Getting to El Prado

You can take a taxi or bus from the centre. A taxi will cost apx 250 pesos (apx 8 dollars at the time of writing). The Tourist Bus also stops at the park.

  • Botanical Garden Mon-Sun 7.30 am-6.30 pm
  • Museo Blanes Av Millán 4015 Tues-Sun 1-7 pm
  • Hotel del Prado Gabriela Mistral 4223
  • Bar Los Yuyos Luis A de Herrera 4297 esq. Cubo del Norte

See more photos of El Prado, Montevideo

6 Comments

  1. Maynard Dodson

    January 22, 2017

    Hello, thanks for the interesting article. Can you recommend which streets to walk on to see these houses?

    Reply
    • The Guru of Guru'Guay

      January 22, 2017

      Hi Maynard, you are totally right that a map would be very handy. Right now I don’t have time to research but this is on my to do list 🙂 — Karen

      Reply
  2. John S Pazera

    July 19, 2016

    Great info. Hopefully we will have time to check it out.
    We would like to visit wine country. We prefer to be on our own. We thought of renting a car and touring for an over nite. Are the wineries open every day for tastings?
    What do you suggest?

    Thank you,
    John & Susan
    Visiting Sept 10 till the 18th.

    Reply
    • Welshwitch in Uruguay

      July 21, 2016

      Hi John, most wineries are not open to the public. You have to set up visits in advance, other than in a couple of places such as Bouza, which is why most people end up taking a tour or staying at vineyards. In addition, Uruguay currently has zero tolerance laws for drinking and driving, so even a glass of wine is not allowed if you drive.

      Reply

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