The Blog

Why does the tourist industry in Montevideo close down at peak visitor times?

Closed by Bryan Mills

Clients sometimes ask me this when I am suggesting they spend their New Years Eve eating left-overs and watching the fireworks from our building rooftop.

For a city that is a major tourist destination Montevideo can appear to have a pretty lame attitude to serving its guests over the holidays.

The biggest irony for me is that during Easter (known as Tourism Week in Uruguay), one of the holidays where we receive waves of tourists from all over Latin America, there will be a huge sign across the front door of the government-run tourist information centre saying “Closed for Tourism Week”. This year I’ll take a picture 🙂

After all this time living here, the conclusion that I have come to, is that the majority of Uruguayans are just not that materialistic. They would rather spend time with their family and friends than make a bit of extra money for working a holiday. Hence restaurants close because they just can’t get the staff. 

On one hand, being involved in the travel trade, it’s really frustrating.

On the other hand, I can’t help thinking, a nation that prioritises its leisure time over making a buck is not so bad


Why Uruguayans celebrate Tourism Week – and not Easter Just another insight into this remarkable society.

Montevideo over New Year? Check out these things to do, and others things that you should be aware of to make sure your Christmas and New Year in Montevideo is not ambushed by the holidays!

Photos: Closed by Bryan Mills 


  1. Lauris

    November 28, 2015

    Montevideo is one of the dream destinations for us. We finally decided to go and booked a flight to arrive early morning on December 24 to celebrate our 20th anniversary on the 25th. Looks like we’ve made a major mistake.
    That said, I love your web site.

    • Welshwitch in Uruguay

      December 4, 2015

      Hi Lauris… oh dear… well I am sure you will have a great time all the same! La Estacada which is a rustic restaurant with outdoor tables close to the lighthouse in Punta Carretas will probably be open on the 25th. Have a lovely anniversary! — Karen

      • Lauris

        December 4, 2015

        Thanks for the information about La Estacada. I will keep that in mind, although I hear that taxis will not be available either. Meanwhile, I plan to carry along a couple of boxes of crackers and look forward to another unusual adventure!

        • Welshwitch in Uruguay

          December 4, 2015

          If you read above, you’ll see taxis are available again from 4am, so you will find taxis. It’s also a very nice walk from most neighbourhoods along the rambla to get there. You’ll want to reserve though. Have a lovely anniversary! And happy Christmas!

  2. Cesar

    November 24, 2015

    Yes, you got the right idea as to what is behind this. In my experience, the same is true in France, another country with huge inflows of tourists, and where they have no problem shutting an entire town down on Sundays, even at peak tourism season, so the workers can have their day of rest. In fact, it was not until recently that France passed a law “allowing” stores to open on Sunday, and only in tourist locations and just during high season. You are looking at countries with very powerful unions, as opposed to most Anglo-Saxon economies, where workers unions are seen as a scourge.


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