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

The truth is out. Montevideans just don't care that much about taking your tourist dollars. They'd rather spend the holidays with their family and friends.
By Karen A Higgs
Why is Montevideo closed over peak period
Last updated on November 24, 2018

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

More reading

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!

Cover photo: Closed by Bryan Mills

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8 Responses

  1. We will be in Montevideo 30th Dec – 3rd of Jan before moving on up coast tti beach. Will everything be closed in Montevideo? Even on 2nd of Jan for example? Maybe we should adjust dates and move on to beach earlier?

    1. Hi Talchinsky, things are definitely getting better in Montevideo with more restaurants opening up during the holidays. There have always been things to do, check out our article about what to do over the holidays in Montevideo for some great ideas. You could also go check out a carnival rehearsal. Do check out Montevideo but make sure you have a plan based on this info and of course the Guru’Guay Guide to Montevideo – second edition out in the next few days!! Best, Karen PS, we have availability at Casa Sarandi for those dates!

  2. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. 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!

  3. 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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