Uruguayans prioritise family life over business, so it’s a good idea to know when public holidays are, as many shops –except for shopping malls– will close and local public transport will run on a limited schedule. Fortunately, as public transport is much better than in many countries, this shouldn’t really affect you. Ride sharing services like Uber and taxis run normally. During the summer months, beaches are usually busier during public holidays.
Public holidays in Uruguay
Public holidays when most shops and restaurants close are:
January 1, May 1, July 18, August 25 and December 25.
They are known here as “no-laborables” ie. staff must be paid overtime if they work them. In fact May 1, Workers’ Day, is more respected than Christmas.
Public holidays when most businesses remain open are:
January 6, April 19 (the public holiday of the Day of the 33 Orientales will be moved to April 17 in 2023), May 18, June 19, October 12 and November 2
Other major public holidays are:
Carnival public holidays: Feb 20 and 21 (the actual dates are unrelated to actual carnival celebrations which last for over forty days)
Tourism/Easter public holidays: April 6 and 7 (Tourism Week coincides with Easter – Uruguay has complete separation of church and state). In 2023 Tourism Week will be celebrated 2-9 April.
Expect hotels and restaurants on the coast to be busy during these holidays as many Uruguayans typically go on holiday for a full week during both Carnival and Tourism Weeks. Some shops in Montevideo will close. Beach towns will not be affected.
Amuse yourself reading more about Uruguayans and public holidays
- Why does the tourist industry in Montevideo close down at peak times?
- Why Uruguayans celebrate Tourism Week – not Easter
[This page was first created on April 7 2019 and last updated at the date above]