• Colombia!

    Colombia: Caribbean Sea coast. Go Now!

    Although most of the people live inland, Colombia also has its share of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (pictured). Go Now!

  • Ecuador!

    Ecuador: Sally Lightfoot Crab. Go Now!

    The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are home to incredible wildlife, such as the famous Galapagos Turtle and the lesser known, but more common Red Rock or Sally Lightfoot crab (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!

  • Venezuela!

    Venezuela: Los Roques. Go Now!

    Rooted in Europe, Venezuela boasts an impressive history, culture, and beauty, including the Caribbean Coast (pictured). Explore Venezuela!

  • Bolivia!

    Bolivia: Salt flats. Go Now!

    This hidden gem is full of surprises, from the impressive salt flats (pictured) to the migrating flamingos. It also clings to the most historic indigenous culture on the continent. Explore Bolivia!

Culture & Identity of Uruguay


New doesn't always imply better and in Uruguay this is definitely believed to be true. At times Uruguay may seem dilapidated and uncared for, but in reality this historic appearance, best found in most of the architecture, is better viewed as a sign of priority. Outward appearance and being flashy are less important than what lies beneath the surface and Uruguay seems to take this to an extreme. Money isn't spent on great buildings or clothing, as these will one day be gone, so why not enjoy the now, for there is only now. This attitude is a relative of Uruguay's Spanish past, one of relaxation and taking one's time to enjoy the moment and the present company.

Even the cities in Uruguay seem to move at the pace of towns and villages, which is a necessity since over 90% of the people live in cities and the culture demands the people move slowly. Although days move slowly, many people are highly motivated as Uruguay is very well educated and they have a solid economy. For those young people who want to make more money than the pace and the culture allow, they move abroad for a couple years to build up a nest egg then return to enjoy a more leisurely pace of life.

No matter the typical schedule or expected work hours, things in Uruguay tend to get delayed and postponed regularly. This may seem frustrating when you're the one waiting for another, but when you're the one occupying another's time and their ceaseless attention, it seems more like a place where the moment is magnified and everything else can wait. Like many other South American countries, the day tends to begin at about 8:00 or 9:00 am then can run into the evening hours, especially if a long lunch break is taken mid-day.

Many Uruguayans make their way home after work and for an increasing number of people home is an apartment, often times with five or six rooms to house a number of generations. If the night calls for more entertainment, Uruguay is somewhat muted when it comes to excitement, but this is only in comparison to its neighbors. Nights and weekends are often spent with family or friends, when going out and socializing is key. More popular among many people is a weekend away at the beach or asado (barbeque) with family on a Saturday afternoon. Sports, both watching and playing, as well as going to the movies are also popular weekend activities. Being in the southern hemisphere, most summer vacations and time off school takes place from about November to February, but this is also when the few farmers and ranchers in the rural areas are busiest.

Uruguay is rooted in Spanish culture and the way of life reminds the visitor of this at every turn. Yet the country is understated in many ways as it lacks the flamboyant architecture, dress, dancing, and foods. The people are fairly modest and care more about a Saturday with family than they do visiting the newest art gallery or creating art themselves. Uruguay also lacks much influence from the indigenous people in their culture as most of the people are primarily ethnic European.


Most people in Uruguay identify as being Uruguayan and this is truly tied to the culture. A part of that culture is its inclusivity, as it is very open and nearly any citizen of the country is welcomed to be considered "Uruguayan," no matter their ethnicity.

This identity is fairly inclusive as it is first defined in political terms; essentially separating the people of Uruguay from neighbors such as Argentina and Brazil. In this way, the national identity allows anyone who is a citizen, no matter their culture, to be included in this definition. Secondly, this identity is based on the lifestyle of the people as food and socialization tend to dictate what it means to be Uruguayan and how a Uruguayan should act and behave. This begins with food and wine which have gained influences from Spain, France, and Italy among others. Together with food comes socialization and the importance of family and friends, the other major contributing factor in defining the identity. This includes everything from simply talking to going out, watching or playing soccer (football), and celebrating holidays.

This page was last updated: November, 2013