• 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!

Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of Uruguay


Uruguayan Geography - Piriapolis Bay
Piriapolis Bay

Uruguay is fairly flat and geographically uniform as the country's western border is the Uruguay River and much of the central and southern part of the country is also filled with rivers, including the Negro River. These rivers all flow into the Atlantic Ocean bordering or near Uruguay.

Much of the land is flat grasslands with huge open spaces. On both sides of the Negro River the lands are a bit more elevated, but this plateau is again fairly flat. In fact the highest point in the country is Cerro Catedral, which is just under 1,700 feet (515 meters).

The grasslands, fertile soil, and rivers all make the land very livable as plants grow easily and animals also call the lands home. This has expanded since the arrival of the Europeans as today grazing sheep, cattle, and other animals makes up a large part of Uruguay's economy, but they have the land to do this.


Uruguayan Geography - Cattle

Uruguay's weather extremes are somewhat muted by the ocean, which prevents real high or low temperatures along the coast. Inland the variations are slightly greater as the ocean doesn't have the same effect inland. Additionally, the seasons alter the weather in Uruguay from a temperature standpoint, although rains are fairly steady year round. Because of this regular and somewhat steady weather pattern along the coast, most people live here. However, the steady rains, rivers, lakes, plants, and animals make nearly the entire country an ideal home for people as most of the population lives along the coast or along the Uruguay River, which forms the country's western border.

Summers in Uruguay run from about December to February. In Montevideo, which sits on the South Atlantic Ocean, most nights fall to about 60° F (16° C), while daily highs are 80° F (27° C), although it can feel cooler if winds are coming off the ocean. Inland, along the Uruguay River, temperatures can get much hotter, although in the north temperatures tend to be a bit lower than that in Montevideo. This is also the dry season in Uruguay as Montevideo get about 2.5 inches (63 mm) of rain each of these months.

The winter months, June to about August, get colder. Montevideo averages about 43° F (6° C) for nightly lows with day time highs of about 60° F (16° C). Winds also pick up meaning the city can feel quite cool on a windy day. Again in the north temperatures are generally a bit cooler than in Montevideo and along the Uruguay River temperatures can be a bit warmer or about the same as Montevideo.

The spring and fall (autumn) tend to be less predictable as temperatures bounce from year to year and from month to month. The one constant is that the fall (autumn) months of March and April tend to be the wettest months of the year as Montevideo averages about 4 inches (100 mm) of rain each of these months.


Uruguayan Wildlife - Capybara

The wildlife of Uruguay is limited due to the country's landscape, which primarily consists of large grasslands. As few forests exist in the country, the bird and mammal species are smaller in numbers than in some of Uruguay's neighboring countries. Despite this, many of these animals still roam into Uruguay from time to time, although they are rare.

Among the mammals, many can be found but are uncommon, such as opossums, deer, boars, and jaguars. More common are rats, mice, squirrels, and other rodents, including the capybaras, coypu, and the chinchilla.

The sea life is much more varied since the country has a significant amount of coastline along the South Atlantic Ocean. These waters have the most impressive of Uruguay's mammal species with sea lions, whales, and dolphins. The number of fish and shell fish are much larger though. Sharks, grouper, barracuda, eels, shrimp, and many others all call these waters home. Uruguay is also home to many freshwater fish as trout, salmon, pike, catfish, and others live in the country's lakes and rivers.

Uruguayan Wildlife - Chinchilla

These waters also attract many birds that feed off the sea animals. Egrets, eagles, pelicans, condors, pelicans, ducks, swans, and herons are all common along the coast. The inland birds are again somewhat limited because of the lack of forests. Where forests do exist there are additional birds in the country, including parakeets, partridges, quails, crows, and owls.

The reptilian, amphibian, and insect life in Uruguay is diverse, but the lack of forests and a great amount of space does limit the number of species. Many of these animals are spiders, including the tarantula and black widow, and snakes, including the viper. In or near some of the warmer water rivers and lakes the amphibian population spikes a bit as a number of turtles, frogs, and lizards are present. The number of insects is quite substantial, including flies, mosquitos, beetles, moths, butterflies, ants, and more.

Uruguayan Wildlife - Pineapple

When it comes to native plant life, South America is home to many famous edible plants and these plants quickly spread throughout Uruguay, South America, and beyond. The pineapple is from the region where Brazil and Uruguay meet while potatoes and tobacco originated in the Andes Mountains. A few others, including cacao trees (used to make chocolate), peanuts, and tomatoes are also from South America, although their actual origin is unknown. Peppers, both sweet and hot peppers are from Central America or northern South America while vanilla, avocado, papaya, and corn (maize) are likely from Central America itself. No matter each food's origin, what is known is that these foods spread throughout the continent and to the country of Uruguay with the help of pre-historic people, animals, and winds. These people have had these foods for nearly as long as people have inhabited the region and each makes an important part of the people's diet and culture now and for thousands of years into the past.

More than just the edible plants, Uruguay is home to many other trees and plants. Pine trees, eucalyptus trees, carob trees, cedar trees, quebracho tree, algarroba trees, poplar trees, willow trees, palm trees, myrtle trees, rosemary trees, and cypress trees are all common.

This page was last updated: November, 2013