Uruguay travel advice

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Risk level

URUGUAY - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in Uruguay

Montevideo - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Montevideo due to crime.

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Safety and security

Crime

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs. It’s more common in Montevideo and towns on the border with Brazil. However, during the summer (December to March) tourism season, criminals tend to move to tourist destinations such as:

  • Punta del Este
  • Rocha
  • Colonia del Sacramento

Criminals may be on foot or on motorcycle. Those using motorcycles often work in pairs. The driver will approach the target at a traffic light, parking lot, ATM or hotel, while the other thief steals their wallet, purse or cell phone and escapes quickly.

  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times and ensure that the original is stored in a safe location
  • Keep bags and valuables out of sight in your vehicle
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence
  • Carry only small amounts of cash
  • Use ATMs located inside a bank or business

Montevideo

Be cautious when walking at night in downtown Montevideo, including in well-travelled areas. Petty crime, muggings and armed robbery are more common in:

  • 18 de Julio Avenue
  • La Ciudad Vieja (the Old City)
  • Plaza Independencia
  • Puerto de Montevideo (the port area)

Always exercise a high degree of caution in the following critical neighbourhoods:

  • 40 Semanas
  • Barrio Borro
  • Bella Italia
  • Casabó
  • Casavalle
  • Hipódromo
  • La Teja
  • Malvín Norte
  • Marconi
  • Tres Ombúes
  • Villa del Cerro
  • Villa Española

During the summer months, the tourist police patrol the following Montevideo neighbourhoods, where most hotels are located:

  • El Centro
  • La Ciudad Vieja
  • El Cordón and El Parque Rodó
  • Pocitos
  • Punta Carretas

There is an increased presence of uniformed police officers on foot in areas where tourists are concentrated. Authorities have also increased the number of patrol cars in residential areas.

Burglaries

Burglaries occur in both occupied and unoccupied residences, even during the day. Houses are more vulnerable than apartments.

  • Keep doors and windows locked
  • Don’t open your door to people you don’t know

ATMs

  • Be particularly cautious when using ATMs
  • Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone should be cautious, particularly in the critical neighbourhoods of Montevideo mentioned above.

Advice for women travellers

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur regularly in Montevideo and are generally peaceful.

However, even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Swimming

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides occur.

Some beaches have lifeguards and warning flags during the summer. However, rescue services may not be consistent with international standards.

  • Consult residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
  • Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities

Water safety abroad

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety vary greatly throughout the country.

Accidents causing fatalities are common due to:

  • hilly terrain and winding roads
  • poor lighting, lane markings and paving
  • lack of stop signs and traffic lights at many intersections
  • poorly maintained cars

The main toll road to Punta del Este is in good condition and well-marked. However, accidents increase on this and other main highways in the summer, during Carnaval in mid-February and during Easter week.

Drivers often don’t respect traffic laws.

Gas stations may be scarce in rural areas. If you’re driving long distances:

  • plan accordingly
  • fill up in cities and make sure to have enough fuel to reach your destination

Public transportation

Taxis and ridesharing services

Taxis are equipped with a thick glass partition installed to protect drivers against crime. Injuries may occur as people are thrown against the partition when the driver brakes suddenly or is involved in an accident. Injuries can be severe even in minor collisions.

Several ridesharing services are available. They are monitored to ensure that they meet safety standards equivalent to those applied to taxis.

If you use a trusted ridesharing app, confirm the driver’s identity and the licence plate before getting in the car.

Buses

Bus travel in Montevideo and around the country is safe and reliable.

Tres Cruces bus service (in Spanish)

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Uruguayan authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Uruguay.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days
Business visa: not required for stays up to 90 days
Student visa: required

If you plan to stay longer than 90 days in Uruguay, you must ask migration authorities for an extension to your stay as a tourist or for business once you are in the country.

You may also get a student visa while you are in Uruguay, but must get proof of acceptance from your educational institution before your arrival in the country.

National Migration Directorate - Government of Uruguay (in Spanish)

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

Rabies

In this destination, rabies may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife. 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Dengue
  • In this country, risk of dengue is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
American trypanosomiasis

American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) is a risk in this country. It is caused by a parasite spread by infected triatomine bugs. The infection can be inactive for decades, but humans can eventually develop complications causing disability and even death.

Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from triatomine bugs, which are active at night, by using mosquito nets if staying in poorly-constructed housing. There is no vaccine available for Chagas disease.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Medical services and facilities

Health care is very good. Service is available throughout the country.

You may have to pay upfront or confirm your insurance information before receiving treatment.

There are 3 private hospitals in Montevideo offering 24-hour emergency services and accepting tourists without insurance coverage:

  • British Hospital
  • Sanatorio Americano
  • MP Medicina Privada

Fees must be paid in cash or by credit card before leaving the hospital.

Emergency services are also available at the public hospital, Hospital de Clínicas.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Although Uruguayan citizens and permanent residents can register to purchase cannabis, it’s illegal for tourists and other visitors to purchase it.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Imports and exports

Customs authorities may strictly enforce regulations concerning the import or export of items such as:

  • precious jewels
  • gold
  • firearms
  • antiquities
  • medications
  • business equipment

Driving

You may drive in Uruguay with your valid Canadian driver’s licence for up to 6 months.

By law, all vehicles must be equipped with a safety kit, including:

  • pylons
  • safety vest
  • flares
  • fire extinguisher

These are usually provided in rental cars.

It’s illegal to turn right on a red light.

There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Uruguay.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Uruguay, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Uruguay.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Uruguay, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Uruguayan court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Uruguay to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Money

The currency is the Uruguayan peso (UYU).

Some businesses also accept US dollars and Argentine pesos.

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Natural disasters and climate

Droughts, floods and very strong storms with high winds occur year round.

Flooding

Heavy rains sometimes cause flash flooding and landslides. Roads could be blocked and essential services could be disrupted.

Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

Latest forecasts - Instituto Uruguayo de Meteorología (in Spanish)

Wildfires

There is a risk of wildfires during the summer months (December to March). The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.

In case of a significant fire:

  • stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
  • follow the advice of local authorities

 National emergency system – Government of Uruguay (in Spanish)

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 911
  • medical assistance: 105
  • firefighters: 104

Consular assistance

Montevideo - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressPlaza Independencia 749, oficina 102, 11100, Montevideo, UruguayTelephone(598) 2902-2030Fax(598) 2902-2029Emailmvdeo@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-UruguayFacebookEmbassy of Canada to UruguayTwitterCanada in Uruguay

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Uruguay, in Montevideo, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

You may make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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