Uruguay travel advice
Latest updates: Removal of COVID-19 information
Last updated: ET
On this page
- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
Safety and security
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
- 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
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
- La Teja
- Malvín Norte
- 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
- 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 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
- Be particularly cautious when using ATMs
- Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
Women travelling alone should be cautious, particularly in the critical neighbourhoods of Montevideo mentioned above.
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
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
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
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.
Bus travel in Montevideo and around the country is safe and reliable.
Tres Cruces bus service (in Spanish)
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
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.
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.
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.
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 about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines 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 are right for you
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.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
* 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.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
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 is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
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.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
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.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like, American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), chikungunya, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), West Nile virus yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
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.
- 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.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Imports and exports
Customs authorities may strictly enforce regulations concerning the import or export of items such as:
- precious jewels
- business equipment
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:
- safety vest
- 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 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.
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.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
The currency is the Uruguayan peso (UYU).
Some businesses also accept US dollars and Argentine pesos.
Natural disasters and climate
Droughts, floods and very strong storms with high winds occur year round.
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)
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)
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 911
- medical assistance: 105
- firefighters: 104
Montevideo - Embassy of Canada
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.
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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