Do you want to find out more about Uruguay? Read some of the facts about Uruguay which I found quite interesting while I was travelling there last year. Feel free to comment and let me have your feedback.
Mate also known as yerba mate is a very popular drink in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Brazil. In Uruguay, you will see many people on the streets, the beaches or while walking, holding a pot made of metal or leather and drinking it with a metal straw. This caffeine-rich tea is very popular here. Because of its high amount of caffeine, it has been a very popular drink for centuries in South America. Uruguayans consume 6.8 Kilograms of mate per capita every year while Argentinians consume 1.2 Kilograms. I am not a fan of Mate because the taste of Mate is a little bit bitter for me. In some tea shops, I am sure you can find this tea and you can try for yourself.
2. Parilla Restaurants
There is a rivalry between Argentina and Uruguay about the meat processing and cooking. Uruguayans claim that their meats are much more delicious than Argentinians’ and are better at the barbecue. The traditional and classic meat restaurants In Uruguay are called Parilla.
3. A Farming Country
About 3.3 million people and 12 million cattle live in Uruguay so this country has the highest rate of cattle per capita at 3.6. It is also the only country that keeps track of 100% of its cattle. We can call Uruguay a big and well-managed farm.
Yes, Uruguayans are free to use marijuana. Since December 2013, marijuana trade is legal in Uruguay that made Uruguay the world’s first country to legalize the marijuana trade. The price of one gram of marijuana costs approximately one dollar. While I was in Uruguay in 2015, I had heard that in the future marijuana will be bought in the pharmacies.
5. Same-Sex Marriage
Since 2008 civil unions have been allowed for same-sex couples in Uruguay. In 2013 the same-sex marriage law was accepted in Uruguay so now all couples can get married there.
Like in many Catholic Christian countries in South America, the abortion is a taboo and restricted. But in Uruguay it is legal. In 2012 the senate approved a bill to legalize abortions during first-trimester pregnancies. Uruguay, Guayana and French Guayana are the only countries where the abortion is legal in South America.
7. The Least Religious Country
You are free to use marijuana, make a same-sex marriage and perform an abortion in Uruguay. It seems like the Uruguayans don’t care much about the religion. Yes, it is because Uruguay doesn’t have an official religion. Only %46 of the total population is Catholic Christian and it makes Uruguay as one of the least religious countries in Latin America and probably the world.
8. High Literacy Rate
Uruguay’s literacy rate is %98,1 for adults and it has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Uruguay is also the first country providing a free laptop and Wi-Fi connection to its school children.
9. Corruption ?!?
Based on corruption perception index 2015 made by Transparency International Uruguay has ranked as one of the least corrupt nations at 21 out of 167. Uruguay is the least corrupt country in South America.
10. Punta Del Este, Luxury Holiday Town
Punta del Este is a holiday town located at Uruguay’s southern coast. It’s full of casinos, multi-million dollar yachts, beautiful beaches and wealthy tourists. During the high season that is between December and February, the monthly rent of a summer resort can rise to 5 digit numbers in US dollars. It is also called Miami of South America and/or St. Tropez of South America. I was lucky to visit and stay at this nice holiday town at the end of high season so I didn’t have to pay astronomic prices.
11. Food and Family Exchange
In 1512, Uruguay was discovered by the Portuguese and four years later the Spanish arrived here. It was a zone of contention between the Spanish and Portuguese empires. Uruguay was not a densely populated place and the Spanish brought families from Canary Island in return for a ship loaded with food. After I listened to this historical anecdote about Canarian and Uruguayan people, I understood why there was such a great meat restaurant in Las Palmas, Canary Island.
12. Legendary President of Uruguay, Jose Mujica
Jose Mujica is the ex-president of Uruguay. He has a one-bedroom farmhouse and a three-legged dog. He drives a 1987 VW Beetle and picks up hitch-hikers. He donates %90 of his salary to charity. He has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by a Dutch pro-drugs institute for legalizing marijuana. I really liked his philosophy and attitude as a human and a politician. I hope the world has more politicians like Jose Mujica.
To read more about my travel in Uruguay, click here.