Cookies on the DFA website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site while also complying with Data Protection requirements. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

Skip to main content

Uruguay

If you’re travelling to Uruguay, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to take normal precautions.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Uruguay before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you’re in Uruguay, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

To report emergencies, contact the police, an ambulance, or the fire department by dialling 911 from any phone.

Police - 109;

Ambulance - 105;

Fire - 104.

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Uruguay, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Buenos Aires in Argentina.

If you phone outside of working hours, leave us a message giving:

  • Your name
  • The nature of your problem
  • Where you are now
  • Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)

We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.

Other EU embassies

You can also contact the Embassies and Consulates in other EU countries for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

 

Safety and security

Crime

Most visits to Uruguay are trouble-free but you should be careful of street crime in the capital city, Montevideo. Other parts of Uruguay, including Punta del Este are considered relatively safe, but we still advise you to be alert and take sensible precautions:

Petty crime

Street crime exists in Montevideo, but is usually restricted to handbag snatching and pick-pocketing. Muggings and robberies (occasionally armed) do sometimes occur, but increased police patrols in Montevideo’s port and old town areas have helped reduce street crime.

Car crime

Car crime is common in Montevideo. Always try to park in a well-lit area, and remember to lock your car and avoid leaving luggage, personal documents and cash in the vehicle.

Driving

The standard of roads in Uruguay varies. The main toll road to Punta del Este is good and well marked.  Elsewhere many roads are in reasonable condition while some are in poor condition and you will need to take extra care. 

Driving standards in Uruguay are not high, relative to Irish standards. Be aware that traffic is disorganised and drivers often change lane and make unexpected turns without indicating.  Stop signs, traffic lights and speed limits are frequently ignored.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and your  international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Take extra care when driving at night
  • Use of dipped headlights is mandatory during the day when travelling on major roads outside cities
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local laws and customs

Illegal drugs

The penalties for those caught trafficking or in possession of drugs are very harsh. Be very careful with your luggage and belongings and avoid any contact with prohibited drugs.

Natural disasters and climate

Practical advice

  • Get local advice on how to manage in the case of a serious incident or dangerous conditions
  • Co-operate with local authorities and emergency services in the case of serious incidents

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you are unsure about the entry requirements for Uruguay, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy of Uruguay.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Uruguay and you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling (8 weeks) to see what vaccinations you need for Uruguay.