Uruguay Risk Report
Security travel advice for Uruguay
Threat level: Low
The current travel safety advice when visiting Uruguay is to remain cautious during the evening hours and busy locations, as with all tourist destinations there is an increased likelihood of risk. Please keep yourself informed on the weather forecast when visiting, as some extreme weathers have been noted previously.
Recent Security Risk Events
In June 2015, controlled explosions were carried out on suspect packages found in Montevideo and this is one of the only security incidents in recent years. Uruguay is an economically sound, safe country with very little in the way of terrorist activity.
The general level of security in Uruguay is a very good standard, considered to be on par with US or European standards. Crime rates are quite high in general but relative to its neighbouring countries, levels are lower. In the large cities such as Montevideo, there remains the risk of robbery or bag-snatching so travellers are advised to keep their bags close and not carry many valuable possessions.
Petty crime is an issue in some areas with regular house burglaries and cars being broken into. Cars are targeted often, either during the night or smash and grab style attacks when waiting at traffic lights. Please do not leave valuables in your vehicle or have them displayed at any time and ensure that your windows are shut and doors locked at all times.
General security precautions should be taken such as not wearing expensive jewellery out at night and being aware of your surroundings. Be careful when walking in the downtown or port areas at night, particularly if you are travelling alone.
Women are thought to be safer at night in many areas. The areas of Pocitos, Punta Carretas, El Centro, La Ciudad Vieja, El Cordón and El Parque Rodo are patrolled during the summer months, however the parts of the city centre and the Old town are thought of as unsafe in the evening hours.
Uruguay has a positive influence within the region with many diplomatic ties with its neighbours and globally. It has a number of Embassies throughout the world, enjoying strong links with the USA and many European countries.
There have been previous border disputes with Brazil over the small river island, Isla Brasilera, however, the current political situation is stable.
Road travel in rural areas can be problematic. The roads are generally in poor condition and can be washed away after periods of heavy rain. The standard of driving is poor compared to European standards and care should be taken on the roads at all times. An International Driving Permit is not normally required to hire a car but this could change in the future.
Currency: Uruguayan Peso
Time now in Montevideo:
Most visitors to Uruguay, including from the UK and US, can enter Uruguay visa free for a period of 90 days. Further advice can be found here: Visa advice Uruguay
It is advised that visitors to Uruguay are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider vaccinations for Hepatitis B. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Diarrheal illness is a health issue experienced by many travellers and is more prevalent in the summer months. Prevention of illness can occur through excellent personal hygiene including washing your hands before you eat and avoid having drinks with ice in them.
The health care services in Uruguay are at a relatively high standard however treatment can prove extremely costly and often require up front payment. Ensure that your travel insurance will cover you for all medical treatments.
Extreme weather and natural disasters
Natural disasters have been known to hit Uruguay, such as tornados, heavy rain and flooding. There has been a recent tornado event in April 2016, which has hit the areas of Colonia and Canelones. This has caused issues with local infrastructure, please keep this in mind when travelling to the region. You should also familiarise yourself with what to do if you are caught up in extreme weather.
U.S. Embassy Montevideo
Lauro Muller 1776,
Telephone: +598 1770 2000
British Embassy Montevideo
Marco Bruto 1073,
Telephone: +598 2622 3630
Telephone: +598 2622 3650
Other useful info
Police emergency: 911
Police emergency: 1909 (Headquarters)
Traffic Police: 108
Traffic Police: 1954 (Traffic Centre)
Marine Emergencies: 1767
Centre for Coordination of Sea Search and Rescue: 1701
Fire emergency: 911
Medical emergency: 105 (MSP Department of Health Ambulance)
Medical emergency: 1830 (UNO Private ambulance)
Medical emergency: 1955 (EMUCAR Private ambulance)
Medical emergency: 159 (SEMM Private ambulance)
Medical emergency: 147 (SUAT Private ambulance)