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Montevideo Cruise Port Guide

The capital city of Montevideo is a vacation destination that has it all: bumping Atlantic beaches, several UNESCO World Heritage sites, and incredible wine country. Though it’s close geographically to Buenos Aires, Montevideo feels more off-the-beaten path than other destinations you’ll visit on your South America cruise.

Montevideo is a well-kept secret despite having a population of over one million people. On your Uruguay cruise, you’ll discover that Montevideo manages to balance beachy vibes with a vibrant theater and arts scene. Cosmopolitan and earthy, rough around the edges and intellectual simultaneously, it’s a city of contradictions that somehow just make sense. Whether you’re browsing the market of Mercado del Puerto or seeing Uruguay’s greatest collection of paintings at the Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, a Montevideo cruise means you don’t have to choose just one type of experience while you’re here. The pace of life in Montevideo is slower than you might be used to, but that’s what makes it the perfect vacation spot. Taking it easy is easier than ever here.

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Top Sights & Attractions for Cruises to Montevideo

Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales

Home to one of the largest collections of Uruguayan art in the world, the Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales is a must-see for lovers of South American art on a Uruguay cruise. The museum highlights artists that much of the art world ignored or underappreciated. Don’t miss the rotating exhibits when you visit.

Museo del Gaucho y de la Moneda

If you’ve ever been curious about the gauchos, or Uruguayan cowboys, then you have to check out the Museo del Gaucho y de la Moneda. This museum is housed in a 19th century mansion dedicated to the history and artifacts of this influential group.

Playa Verde

White sands and the Atlantic Ocean welcome you to Uruguay at Playa Verde. Sunbathe or swim here while overlooking beautiful scenery. It’s easy to spend an entire day on this beach, and it’s so relaxing that you won’t want to leave.

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Top Things to Do in Montevideo

Sip Wines from the Tannat Grape

Though the wine country in Uruguay isn’t as extensive as Argentina’s, it’s the unique Tannat grape that sets Uruguayan wines apart. Spend an afternoon wine tasting, either at a tasting room in Ciudad Vieja or on a winery tour just beyond the city.

Explore Ciudad Vieja

Take a walking tour of one of Montevideo’s most enduring and popular neighborhoods, Ciudad Vieja. 19th century colonial architecture gives the district a distinct feeling of elegance and timelessness. Along the main stretch of Peatonal Sarandí, you’ll find a variety of shops and restaurants to peruse. Perez Castellano looks like something out of a postcard, where local merchants and street vendors sell produce. Book lovers will want to visit Librería Puro Verso, where you can find the perfect beach read and follow up with a coffee or snack before continuing to explore.

Surf at Honda Beach

Long regarded as having Montevideo’s best waves for surfing, the area of Honda Beach is a surfer’s delight. The surfing community here is strong, and you’ll be welcomed here even if you’re a novice surfer.

Top Food and Drink Spots Near the Montevideo Cruise Port

Dinner doesn’t begin in Uruguay until after 9pm, so plan accordingly to experience life here like a local. Montevideo is known for its burgeoning foodie scene, and great restaurants are popping up all the time. Dishes with grass-fed beef feature heavily on menus, as Uruguay is known for its asado and its steakhouses, called parrillas. On your Uruguay cruise, don’t miss the chance to try dining experiences like La Corte Restaurant in Ciudad Vieja, where a leisurely lunch is standard. La Corte offers classics like pasta, grilled fish of the day, or smoked pork ribs. La Fonda is a popular lunch and dinner spot known for its specialty coffee drinks and locally sourced ingredients. They also strive to have at least one vegan option at their restaurant. Then there’s the trendy Candy Bar, a tapas and burger joint that offers one of the city’s best brunches. The mint green exterior and brightly written sign offer you a warm welcome. Of course, you can’t come to Uruguay without experiencing the area’s signature wine extracted from the Tannat grape.

Culture & History of the Montevideo Cruise Port

The first Europeans to venture to Uruguay were Spanish explorers in the 1500s, and these first groups were killed by the indigenous people that lived in the area. At first, this part of Uruguay didn’t seem like a solid choice for colonial settlement due to poor soil quality. However, the Portuguese came to the area in the 1680s and made plans to colonize it. Then, the Spanish founded Montevideo in 1726 to retaliate against Portuguese advancement. In the 19th century, Montevideo regularly traded hands among British, Spanish, Argentine, Portuguese, and Brazilian forces. This pattern continued for hundreds of years. Today, Montevideo consistently makes lists of “best places to live” in South America and has undergone a cultural renaissance along the way. 

Montevideo Port Facilities & Location

The Port of Montevideo is where your Celebrity cruise ship will dock. It’s a short walk to the center of the city and its historic square from there. The port doesn’t only service cruise traffic, but also cargo ships as well.

Transportation in Montevideo

There’s little public transportation in the area near the cruise port, and the most popular way to explore beyond the city center is to take a taxi. When you depart from your Montevideo cruise ship, however, you’ll find it’s just a short, five-minute walk to the center of town, called the Ciudad Vieja. Most cruise passengers stay close to the pier for the day or book excursions with transportation included.

Shopping Near the Montevideo Cruise Port

There’s little public transportation in the area near the cruise port, and the most popular way to explore beyond the city center is to take a taxi. When you depart from your Montevideo cruise ship, however, you’ll find it’s just a short, five-minute walk to the center of town, called the Ciudad Vieja. Most cruise passengers stay close to the pier for the day or book excursions with transportation included.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

The official currency is the Uruguay peso, and ATMs are readily available throughout the city. U.S. dollars and credit cards are also commonly accepted in Montevideo. In terms of tipping while in Uruguay, the norm is to leave a 10% tip at restaurants and leave about five pesos for your taxi driver, particularly if they take you from one side of town to another.

 

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24-hour In-Room Dining

Montevideo is a thoroughly modern city with a rich artistic tradition, the reach of the rural estancias is all around you. If ever there were a time you were inclined to indulge, delicious steaks are the specialty of the house in virtually every restaurant.


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Mercado del Puerto

For barbecue prepared on a wood fire, head to Mercado del Puerto, a soaring pavilion with a cluster of upscale grill restaurants, bars, and cafés. Two reliable destinations are El Palenque and Cabaña Verónica; don’t shy away from the mollejas (sweetbreads) or chinchulines (chitterlings).

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