"After all, everyone’s eager to check out the scene unfolding by the shore: models in micro bikinis, wealthy Americans trying hard not to stare, European bon vivants staring unabashedly, and Argentine beauties blowing air kisses every which way."
For a few weeks of the year, that's the image the best sums up this country of just over three million. Uruguay's coastline is home to some of the most exclusive and in-demand beach destinations for South Americans and, increasingly, monied Europeans and Americans, in search of winter sun.
However, there's more to this little place than meets the eye.
For the socially and politically aware, Uruguay's election of former prisoner Jose Mujica put the country in the spotlight. This old, hunched grandfatherly figure espoused a philosophy which made you think the world could, actually, be a better place. It is one of few places in South America where women have safe access to safe abortions, same-sex marriage is legal, renewable electricity powers the majority of the country and, to combat the influence of narco-gangs rather than turn this in to a new Amsterdam, marijuana was legalised.
For the traveller, outside of high season, the laid-back city charms of old Montevideo or the exquisitely preserved Colonial Sacramento will draw you in, whilst the possibility of finding a deserted beach town, volunteering on an organic farm or horse-riding through the sierras will leave you looking for more.
And, after all this, you might just take home a new found addiction to the national drink - mate.
So, you're thinking of going to uruguay?
If you're looking for something in particular, why not check here.
WE MAY USE BLOGS TO PLAN MOST OF OUR TRIPS, BUT WE ALWAYS HAVE A BEATEN UP GUIDEBOOK IN OUR BACKPACKS! BUY YOURS NOW.
Every country has them; those secret little towns, beaches or hidden cafés that no-one seems to have found yet - or at least written much about.
For us, it was this place. So, go ahead and take a look, but just try and keep it between us, at least for a little while....