Car Rental in Uruguay
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Why rent a car in Uruguay?
Uruguay is a small country between two larger neighbors, both physically and in the minds of tourists. Oft-overlooked, the country is the perfect destination for those seeking stunning, but less-crowded beaches or a taste of gaucho culture. Getting around the country is easy with a rental car.
Uruguay has a system of discounts on its Value Added Tax for foreigners to encourage more tourists to visit the country. The benefits are set to expire on April 30, 2020, but have been extended over for another year so far and should be again.
The benefits include not having to pay VAT on hotel rooms (by showing your foreign identification when checking in), a refund of the vat on dining and car rentals (by paying with a foreign debit or credit card), and a 24% discount on gasoline purchased at least 20 km from the border. The last benefit is especially helpful as it makes what would otherwise be high gas prices become reasonable.
To make the most of a trip around Uruguay, it is best if you speak at least a little Spanish. Though some people working in the hospitality industry will speak English, you will often come across those that don’t. And to fill up your rental car’s tank, you’ll have to speak some Spanish since all of the gas stations in the country are full service.
Top ways to enter Uruguay
Carrasco International Airport (MVD) is the main airport in the country and is located in the suburb of Montevideo after which the airport takes its name. For being the main airport in a country, though, it doesn’t have very many international flights. There are connections to the capitals of most South American countries, the largest cities in Brazil, Miami and Madrid.
A significant amount of visitors enter the country via a ferry from Buenos Aires. Buquebus carries passengers between Buenos Aires and the Cuidad Vieja (Old Town) of Montevideo in just two hours. Another popular route, which is cheaper, is to take a ferry to Colonia. From there, you can either take a bus to Montevideo or pick up a rental car near the port.
It is possible to enter the country with a rental car, but only from Argentina. If you were to do this, you would also have to return the car to Argentina afterward.
Finally, if venturing to Uruguay from Brazil, you are most likely to enter the country on a bus. It is very easy to get to either Punta del Este or Montevideo by bus from Florianopolis or Porto Alegre.
Top cities and places to visit
Montevideo - The capital city of Uruguay is by far its most populous city. It is also likely to be a starting point for a visit around the country. Its Old Town (Ciudad Vieja) is where most of what interests tourists can be found. The city is not just the cultural hub of the country, but the gastronomic hub also. If you aren’t planning to venture outside of the capital, then it’s beaches should be on your list of things to see. However, if you plan to see the rest of the country, perhaps it’s best to save your beach time for more stunning and secluded beaches elsewhere.
Colonia - After the capital, the biggest tourist draw in the country is the quaint colonial town of Colonia del Sacramento. The city was an important city for the colonial powers and was hotly contested between Spain and Portugal being ruled by each one at various times before Uruguay finally became independent. The thing to do in Colonia is to walk around the old part of the city. Its many colonial-era buildings and cobblestone streets make it a world of its own. The old part of the city is quite small, so you may get bored of the town after a day.
Punta del Este - The main beach town in Uruguay is popular not just with Uruguayans, Argentinians, too. The city has a tiny population that swells during the summer months (November to March in the southern hemisphere). The town is a beach and party town with many nightclubs and casinos. Of course, if you want a more relaxing time, you can head to nearby resorts. One not to miss is the Casapueblo, a creation of the artist Carlos Paez-Vilaro. The resort is a working resort but also a museum that you can visit without staying in. The white buildings will remind you of Mediterranean architecture like that of Santorini.
Punta del Diablo - If you want a beach vacation somewhere even smaller and more rustic, then head up the Atlantic coast a couple of hours from Punta del Este to the Devil’s Point. Like Punta del Este, it gets busy in the summer but is more laid back, less luxurious, and wilder. In the winter, the tiny village is exactly that, a small hamlet with nothing but fishing boats.
Salto - The second-largest city in Uruguay is located along the Uruguay River across from Concordia, Argentina. Though the city itself doesn’t provide much in the way of attractions, the hot springs and thermal spas nearby make it worthy of a visit. Dayman is located just south of the city and Fuente Salto to the north. Both have resorts, spas, and for those traveling with children, water parks.
Chuy - Located near the coast in the northern part of the country, Chuy is part of a town that sits on the border of Brazil and Uruguay. In fact, the main street of this small town serves as the border between Uruguay and Brazil. You can jump back and forth across the border at will. Immigration points for both countries lie a few kilometers outside of the respective sides of the city and you do not need to pass through Uruguay immigration to enter the city if not traveling further into Brazil. Aside from the novelty of driving right along the border, the town has little else to offer.
Cabo Polonio National Park- Located on the eastern coast of Uruguay roughly midway between Punta del Este and Punta del Diablo, Cabo Polonio is a wild and rugged part of the coast. The national park has no roads, so you need to either walk in, have a 4x4 vehicle or take a 4x4 bus of sorts. There is almost no electricity in the village but there is a shop that has electricity and you can, therefore, purchase refrigerated foods.
Isla de Flores - This small island is located about seven miles off the coast of Uruguay. Carrasco, just outside of Montevideo, is the closest city. Needless to say, you won’t be reaching the island with a rental car. You can, however, reach it via a boat tour. You will get to spend roughly three hours on the island to enjoy the lighthouse and old buildings and watch the fur seals sun on the rocks of the island.
Driver's license requirements
To rent a car in Uruguay you have to be at least 18 years old had a driver’s license for at least a year, though this doesn’t apply to all companies. For example, Doallr requires drivers to be 21 years old. If you are young, you are in luck, too. Unlike in most other countries, multiple rental companies in Uruguay don’t charge a fee for young drivers.
An International Driving License is not necessary to rent a car in Uruguay unless your driver’s license contains characters that are not in the Latin alphabet.
Unfortunately, none of the rental companies in Uruguay allow their cars to be taken outside of the country. This is not detrimental to a trip through South America, though. It’s easy to get from Uruguay to various cities in both Argentina and Brazil where rental cars can be picked up to continue your journey.
If starting in Argentina (and planning to return to the country) rental cars from Enterprise, Alamo, and Europcar can be taken to Uruguay. This comes with an additional fee, though. It may be easier and less expensive to take the ferry to Colonia or Montevideo and then pick up a rental car there.
All of the main roads in Uruguay have toll booths (peajes). As in much of Latin America, you must stop and pay at every toll booth. There are no restricted highways. The tolls can always be paid for in cash, but be sure to keep a lot of currency to be able to pay. There is also an electronic option, though most rental companies do not provide this for renters. Prices are quite low, though. Expect to pay around 90 pesos per toll (around $3) with perhaps two or three tolls along your route.
Top driving routes
Wine Trip - In South America, most think of Chile and Argentina as the major wine countries. Most don’t give thought to Uruguayan wine. However, the country has a lot of small wineries putting out wonderful products. And thus a tour of vineyards and wineries is a top thing to do in the country. A number of wineries can be found just north of Montevideo. But others can be found across the south of the country.
Gaucho Country - Any road trip through Uruguay should include a trip through the exquisite countryside. The pampas and working ranches are can’t miss places. The asado (barbeque) is just as good as that of the more-visited neighbor to the south. Make sure not to miss Tacuarembó in the northern part of the country.
Car Rental Prices
- Convertibles - from $585 per day
- Large cars - from $76 per day
- Medium cars - from $63 per day
- Vans - from $162 per day
- Premium cars - from $293 per day
- Small cars - from $50 per day
- SUVs - from $91 per day
Map of Car Rental Locations
What is the cheapest month to rent a car in Uruguay?
This information can help you identify the low season. But these are only average numbers. How much your car rental will cost will depend on the type of vehicle you rent, how long you’ll rent it for, and how far ahead you book. Simply enter your dates in the form at the top of the page to see the exact prices.
What’s the average rental length in Uruguay?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Uruguay?
Car Rental Information
|Car rental locations||11|
|Popular suppliers||Keddy, Flexways, Europcar, Alamo, SIXT|
|Popular car categories||Small cars, SUVs, Vans, Large cars|
|Lowest price||$50 per day|
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|Keddy||Renault Kwid||5||2||Small cars|
|Europcar||Renault Kwid||5||2||Small cars|
|Keddy||VW Gol||4||2||Small cars|
|Flexways||Renault Kwid||5||1||Medium cars|
|Europcar||VW Gol||4||2||Small cars|
Our Customers' Reviews
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