Montevideo, Uruguay – City Guide for Nomads and Expats

The capital of Uruguay and its largest city.

The country is often overlooked by tourists who see it only as a sort of “mini Argentina.” While this is true in many respects, Montevideo is actually much better suited than Buenos Aires for laid-back travelers with slightly bigger budgets. The women are beautiful, and its relative stability and tax benefits also make it a popular choice for expats that have foreign-sourced income. Marijuana is more-or-less legal. The pace of life is slow and people enjoy themselves. Uruguayans are the largest consumers of yerba mate in the world.

POPULATION: 1,300,000


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BEST BARS & NIGHTLIFE IN MONTEVIDEO

7/10 

Bars and clubs are mostly near either old town or Pocitos. Nightlife in Pocitos tends to be a bit more lively and the crowd a bit younger (university-aged). Bars and clubs don’t really start to get going until around 1 am, so have something left in the tank. There are plenty of bars around Pocitos near the World Trade Centre to choose from, and as long as you’re dressed nice, you should have no trouble getting in. Although less than Buenos Aires, there are still plenty of options for nightlife in Montevideo.

Bars that My Latin Life recommends:

Lotus: Where the pretty people go. You need to dress nice to be let in. White tourist status doesn’t apply here because everyone in Montevideo that’s hanging in Pocitos will be white. That being said, dating in Montevideo shouldn’t pose anymore of a challenge than Argentina.

Burlesque: Solid choice for something with less house music.

Bar Andorra: Cool casual place with good pizza.

Jackson Bar: One of the most well known bars in the city.

El Farolito: Cool bar frequented by university students.

Fénix Bar: Student bar with pizza and video games.

BRB Bar Rodó Boulevard: Popular bar near the university.

Baker’s Bar: Cocktail bar that gets crowded on weekends.

 

RENT AN APARTMENT IN MONTEVIDEO

$650 rent puts you in the centre of Montevideo. Renting in Pocitos will run you a bit more.

 

COST OF LIVING IN MONTEVIDEO

The following data is from Expatistan, a crowdsourced database of prices and cost of living around the world. In our experience, the data tends to underestimate cost of living, so take the following as the minimum you might need to live here.

*Figures are listed in USD

You’ll need a minimum of $1229 USD/month to live in Montevideo, Uruguay

cost-of-living-montevideo-uruguay

IS MONTEVIDEO SAFE?

Montevideo is safe compared to the vast majority of other Latin American capitals. No major issues here. The worst you’ll run into are pickpockets and/or bag snatchers but even these are rare and only a concern in the old town and on some beaches. Violent crime isn’t common. Still, I suggest staying away from the downtown area after night falls. This is one of the safest cities in South America.

 

JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN MONTEVIDEO

A great place if you are a location-independent worker who makes at least $30,000 a year. Personally, I wouldn’t try to subsist off teaching English in Montevideo unless you have access to additional income. The majority of expats living in Montevideo are not working in the country. Most have an online business, are retired or have some other kind of foreign-sourced income.

 

HOW TO GET TO MONTEVIDEO

People like to cast Montevideo as the end of the Earth. The quietest city in the world. This may be true, but the Montevideo International Airport is very well connected. From Montevideo, there are direct flights to Sao Paulo, Santiago, Asuncion, Lima, Quito, Bogota, Panama City, Miami, and Spain. You can also take a ferry from Buenos Aires.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS ON MONTEVIDEO

I feel as though Montevideo never gets the credit it’s due. Yes, it’s more expensive than Argentina and the nightlife is a bit tamer, but it’s a much more livable city and aside from a slight inflation problem, they have their stuff together both economically and socially. If your budget allows, and you prefer a more refined bar/nightlife environment, this would be an ideal place to spend a few months, make some contacts, and enjoy some of the world’s finest steak and vino. If you’re debating between Buenos Aires and Montevideo and prefer a more laid-back lifestyle as opposed to the party life, don’t rule out Montevideo!

Just make sure it’s within your budget — although it’s possible, don’t try to live here for under $2000 USD/month. You’ll want that cushion.


OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10


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