So many questions have been asked on CruiseCritic.com about what to do in Montevideo and I’ll admit that for most of my pre cruise planning, I didn’t have any plans. Of course, I did make some plans within a couple of months of departure but first let me tell you a little something about Montevideo.
Montevideo is an industrial port yet it is very convenient to leave and return to the ship. The ship docks in a very convenient location to the downtown area so you can just get off and walk and I think that was the consensus of what many passengers were going to do. I do know a couple who arranged a winery tour as well as others who went to Colonia to take the ferry across the Rio de la Plata river, which some consider being the widest river in the world while others consider it to be an estuary or bay.
I decided about two months prior to our arrival to organize a city tour of Montevideo. The tour was scheduled to be about 3 1/2 hours long and I was quoted a price of $40 per person but the price would go down as more people signed up for it. I listed it on our Roll Call excursion sheet and I quickly found others were looking for something to do too. I quickly closed the group at 20 participants and the price went down to $25 per person due to the number who had signed up and I went free as I organized it. I don’t remember the tour company but I made the arrangements through email@example.com
This company was very flexible as I had to send a message the morning of the cruise that our ship would be delayed and gave a time we could meet them. I hoped they would get the message and would be available at the new time.
Once we arrived I had a few hours before our appointed time for our tour and I took advantage of this time to do some shopping. If you walk off the ship to the end of the dock and then turn left toward the town, cross over the street and you will see street vendors. I purchased some beautiful wraps to wear, mittens, hats and a few trinkets. Running through my head was “how can I pack all this in my suitcase?” Nevertheless, I persisted in purchasing mementoes of this trip.
At our appointed time and location, a beautiful air conditioned bus arrived and with only twenty of us on the bus, we had plenty of room to move about. Our tour guide was a little nervous since we were what he called a large group but since we were quite familiar to each other at this time having been on numerous private excursions as well as seeing each other around the boat, we ended up being a very easy group for our tour guide.
As we traveled throughout the city of Montevideo our guide told us the history of his country and also of the lawsuit filed by Philip Morris against the President of Uruguay. This is a very modern country which ranks first in Latin America for democracy, low corruption and peace as well as first in prosperity. One interesting piece ofd information our tour driver told us was that a former president of the country who was also an oncologist, enacted strong anti smoking legislation. Phillip Morris International filed a twenty five million dollar claim against the president claiming that the legislation devalued its cigarette trademarks and investments and sued Uruguay for compensation in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a part of the World Bank. After six long years, the World Bank ruled in favor of Uruguay and Phillip Morris had to pay the defendants and the court their costs plus seven million dollars to the country for judicial expenses as well as other expenses. Uruguay is a leader in the world in it campaign against smoking.
On our tour we drove through the Old City, Independence Plaza, their famous Metropolitan Cathedral, the covered market area, the soccer fields, the Japanese Gardens, the beachfront where the large MONTEVIDEO sign is located and so much more. I felt like Montevideo was more of ann European country with the plazas, tree lined streets, and cafes. I really enjoyed the sculpture of the covered wagon with the oxen pulling it depicting how the settlers arrived. We really packed in what we saw in the 3 1/2 hour tour. Hope you enjoy these pictures.
Coming up sometime next week is Buenos Aires and also Iguazu Falls both in Argentina and Brazil