Traveling to Uruguay during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

 If you’re planning a trip to Uruguay, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The basics

Uruguay successfully kept a lid on Covid-19 cases at the start of the pandemic, but has seen a rapid rise in infections in the second wave, and is sacrificing its summer tourism season in a bid to control the virus.

What’s on offer

Often overlooked in favor of neighboring Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay is one of South America’s loveliest countries. Montevideo, the coastal capital on the River Plate, is perfect for strolling, while the wild Atlantic coast has some of South America’s most impressive beaches.

Who can go

Uruguay announced in November that it will remain closed to tourists until March 2021, meaning its entire summer season will be lost. Only Uruguay nationals and permanent residents can enter the country. Cruise ships can only dock in Montevideo to refuel and resupply — passengers cannot disembark.

What are the restrictions?

Returning nationals and permanent residents must show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. All arrivals must undertake seven days of quarantine and take a further negative PCR test. Those who do not wish to take a second test can quarantine for 14 days instead.

What’s the Covid situation?

Uruguay registered a record 383 daily cases on December 10. While deaths stand at just 168, the situation appears to be worsening after months of appearing to have the virus under control, with nearly 18,000 cases over the past 10 months as of December 30. The rise has been blamed by some experts on domestic tourism, which many had hoped would help save the beleaguered economy at a time when foreign visitors are not permitted.

What can visitors expect?

Uruguay has mandated the use of masks and physical distancing. Many bars and restaurants remain shut until further notice, although some are offering delivery. Police patrol markets to ensure that social distancing is being respected, and those under 65 are asked not to shop between 8 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. so that older people can do so safely.

Useful links

Uruguay Natural
Entry regulations

Our recent coverage

Uruguay featured in our film of South America’s finest scenery, and Sofitel’s conversion of Montevideo’s grand old casino in Carrasco made it in our list of the best South American hotels. Uruguay is also rated for its ethical tourism.