On our five week trip to South America we headed to Chile and Argentina before heading to Rio for Carnival. Uruguay often gets over looked on South American itineraries in favour of Argentina and Brazil it seems, and we were guilty of that too. We only headed there for two nights as it was so easy to get there by ferry from Buenos Aires. However, in hindsight we would have liked to have stayed longer as we loved it there! If you can when in South America then you really should try and add in a stop here. If you are planning on doing so though I would recommend booking the ferry in advance, our last minute tickets were expensive!
The Dazzler Hotel
We arrived into Uruguay by ferry from Buenos Aires, where we found an ATM to get some Uruguayan Peso as I wasn’t able to get any whilst in the U.K. We then got a taxi to our hotel, where prices were noticeably cheaper than we had been experiencing in Argentina.
With only one full day in Montevideo we decided to head to the beach! Cities with beaches in the summer are just amazing especially in the temperatures that we had been experiencing in Buenos Aires in January! Roughly a ten minute walk from the beach was the 100% gluten free bakery, Gluteno.
I wasn’t sure what I would find but oh my days it was one of the most amazing gluten free bakeries that I have ever been into! More of a shop they had literally everything including goodies that I’d been missing out on during my South America travels such as empanadas and alfajores. They had a freezer full of things like pizza and ravioli and fridges full of luxurious desserts including dairyfree and sugar free options. You have to visit if you ever find yourself in Montevideo and I certainly had an amazing lunch and snacks that day!!
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After soaking up the sun we went for a wander, heading to a park and the football stadium. We happened to pass a second gluten free bakery – not as big as Gluteno but still had lots of treats and I bought these jam filled biscuits that I ate later in the trip on one of my travel days!
Paul decided he fancied Mexican food when we were in Uruguay which also happened to be some of the easier restaurants that I ate at in South America due to often using corn tacos. I checked everywhere I ate at using a Spanish translation card to make sure of this. I just searched on the internet for Mexican restaurants nearby which led us to La Lupita, a short taxi ride away. At La Lupita though we totally lucked out and it was extra easy in terms of gluten free as they marked the only gluten containing option on the menu! Don’t you love it when that happens?!
The menu was all in Spanish but we got by with google translate scanner on the phone to pick out some delicious tacos and enchiladas that Paul and I shared, all washed down with some margaritas of course! I would definitely recommend La Lupita to you.
Dulce de Leche
Similar to a thick caramel, but made from heating milk into a thick paste Dulce de Leche is seen everywhere in Argentina and Uruguay and must be the most popular sweet item. From supermarkets selling it in tubs, to being in all sorts of desserts or made into icecream it is so popular and everywhere I saw it it was gluten free, yay! In Uruguay I enjoyed mine on top of a brownie which was then topped with Italian meringue as the decadent dessert I chose from Gluteno and it was epic! The. Absolute. Dream.
Another South American staple that you will start eating daily on your travels if you can! I wasn’t too sure about them at first as they were like soft shortbread so I think the texture took me by surprise but I grew to love them! I found gluten free versions in Uruguay in Gluteno, Glutenfree and the supermarket. The pack I settled on was a multi pack from Gluteno, one that had to be quickly devoured as the chocolate ones started to melt in the summer heat!
During my time in South America I ended up drinking a lot of chocolate milk which was found everywhere and often labelled as gluten free. There was something about a cold carton of chocolate milk on the hot sunny days during my travels!
The only downside to Uruguay was that I had trouble eating one of their traditional meals, an Asado at their Central Market Place. Looking relatively easy with barbecued meat I used the translation card at one, where I was told I couldn’t have the black pudding and I ordered from the other end of the grill once the bar staff/chef had asked the manager to help me. However, it was all served up as it’s written on the menu with the black pudding and put in front of me. The manager started talking in Spanish to the staff, clearly discussing the fact black pudding was on the plate. However when I asked what the problem was expecting them to sort it they just said everything was ok. When I questioned the black pudding they this time told me it was no problem and they left me with the food. I let Paul and his cousin eat theirs, and mine, and I ate some emergency food later back at the hotel as there are some days you just can’t be bothered with the hassle of sorting especially in a different language and after a travel day!
I can’t remember the name but opposite Gluteno there was a supermarket that stocked gluten free basics in their aisles of things like pasta and mixes to make pao de quejo. They also had a big central feature that had all sorts of products including some from Schar and packs of alfajores.
Sightseeing in Montevideo
On such short trip and having time at the beach we didn’t have a lot of time for sightseeing. We did quite a bit of walking and wandering though so here’s a few pictures from our two night trip!
Overall, I loved Montevideo and would 100% recommend adding it to your South American itinerary. I really wish after the day here that we had longer to explore in Uruguay.