First thing you'll notice when you travel Montevideo - capital of Uruguay - it's the charm of an old-European city.
Montevideo is sophisticated, multicultural and has a great cultural scene with a lively atmosphere.
Above all, it has a unique musical rhythm that characterizes Uruguay culture as a whole: "Candomblé".
Candomblé is the traditional rhythm of Afro-Uruguayan culture, the result of the merging of cultures following the arrival of African slaves during XVIII century, also evident at the yearly celebration of Iemanja, Goddess of the Sea.
You will listen to the sound of drums just about every day, particularly over the week-ends, when "La Llamada" (The Call) takes place in the city's old black neighborhoods of Sur and Palermo, the birthplace of Carnival comparsas.
Llamada (the call) is a dialog between drums that calls on the neighbors to join in, when "Cuerdas de Tambores" (Drum Corps) march to the sound of drums along the streets of the city to a meeting point. Electrifying, sensual, passionate, you can't help but to join in and vibrate along with it.
To travel Montevideo during carnival celebration is a party you wouldn't want to miss, particularly the first Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. You will see Comparsa Negra (Black Comparsa) or Carnaval Lubola, a ritual with profound religious content closely related to the cult of Candomblé.
Its main characters are...
The best way to discover the city is walking through Ciudad Vieja (Old City), that you enter by crossing Puerta de la Ciudadela. You will appreciate its unique architecture, a blend of colonial Spanish, Italian and Art Deco styles.
And please don't miss the Mercado del Puerto (Port market), the place to eat Uruguay's most popular sandwich: Chivito. Chivito is the unofficial national dish, an extravagant steak sandwich on bread, with cheese, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce and roasted red peppers. After having one, you won't ask for a hamburger anymore.
Tristan Narvaja fair is a landmark in Montevideo's Cordon neighborhood that takes place on Sundays. It's the city's flea market, where you can find just about anything you can think of, somehow similar to Madrid's Rastro, in the vicinity of Plaza Mayor or Porta Portese, in Rome's Trastevere.
On Saturdays, check in at Villa Biarritz fair, in Parque Zorrilla de San Martin.
Other attractions to visit when you travel Montevideo include...
La Rambla goes along the city's waterfront, boasting some of the top Uruguay beaches. The list of Montevideo beaches include..
To experience Uruguay culture and all the friendliness of Uruguay population, travel Montevideo. It will be the best introduction to Uruguay tourism and one of your most unforgettable South America vacations ever...
If you are in Buenos Aires, just go to Aeroparque Jorge Newbery and get a Pluna flight - pretty short one, less than one hour. You could come by ferry as well. From Buenos Aires port there are several ferries on a daily basis. Please check Buquebus for details (site in Spanish).
Montevideo has all the comfort and luxury as any worldwide capital city.
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