Land of Charrua natives, Uruguay history was shaped by ongoing fights between the Spanish, British and Portuguese conquerors.
At its early stages, Uruguay became a zone of contention between Spanish and Portuguese invaders.
For a better understanding of the historic evolution of the country - as well as neighboring contries - refer to History of South America.
Its terrain, mainly composed by fertile plains and grasslands (about 3/4 of the country) favors cattle and sheep raising, an important part of the Uruguayan economy.
The other is tourism.
In fact, Uruguay tourism is a famous international destination - with 1,8 million visitors in 2007 alone.
Rocha Department boasts some of the lesser known and unspoiled coastal places to visit, such as Cabo Polonio, La Paloma y Punta del Diablo.
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But is Maldonado Department who has placed Uruguay tourism in the international map, mainly through Punta del Este, also known as the "Saint Tropez of South America."
Other famous beaches include Piriapolis, Punta Colorada and Isla de los Lobos.
Montevideo beaches also receive an important amount of visitors during summer month (December to March), being Pocitos and Buceo beach the most famous of all.
If you favor a less crowded spot head off to Punta Gorda and Carrasco, but don't expect to be there all by yourself either.
Sitting on the estuary of the Rio de la Plata, in front of Buenos Aires, Colonia del Sacramento has some beaches for you to enjoy, but what makes it special is its distinctive history and architecture, particularly the Centro Histórico. Read more here...