Uruguay is a relatively small country, about the size of Missouri. Its neighbors are some of the largest in the world: Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world and Brazil is the 5th largest – out of 200 countries on the planet. That makes Argentina 16 TIMES larger than Uruguay and Brazil is 48 times larger.
As I have ALWAYS stated, I would NOT live in a big city OR on the coast. I consider them EXTREMELY dangerous in ANY country.
NOTE: But let me point out that 90% of the expats living in Uruguay live either in or around the capital city of Montevideo or in beach resorts along the “Gold Coast” of the Atlantic Ocean.
The coasts of the world are susceptible to tsunamis, storms, rising seas, beach erosion, disease, global climate change, humidity, rust, plagues, insects, and other not-so-good elements.
In my opinion, that eliminates the coastline of Uruguay, which is easily one fourth of the country.
Big cities are death traps. PERIOD.
So the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo, though it is a wonderful city, is ‘out’ for a place to live. Since you do not want to be within 50 to 75 miles of a big city, that leaves only the northern one-third to one-half (which is the interior of the country) for a place to survive all that is potentially going to happen on planet earth over the next few years.
The extreme western part of Uruguay borders Argentina. A large river divides the two countries. The river is known to flood during the rainy season. It is also very humid. So this area is not the best place to live nor does it have an ideal climate.
But there are expats in the area. Mercedes is a quaint town along a river not far from the Argentine border. The streets are cobblestone, the people friendly, and there is an ‘old world charm’ that impresses expats. You could do a lot worse.
Towards the interior of the northern half of Uruguay is an area consisting mostly of farmland and ranches.
For those who want to brave being within an hour drive of the coast and an hour drive from the big city, I would check out the beautiful rolling hills around Minas, which is about 85 miles northeast of Montevideo. The major seaside resort of Punta del Este is only an hour drive to the south.
For someone that MUST have the sophisticated lifestyle, you are NOT going to find it in Uruguay OUTSIDE of the coast. However, the area just north of Punta del Este is a nice place to explore. It is beautiful, still not overpriced like the coast, and accessible to Montevideo and Punta del Este. This is also the only “wine region” of Uruguay, with modern vineyards popping up over the region.
There are no “real” mountains in Uruguay, but I feel it would be best to consider the Cuchilla Grande range for a home. This “mountain” range is in the eastern third of the country. That is where I would be if I had to live in Uruguay. It is far enough from the coast and big cities to be safe (or safer) and yet close enough to enjoy all that those two areas have to offer.
The land is cheaper than the coastal areas and cities, and the landscape is nice (not spectacular, but beautiful none-the-less.)
Knowing that Uruguay has legalized marijuana has opened up some new dimensions to the country that I am continuing to investigate and learn about.
The extreme north of the country borders Brazil, and the only recommended areas of Brazil to live in, the ‘states’ of Rio Grande do Sol and Santa Catarina. This area of Brazil has spectacular scenery, ‘real’ mountains, a perfect climate, a European influence (Italian and German), is very unpopulated compared to the rest of Brazil. So should you be checking out immigrating to Uruguay and are in the northern part of the country, you can cross the border and explore these two states of Brazil.
Note: The northern border area of Uruguay is fairly primitive. You will not find very many, if any, expats in this area