The 5 Best-Kept Secret Places for Americans to Retire in Uruguay

© iStock.com/Oleksii Liskonih

Written by Joyce Nash

Published: November 20, 2023

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Despite being one of the smaller countries in South America, Uruguay is the second most prosperous country on the continent. For residents of the United States who want to retire overseas, Uruguay offers bustling cities, economic stability, and an affordable cost of living. Keep reading to discover the five best retirement spots in Uruguay for Americans.

5. Maldonado

In the northern Maldonado Department, the Sierra Carape mountains provide stunning views.

©Marcelo Campi / CC BY-SA 3.0 - Original / License

The City of Maldonado, located within the Maldonado Department, lies on the southwestern coast of Uruguay. The city has a population of around 70,000 people and boasts stunning beaches, historic buildings, and a flourishing cultural scene. Although it is a popular destination for vacationers, it maintains a steady year-round population.

The climate in Maldonado is ideal for retirees, typically ranging from about 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest month in Maldonado is July, with an average high temperature of around 58 degrees Fahrenheit. On average, there are about 10 rainy days each month, making this one of the best retirement spots in Uruguay.

Maldonado is a modern city, but it has retained evidence of its rich history. Retirees in the city can explore the Casa de la Cultura. The centrally located San Fernando de Maldonado Square is a popular site for festivals, celebrations, and events. San Fernando de Maldonado’s Cathedral, a Neoclassical structure built in 1801, is located near the square and features stunning architecture.

To the north, the Maldonado Department encompasses the Sierra Carape and Cerro de las Animas mountain ranges. These mountains and their foothills provide countless opportunities for hiking and sightseeing, as well as fertile soil for vineyards and agriculture.

4. Atlántida

Atlántida is the capital of Uruguay’s Gold Coast.

©Andrés Franchi Ugart / CC BY-SA 3.0 - Original / License

This seaside resort community is one of the premiere destinations for visitors to the Department of Canelones. Atlántida is about 20 miles from an airport, making it ideal for retirees who want to travel. 

The streets in Atlántida are lined with eucalyptus and pine trees, which provide shade and beauty as residents stroll through along the city’s promenade. Atlántida is considered the capital of Uruguay’s Gold Coast region, which refers to the beaches that span from Montevideo to the District of Jaureguiberry. Like other coastal cities, the weather is mild, with temperatures rarely exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Atlántida is known for being a quiet city with a population of around 5,000. Along with world-class beaches, Atlántida features many parks and gardens, including the Atlántida Zoo. Residents can also explore the Cristo Obrero Parish or the Pablo Neruda Museum. Additionally, Atlántida is home to Casa del Aguila, a structure that sits on a rocky outcrop near the beach. The house is covered in depictions of dolphins, eagles, and other animals, which many residents believe give the house mystical powers. 

3. La Paloma

La Paloma has a steady population of about 5,000 but attracts thousands of tourists during the summer.

©jikatu / CC BY-SA 2.0 - Original / License

Another coastal city for retirees to consider is La Paloma, located in the Rocha Department. This community has a more laid-back atmosphere, with a population of just over 5,000 during the fall, winter, and spring. However, the population swells by several thousand during the summer as tourists flock to beach resorts. La Paloma is one of the best retirement spots in Uruguay to experience a slower pace of life as well as enjoy the hustle and bustle of a popular tourist destination.

The climate in La Paloma is moderate, with high temperatures that range from about 58 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. It rains an average of 10 days a month and has humidity levels that stay around 70%.

La Paloma boasts a small but vibrant downtown area with a casino, movie theaters, markets, and shops. One of the oldest sections of La Paloma, a village called La Pedrera, contains homes that date back to 1898. This historic village is next to a popular cove for catching sharks, grouper, and sole.

2. Punta del Este

Wonderful panoramic view of Punta del Este main avenue and the seashore. Punta del Este, Uruguay

Punta del Este is known as the “Pearl of the Atlantic.”

©Marcia Cobar/Shutterstock.com

Located near Maldonado, Punta del Este lies on Uruguay’s southeastern coast along a peninsula that juts into the Atlantic Ocean. The city is among the country’s most popular tourist destinations, making it one of the best retirement spots in Uruguay for people who want to stay active.

The area around Punta del Este is characterized by woodlands, beaches, and rocky outcroppings. The city enjoys moderate weather year-round, with temperatures that rarely dip below freezing. The Punta del Este peninsula features two distinct beaches: Playa Mansa (Quiet Beach) and Playa Brava (Rough Beach).

Playa Mansa has less wind and smoother waters, while Playa Brava has stronger currents and waves. The latter features a sculpture of a giant hand emerging from the beach, called “The Hand on the Sand.” Constructed in 1982, the iconic sculpture is a popular spot for tourists.

Additionally, retirees in Punta del Este can stroll down la Gorlero, the city’s main street, shop at the markets in Artigas Square or explore the city’s history at the  Casa del Pueblo art museum.

1. Montevideo

Artigas Mausoleum and Salvo Palace in Montevideo, Uruguay

In Montevideo, Plaza Independencia is home to landmarks such as the Mausoleum of General Artigas.

©Leonid Andronov/iStock via Getty Images

Centrally located along Uruguay’s southern coast, Montevideo is the country’s capital city. With a wide variety of events, festivals, modern amenities, and destinations, Montevideo is easily one of the best retirement spots in Uruguay. This city has a moderate climate, beautiful beaches, and a thriving urban center.

Residents can enjoy the expansive gardens in the Parque Rodó neighborhood or stroll through the Old City. This area has structures dating back to 1829, including the Citadel Gate and the Metropolitan Cathedral. 

Every February, the Montevideo Carnival takes over the city’s main street, drawing tourists from around the world. This event was born from enslaved Africans who endeavored to retain a connection with their native culture, food, music, and traditions. Today, Montevideo’s Carnivale is a dazzling display of dancing, singing, and costumes. Montevideo is a top choice for retirees who want to be close to restaurants and entertainment against a backdrop of historical buildings and stunning beaches.

Summary of Uruguay’s Best Retirement Spots For Americans

RankLocation
#1Montevideo
#2Punta del Este
#3La Paloma
#4Atlántida
#5Maldonado


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About the Author

Joyce Nash is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel and geography. She has almost a decade of writing experience. Her background ranges from journalism to farm animal rescues and spans the East Coast to the West. She is based in North Carolina, and in her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two cats.

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