Uruguay, meaning ‘river of the painted birds’ is one of South America’s smallest countries and it's hosts exude charm and warmth.

The hinterland is predominantly covered in grassland ideal for cattle and sheep grazing where farms and delightful lodges offer travellers a peaceful stay with fantastic riding and birding opportunities.

Visitors can soak up culture in Colonia de Sacramento, a colonial stronghold on the River Plate and a great stepping stone from Argentina before heading across to the beaches or into the countryside for rural walks, riding and wine-tasting.

Perhaps what Uruguay is most famous for though are it’s beaches. The riviera from Punta del Este up to Cabo Polonio near the border with Brazil attracts surfers, backpackers and some of the wealthiest South Americans alike. The key is to know which coastal spot suits you best.

Uruguay’s season is fairly short. Best time for the beaches is from October to March however if you are heading to Punta del Este and Jose Ignacio, the real action begins in December and finishes at the end of January. Out of these months, be prepared for a more quieter experience.

Uruguay is well known for the buzzing party scene on the coast in December and January and generally for those looking for sophistication and wanting to be seen. There are however more boho-chic beaches further up the coast into The Rocha region which cater for surfers and lazy days in hammocks. Inland, the charming and simple riding estancias offer rural tourism. An ideal destination for self-drive with no internal flights. Finally, Uruguay is home to more than 450 bird species and highly recommended for birding enthusiasts.