Uruguay is one of the most tolerant and inclusive countries in the world. There are plenty of things to do which you might find at any beach resort, including sunbathing and snorkelling on the Mansa or river side in Punta del Este, and more adventurous water sports on the Brava or ocean side – perfect to give visitors a great choice, whatever their tastes.

Montevideo is Uruguay’s capital city and has everything from the Estadio Sentenario which held the first Football world cup ever won, to historical monuments and museums. This city alone could take weeks to explore, with its historic art deco buildings alongside modern skyscrapers, and its shopping malls, theatres and tango bars. The nightlife is amazing with restaurants, music venues and beachfront discos.

Gaucho herding cows

Gaucho herding cows near windmills on the Cerro Catedral in the Maldonado Department Photo: Ksenia Ragozina

Colonia del Sacramento is a UNESCO World Heritage Site near to the capital of Montevideo. Tourists love this picturesque town with its narrow, cobbled streets and riverfront views of the most spectacular sunsets, or explore Salto which has beautiful 19th century architecture, hot springs and a lovely riverfront.

For a real taste of the authentic South American lifestyle, why not visit Tacuarembo in early March for La Patria Gaucha gaucho festival. Enjoy horse parades, re-enactments and rodeos, or book a full experience of life as a gaucho with five days at a working ranch.

Cannabis is legal in Uruguay, and for something rather different, you can take a cannabis tour, visiting the top tourist areas in Montevideo, then finish the tour with a joint on the steps of the Legislative Assembly, where the law was signed.

Uruguay may not have the star power of Peru or Brazil, but this is a beautifully relaxed country, with a little something for everyone.