Uruguay, officially known as the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, is a small country in South America, bordering massive Brazil in the North and North-East and Argentina across the river on the west. This country is often overlooked by travellers in South America because of the beaches and Carnival in Brazil or the Tango in Argentina, not to mention all the great wonders of the rest of the South American countries.
We however absolutely loved this country. It has something completely different to offer travellers with its modern capital and beautiful beaches. You can feel the liberal and unconservative nature of this country in the air, and even though they might be heavy on the pocket (especially for a backpacker or budget travellers’ pocket), it is totally worth a visit!
We went on a free walking tour in the capital of Montevideo, and it was eye-opening: this country is a country of many firsts in terms of human rights and social progression.
Here is a list of 7 things you didn’t know about Uruguay:
1. First country in the world to legalise the selling and growing of Marijuana (2013)
Uruguay was the first country IN THE WORLD that legalised the selling and growing of marijuana. In December 2013, President Jose Mujica legalised cannabis for recreational use and in 2014 he legalised the growing of 2 plants at home. The formation of growing clubs as well as a state-controlled marijuana dispensary and a regulatory institute was also established. In 2017, the government authorised 16 pharmacies to sell cannabis commercially.
2. 40% of the population is non-religious
40 % of citizens are either agnostic or atheist. Surprising when you take into account that the majority of citizens in South American countries are staunch Christian or Catholic believers.