Health Advice for Uruguay

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Health and Safety Advice for Uruguay

Staying Healthy

Tap water is safe to drink in all major cities. The Hospital Britanico (British Hospital), SUMMUM and BlueCross & BlueShield Uruguay have an European-quality service and they are clean and efficient. Asociación Española, Medica Uruguaya and CASMU are the largest healthcare companies in Uruguay and they have a European-quality level. Just don't make any unwise drinking decisions.

Staying Safe

Historically, Uruguay has enjoyed a very low rate of violent crime compared to its neighbors, with the stress on the word violent. Thus, Argentines and Brazilians traditionally go on vacation in Uruguay (even though Rio de Janeiro has far more beautiful natural scenery) because they love not having to worry about being carjacked, kidnapped, or murdered while on vacation. Even today, Uruguay is still relatively free of those types of crimes.

However, this does not mean that Uruguay is crime free. The major differences are that most Uruguayan crimes are either nonconfrontational or do not involve the gratuitous use of firearms. Montevideo in particular has seen its crime rate gradually rise since the severe 2001-2002 financial crisis, and now has moderately high levels of theft, burglary, and robbery similar to those found in major U.S. cities. Fortunately, Punta del Este and most rural areas continue to enjoy relatively low crime levels. As long as you take basic precautions in Montevideo (i.e., use a money belt and/or hotel safe for valuables, look alert, and keep out of obvious slums), you will have a very safe trip.

In an emergency, call 911 or 999. For firefighters, call, 104.

Warning: If you are accused, however falsely, of a crime you did not commit, do not expect a “habeas corpus” from the Uruguayan Justice Department. According to them, you are guilty until proven to be innocent. Your citizenship will not help. This means incarceration for months, even years, until the case is brought to court. Their prisons are rated among the worst in regards of any respect for human rights. “Human rights are ‘systematically violated’ in Uruguayan prisons due to the degrading conditions and overcrowding in which the inmates live, according to a recent report published by the United Nations. Despite being one of the countries in the region with the lowest crime rates, Uruguay has one of the highest rates in the world of people behind bars, according to United Nations figures”.

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