I'm sailing on the Marco Polo's Africa/South America tour next month and wondered if anyone could give recommendations for this port call. I don't know what shore excursions the line is offering, but wondered if there are any must-see attractions I could do on my own. TIA
We were in Montevideo last year as a port stop on the Royal Princess. We did not do an excursion, but took a "free ride" to a sweater and souvenir shop (lots of those on the pier) and then just walked through the town, stopped at all of the squares and plazas, had lunch at a market near the pier. It was a nice leisurely day.
One of the best things about Montevideo is that as you get off your ship, look to the right (you will have your back to the ship) and you will see a little building that says something about telephone and internet. This is a facility which is their for tourists' use. You can check your email for FREE for 15 minutes (or longer if they are not busy). You can also get lots of tourist information. The best thing to do if you are not on a tour is to go there as soon as you get off the ship. It usually gets busy in the afternoon.
I'm sure you know that Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay. It is the usual large city and has the normal statues and the capital building. It will never by compared to London or Paris. We took the ships tour and afterward wanted to walk around a little. We were strongly advised that our lives could be in danger if we proceeded in that manner. There is no touristy area to look for souvenirs. The ships tour dropped the passengers at a leather goods shop. Great if you are looking for leather clothing. We were not. So we went back to the ship. This occured in Feb. 2002.
We were there in November last year. We took a private driving tour around the city (did not book through the ship) including a drive along the beach areas (extensive) and through some of the nicer home areas. Driver's English was limited, but we enjoyed it. We then took the free shuttle to one of the downtown sweater/leather shops and walked to the "main drag" through town from there. Walked through the park a bit. Not much shopping that we were interested in, but some interesting sights. Did not feel any more unsafe than in any other large city. Walked back to the sweater shop and then took the free shuttle back to the ship. This worked out well for us.
I received a 70-page shore excursion tour from Orient Lines listing all their South American and African excursions. There are three pages for Montevideo, including a city highlights, estancia and punta del Este tour. I think I'll try the estancia package since it includes some city highlights, a look around the countryside and visit to a working ranch (with barbecue). Have to hand it to Orient, they do a good job planning excursions.