What should I wear for business travel to Uruguay?
February 22, 2015 6:24 PM   Subscribe

I am going to Uruguay (Montevideo) for business in April. I'll be meeting with government employees (civil servants, not politicians), NGO employees, and possibly NGO volunteers. I have many, many questions.

My main question is about what I should wear. I'm in my 40s, female and plus-sized. I think it will be the start of Fall, but I'm not sure about the temperatures. What would be appropriate for me to wear? My U.S. workplace is business casual -- I wear mostly midi skirts, knit shirts or poly-blend blouses, and a topper (a cardigan, casual jacket, overshirt, etc.) with flats. I can't wear heels. I own one suit (summer weight, black skirt with a tan-and-black color-blocked jacket).

In addition, I will have about 2 days not working while I'm there. What should I do? I won't have a car, so I'll be walking or using public transport (I'll be with my husband those two days, not on my own). We'd like to get a sense of what Uruguay is like -- should we go to the beach? To a museum? What sites are not to be missed? We have never been any place in South America -- we are super excited about this trip!
posted by OrangeDisk to Travel & Transportation around Uruguay (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I went to Montevideo as a tourist about a year and a half ago. My impression is that business attire is more formal than the West Coast of the U.S. For example, at a business lunch at a fancy restaurant, men were in suits. Government or NGO might have different standards. Non-business attire seems quite casual. But you should check with your contacts to be sure.

Do you like beef? The beef is realllly good. "Lomo" (tenderloin) is the most tender cut, but also "Bife ancho" (ribeye) will be good. Portions of meat are ENORMOUS. Even being used to supersized American meat portions, I was blown away by the amount of meat that arrives when you order the ribs. Especially at the Mercado del Puerto - more below.

Most of my memories seem to revolve around food. We're not much into nightlife, but there is plenty available.

Restaurants - Fancy
Rara Avis
La Perdiz

Restaurants - Casual
La Pasionaria - next to the restaurant is a gallery with all local artists/craftspeople. Worth a visit.
Santa Catalina
Cafe Bacacay
La Corte

You can find details on all of these on TripAdvisor.

If you are up for an extreme sandwich experience, get a chivito. Steak, a fried egg, bacon, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and melted cheese on a bun. I had a mini version at La Corte which was delicious.

Everyone drinks mate all the time, or so it seems. It's definitely an acquired taste. (I didn't acquire it.)

The Mercado del Puerto is full of one parrilla (grill) after another. I think El Palenque is a good one to try. Go at lunchtime, it mostly closes down before dinner. The port area and parts of the Ciudad Vieja are not recommended for tourists after dark, but we never felt unsafe anywhere. Taxis are plentiful and easy to call. City bus transit is cheap and goes everywhere.

Pocitos and Punta Carretas are some of the fancier neighborhoods with shopping etc. You can walk or bike all the way along the beach on the Rambla.

If you have time for a night outside Montevideo, I recommend Colonia del Sacramento. It's a UN World Heritage site, a 17th-century colonial town, and a prime spot for tourists from Argentina and Brazil. The setting is really beautiful. There's a lighthouse, and the old city gate, a very old church, etc. You can see Buenos Aires across the river. The trip is about 3 hours by bus. Long-distance buses run often, are comfortable, and generally have WiFi.

MeMail me if you want more info. Also check out GuruGuay, an English-language site run by the owner of the place we stayed.
posted by expialidocious at 11:18 PM on February 22, 2015

If Montevideo is anything like Buenos Aires, the dress is a little more formal than in the US. You might use Google Images to get a sense of what people wear to NGO gatherings by searching for images related to "conferencia montevideo" or "ong montevideo."

Here's one page that includes a video of both presenters and audience members so you can get a sense of their style. The dress at this gathering of the National Statistics Institute seems a little more casual.

I'd wear dress pants or a non-flouncy skirt that's knee-ish in length, a simple top, and a dark blazer, preferably all coordinated in some way, with simple dark flats.
posted by ceiba at 2:04 AM on February 23, 2015

Friend visited Uruguay, and stayed with a government employee in Montevideo. Said employee posts lots of selfies with ties.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:41 AM on February 23, 2015

I live in Montevideo. I work in a Ministry. I CAN ACTUALLY HEEEEEELP!! :) :) :)
I can show you around!

Anything universally business semi-casual, black, normal will do.
In April it can be a little chilly, but not too much. About 20ÂșC and it's usually a bit humid and rainy.

Memail me if you need anything.
posted by divina_y_humilde at 2:30 PM on February 23, 2015

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