Work and Travel in Uruguay
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN URUGUAY FOR TRAVELLERS
Uruguay as a destination is often overlooked by folks on the South American backpacking trail in favour of Brazil to the north and Argentina to the south. This is unfortunate, since the geographically compact country’s size and position keep it from being an overwhelming destination for the novice working traveller, and also serves as a calming rest stop between backpacking the larger countries on the continent.
Cows apparently outnumber people three to one in Uruguay, so as mentioned, you’ll find a bit of peace and quiet if this is what you’re seeking out while you work and travel.
Read our complete guide below to figure out the best way to work and travel in Uruguay.
1. Learn how to lead “equitrekks” on a horse farm
If you have experience taking care of horses, then Uruguay is a great work and travel destination for you, as horse farms are plentiful. Uruguay even has its own breed of horse, the Criollo horse. There are a growing number of tour companies that lead single day or multi-day treks on horseback through the Uruguayan countryside or coastline. Join up with these and you’ll learn how to conduct trail-riding holidays from the professionals.
2. Ranch or farmhand in the “campo”
Uruguay has lots of fertile farmland in the countryside (“campo” in Spanish) that grazes cattle and beef as well as crops. If you want to experience life as a cattle hand or cattle driver, consider Uruguay as an alternative to ranches in the US. Look for hosts that operate eco-touristic “fincas”, these often include working cattle ranches where you can get your first work and travel opportunity in the field.
3. Work on a progressive farm
The standard of living is pretty high for South America, and many young people have the luxury of having a second home in the countryside where they can test out permaculture techniques. Join these hosts if you have work and travel experience with natural building or growing techniques, then you’ll have plenty of opportunities here in Uruguay.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR URUGUAY
Nationals of Western Europe, Australia, the USA, Canada and New Zealand automatically receive a 90-day tourist card, renewable for another 90 days. Other nationals may require visas. For more info see HERE.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN URUGUAY
Uruguay is in the southern hemisphere, so the seasonality is flipped opposite as it is in Europe and North America. The temperate climate and even rainfall nurtures a broad range of crops, from rice to apples. So, if you’re a working traveller who gets along by their skills in picking fruit, now is the time you want to get to Uruguay. Olives and pecans are two distinctive crops that are plentifully harvested in Uruguay in April and May.
January and February in Uruguay are cool and humid, the chilliest time of the year. Now is the slowest time of the year for tourism. If you find yourself backpacking in Uruguay at this time of year, we would recommend heading to the capital of Montevideo.
Here you can find work in bars, restaurants, or with administrative work at a major company, granted you speak Spanish. Several airlines and gaming companies are based in Montevideo.
This is another shoulder season, transitioning to the warmer months. Now would be the time for working travellers to head to fincas or farms in the countryside, to help prepare for the growing season. If you have building skills, you can book up repair or restoration projects in anticipation of the busier tourist season.
Thanks to Uruguay’s scenic beaches and ideal summer climate in December and Januaryyear, coastal tourism is a major industry in the winter. The largest and most developed beach resort area in the country is Punta del Este, and hundreds of thousands of vacationers arrive during this time of year. So if you are experienced in cooking, cleaning, or other hospitality jobs, head to beach resort locales such as this one.
It’s also high time for the trail riding treks mentioned above.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN URUGUAY
The Uruguayan government is a constitutional republic and is considered to be extremely stable and consistent. There tends to be a low level of corruption within the government, especially when compared with other South American countries.
This means you’ll likely have to face fewer challenges when attempting to work and travel in Uruguay.
However, the cost of living is more expensive than in most other South American countries, so plan your work and travel experience wisely so that you are constantly making enough money to pay your way.
Now that you know what it takes to work and travel in Uruguay - are you ready to get started?
- Edited on Jun 17 2021 by Lily