Etiquette in Uruguay

Uruguay, home to more than 3.3 million people, is the second-smallest nation in South America by area. Nearly 2 million of it’s inhabitants live in and around the capital city of Montevideo.

The official language is Spanish.

It is a democratic constitutional republic, with a president who is both head of state and head of government.

One of the most secular states in South America, church and state are strictly separated. In the most recent survey taken in 2008,  Catholicism listed as the main religion, with 45.7% of the population. 30.1% reported believing in a god, but not belonging to any religion, and 14% were Atheist or Agnostic.

The peso uruguayo is the currency and is subdivided into 100 centésimos.

Dining Etiquette

Business is often conducted over lunch, but dinner is considered a social occasion. Do not bring up business during a dinner unless your counterpart starts the conversation.

It is likely that your Uruguayan counterpart will offer to take you out for lunch or dinner and also offer to pay. To reciprocate, an invitation to an upscale French, Chinese, or Uruguayan restaurant is appropriate. A restaurant inside an international hotel is also a good choice.

As Uruguay is a major cattle producer, you will find some of the best beef in the world served in restaurants here.

If you are invited to coffee in someone’s home and the next day is a business day, don’t stay too late. Watch for cues that your host is tired and politely end the evening.