Montevideo, Uruguay Report of what it's like to live there - 10/30/16
Personal Experiences from Montevideo, Uruguay
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
We have been in several places in Latin America and to Madrid, Spain.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
This is a good reason not to live here. The only direct fly to the US is American Airlines To Miami, horrible! The worst airplanes I've ever been on in my life: no TVs, very old, narrow space and history of delays. To this you have to add that frequently the airport workers have strikes and don't work here in Montevideo.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
I've seen beautiful modern homes and old horrible ones, same with the apartments. If you have a house, you should check before how much you are going to pay a gardener and the guy who maintains the pool if you have one. If you have a pool, you can only use it a few days per year because the water is so cold, but you have to pay the maintenance all year round.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
This is an expensive place, and we don't have a cost of living allowance (COLA). Everything is more expensive than in the States.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Nannies are expensive, in my opinion.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
They have gyms, but they are expensive. We use the Marines' gym in the embassy, it is pretty good. There is a Pilates class as well.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
You need Spanish definitely, people here don't speaks English.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Yes, but expensive. Some people use Uber.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Bring a small car: parking is an issue, and gasoline is much more expensive than in the US.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Pretty good, not excellent.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Our local phone costs about 200 USD per month.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
There are very few positions for EFMs in the embassy.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Bad health care, in my experience. Don't come if you have a health problem.
3. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?
This is a rainy place, it rains all year, and it's windy. People with allergies have trouble here.
4. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
No, just boredom.
5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Rainy all the year, cold and windy in the winter, hot in the super-short summer.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
The American school is OK, but people with preschoolers complain that it is more expensive than Europe.
2. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
They are, but super expensive.
3. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
The American school has some mediocre after-school activities, soccer, basketball, volleyball ball, gymnastic, art, Scottish dance one hour per week, some activities two hours per week.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
A few of them.
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Not for families, there are no activities for kids, and you cannot save, no COLA, no R&R, no return VAT.
4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
Good place, but boring, nothing to do.
5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
Yes, Uruguayans are very racist.
6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Getting out from here, go to Argentina or Brazil, here it is too sleepy. But then you spend all your money, because there is not R&R.
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Nothing to do here, no kidding, walking in la ramble is what people do.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
No way, and expensive.
9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
None! Spending all your money. Again they put this place in the same condition as Europe, and no way! This is very third world, expensive and boring.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
The cost of life, that it is difficult to have a nanny, the rainy weather, the boring place that it is, the lack of places for kids, the lack of jobs for EFMs, and how difficult is to save money here.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Not in a thousand years!
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
Idea that this is like living in Europe, it is more like you live in an old small town in Latin America. Save money, no COLA, no R&R, no vat no anything, just spend money for have a nanny, a house, a pool, for everything.
4. But don't forget your:
Everything: there is nothing here.