Uruguay, is an often overlooked gem with much to offer from historic vineyards, to enchanting towns, to white sand beaches. Uruguay is the second smallest nation in Latin America, yet, it ranks first in democracy, peace, lack of corruption, quality of living, press freedom, size of the middle class, prosperity and security. It is an important global exporter of combed wool, rice, soybeans, frozen beef, malt and milk. About 95% of Uruguay's electricity comes from renewable energy, and that evolution took less than a decade, and without government funding. The country succeeded in lowing electricity costs and cutting dramatically its carbon footprint. Most of the electricity comes from hydroelectric facilities and wind parks. Uruguay no longer need to import electricity. It has achieved nearly universal coverage for access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. Water service quality is considered good, with practically all localities in Uruguay receiving disinfected water on a continuous basis. Some 70% of wastewater collected by the national utility is treated. Uruguay is also a welcoming destination with beaches, dunes, drowsy fishing villages, penguins, sea lions and whales to discover, colonial towns, classic working haciendas, and historic vineyards.
In addition to creating a National Sustainable Tourism Plan focused on “an economically, environmentally and socio-culturally sustainable tourism model,” the country also passed a Tourism Law in 2015, establishing clear frameworks for the development of tourism guided by sustainable tourism principles. While expanding tourism infrastructure has been a priority during the initial phases of the plan, the country is now focused on ensuring that the social and economic benefits of properly planned and managed tourism are set in place and widely distributed.
Destination stewardship planning is underway at the national level with multiple stakeholders, including government, NGOs, private sector and communities, to increase understanding and awareness of sustainable tourism best practices.
The second smallest country in South America may be dwarfed in size by its neighbors, but it has quietly focused on creating a peaceful, democratic, prosperous and forward-thinking society, all while embracing its agricultural traditions, from wool to beef to wine; protecting its natural heritage, from pristine beaches (including watching penguins, sea lions, and whales) to the verdant inland; and celebrating its progressive high-energy urban capital city, Montevideo. With a new emphasis on promoting sustainable tourism development, especially along the Uruguay River, this dynamic country is focused on its long-term future as a great travel destination. Learn more about the galapagos.com values.Why the Finch Ranking?