Uruguayans prioritise family life over business, so it’s a good idea to know when public holidays are, as most shops –except for shopping malls– will close and local public transport will run on a limited schedule.
Fortunately, as public transport is much better than in many countries, this shouldn’t really affect you. Beaches will also be busier during public holidays.
Public holidays in Uruguay
Public holidays when most shops and restaurants close are:
January 1, May 1, July 18, August 25 and December 25.
They are known here as “no-laborables” ie. staff must be paid overtime if they work them. In fact May 1, Workers’ Day, is more respected than Christmas.
Public holidays when most businesses remain open are:
January 6, April 19, May 18, June 19, October 12 and November 2
Other major public holidays are:
Carnival (two days in February) and Tourism Week (which coincides with Easter – Uruguay has complete separation of church and state).
Though both Carnival and Tourism holidays each last two days, expect most shops in Montevideo will close for the entire week. Beach towns will not be affected.
Amuse yourself reading more about Uruguayans and public holidays
- Why does the tourist industry in Montevideo close down at peak times?
- Why Uruguayans celebrate Tourism Week – not Easter