With daily averages of 60° F (15° C) during the day and rarely going below zero at night in the city, Uruguay’s climate in winter* sounds wonderfully mild, right? So why am I f-f-f-freezing?

Over a decade living here tells me that this is down to visitors from the Northern Hemisphere looking at the temperatures for June to August (winter in the Southern Hemisphere) and not preparing for coastal Uruguay’s bone-penetrating humidity (read damp).

They see 15° C and think.. sandals!

Why does it feel colder than you’d expect?

Jules Verne was reporting on the wicked Pampero wind back in 1868. It’s a polar front from the South Atlantic which affects Argentina, Uruguay and Southern Brazil in the South’s winter months.

In Uruguay we mostly feel its effects on the temperature more than the wind itself. It feels so damp because of our proximity to the vast River Plate and the Atlantic Ocean.

Winter in Uruguay is exhilarating

The days may feel cold but they are usually gorgeously sunny. Even during the coldest months of July and August, the average sunlight hours are typically 6-7 hours a day. It’s rare to have rain for more than a few days in a row.

There are frequent Indian summers when we are thrown back into a mini-summer period for three or four days and everyone gets their t-shirts out again. And sun-traps are easy to find.

Lighthouse in Colonia

A visit to the lighthouse in Colonia in winter. Look! Everyone is in t-shirts! Photo: Guru’Guay

What to wear in winter in Uruguay

These are the Guru’s essential tips to dressing to enjoy winter in Uruguay. Take them to heart and avoid the sniffles.

  1. Layers, layer, layers – the sun comes out, you boil, the sun goes in, you are suddenly freezing again. Choose several layers instead of one thick one. If you wear one thick one, when the sun comes out you boil. And then you will end up taking that off and you catch a cold.
  2. Warm footwear, especially boots, and gloves. You will not regret this.
  3. Hats and wind-breakers – combat that wicked Pampero should it blow.

And don’t forget to buy yourself a pure Uruguayan wool cape. Just for good measure.

*The winter in the Southern Hemisphere is June, July and August.

More winter tips

Photos: Guru’Guay
[Article first published: Jun 9, 2014. Lots of people read it, so we keep it as up to date as possible]

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