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Side trips
Carmelo is a less-expensive beach town on the Rio de la Plata west of Colonia, close to the country’s wine regions but with sandy beaches and luxury hotels like the Four Seasons Resort, Carmelo.. Inland, there are many working estancias (ranches) where tourists can live out the gaucho (cowboy) lifestyle. Salto, 300 miles north of Montevideo, is known for its hot springs.

Buenos Aires is only a 45-minute flight or a two and a half hour ferry ride from Montevideo. Rio de Janeiro is about a three-hour flight away and Miami takes 10 hours, nonstop.

Practical info
The real estate market is considered a safe investment with attractive yields by Argentineans and Brazilians, so it has grown steadily until recently, due to the global economic downturn. “The number of transactions has dropped 10% from six months ago, but prices have not,” explained Reynolds. “With only 7% of buyers receiving financing, we expect the market to remain flat.”

In Montevideo, a one-bed flat in a top neighbourhood costs $90,000 (prices are typically quoted in US currency) and rents for around $800 a month. A two- or three-bed rental in Punta del Este in high season will cost around $10,000 a month, while beachfront houses go for around $100 per sq foot in Punta down to $10 per sq foot in some of the northerly beach resorts. In Punta, waterfront condos range from $300 to $500 per sq foot. An empty lot starts at $30,000 for 7,000 sq feet and construction costs are $110 to $170 per sq foot.

Uruguay has no restrictions on foreigners buying land or houses but there are legal and estate agent fees of 3.66% (each) of the purchase price, plus VAT (value-added tax), stamp duty and a 2% transfer tax.

Further information
Total Uruguay: ex-pat info, links and meet-ups
Mercopress: English-language news about Mercosur union countries, including Uruguay
El Pais: leading daily newspaper of Uruguay

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