What you need to know about Maldonado
Maldonado is the capital of Maldonado Department of Uruguay. As of the census of 2011, it is the seventh most populated city of the country.
Maldonado is also the name of the municipality to which the city belongs. It includes the following zones: Maldonado, Punta Ballena, Portezuelo, Barrio Hipódromo, Canteras de Marelli, Los Ceibos, Abra de Perdomo, Laguna del Diario, El Placer, Cantegril, Maldonado Nuevo, Cerro Pelado, San Francisco, San Fernando, Estación, Leonel, Perlita, El Molino, and Biarritz.
Population: 182 504 (2015)
The currency used in Uruguay is the Uruguayan peso (peso Uruguayo in Spanish). One United States Dollar is approximately 20 pesos, one British Pound approximately 31 pesos and one euro approximately 27 pesos. The Uruguayan peso is subdivided into 100 centesimos. Coins in circulation are 1, 2, 5 and 10 pesos. Bills you will use when traveling or living in the country come in 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 denominations. The currency symbol is $U and the currency code is UYU. There are ATM machines (cajero automático in Spanish) located throughout Uruguay, just don´t expect to find one if going to a small town. Even popular tourist locations such as Cabo Polonio and Punta del Diablo on the Atlantic coast do not have a bank or ATM.
ATMs have a $300 USD limit per day, and charge a small fee per transaction. Credit cards are widely accepted in Uruguay by hotels, sit-down restaurant establishments and most boutique shops. You will have the most luck carrying Visa and MasterCard, others such as Diners may or may not be able to be used for payment.
Most rainfall (rainy season) is seen in March and October. On average, the warmest month is January. On average, the coolest month is July. October is the wettest month. This month should be avoided if you don’t like too much rain. December is the driest month.
The main crops are wheat, maize, sunflowers, oats, potatoes, among others, located in the south of the department. Fishing, as well as cattle and sheep raising have also a great importance in the department’s economy. It is, along with Lavalleja, the main and most diversified mining area of the country producing (marble, metals, feldspars and construction materials), but it is currently underexploited. It has however, been the department with the fourth most significant mining activity, after Lavalleja, Canelones and Montevideo, with a production worth 4,642,123 dollars, according to 1999 data.
Tourism, especially centered on Punta del Este, La Barra, Jose Ignacio and Piriápolis, has been one of the main sources of income for the department since the 1950s. It has also been the main cause for its unique urban concentration of the population (94% out of the total).
The Laguna del Sauce International Airport is a significant local economic motor.
Uruguayan Spanish has some modifications due to the considerable number of Italian immigrants. Immigrants used to speak a mixture of Spanish and Italian known as ‘cocoliche’ and some of the words are still commonly used by the population.
Education in Uruguay is secular, free, and compulsory for 14 years, starting at the age of 4. The system is divided into six levels of education: early childhood (3–5 years); primary (6–11 years); basic secondary (12–14 years); upper secondary (15–17 years); higher education (18 and up); and post-graduate education.
Beef is fundamental to Uruguayan cuisine, and the country is one of the world’s top consumers of red meat per capita. Asado, a kind of barbecued beef, is the national dish in Uruguay, and other popular foods include beef platters, chivito (steak sandwiches), pasta, barbecued kidneys, and sausages.
Locally produced soft drinks, beer, and wine are commonly served, as is clericó, a mixture of fruit juice and wine. Uruguay and Argentina share a national drink called mate. Grappamiel, made with alcohol and honey, is served in the cold mornings of autumn and winter to warm up the body. Often locals can be seen carrying leather cases containing a thermos of hot water, the traditional hollowed gourd called a mate or guampa, a metal straw called a bombilla, and the dried yerba mate leaves. Sweet treats, including crème caramel with dulce de leche and alfajores (shortbread cookies), are favorites for desserts or afternoon snacks.
Other Uruguayan dishes include morcilla dulce (a type of blood sausage cooked with ground orange fruit, orange peel, and walnuts), chorizo, milanesa (a breaded veal cutlet similar to the Austrian Wiener Schnitzel), snacks such as olímpicos (club sandwiches), húngaras (spicy sausage in a hot dog roll), “tortas fritas” (similar to elephant ears, and traditionally eaten when it rains), “martin fierro” (a bread-less sandwich of cheese and quince paste), postre chaja (a cake made mostly from meringue and peaches in syrup), “pascualina” (chard and egg pie), “pastafrola” (a quince pie) and masas surtidas (bite-sized pastries), many of which are of Spanish and Italian origin, like the “massini”.