Uruguay: Why go

Squeezed between goliaths Argentina and Brazil, South America’s second smallest nation (only Suriname is smaller) is big on appeal. Its primary draw is its 120 miles of Atlantic coastline - much of it pristine - accompanied by sunny, mild days (15-28C) year-round. Expect fascinating diversity - from the cobblestone streets of a World Heritage site to the high rise-rimmed beaches of an internationally renowned resort, where the latest hot spot changes with each season. Venture slightly off the beaten path to spot rare flamingos, buy homemade cheese from a roadside quesería, or visit gaucho towns where you’re the only gringo in sight.

North American and European tourists typically discover Uruguay on a day trip to its founding city, Colonia del Sacramento, 50 minutes by ferry across Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires. Others - especially Argentinians and a growing number of Brazilians - jet into Punta del Este for “the season” (December-February). The objectives: revel in the beaches, world-class dining and exclusive nightclubs, and rub shoulders with the glitterati - itself an integral part of the scenery. In fact, this is one of the safest places in South America to travel in style. Crime is practically non-existent.

18:13 | GMT - 3 Hours