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Health and Safety in Uruguay

Are you prepared to start living in Uruguay? This guide offers useful information on what you can expect in terms of language, demographics, quality of life, healthcare, safety and security, and schools — to help get you ready to start your new life in Uruguay.
Although crime rates are low, you should still be on the lookout for pickpockets.

Uruguay: A Safe Place to Stay

As stated on the previous page, Montevideo is a safe place by South American standards and a far cry from the levels of crime and particularly violence that plague other major cities in the Southern Cone. In their 2015 crime and safety report on Uruguay, the US Overseas Security Advisory Council does, however, warn of petty street crimes, including pickpocketing, purse snatching, and theft from parked cars. The usual safety precautions apply: avoid wearing flashy jewelry, do not leave your valuables out in the open where potential thieves might be able to see them, and use common sense.

Home invasions and burglaries continue to be problems, particularly in more affluent neighborhoods. But it will be good to know for every expat-to-be that there are no off-limit neighborhoods in Montevideo. Of course, as tastes are different, you might like some neighborhood more than another but there’s no need to worry of moving into any dangerous zones.

Affordable Healthcare of Your Choice

As a resident in Uruguay, you are eligible to make use of the Uruguayan healthcare system with its network of free clinics. As is often the case in public healthcare, however, you might have to face extremely long waiting times before you get medical assistance.

Private healthcare, if it is not already included in your expat benefits package, is fairly inexpensive and hassle-free. Instead of signing up with insurance companies, you can chose between numerous providers operating anything from a single hospital to a network of hospitals and doctors. Think of it as being similar to a gym membership: your monthly fees allow you to make use of their healthcare facilities in case of emergency, and consult specialists associated with their network.

You are free to sign up with whichever provider you would like to, but it makes sense to pick the one closest to your home or workplace. There will not be any noticeable difference in the quality of care you receive between providers. You might, however, want to take a closer look at what the Hospital Britanico offers if you prefer English-speaking staff.

High Literacy Rates and Free Education

As we have touched upon in our article on working in Uruguay, the country boasts one of the most well-educated workforces on the continent — even though many young educated professionals opt to move out of the country. Education is free and compulsory starting from the age of four. This tradition of prioritizing education has resulted in one of the highest literacy rates in the Americas.

Not every expatriate might want to enroll their children in a Uruguayan public school, however, and international schools might be a sensible alternative for expat parents. While there are only a handful of international schools in Uruguay, there is a lot of variety in terms of cultural background, languages, and fees. Find below a brief list of international schools:


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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