We all know that we don’t pat the back of a colleague in Korea to thank them for a “job well done”. Or eat with your left hand in India, or sip vodka in Russia. In many countries, these actions are harmless. But in others, they can give a wrong impression or cause offense.

In fact, whatever culture you’re from, it’s likely that you routinely do something that could cause offense somewhere else in the world. So here is:

A primer on how to avoid mistakes in Uruguay

Uruguay Cultures photo

Photo by You Need Style

Uruguay is a socially progressive country. Women got the vote in Uruguay 12 years before France. Uruguay is a secular state unlike Argentina, Chile or Paraguay; the Uruguayan state has not supported any religion since 1917.

The population is mainly Catholic, but not very practicing. Uruguay is not particularly open to its gay and lesbian communities in comparison to Brazil. There are a few gay and lesbian bars in Montevideo and in Punta del Este, but outside those two cities there is no public “queer” community.

The only public monument to sexual diversity is in Ciudad Vieja (the old city). However, it was the first Latin American country to pass a civil union law and is considered to be safe and welcoming to gay and lesbian visitors. Gay marriage is fully legal in Uruguay. Even in rural areas gay travelers and expats experience little overt discrimination. The similarly sounding country Paraguay has very little in common with Uruguay.

With this, you had the primer on key facts about Uruguay, and key facts on culture and customs. Another important part of the culture is the local food and the local drinks. Make sure you read our posts on Uruguay food and drinks:

Local food you should try in Uruguay and No miss drinks in Uruguay.

Other tips that you’d like to share on mistakes to avoid in Uruguay? Please comment below.