Do you dream of waking up on the beach?
In Montevideo this can be your reality. Montevideo is blessed with a plethora of apartments that will seem affordable to the US or European tourist. In other cities, you may have to settle for something out of town. In Montevideo, which is a living, working city – you can literally wake up and have sand at your feet.
The seafront ”rambla” is the jewel of Montevideo. You can watch beautiful sunsets sink into the Rio de La Plata, take a walk or a morning run along the palm-tree lined boulevard, or just take a seat and soak it all up. During the evenings citizens gather to chew the fat, drink beer or mate (tea) and people-watch.
While there are many neighbourhoods in Montevideo all worthy of a mention, in practice most visitors choose to rent a beachfront apartment in one of the plusher and safer coastal neighbourhoods. After all, what many are seeking is a better standard of living on a budget. With affordable housing a stone’s throw from the beach, why not?
First stop, and where you will disembark if coming by boat from Buenos Aires, is the Ciudad Vieja (old town), which includes the port area. The Ciudad Vieja has undergone a revamp and has received major investment and interest from far flung places. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, the area is still incredibly cheap for rentals if you can get the right deal. Depending on the apartment, prices of around 200USD/Month for a 40m space are not unheard of, but can be as high as 800USD.
Secondly, visitors are attracted to the beautiful architecture and old colonial-style buildings – far removed from the uniform grey which makes up much of the rest of Montevideo.
Thirdly, the Ciudad Vieja is right on the coast, surrounded by the waterfront Rambla which snakes along the Rio de La Plata. A Ciudad Vieja apartment is within walking distance of almost everything you need on a day-to day basis. At night you are also right next to the popular strip of bars on ”bartolome mitre” for dancing or a bite to eat.
Typically, foreigners are buying apartments in the Ciudad Vieja but not actually living in them – the reason being that the area is still developing. Although the government has tried hard to shed the area of its seedy port reputation, and the zone is well policed, petty theft is still a common occurrence. You should take care when walking alone after dark.
Pocitos is another region favoured by international investors. More ”upmarket” than the Ciudad Vieja, Pocitos has almost everything the expat needs. Composed of a mix of houses and huge apartment blocks lining the sea front – this area is populated by middle and upper class Uruguayans. Although lacking the charm of downtown Montevideo, your day to day needs are better catered for. Pocitos is also safer than the old town. A Pocitos apartment doesn’t come cheap. If you are thinking of the penthouse suite overlooking the beach be prepared to cough up. Montevideo one bedroom beach front apartments are going for around 600-800 dollars, and prices keep rising.
Types of Montevideo Apartment
Casita – literally ‘little house” a casita is your dedicated section of a larger house or building. Casitas often come with the old colonial fachadas, big wooden doors and tend to look quite pretty. You can often rent a similar sized space in a casita for significantly less than in a standard apartment. But the old world charm has its downsides – these houses usually do not have central heating, so be prepared to invest in at least a gas heater because Montevideo can get cold. Temperatures of around 0 degrees are common in June and July.
Apartamento – an apartment , usually part of a larger apartment complex. The big apartment blogs all have a ”portero” – porter, while the smaller ones may share porteros. This makes apartment blocks a more secure option. Rental apartments are more likely to come furnished and to be equipped with the mod cons. Some of the larger complexes have parking space, for which an extra fee is charged. In addition to the rent itself, you will most likely pay ”gastos comunes” – community expenses, the cost for the upkeep of the entire block. Remember if you choose a building with high numbers of elevators/staff compared to occupants these costs will be higher.
Renting an apartment in Montevideo doesn’t have to be difficult, you may even end up on good terms with your landlord! But it helps to go prepared with some basic knowledge and an idea of where to look. Good luck!