For big-city living in Uruguay, Salto is hard to beat. It offers just about every convenience that you’d find in the capital city of Montevideo…without Montevideo’s prices. In fact, we found a house here for an amazing $35,000.
Salto lies some 300 miles north of Montevideo on the Uruguay River. The climate is warmer than either Montevideo or Punta del Este, because Salto doesn’t have their moderating sea breezes.
With a population of 100,000, it is the second largest city in Uruguay and the heart of its produce industry, with huge citrus farms throughout the area. A steady flow of Uruguayan and international tourists—who come to enjoy the nearby hot springs at Daymán—provide an additional economic boost to the area. Salto has a not-so-busy deepwater seaport, with a large and well-maintained waterfront park and a giant classic Customs house.
The commercial district is clean, alive and bustling, and it extends all the way to the waterfront and the port. The parks and plazas are well-kept and provide a cool, green place to relax, read the paper, and watch the people go by. The city also boasts a number of fine restaurants, a theater, a large university, an airport, and plenty of shopping.
If you go north of town, past the bridge to Argentina, you’ll come to Parque del Lago, a popular spot for people who want to get out of the city on weekends for picnics and barbeques.
The cost of living is low in Salto; you can usually enjoy a good dinner with appetizers and a decent table wine for about $25, for two. That’s about 30% less than you’d spend in Montevideo, and half of what it would cost you in Punta del Este. In fact, the overall cost for most things seemed noticeably lower here, from grilled chicken to property taxes.
Another pleasant surprise was the cost of properties. The city has a treasure-trove of beautiful, Art Deco period homes, some of which are like new in every detail. On one visit, we looked at one such showplace, selling for about half of what I’d have expected to pay.
And while researching the new edition of the Uruguay Owner’s Manual, we actually found a 1,100-square-foot home for only $35,000. It’s a two-story house, with a small interior courtyard. Of course it needs work, but it’s in far better shape than I thought possible for the price. It’s presently configured with 10 tiny bedrooms, which I’d change into maybe three large rooms. You can have a look at the photos here.
I also found an attractive 730-square-foot apartment in the San Martin district, including three bedrooms and a single bathroom for the same asking price of only $35,000.
I find Salto to be relaxing, friendly, and safe. The restaurants are good, from the wood-fired parrillas to the classy cafes by the waterfront. And Salto may be the best chance you’ll have to fix up an Art Deco period home for prices like you’ll find here.
Editor’s note: In just 7 days Lee and his hand-picked team of Uruguay experts will show you the best of Uruguay, from one end of the country to the other at the Live and Invest in Uruguay E-Conference. Reserve your place now.