Directly south of Montevideo’s center, the neighborhood (or, “barrio”) of Barrio Sur is closely connected to its large Afro-Uruguayan community, who settled here after slavery was abolished. It is the home of the “Candombe,” the Uruguayan music and dance style that comes from African slaves and is recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage of humanity.
With its strong musical culture, the barrio is central to Montevideo’s annual Carnival festivities—the colorful festival and dance parade takes place between mid-January to late February. Candombe is often played by locals on evenings at the weekend, and you can learn more at the barrio’s cultural centers, including the Asociación Cultural C1080, which focuses on Candombe. The neighborhood is also well-known for its unique modernist architecture and individually colored houses painted in pinks, blues, greens, yellows, purples, oranges, and reds.
If you’d prefer a guided tour of the area rather than visiting independently, you can book a private tour that lets you plan your own itinerary.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Barrio Sur is a must-visit for culture lovers.
- Your best bet for dining is to head for one of the many restaurants just north of Barrio Sur.
- The neighborhood does suffer from occasional crime: keep your belongings close to you.
How to Get There
Barrio Sur is an easy 15-minute walk from Centro, the center of Montevideo. The closest bus station is Terminal 300, which is under a 5-minute walk away. If coming from the port, a taxi ride will take you around 15 minutes.
When to Get There
Carnival is the best time to visit to experience Barrio Sur in all its color and festivities, However, on most weekend nights you can experience candombe in the streets, typically performed in a drum circle accompanied by dancing, bonfires, and drinking.
Barrio Sur is the home of Montevideo’s Central Cemetery, perhaps the county’s most important burial place. Many important figures from Uruguayan history rest here, including the journalist and novelist Mario Benedetti, poets Juan Zorrilla de San Martín and Delmira Agustini, and former president Jorge Batlle.