Our adventure started long before we stepped off the plane at the Carrasco Airport, Uruguay on March 26, 2009. We've been planning this move for over a year, with an exploratory trip to MVD in March 2008 (with then-3-month-old Geneva in tow). On that trip, we spent 7 days in Montevideo, two nights in Colonia and 3 nights in Buenos Aires.
During our visit in 2008, we spent a lot of time just wandering the neighborhoods. We explored Ciudad Vieja and areas around Pocitos, Punta Carretas, Parque Rodo and Palermo. We also spent two Sunday afternoons at the English Speaking Meetup at Old Maz. This was a great group to share tips and experiences, and just hear a familiar language. On that visit, we stayed at the Punta Trouville Aparthotel, which has an excellent location and amenities, but we found their rooms a bit small with baby and their wireless Internet was unreliable at that time. We stayed at Marti Aparthotel this year and loved everything about it.
Back in MN, our research continued with the help of all the great people we met during our visit and one websites in particular: Uruguay Connection. Uruguay Connection includes a blog, forum and Uruguay news in English. David Finzer, the blogger and mastermind behind the Uruguay Connection site (among many other ventures) also has an ebook about everything Uruguay which I found invaluable, The Southron's Guide to Living In Uruguay. (Note: David Finzer passed away in October 2012. He was a great help for us and many in the Uruguay Expat community). We also visited their Thursday Expat meeting, which was an eclectic mix of people in a comfortable scene. This meeting has changed locations since our visit but we have not been able to attend at the new location yet. Since coming back this year, we have also found Total Uruguay, which is an excellent Uruguay compilation website.
On a side note regarding prep: We also urge everyone that is bringing an extreme amount of luggage and pets with them on an airplane to visit the airport ahead of time for a dry run. We'll give more details of why, who we talked to and what we accomplished in a later post.
It all boils down to this: Do your research, check your options, ask lots of questions (to us or others). There is always the good, bad and ugly with any place in the world.