Rivera, Uruguay - Polarsteps

Rivera, Uruguay, has a population of about 65,000. It is located on the border with Brazil. On the Brazil side is the town Sant'Ana do Livramento. These two towns are one metropolitan area with no visible, physical border dividing the two countries. The people are free to cross the international border freely. If one wants to go further into either country one must check in with immigration for the normal process. The International Plaza, inaugurated in 1943, straddles the border and is shared by both cities, and is said to be the only international plaza in the world. The founding and development of the town was long and arduous due to its location and the local indigenous population, as well as smugglers. But, over some years there was finally talk of forming a town across the river from the already existing town of Santa Ana do Livramento, Brazil. It was in 1862 that the then President of Uruguay approved the law to create the town called Villa de Ceballos. By 1867, the town had not yet been inaugurated but it already had a public school and a population of more than 300 people. Finally, in July 1867, the plans and layout for the city were drawn up, and the name Rivera was given to the new town. The last two decades of the 19th century were fraught with difficulties for the new town, including cattle smuggling, military and civil conflicts with authorities in Brazil, smallpox, typhus, and dysentery. But, by 1912, the town was officially changed to the status of a city, with a population of around 10,000. The economy is supported by forestry, rice production, cattle and sheep, mining, vineyards and wines, and tourism. So, my impressions: Rivera is a very pleasant border city, one of the best I've visited. The town is clean, there are no huge crowds or terrible traffic, the border with Brazil is open, and there's a park directly on the border (several blocks long). Many of the people speak Portuñol (Portuguese-Spanish mix), but I did come across quite a few who speak "normal" Spanish. There are lots, and I mean LOTS, of duty-free stores, though they do have inventories more-or-less limited to alcohol and things related to cell phones and home electronics, and a few other sundries. The town is also quiet except for the occasional irritatingly noisy motorcycle, but there is no horn-honking and drivers are nice enough to stop and let pedestrians cross the road (something that doesn't happen in other South American countries, particularly Colombia). I like this town, but the climate here is one that gets rather cold in the winter (June - August), with no snow, but cold, near freezing, nonetheless. That I don't like.
  1. ChipW
  2. My South America Journey
  3. Rivera