Tap water is safe to drink in all major cities. The Hospital Britanico British Hospital, SUMMUM and BlueCross & BlueShield Uruguay have an European-quality service and they are clean and efficient. AsociaciÃ³n EspaÃ±ola, Medica Uruguaya and CASMU are the largest healthcare companies in Uruguay and they have a European-quality level. Just don't make any unwise drinking decisions.
Uruguay is a socially progressive country. Women got the vote in Uruguay 12 years before France. Uruguay is a secular state unlike Argentina, Chile or Paraguay; the Uruguayan state has not supported any religion since 1917. The population is mainly Catholic, but not very practicing.
Uruguay is not particularly open to its gay and lesbian communities in comparison to Brazil. There are a few gay and lesbian bars in Montevideo and in Punta del Este, but outside those two cities there is no public "queer" community. The only public monument to sexual diversity is in Ciudad Vieja the old city. However, it was the first Latin American country to pass a civil union law and is considered to be safe and welcoming to gay and lesbian visitors. Civil unions are legal in Uruguay, which convey the full rights of marriage, and there is currently a law in the works to legalize full gay and transgendered marriage. Even in rural areas gay travelers and expats experience little overt discrimination.
Uruguayans are somewhat sensitive about their relationships with Argentina; avoid comparing them to Argentines. The similarly sounding country Paraguay has very little in common with Uruguay.
Spanish is spoken everywhere. The pronunciation and the use of the vos pronoun instead of tÃº is practically identical to the Spanish variety spoken in Argentina.
PortuÃ±ol or Brasilero is a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish used on the Brazilian border.
Amerindian traits can be found everywhere in Uruguayan culture, from cuisine to vocabulary.But there is no amerindian population left
Althought most Uruguayans have studied English at school, they do not actually speak or use it. However, some Uruguayans have studied English at private institutes, so they can speak it well. Outside Montevideo and Punta del Este there are few English speakers. You will find English spoken in most tourist spots shopping centers and in Punta del Este and some restaurants will probably have English-speaking staff.
If you want to study Spanish in a language academy, you may want to check out the Grupo de Turismo IdiomÃ¡tico, a private sector initiative supported by the Ministry of Tourism.