Tabarez's side finished fourth in South Africa and in doing so clinched the country's best finish at a World Cup finals for 40 years.
Although captain Diego Lugano was reluctant to talk up their achievements, admitting he was surprised to see so many people taking part in the celebrations.
Nevertheless thousands of fans gathered to cheer on the team bus as it made its way to the Congress where players were given special tributes.
"In South Africa we were told people were happy but we could never imagine this. It exceeds what we deserve," said Lugano. "We have just done what football players do in this country, give their lives for their squad."
A massive ovation was also reserved for striker Diego Forlan who finished the tournament with five goals and was rewarded with the Golden Ball for best player after some splendid performances.