It's possible to fly, of course, but I found the ferry to be a convenient and very pleasant alternative. Terminals in both cities are near the center, allowing you to avoid expensive and time consuming travel to the outlying airports, and the lines and formalities for the ferry are much less irritating and time consuming. Overall, the travel time difference is small, and the cost is much lower. The ferry itself is no cruise ship, but it is on the high end in terms of ferry boat amenities, with comfortable chairs, a very good food service, and pleasant surroundings. It was foggy and rainy on the morning I traveled, but I can imagine that the views could be quite nice on a sunny day. The only problem I encountered is that there is no money exchange at the Montevideo terminal, and the single ATM was nonfunctional, leaving me without local currency for a cab. It was a rather long walk with backpack to the nearest ATM. Overall, though, I highly recommend the ferry. It might even be a good alternative for people visiting one city who can find a much cheaper air fare to the other.
Buquebus has very strong marketing and you basically can't find any other transport company, for the ferry accross the river Plata from Buenos Aires to Montevideo. The typical price in Buquebus is about 220 pesos
You must arrive 1 hour in advance of departure which is plenty to get our boarding passes, check luggage, fill out customs forms, go thru customs, etc. But use your judgment. You could get there closer to departure time and be OK I think.
There are sandwiches, snacks and drinks inside the terminals.
Tourist class: Front of the boat, lower level. About the same seat space as flying coach. Seats are in banks of 3 so you are likely to sit (closely) next to a stranger. First class: Back of the boat, middle level. We upgraded on the way back. And oh was it worth it. Early boarding. A hair more leg room but we chose seats in the front row for infinite leg room. Much wider, cushier seats that reclined. Seats in banks of 2. Wider aisles.
Probably a question from my side, but reading the comment I get the impression that people are traveling to BUENOS AIRES - MONTEVIDEO with a ferry at a price of around 68 dollars. But looking at the buquebus site most of the prices start at abouth 200-300 dollars.
Why is there such a difference?
- All I got it. Just everybody is marking pesos and dollars the same way - as $ and this leads to such difficulties
Another way to get to / from MVD if you are trying to come to/from Buenos Aires: Buquebus!
It is fast, quiet, nice, easy way to relax between to important Capitol Cities... the time goes by quickly if you are on the non-stop (About 2.5 hours long boat ride). And it costs about $68.00USD
You can do this Cheaper if you mix up the Boat w/ a Bus... For example, Buenos Aires by Boat to Colonia, and From Colonia to Montevideo by Bus.. and I believe this routing costs about $30 and takes about 4 hours...
And then the longest/cheapest option is completely over land 7 hour bus trip for $20.00
Arrived from Buenos Aires with Buquebus. Chose the slower and cheaper option of a ferry to Colonia de Sacremento and the bus to Montevideo. A line of buses waiting as you disembark the ferry, show your ticket and away you go.
Faster trip Bs As to Montevideo direct are also an option, see website for all details.
Ship and bus clean and comfortable, an enjoyable way to travel.
Arrival in Montevideo is at Tres Cruces, plenty of taxis there.
When arriving by cruiseship you will be docked just a few meters from the centre of the old part of Montevideo, in walking-distance to most of the buildings that are of interest for the tourists. Even the biggest ships will be able to dock there, when walking to town dont miss to take a look at the anchor of the german WW II - battleship "Admiral Graf Spee" and when you are interested in a traditional tall ship, walk a little further behind the admiralty-building in order to see the sailing-school-ship of the army of Urugua.
I went from buenos aires to Colonia by Buquebus, and from Colonia to Montevideo by Bus.
The ship I took is the slower ship "Eladia Isabel". It takes three hours to get to Colonia.
It's a very nice ship, with a free shop, confortable sits, a non-expensive cafeteria and good crew.
To go back, we took the ship that leaves Colonia at 18.45. As it was winter, we enjoyed a lovely sunset.
De Buenos Aires a Colonia en el buque ELadia Isabel y de allí a Montevideo en Bus.
El barco tarda 3 horas en llegar a destino, es muy lindo, tiene free shop, buenos asientos, la cafetería no es cara y al tripulación es muy amable.
Para volver, tomamos el que zarpa a las 18.45 desde COlonia y como era invierno, disfrutamos una puesta de sol increible.
When you board the ferry you will be ushered upstairs to the first class section where you will have the option of sitting in a series of comfortable Airline or Bus style seats or at the desks and tables that are set up in the corner. They have a snack bar with sandwiches, soft drinks, and wine but you have to pay extra for this. You can pay in Argentine or Uruguayan pesos. If you want to see the Coastline as you travel obviously you would need to be on the left side of the ship going and on the right side returning. When you get ready to depart you will see a large group of people getting up before the ship stops. Don't follow them. These are the people who have driven there cars onto the ferry. They go downstairs a little bit early and get in their cars in preparation to disembark. If you walk down with them you will have to wait until everybody comes down the steps before you can go up again because you won't be able to fight the flow of traffic down the steps. Everything else is pretty much self-explanatory. The only other thing to remember is that on the way back you can go straight to the baggage check line because your return ticket was given to you on the first leg of the trip so take a good look at everything associated with Buquebus before you throw anything away. Good luck and happy travels.
When you check your bags you will get a sticker to redeem your baggage on the other side. Put it in a safe place and head towards immigration. ALWAYS WHEN TRAVELLING THROUGH IMMIGRATION IN ANY COUNTRY HAVE A PEN WITH YOU. The immigration form has to be filled out in pen and the immigration office never has any available. Somewhere during this process you would have been given a yellow, white, and red immigration form and you will need to fill out all of the information that they ask. Take this with your passport and present it to the immigration official. Make sure that you keep track of what he returns to you because you will need to present it on your return to Argentina. You are now ready to head to the gate. There are two main gates in the BA Buquebus terminal so once you enter you will either go right or left. If you have a first class ticket there is a special lounge available for you to have free soft drinks, snacks , and sit while you are waiting to board. This area will be through the glass doors on the side of the terminal. There will be a sign over the door that will say, "Sala para pasajeros de primera clase". It seems pretty straightforward right. It is not. It is easy to miss your first time if you are not looking for it and I was standing next to 2 other Americans in the wrong line up until the very last minute before boarding and we all spoke Spanish. continue to part IV
At the "entrega de pasajes" desk you will recieve your paper ticket and boarding pass. With this you should be ready to continue on to the line where you check your bags. You will see a series of lines and above each line will be a departure time for the vessel (in military time) and in some cases a letter which seems to correspond with a vessel or gate. If you are in a line that has the right departure time for your vessel you should be fine. (On a side note keep in mind that you will be leaving Argentina at this time and will go through customs. If you have bought any items in Argentina and have paid the extra IVA tax you as a forigner are exempt from that tax and you can redeem the money at Buquebus immigration if you get the IVA voucher from the merchant with whom you made the purchase. It is advantageous to do this on the ferry trip if you will be returning to Argentina because if you wait until the end of your trip you are going to be leaving the country with your refund in Argentine Pesos and you will lose money changing them back to your country's currency. They will only refund the tax money in pesos so it's better to do this on you short trip to Montevideo and then come back and spend your refund in Argentina. If you want to do this at Buquebus you will need to stand first in the duty free line and then in the "Caja" line. As a result I would recommend arriving at least 2 hours early because you never know how long or slow these lines will be")
I'm going to try to outline the process of using the Buquebus express service to Montevideo because I made just about every mistake that could be made and I feel that this now qualifies me to teach. You can call in your reservation or make it online. You will need a credit card to pay for the tickets and you will also need your passport handy if you don't have your passport number memorized. (I speak some Castellano so I'm not sure if they have English speaking reservations agents. They probably do). They have different ticket classes and I chose first class because, in my opinion, it didn't represent a huge price difference. I will give more details about what this will get you later. The shuttle ride is about 3 to 3 1/2 hours long (keep in mind that at this time of year Montevideo is on hour ahead of Buenos Aires. It will be really important on your return trip if returning to Buenos aires). As a confirmation of your reservation you will be given a "numero/codigo de remito". You will need to present this to the agent when you arrive at the Buquebus terminal. When you first enter the terminal you need to go to the first desk that you will see that has a sign that says "entrega de pasajes". This is where you will present your numero de remito and passport. See Part II
A short trip (just over 3 hours) from Buenos Aries. Buy your ticket the night before if travelling in their summer season (Jan,Feb). The cost was 15.900 Arg pesos one way from Buenos Aries to MonteVideo.
Cabs are cheap in Montevideo. Where you find a string of cabs there will be someone sitting or standing at the first cab. They will open the door for you and tell the cab driver where you want to go. The cab driver will pay this person a small tip, for the help. This is not an english guide and I didn't really understand the purpose of this practice but it was common throughout Montevideo.
If you need to book tickets on Buquebus, you don't need to go to their terminal at the port. Ferryturismo has a large office downtown at Av Rio Negro y Colonia. They sell ferry tickets, bus tickets, city tours, hotel bookings, etc. Very handy if you are in downtown.One way ticket to BA was $54 each. This was several dollars cheaper than the peso price. Dont know why. Trip took a bit over 3 hours.
When you leave Uruguay from the Buquebus terminal, you will have to pay a tax of $8.00USD per person. A taxi from our downtown hotel to the port was 70P/$2.80USD.
You can buy food to take with you on the ferry at the upstairs waiting area. A decent sandwich cost 30P/$1.20. There is food/drink onboard the ferry.
A three-hour ride from the Darsena Norte terminal in BsAs brings you here to the heart of Montevideo. It is cheaper to take the one-hour boat to Colonia and then connect by bus (same amount of time however), but there is something much more magical about approaching or leaving Montevideo by water. Watch as you leave the brown waters around BsAs and you will see them take on the more steel grey of the open sea as you get close to Montevideo. Magic? You can fly, but why when you can buquebus it?
It is good to be an hour early for all departures - whether to and fro Montevideo, BsAs or Colonia as you have to do pass immigration before boarding the boat.
An added treat for those of you sailors - the Uruguayan fleet is docked opposite the Buquebus terminal.
There is a quick and nice way to come to Montevideo if you are in Buenos Aires: by ferry. Buqubus is the company that makes this trips, from port to port, in very comfortable ships. The same company has a cheaper service: from Buenos Aires to Colonia by ferry, and thern, from Colonia to Montevideo by bus.
Hay una manera agradable y rápida de venir a Montevideo si están en Buenos Aires: el ferry. Buquebus es la compañía que hace estos viajes, de puerto a puerto, en unas embarcaciones muy confortables. La misma empresa tiene un servicio más económico: desde Buenos Aires a Colonia en ferry, y luego, de Colonia a Montevideo en bus.