Renting a car in Montevideo can cost you from 250USD per month to over 700USD. Most cars have manual transmition.
Driving in Montevideo is pretty easy. You should ovey traffic regulations or you will be given a ticket sooner or later. You will find several pedestrian crossings all over the city, make sure you stop and yield to pedestrians, sometimes traffic policemen stand nearby these crossings to make sure everyone respects them and will give you a ticket if you don't. You will also find several "Ceda el paso" signs, this mean YIELD.
If you drink don't drive, police officers make checkpoints throughout the city specially on Friday and Saturday night to control alcohol levels. However some people drive after drinking.
There are a few options to get to Uruguay from Buenos Aires. Least appealing way is taking a bus directly there from Retiro. Most popular option is to take a ferry. There are 2 options for the ferry - the slow ferry (3 hours to Colonia) and 1 hour.
If you take a ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo it will be 3x more expensive than Colonia. It will cost approximately 180 Argentine pesos - to Colonia it's about 66 pesos. Personally, I think Colonia is definitely worth a visit, even spending the night if you can so my suggestion would be to go to Colonia and then take a bus to Montevideo.
The bus is 3 hours long to Montevideo from Colonia at a cost of approximately 160 Uruguayan pesos which is about $5USD.
To catch the bus from Colonia, when you get off the ferry you walk out and stay towards your right - you will see a small bus terminal where you can purchase tickets - the company I went with was COT - it took about 3 hours and they picked up passengers throughout the whole ride. Buquebus - (the ferry company) also offers bus transportation to and fro - you can check their website for exact prices for both the bus and ferry costs.
It's also a good idea to buy your tickets to Colonia/Montevideo in advance during peak season as it gets quite busy. You can buy them online or go to Buquebus in Buenos Aires (not too far from Retiro bus station).
Most visitors probably get to Montevideo by plane via Buenos Aires. I bought a round trip ticket from SFO to Buenos Aires, and took the boat across River Plate to get to Montevideo. It was a very pleasant ride and took about 2 and half hours. From the picture you can see it's a huge hydrofoil boat. Very clean, and not very crowded. They have a small cafe on the boat, plus some tourist-like shops as well. The cost is ~60USD for coach class.
I got around in taxis. Very convenient but it would help a great deal if you could speak the language (spanish). Otherwise, have the hotel clerk write your destination down for you in Spanish.
If you're coming from Buenos Aires like I did, take the BUQUEBUS high-speed ferry. It runs several times a day and is a fast and comfortable way to get to Montevideo. The trip takes about 3 hours. Boats leave from Puerto Medero in Bs As. Their Montevideo office is at Rio Negro 1400.
Just ask any locals (except the aggtressive airport taxi shills) where the bus stop is once you exit the terminal building. Any of the Cutcsa 700 series (i.e., 701, 02, 05) buses will take you to the Río Branco bus terminal on the Rambla norte, not a wonderful introduction to Montevideo. The best ticket to ask for when boarding the Cutcsa is the "boleto metropolitano," $29 (pesos uruguayos), which you can use to transfer to city buses along Avenida Italia or outside Tres Cruces long-distance bus terminal. Just look for any buses that say either "Ciudad Vieja" or "Pza Independencia." With a 2100 arrival you should be at the bus stop a little before 2200. At that hour the whole trip into MVD, including the change of buses, should take at most 50 minutes.
Downtown Montevideo , the bus leaves from rio branco station.
It costs 23 pesos and take about one hour to the airport.
The trip is quite interesting, as you pass nice suburbs and some villages in the countryside.
There are two suburban train lines, from Montevideo to 25 de Agosto (64 km to the North) and from Montevideo to Sudriers (44 km to the North-East). Trains are useful to move in the city despite the old station has been closed and a shelter has been built 1/2 km to the North were now the trains leave. You can go to Paso Molino, Sayago, Colon, Peñarol and Manga districts by train, are fast than buses. Also you can reach Las Piedras, Progreso, Canelones, Santa Lucia and Pando cities.
At 25 de Agosto and Santa Lucia there are big parks with campings.
There are also special passenger trains to San José, Florida and Minas several times in the year.
We went there by ferry from Buenos Aires. It was a short and comfortable trip.This is a picture of one of the buildings in the port.
I got here via the Norwegian Dream, and once you get to shore a cab can take you anywhere you want to go, make sure you can speak a little spanish.
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