Reading some of the post I thought that going by ferry to Montevideo, Uruguay was going to be more complicated. It was actually very simple. I purchased my tickets ahead of time and my ferry was scheduled for 8am. I arrived about an hour earlier got my boarding passes and checked in my luggage. We then exchanged some money and went up to where we were supposed to get on the ferry and waited for a little while. Everything was well organized and easy. The ferry was nice. It resembled the loby of a cruise ship. The seats were comfortable and there is also a duty free store on the ship. I found that the duty free items were ridiculously overpriced. There is a snack area and a separate first class section. We were not in first class but we were comfortable. On the ferry you can pay with dollars, Argentine pesos, Uruguayan pesos or Brazilian money. This was a nice experience and it was fun to do something different..
We caught the Buque Bus in Buenos Aires Argentina and headed toward Montevideo, Uruguay. Having thought of things alittle better I would have caught the Buque bus to Colonia, Uruguay and then headed on down to Montevideo and then Punta del Este by land, either renting a car or getting a bus.
There are non-stop flights from Miami to Carrasco International Airport(MVD). It is an 8+hr flight.
The airport is 11 miles to the east of Montevideo. A new terminal is currently being built and is due for completion in 2009.
You will be bussed from your plane to the terminal. There you will go thru customs and then on to the duty free shop. There is also a money exchange (cambio), and rental car agencies in the terminal. Buses and metered taxi are available if you are going into the city.
International departure tax is $12.
Travelling between Uruguayan departments by bus is very comfortable and easy.
There are many bus companies that run to all different cities across the country (and also to Brazil and Argentina).
I was surprised by the Uruguayan bus services, even better than in Europe:
Seats are big and comfortable, and the roads are good.
I had very good experiences travelling several hours (sleeping..)
All cities have there own busstation, and the biggest terminal is Tres Cruses in Montevideo. It's go the dynamic athmosfere of an airport.
Here you can take buses to anywhere you want to go.
Estuve 2 o 3 días. Viaje desde Buenos Aires a Montevideo, atravesando el rio de la Plata durante toda la noche. El regreso fue, en una embarcación rapida Aliscafe que 'flota' sobre el agua, en una travesia que duro menos de 2 horas.
Some of the buses going from MVD to Valizas stop in Punta del Este, so you can hop on there. Unfortunately I can't find web info about schedules. The company doing that route and the phone number is: RUTAS DEL SOL - (00598 2) 403 46 57
To go from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, Colonia or Punta del Este (and back) by ferry you have several options depending on time and kind of ferry.
Check www.buquebus.com.uy or www.coloniaexpress.com.uy for timetables and prices.
I needed to get away on a whim from Buenos Aires so I went to the Ferry Terminal to go to Uruguay. There was a storm warning for the Rio de la Plata and ferries were cancelled. No way I was going to return home with my weekender suitcase! I went to the airport and got a flight to Montevideo. It wasn't expensive and I was in a mood where nothing could get in my way.
I left Buenos Aires from Jorge Newbery Airport in town (practical) and forget how long the flight was, it's short anyway. In Montevideo, the Airport is Carrasco, a cab to town cost me about $30... I think. I was so set on getting there that I didn't care. I was treating this escapade as a great holiday so I treated myself to some calm and easy.
The pic has nothing to do with Carrasco Airport. It's taken near Mercado del Puerto (Port Market) in Montevideo. Graffiti advertise a "Neighbourhood Challenge" with Fireworks and Prizes. I was just walking past there to reach Ciudad Vieja. The area was deserted and I moved with purpose.
To Bs.As. there are ferries on a daily basis, with several timetables. It's not a problem. To Rio, as far as I know there are no buses as it's a very long way. Some people go to to Porto Alegre or Florianopolis and then take another bus to Rio. You can check www.trescruces.com.uy (Montevideo bus terminal website) for buses timetables.
Check www.buquebus.com.uy for ferries to/from BS.AS.
There is a another boat alternative to taking the Buquebus through Colonia when travelling between Montevideo and Argentina. This involves a bus between Montevideo and Carmelo, a rapid Cacciola boat between Carmelo and Tigre and a bus between Tigre and Buenos Aires. The total cost is about $20 (US dollars) when bought as a complete package. By just buying the boat passage and included Argentinian bus passage you can breakup the trip with a brief or overnight stop in Carmelo. You can take this route either direction.
My boat trip on the Buquebus from Buenos Aires to Colonia was 56 dollars because I took the rapido (1 hour instead of 5 hours) and had to buy a upper deck ticket because all the others were sold out. I did not continue on immediately with the Buquebuses so I could visit Colonia. The bus fare from Colonia to Montevideo was about 8 dollars.
Buses are inexpensive, but their frequency between small towns leaves something to be desired. Plus you can not stop along the road to take a picture or make a side trip. I found Uruguay to be the country with the safest and easiest driving of all the countries I have visited. I actually found it to be a relaxing pleasure. I did not drive in Montevideo, but even there it seemed the traffic was rational.
The small car I rented cost $18.60 (dollars) a day, but taxes and comprehensive insurance raised that another $20. (I would have saved $2 a day if I bought the insurance from Budget.) Gas was expensive and it was a bit of a surprise to be charged a further $7 per day tax on the car insurance I bought, but parking was easy and generally free in small towns and I could fillup the tank using my credit card. Even though I stayed in economic hotels they all had a place to store my car for the night.
Except along the eastern coast traffic was light and the drivers seemed careful. Signage was a bit of a problem. More than once I had to backtrack to re-read a sign about a turnoff. You can expect the national highways ('rutas') to be paved with good shoulders for pulling over to take a picture. Other roads ('caminos') are less likely to be paved. They did seem to be well maintained but driving on them during a rainy season would probably be more problamatic.
The Montevideo taxis are a show by themselves... I've never seen anything comparable in any other place.... first, the whole taxibusiness seems to be monopolized, at every taxi stand, there is a guy handing out a small piece of paper to the taxidriver once you are about to board the car.. No idea what this is for... All taxis look the same, same colors, same car model ( tiny pieces of cr*p), even if you're a dwarf you'll have problems with the leg space.... But now the best: between the back seats and the driver, there's a supposedly bulletproof glass..... and (!!) (sorry I didn't take a pic of this gadget) there's a very primitive, tiny weenie slot where you have to shove the money for the ride to the driver and where you'll get your change.... of course I asked a taxidriver about all this, but the answer was not very convincing... there had been one or two assaults ( duhhh) and that's why.... OK...
Pic # 1: Camila in a taxi and good gosh, the jeopardized cabbie is so safe from her, pooooh !!!
Pic # 2: a chopper , maybe for a quick ride from Carrasco Airport to the city center... ?
Pic # 3: the latest in motorized technology and brandnew design for the day trip to Punta del Este
Pics # 4 and 5: Airplane ! Pluna , the excellent uruguayan airline ... in pic 4 the plane flies to the left, therefore to the west to Montevideo !!! (lol) ... in pic 5 (you guessed it) the plane flies to the right, therefore east, therefore back to São Paulo... !!!!
It's always reassuring to know that the pilot knows his orientation and coordinates.....
fisherman, a very noble trade in Uruguay and a way to make a good living those days, the Atlantic a rough workplace
or at the Rio Tigre, seen here you can get a fair down the River from Carmelo to Argentina or vice versa, a great way to combine the two countries
coming from Brazil, by Coach on the Pan Americana..Highway
or by Plane from Porto Alegre
rent a car
please feel free to copy this map
be aware great distances have to be covered...from P.A./Brasil it took as over 12hours to arrive in Montevideo by Bus, have your passport handy
by Plane these days..2 hours maybe
The best way to get to Uruguay from Buenos Aires is by ferry. Buquebus is the company that operates the ferries. The regular ferry takes 3 hours and leaves B.A. around 9:00am, arriving in Colonia at 1:00 pm (don't forget - Uruguay is one hour ahead of Argentina). The return boat leaves Colonia in the evening to go back to Buenos Aires. They also have an express boat if I remember well, as well as boats that go to Montevideo.
It costs about $35 US for a return ticket to Colonia. Half that for one way. You can buy the tickets at the ferry terminal, or in downtown Buenos Aires at Av. Cordoba, 879..
The ferry is free seating inside, or you can just hang around the lounge or deck. It's a big boat, and even has duty-free shops. You're crossing into another country, so don't forget your passport; you'll have to clear customs before embarking.
Uruguay has nice buses offering express service between its cities. Several companies serve the same destinations. It's all pretty straighforward, except for one confusing thing I had never encountered anywhere else before: the "car" (coche) number!
Your bus ticket will have a seat number, as well as a car number. At first I thought this was weird, since normally only trains have car numbers, so I ignored it... and had to do part of a trip standing!
It turns out that a company will often have more than one bus going to the same destination at the same time! Each bus is identified by a big number in the window, e.g. 1,2,3, etc. If you get on the wrong bus (like I did) and somebody with the same seat number boards later on, you're out of luck.
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