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In 60 minutes you’ll be ferried to another country.
I would highly recommend leaving the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires and taking the 1 hour ferry ride between Buenos Aires and Colonia, Uruguay. We really debated visiting Montevideo, but we only had 2 nights budgeted, and I’m really happy we opted to experience the countryside vs another city. Colonia is a gorgeous town with cobble stone streets, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and if all you can manage is a day trip, do it.
We decided we wanted to venture a bit further out, and visited Carmelo, which is set amidst the emerging Uruguayan wine country. We ultimately used points to stay at the 5 star Carmelo Resort ( featured image ) which is absolutely stunning, but if you’re paying cash, I would seriously consider a room at the gorgeous Narbelo Winery. It’s a stunning property with a farm to table menu, welcoming staff, and wine for days.
Taking a few days to leave city life behind rejuvenated our trip, and I would highly recommend the Carmelo Resort and the Narbelo winery. Even if you stay downtown Colonia for the night, I think it’d behoove you to rent a car and experience the wine passion unfolding just 60 minutes away.
The 3 ferry companies that operate the route between Buenos Aires and Colonia
How many ferries are there?
There are ferries throughout the day. Double check the schedules as these were accurate at the time of publishing, but may have changed. Additionally, we paid roughly the prices listed below which ranged from $40 to $60.
Buquebus operates the following schedule
Seacat operates the following schedule ( prices are for a random date )
Remember you’re traveling Internationally
This means arriving to the port with plenty of time to pass through Immigration. In fact, immigration is back to back, meaning you’ll go through both countries Immigration one booth after another.
*Make sure your passport gets stamped going in and out of the country. My buddy’s passport somehow didn’t get stamped going into Uruguay and it was quite the headache trying to get it sorted when we wanted to transit back to Buenos Aires.
How we booked and planned our trip
On the way over to Colonia we waited until the night before, and arrived at the port with roughly an hour until departure. Our boat was packed, and an hour is cutting it pretty tight. I’d highly recommend queueing up 20 mins prior to boarding if you want your pick of seats on the boat as well. We ultimately found two seats next to one another, but not in the area that we would have preferred. Note that there aren’t luggage racks, but there is a small duty free shop, snack bar, and separated business class cabin.
On the way back from Colonia to Buenos Aires we booked the night before and then arrived with far more time, thankfully because Dave didn’t have an entry stamp and had to get it sussed out before they’d let us pass through immigration.
You can also buy tickets on arrival.
This is one aspect that needs to be ironed out. Since many people are arriving with vehicles and checked bags, you will need to pass through baggage scans prior to your admittance into Uruguay. It’s unbelievably disorganized, and if you try and politely find your place in line, you’ll get cut, elbowed, and jockeyed out of position.
The town, and car rental agencies, are an easy walk from the port. If you’re getting picked up, like we were, to head on out to Carmelo, your driver will find you in the welcome hall
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Monkey Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Monkey Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers
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