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After two days in Buenos Aires exploring sites like the Recoleta Cemetery and the boutique filled streets of Palermo we were excited to check out a bit of South American countryside and enjoy a wine tasting respite. I published a guide yesterday that gave an overview of ferries to/from Buenos Aires and Colonia, and today we show you a bit of the Buquebus and what it’s like to cruise on international waters for an hour.
We did everything online via their site, paid roughly $50 a piece, and ran into zero issues. We went straight economy and didn’t regret it. The boat ride is short, and the only real advantage of Business class is you’ll board earlier and leave the boat sooner.
Neither Dave nor I really thought too much about arriving an hour before our ferry. In fact, it wasn’t until we were checking out of the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires and told the front desk associate our plans that we realized we were cutting it super close. Luckily, our taxi driver booked it to the port, and we had no issues picking up our tickets at the check-in counter.
We also avoided having to check our luggage. Both of us were using international carry on bags plus a backpack/smaller case.
This is something to be VERY aware of on your trip. You’ll first clear Argentinian immigration. Directly after it you’ll speak to someone else in another booth which happens to be Uruguayan immigration.
I wasn’t aware we’d be doing this back to back, but was happy to get stamps and avoid any hassle upon arrival and disembarkment.
Here’s the problem. The lady that processed Dave’s passport didn’t give him a stamp. We even spoke about it on the car ride from the Colonia port to Carmelo and kind of wrote it off as no big deal.
It was a big deal. In fact, it took us close to an hour upon departure, two days later, to resolve the issue because they wouldn’t let him out of the country.
Lesson. Get your stamps.
We stopped for some coffee and boy was that a mistake. Get in line early. It goes from being a couple people casually chatting to a couple hundred deep in a few minutes. Add in the propensity of certain individuals to avoid waiting and cutting, and we found ourselves DEEP in line over the cost of some bad joe.
You can get business class, but it’s not worth it IMO. It has its own area of seating, but the boat is old, and you’re not really getting anything distinguished for paying extra. As I said…you get on and off quicker, so if that’s worth a 20 spot, go for it.
It’s two decks. Snack bar, duty free, etc.
We sat in the back of the boat.
Arrival into Colonia
You’ll exit the boat through the cargo hold. While we didn’t see many people exit with their vehicles, there is clearly the space to transport them.
You’ll exit the boat and then enter into the port of Colonia where you’ll need to put your bags through x ray machines. It’s a free for all, so don’t be shy, act like your kid wants the last Elmo doll and throw some bows 😉 You’ll fit in just fine.
Easy peasy, well run, and on time. No complaints here aside from the lack of an immigration stamp which had nothing to with Buquebus, and the orderless mess that arrival security is in Colonia.
We took the Colonia Express on the way back, which I’m also reviewing and you can read about below, and I’d personally go with whatever is cheapest and fits your schedule. Not a lot of difference.
Definitely work in visiting Uruguay if you’re traveling through Buenos Aires. We had a great time at the Narbona winery, and the Carmelo Resort is truly world class.
South America 2018: Buenos Aires, Uruguayan Wine Country, Iguazu Falls, and Rio
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- How we problem solved a passport stamp issue in Uruguay
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