For the longest time, I’ve been thinking of a way for me to visit Uruguay as part of my next South America trip. The most logical way to visit Uruguay is to take the ferry from Buenos Aires to go to Colonia or Montevideo. Because of the pandemic, this plan is not as easy as it used to be.
After my flight booking with my Aeroplan points got messed up, changing my flight route was required. One of my flight segments got eliminated destroying my entire points redemption. I ended up having to call the Aeroplan call centre several times to resolve this issue. However, an idea came to my mind during this process. Since taking the ferry between Argentina and Uruguay is a big problem, why don’t I just fly out of Montevideo instead of Buenos Aires?
VIDEO – Country #90: Uruguay
Argentina to Uruguay ferry
Crossing over to Uruguay turned out to be a frustrating experience. After doing my due diligence and researching the hell out of the process of taking the ferry to Colonia, I was hit with a major roadblock. The immigration woman told Karen and me that we need to fill out an exit form before we leave. This exit form was never mentioned on any websites at the time we travelled there so we were caught off guard. To make matters worst, you can’t fill out a paper form and it has to be done electronically. After trying to fill out the form on our phone, for some reason, we couldn’t submit it. Turns out the English version of this exit form doesn’t work. We filled out the Spanish version and once it went through, off we went to the Uruguay side of the immigration.
The frustration continues
The Uruguayan immigration officer started mocking the Argentine side when we asked if they also had an exit form. The guy tells us “What is the point of this? There is no point, I don’t know why they have this useless form.”
It was a funny moment. Not long after, we boarded the ferry only to be met with more frustration.
Turns out the ferry was going to be delayed. Waiting for 3 hours really sucks because it cut time out of us exploring Colonia.
After a comfortable 1-hour ferry ride, we made it to Colonia.
Booking our bus and storing luggage
As soon as we arrived in Colonia, the first thing we did was book our bus to Montevideo. Sadly, it looks like we will only have 1-hour of exploration thanks to the ferry delay. I felt bummed out by this because I was hoping to eat some local seafood. From the reviews I’ve read, I heard they are amazing.
Across the street from the bus terminal is a place to store our luggage. This was our first introduction to Uruguay prices compared to Argentina. Unfortunately, it was painfully obvious that prices in this country are not as appealing as back in Argentina.
Exploring Colonia’s historic quarter
After storing our luggage, off we went to explore the historic old town in Colonia.
The old town is beautiful with colonial-style buildings and streets made of cobbled stones.
As we made our way out of the historic old town, we found a friendly golden retriever who starting hanging out with us.
Colonia to Montevideo bus ride
Our exploration was short and sweet. Again, my only regret is not trying the famous seafood.
The bus ride to Montevideo was interesting. It reminded me of my time in Colombia where buses would randomly stop to pick up passengers.
We knew we were in the Montevideo greater area when the traffic jam became really bad. I was surprised by how bad the traffic was in this country. I’ve always envisioned Uruguay to be a relaxed country. Turns out it was similar to the most densely populated city.
Scenic taxi ride to our hotel in Montevideo
Before long, our bus arrived at the bus terminal in Montevideo which was attached to a mall. I regret not eating at the mall because food prices were much more affordable there than our hotel later on. After stepping outside the mall to grab a taxi, the locals lining up welcomed us. It gave us the impression that it’s been a while since they last saw tourists.
The taxis in Uruguay are quite small and I hit my head really hard trying to get in the car. It sucked. At least the taxi ride to our hotel was scenic as we drove right beside the beach.
We’re not in Argentina anymore
As soon as we arrived at the hotel, we soon realized how expensive travelling in Uruguay can be. The restaurant in the hotel was charging $20 USD on average for a regular meal. Karen and I were cringing at these horrible prices after having a great time in Argentina with their much more affordable prices.
We arrived fairly late in our hotel which didn’t give us much time to sleep before our flight very early the next morning.
Flying out of Uruguay
The next day, we took a cab to the airport and paid with hybrid Uruguay Pesos and US Dollars. Karen and I found the airport to be impressive. In all of South America, the Montevideo airport was hands down the nicest. They were also efficient and going through immigration was handled with electronic gates.
While our flight was delayed, I got a chance to use the lounge thanks to one of my credit cards. Before long, we left Uruguay to head to our next destination which is Paraguay.
Our time in Uruguay was short and sweet. Despite only spending one day in Uruguay, I felt that it was enough. While the country has many friendly people and a nice beach, it also wasn’t as affordable as other South American nations. I probably won’t return here again and our one day visit was enough for me.