Take Buquebus to Uruguay

Buquebus (BOO-kay-boos) is the name of ferries that operate between Buenos Aires and Uruguay. A trip to Uruguay can be a fun day trip or weekend excursion.

Buquebus ferries run daily between Buenos Aires and two Uruguay destinations: Colonia and Montevideo. Colonia is a small historic town with cobblestone streets and restored buildings. Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay. It’s like a mini Buenos Aires with about a million inhabitants.

Another popular destination in Uruguay is Punta del Este, a beach resort on the ocean. Ferries don’t run directly to Punta del Este. Instead you have to take a ferry to either Colonia or Montevideo, then take a bus from there. You can arrange the bus transportation through Buquebus at the same time you buy your ferry ticket.

The trip between Buenos Aires and Colonia takes 3 hours on the regular ferry or just 1 hour on the fast ferry. The trip to Montevideo takes 3 hours on the fast ferry.

The bus ride from Montevideo to Punta del Este is about 2 hours.

Tickets are not expensive. For example, a round-trip ticket in tourist class from Buenos Aires to Colonia on the fast ferry costs about 260 pesos (roughly US$75). The slow ferry is even cheaper. First class tickets are available, though I find there’s plenty of room in tourist class. 

Buquebus often has good package deals to Colonia, Montevideo and Punta del Este that include ferry, hotel and bus transfers if needed. These special offers are posted on their website and in the travel section of the Sunday newspapers. At the time of this writing there is a special weekend offer of 124 pesos (about US$36) for a roundtrip ticket to Colonia on the slow ferry. 

You can buy tickets online at the Buquebus website, at the terminal which is located in Puerto Madero, or at one of the Buquebus offices. Offices are located in Recoleta at Posadas 1452, downtown at Córdoba 879, and at the Retiro bus station.

To take the ferry you will need your passport and the tourist card you received when you originally entered Argentina. When you leave Uruguay you will have to pay a departure tax. If I recall correctly the tax is about US$12.

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