Uruguay is a pretty small country in South America. The whole country has only 3.3 million citizens which is roughly the size of the population of Berlin, the capital of Germany. From Buenos Aires you have multiple opportunities to travel to Uruguay: by road, by air or by sea. While the first option takes you an overnight drive, the last two are more convenient. I chose the last one which is crossing the Río de la Plata by ferry boat. Buquebus is the company operating the ferry and there are daily boats between Buenos Aires in Argentina and Colonia & Montevideo in Uruguay. The whole round trip from Buenos Aires to Montevideo inkl. a tourist bus in Montevideo costs approx. 180 USD.
I remembered during my last stay in Buenos Aires I thought about going to Uruguay but had difficulties to find the spot at the harbor from which the ferry departs. Therefore, I simply took a taxi this morning trusting the taxi driver knowing where to go. It turned out the Buquebus terminal is in a very prominent spot in the harbor and it was only a short drive to go there. Check-in went pretty smoothly since I had already purchased an electronic ticket online. Immigration was easy too. As a German citizen I don’t need a visa and both immigration officers (Argentina and Uruguay) where right here in the harbor in Buenos Aires so you don’t need to see any immigration office upon arrival in Uruguay.
The ferry to Montevideo departed at 8am. It was pretty packed so you had to find a spot to sit and then remain seated if you don’t want your seat being occupied by somebody else and you standing for the rest of the journey. The ride took only three hours and I was snoozing most of the time.
When we arrived at 11am it started to rain heavily. The weather didn’t really invite to discover the city by foot. So I took the Buquebus tourist bus which drives you for 2h 15min around in town. During the tour I discovered there are no real sites in the city. You basically have the Plaza Independencia with the statue of José Gervasio Artigas, the old town around the harbor, the downtown area with shops, the Tres Cruces transport nodal point, the luxurious residential area Carrasco and the Punta Carretas Shopping mall. That’s basically it. Montevideo also features a beach area which reminded me of Rio but it’s much less crowded. Compared to cities like Buenos Aires or Rio, Montevideo also appears less developed and everything is a bit more basic but nice to experience. I found it also interesting to see most street signs have a kind of advertising area showing the name of a private company which has probably sponsored the sign. I don’t really like this idea since there should be some public space in the city which shouldn’t be owned or sponsored by private companies.
After the sightseeing tour by bus I spent some time walking around the old town and the downtown area before catching the ferry back to Buenos Aires at 7:15pm. Upon arrival in the hotel around 11pm I ran into some people on their way to a pub around the corner and joined them for a drink.