The fastest and safest way to get to the Uruguayan coasts is leaving from the ferry terminals of Darsena Norte and Darsena Sur in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires.
The company Buquebus has a large and modern ferry terminal at the beginning of the North Darsena that shares with the company Seacat, so it is not very difficult to approach there walking, by taxi or bus. Regarding to Colonia Express, the terminal is located in the South Darsena, a few steps from the Casino of Puerto Madero.
The boarding and disembarking process is similar than an airport, you must show your passport, go through customs and check-in until 20 minutes before the departure of the ship. The difference here is that there is no charge for luggage and there isn’t a serious control of it.
Currently the company Buquebus offers two types of boats: Big ferry and a speedboat. Step to detail each one below:
Speedboat, with capacity for 450 passengers arrives in Colonia Uruguay in 1 hour and a half; while the ferry with twice the capacity is a little bit slower and takes about 3 hours to Colonia and 5 hours to the Uruguayan Capital, Montevideo. The best recommendation if you want to experiment and if you have time, is to combine one way with one boat and return with the other. As expected, the cost of the speedboat is a more expensive but compensates the cost if you don’t have enough time.
Something no less important to mention is that on the ship you can buy food since the catering service is not included in the ticket. Needless to say, the ship also carries vehicles at extra cost.
Companies: Buquebus, Seacat, Colonia Express
Buquebus Terminal in Argentina:
Cecilia Grierson 25, at Av. Cordoba, Puerto Madero Norte
Tel: 011 4316-6500
Colonia Express Terminal:
Av. Elvira Rawson de Dellepiane 155, Puerto Madero Sur.
Tel.: +54 (11) 4317-4100
Route Buenos Aires – Colonia
1hour 30 min fast boat
3 hours Ferry
Route Buenos Aires – Montevideo
Duration: 5 hours
For more information about how to get and visiting in Montevideo follow the post: http://www.rumbonseo.com/uruguay-en/the-uruguays-capital-montevideo/
Colonia de Sacramento, Uruguay
Colonia is a small city but very picturesque and interesting; its historical centre located a step away from the ferry terminal was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and you can visit everything in less than 2 hours so tourists usually go back and forth in the day or they spend a weekend in Colonia.
In few blocks within the historical centre you can visit cobbled streets, Spanish-Portuguese constructions from the past, the fort, the lighthouse and a good offer of bars and local gastronomy.
If you want to venture a bit further to the outside of the conventional tourist circuit you can visit “La Plaza de Toros” or “bullring“, about 3 kms from the historic centre. Although the name sounds like a typical Spanish bullring, the true is it has never served for that purpose and nowadays it an abandoned and in danger of collapse complex.
for getting there I rented a bike in a square in the centre of Colonia which is also convenient and economical to travel through the coast.
Buenos Aires, Argentina – Punta del Este, Uruguay
There aren’t direct ferries from Punta del Este, you must buy the ticket to Montevideo and then there is a bus service for an extra cost. Another option are buses of different companies from the Montevideo terminal with connection Puerto Ballena.
Montevideo – Punta del Este
Company: COPSA, COT, Buquebus
Frequency: Every 30 minutes
Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes
Visit the following post for more information about beaches in Uruguay: http://rumbonseo.com/uruguay/balnearios-de-la-costa-uruguaya/
El Tigre, Buenos Aires – Carmelo, Uruguay
Another cheaper and less glamorous alternative to reach the Uruguayan coasts is to use boats or ferries from the company Caccola that leave from the Tigre terminal. The problem of this option is that the terminal is far from city centre; approximately 35kms away.
The route is limited to Carmelo which is a small city on the coast of the Rio de la Plata from which you can buy a bus ticket to Montevideo and combine with the ferry from the company Caccola.
Tigre – Carmelo
Duration: 2hs 30min
Frequency: 2 per day
Entre Ríos, Argentina – Uruguay
In this Argentinean province we can choose between three international bridges built between the two countries between 60’s and 70’s:
- Libertador San Martín International bridge: Link Fray Bentos Uruguay with Gualeguaychú Entre Ríos, Argentina
- General José Gervasio Artigas International bridge: Link Cólon Entre Ríos with Paysandú, Uruguay
- Salto Grande International bridge: Link Concordia, Argentina with Salto Uruguay
The bus frequency is relatively good if you leave Buenos Aires from Retiro terminal to any of the cities mentioned above, although you have to check previously the state of the bridges, international buses and tension in the area before venturing to cross.
Route Buenos Aires – Fray Bentos, Uruguay
If you leave from Buenos Aires and you want to cross to Uruguay by bus you can do it by the Libertador San Martín bridge that connects the city of Gualeguaychú with Fray Bentos. The buses depart from the Retiro terminal with good frequency but you need to change in the city of Gualeguaychú.
Visit the following post for more details about how to get Fray Bentos: http://www.rumbonseo.com/uruguay-en/travelling-from-gualeguaychu-to-fray-bentos
Route Buenos Aires – Paysandú, Uruguay
To get to Paysandú from Buenos Aires you must first get to Colón Entre Ríos or Concepción del Uruguay in Argentina from the Retiro terminal and then change with an international bus from the company Rio Uruguay or Coopay to be able to cross General José Gervasio Artigas’ Bridge.
Cólon – Paysandú
Companies: Rio Uruguay, Coopay
Duration: 45 minutes
Concepción del Uruguay – Paysandú
Company: Rio Uruguay, Coopay
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
For bus schedules from Retiro Terminal please follow the next link: https://www.plataforma10.com.ar/pasajes-micro
Route Buenos Aires – Salto, Uruguay
To get to Salto in Uruguay from Buenos Aires you can do it with a direct night bus from the company Flecha Bus or if you do not want to travel at night the best option is from the Retiro terminal in Buenos Aires to the city of Concordia, Entre Ríos.
There are two ways for getting the city of Salto from Concordia, Entre Ríos: The first option is via Ferry and second option is by an international bus crossing the Salto Grande bridge.
- By bus: It takes an hour to cross the bridge with Flecha Bus. There are 2 frequencies a day.
- By ferry: It is a boat for several passengers with 2 to 4 frequencies by day.
Buenos Aires – Salto
Company: Flecha Bus, Coit
Duration: 8 hours
Frequency: 1 per day
Website with schedule: http://www.flechabus.com.ar/