You can travel from Argentina to Uruguay (Buenos Aires to Montevideo) and vice versa by plane, ferry, bus and road. Here we help you decide the best way for you to get between the two South American capitals.
Montevideo direct by ferry – just two hours from Buenos Aires
If you want to get straight to Montevideo in as short a time and with as little hassle as possible, we recommend coming by ferry. Buquebus (which has a monopoly) runs two direct voyages to Montevideo per day which take 2hrs 12 minutes. The boat is called Francisco after the Pope and can transport 1,000 passengers and 200 vehicles at speeds of 100 km per hour (over 60 mph).
A cheaper alternative – the cheaper ferry/bus combo
If you want to save money, your alternative is a ferry-bus combination from Buenos Aires to Montevideo run by three ferry companies, Buquebus, Colonia Express and Seacat. They take you by ferry to Colonia (this takes an hour) and then onto Montevideo by bus. The trip takes between four and five hours. Buquebus and Seacat are both owned by Buquebus and get preferential treatment at the port. So Colonia Express, the competition, takes slightly longer.
Stopping off in Colonia del Sacramento
If you want to sight-see, we recommend stopping off for the afternoon or longer in the UNESCO Heritage city of Colonia on your way to or from Montevideo. All three companies sell tickets to Colonia.
WARNING You cannot stop off when you buy a Buenos Aires-Montevideo ticket Yes, we know, the ticket says “via Colonia”. But they won’t let you make a stop-off. Here’s what you do if you want to stop off for the afternoon in Colonia.
Why take the ferry when you can fly?
Environmental reasons aside, there are several reasons to take the boat to Montevideo rather than fly:
- Plane tickets are usually more expensive (but not always).
- The airport is 30-40 minutes from the centre of Montevideo. The port is right in the city centre.
- Transfers from the airport to the city centre cost around 40 USD, adding to your costs significantly.
- There is an airport tax, whereas there is no port tax (or if there is it is a couple of USD).
- In the Southern winter time, the airport in Montevideo is frequently fog-bound in the mornings, leading to delayed or cancelled flights.
- Coming into Montevideo by boat, and leaving Buenos Aires by boat, gives you unique views of each city.
If you do decide to fly, make sure you check out which airlines flying to Montevideo that you should avoid.
Book your ferry stress-freeDirect Ferries, a UK based ferry travel aggregator, allows you to book ferry crossings across the globe—including Argentina-Uruguay ferries. It’s super easy to use and will save you the hassle of using the local sites. This page includes affiliate links. When you book using Direct Ferries, we earn a small fee. Thank you for supporting Guru’Guay 🇺🇾
Travelling by bus from Buenos Aires to Montevideo
You can also travel by bus from Buenos Aires to Montevideo however we do not recommend it. The bus needs to go several hours north along the River Uruguay before it can finally head east into Uruguay. We do however recommend coming by bus if you are coming from more cities to the north of Buenos Aires such as Cordoba or Rosario. It will save you money and time, as you travel overnight in comfortable coche-cama (international long distance buses have reclining seats similar to those in first-class of airlines).
So… what’s the best way to travel from Buenos Aires to Montevideo?
- If you want to save time, come by direct ferry to Montevideo.
- If you have time and want to sight-see, break your journey in Colonia.
- Or if you need to save money, the ferry-bus combo is usually cheapest.
- Check out our review of Buenos Aires-Montevideo ferry prices
- The Best and Worst Airlines flying to South America Readers have told us they saved over 500 USD after reading this article
- Our guidebooks The Guru’Guay Guide to Montevideo (paperback), The Guru’Guide to Montevideo (audiobook) and The Guru’Guay Guide to Uruguay: Beaches, Ranches & Wine Country have all the info you need to make planning your trip to Uruguay a breeze. They are the only English-language Uruguay guidebooks written by an author actually based in Uruguay, and it shows. Don’t believe us, check out their great Amazon reviews. Guru’Guay is proud to be part of Uruguay’s national country brand
[Article first published: Jun 29, 2014. Lots of people read it, so we keep it as up to date as possible]
Photo: Matias Contreras on Unsplash
I am going to stop in Colonia en route to MVD. We are to land in Colonia at 130 pm. I was hoping to catch a bus around 430. Is that 3 hours enough to do a quick walk around or should I get a later bus to MVD.
Hi Jeff, Colonia is very sweet so if I were you, I’d give it a few hours more if you can. Best, Karen
I am planning travel to Buenos Aires then Montevideo. I am looking at taking the ferry over. I am looking at the checked bag policy and from what I understand, you can have 2 checked bags but it can only total 20 kg. Is this accurate or am I not reading correctly? I plan on having 2 checked bags plus a carry on. I tried reaching out to Buquebus but I don’t think they fully understood me. They just said I am fine with 2 checked bags but didn’t respond about the total weight. Please help…I really want to visit both cities.
Michael, I’ve never seen anyone stopped for baggage weight on a ferry. I think you can relax on this one. Have a great time! — Karen
Hi Karen, I am in the process of attempting to book ferry tickets from BA to Montevideo and then back to BA from Colonia in November this year. I have found – and it seems easier! – that there is the following site https://www.directferries.co.uk/buenos_aires_montevideo_ferry.htm that removes the hassle of the actual companies websites! Is this one that you know about and is actually a trusted sales site? Veronica
Hi Veronica, I have seen the site advertised but have never used it myself. I’d LOVE to hear your feedback. All the best, Karen
Hi Karen, Your website/blog is amazing and so useful. I am going to attempt to navigate the ferry websites for our trip to Montevideo from BA! We plan to leave BA on a Monday and return back on the Wednesday- so that’s 2 nights and 3 days.
At the moment we’re looking at getting the ferry to Colonia on Monday morning, spend the afternoon wandering around Colonia, and then get the bus to Montevideo. On the Wednesday return, we will get the direct boat back to BA from Montevideo.
I have a couple of questions:
-Is this bus from Colonia to Montevideo a scenic trip?
-With your knowledge would you say that this is a good itinerary? We could get the direct ferry to Montevideo both times, but felt we should try and squeeze in Colonia.
The ferry sites are a little confusing with so many currencies. However if I am understanding it correctly it will be about $155 (USD) per person return.
-Does that sound about right? It is quite expensive!!
-When would you suggest we book the tickets? (We are travelling in March)
Thanks Karen, I look forward to hearing from you.
Hi Sally, thanks for the kind words! The bus from Colonia to Montevideo is scenic but not the most interesting. It’s a long straight road over gently rolling plains. Your itinerary is the best way to do it if you’d like to see Colonia as well as Montevideo. Regarding prices, if you look at my article for prices for the ferry from Montevideo to Buenos Aires and Colonia-Buenos Aires ferry prices you’ll see that’s quite standard. That latter article also suggests when to buy your tickets. Cheers! Karen
We took that trip in the opposite direction last October- November, though were unable to get the direct ferry on a Saturday. Colonia is worth the stop. The bus ride is a bit long but very comfortable and even has wifi, though sometimes intermittent. I would reccommend purchasing Karen’s book. We found it very useful. We ate at several of the restaurants mentioned and were not disappointed. Es Mercat and Sin Pretensiones were our favorites. She also mentions bike rentals. We spent several hours biking on the Rambla which was really fun.
We had an early morning bus to Colonia and stayed at Ciudano Suites(booking.com) right across the street from the bus station (and large shopping mall…very convenient as my husband had forgotten to pack socks for our one month trip!). Not a very exciting hotel but clean, inexpensive and very convenient.
On our return we stayed in Colonia, arriving in the late evening. We had a mid-afternoon bus back to Montevideo. If you can visit Colonia in the early morning. It can get quite “touristy”later in the day. A couple of hours is plenty to see the old town. We had excellent pizza at Napo Pizza Napolitana on a small side street (18 de Julio) with out door tables and fewer tourists. Enjoy your trip!
Thanks so much for sharing, Carol, you’ve given Sally some great information. And so glad you loved my book! Which one did you get? The Montevideo one or the Uruguay one?
I got the one on Montevideo as we only had a few days in Uruguay. Loved it. Will be back and will get the other one then!
That’s so great to hear! That you loved the guidebook and that you’ll be back! People just fall in love with Uruguay 🙂 If you’d love to do us an Amazon review, we’d be very appreciative. All the best Karen
Hi Carol and Karen,
Thank you both so much for your comments. Really is very helpful! I was going back and forth on what we should do!! However on the back of what you have said, we are going to jump on the ferry in BA on Monday morning to Colonia. Spend all morning in Colonia and then hop on a bus that same afternoon to Montevideo – as you’ve said its less touristy in the morning we’ll try and get the first ferry over on Monday. We’ll then spend 2 nights in Montevideo, and get the direct ferry back over to BA on the Wednesday.
Just to double check:
-we will need to buy the one way ferry ticket to Colonia (which we’ll buy in advance)
-then once in Colonia pick up a bus ticket to Montevideo? Are bus tickets easy to purchase in Colonia? Or do we try doing this in advance as well? Do you know how much the bus tickets roughly are?
I’ve had a look at all the various ferry websites, amazing how the prices differ so much. Seacat is the cheapest by a long way but frustrating you cannot book online with an international credit card.
I’ve had a look at Parrilla Tours, as you suggested Karen, and they mention a company called Colonia Ferry- a website selling ferry tickets, easy to use and accepts international credit cards. Is this legitimate?
I will have a look at the books that Carol has suggested I buy.
Just when I think I have my head around everything, other things crop up!!
Just to double check:
-we will need to buy the one way ferry ticket to Colonia (which we’ll buy in advance) — Yes
-then once in Colonia pick up a bus ticket to Montevideo? Are bus tickets easy to purchase in Colonia? Or do we try doing this in advance as well? Do you know how much the bus tickets roughly are? — Easy to buy at the bus station next door. Read my article on Colonia.
I’ve never heard of Colonia Ferry- a website selling ferry tickets, easy to use and accepts international credit cards — but Parrilla Tours is definitely legit and if they recommend them then it must be fine.
I will have a look at the books that Carol has suggested I buy. — You should! Given they are my guidebooks 😉 There are links at the very bottom of this page 😉
Great article! I read through all the questions and have not found out exactly what I was looking for…but did find info on things I had not thought of!
Husband and I are arriving at MVD early Oct 25. We plan on visiting Montevideo on the 25th and 26th then a ferry to BA on the 27th. On the Buquebus site I can only find one direct ferry in the evening of Sat 27/10. You mentioned several times that there are two direct ferries. Do they still exist? We need to arrive fairly early (no later than 3PM) in BA
Not seeing a morning direct ferry we are looking at the bus/ferry combination (we will stop in Colonia and more of Montevideo on our way back 3 weeks later). If we buy our tickets in advance how early do we need to be at Tres Cruceros bus station for a 7AM (!) bus? We will have two small “carry-on” suitcases and a mid-size suitcase. What are the luggage policies….my Spanish is not good enough to understand much on their website!
The 7 AM bus is actually less expensive on Buquebus than on Seacat and Colonia express is not showing October departures yet.
Hi Carol, yes there are usually two direct ferry runs per day to BA from Montevideo, one in the morning leaving at 11am and the other leaving at 7.30pm and both run by BuqueBus. However it appears to be that there is only an evening ferry on Saturdays as you have found. So in that case you will have to take the bus/ferry combo. They tell you to be there an hour before boarding the bus but that is ridiculous. All you will do is wait around. You can cruise up 30 minutes before (or less if you are like me) without a problem. The bus will go at 7am on the dot though. LUGGAGE: A carry on plus a main piece of luggage is standard, so no worries about that. No problem! How come you are just staying in Uruguay two days??? I hope you are coming back later!! 🙂 — Karen
Thanks Karen! We are coming back after Argentina. We found great frequent flyer tickets to MVD but not BA, which was out original destination….then I read about Montevideo and Colonia and added a week to our trip!. For the night before the 7AM bus I booked a room at Cuidadano Suites right across from the bus station as my husband is not “a morning perrson”. Boring but practical!
That’s so cool you added a week after reading about Uruguay – I hope you read it here! 🙂
Hi, please can you tell me the easiest way to take the ferry from Buenos Aires to Uruguary with a bicycle, I really would prefer to ride to the departure point rather than have to box the bike. many thanks, Hugh ps looking forward to reading your book.
Hi Hugh, it took us a little while to research the info and there’s good news! It’s actually really easy. You can either go to Buquebus or Colonia Express and say you want to take your bicycle with you. It will travel in the ship’s hold. And there are no extra charges for it. Sometimes they will ask you to the front wheel off, it depends on how much space they have available. Note, if you plan to travel to Montevideo via Colonia with the ferry companies you will have to pack your bike once in Colonia. Alternatively take the direct ferry to Montevideo and Bob’s your uncle! Cycling all the way! — Karen (and Ximena who helped research the response)
Driving from Montevideo airport to Salto then down to Colonia to take ferry to Buenos Aires. Is there rental car return option in Colonia as will be renting car. Perhaps flight, train or bus to Salto then work way to Colonia to not worry about retuning car?
Hi Tony, our recommended car hire company has offices in Montevideo, Colonia and Punta del Este so you can totally do this by car. In fact they will drop the car off for you at the airport on your arrival free of charge. Beware that the drive to Salto is rather long (500 km). I am not sure what the roads are like at this time but roads in the interior are often not that great and need to be driven at 60-70 km per hour. There are no flights, other than private flights and no passenger trains. So your other option is a bus which takes 6-7 hours depending in which you choose from the centre of Montevideo to the centre of the city of Salto. You would need to ask your accommodation about how easy it is to get by bus from Salto to Colonia. Good luck! — Karen
I was just thinking, if you are coming from Argentina then you may actually be able to take an international bus to Salto which would probably be much more convenient. Again this is something I would recommend you discuss with your accommodation. Cheers! — Karen
I am enjoying MVD having arrived from the North by plane from Miami. I am at a small apart-hotel in Pocitas. Does Buquebus provide some kind of shuttle service from hotel to Buquebus port here in MVD or is taxi the only way to get there? Thanks ahead of time.
Hi Donzinho, Montevideo is small so wherever you are the port is a short taxi ride. From Pocitos it will take you about 15 minutes and cost about 200 pesos (about 7 USD). All the best, Karen
This is a great website for information on travel to Uruguay. Thank you!
We are traveling to Montevideo, from Buenos Aires, for four days and want to stop in Colonio de Sacremento on the way back to Buenos Aires.. Our plan is to take the ferry to MVD, the bus to Col and the ferry from Col to BA.
My question is…..is there a secure location we can leave our bags until we depart on the evening ferry back to BA?
Hi there Terra yes, there is a luggage deposit at the bus station in Colonia. More about that in my article on Colonia. All the best, Karen PS. Thanks for the kind words about the site – if you’d like to help us exist into the future, please check out how you can support Guru’Guay
Thank you very much, this was a very interesting article. We chose the buquebus. Even though it is a bit more expensive we found it was reliable and did exactly what we expected from it, which is to take us to Buenos Aires from Montevideo. I was not aware of the luxury bus/coach services though. It would be nice to stop in Entre Rios province. We just wrote our view about it too: http://travelcritix.com/travel-buenos-aires-montevideo/
Thank you very much
Coming over from Australia and travelling from BA to Montevideo. I have looked at Seacat and see the price is the cheapest. It says the time it takes 4 hrs (approx). Do these seacat ferries between the two cities go via Colonia, or is the journey non stop/direct and just takes that long?
Appreciate your comments
Hi Warren only Buquebus travels direct by ferry from BA to MVD. The others take you by ferry to Colonia and then directly on by bus to Mvd, so it is a longer trip. — Karen
Great read and very appreciate your effort for helping everyone (hopefully me as well).
I just wanted to clarify one thing:
I have book my bus/ferry combo with Colonia Express from Buenos Aires with return next day but I am not confident about my return departure location/time.
Is the departure time on my e-ticket the same place they drop me off the bus in Montevideo? I fear it might be the departure in Colonia for the ferry so I would have to plan my travel to there before. And that wouldnt make any sense as I paid for th whole trip.
Maybe I am a bit too cautious but just wanted to double check. The website is pretty crap in terms of clear information.
Hi Edgar, if you bought a return you can be confident you will get dropped off and then will return from the Tres Cruces bus station in Montevideo. Of course double check on your way over. But I am sure you will be fine!
Thank you very much!
I really hope it doesnt rain and I can enjoy my short escape there 🙂
I was wondering one thing. Do I have to make a reservation on Seacat ferry beforehand, or do you think there will be available tickets at the port?
You cannot buy Seacat tickets at the port. As I mention in the article, Seacat and Buquebus are run by the same company. As Seacat is far cheaper, Buquebus squeezes customers by ensuring that only the more expensive Buquebus tickets are available for sale at the port itself. All the best, Karen
Hello Welshwitch, I will be in Buenos Aires for a weekend in August 19-22 (taking time out from the Olympics in Rio to visit). It feels like I am not doing Uruguay any justice in wanting to visit on the Saturday, however, given the choice, would you try to see Colonia in the morning and then Montevideo in the afternoon/evening, or would you concentrate on just one? I would like to get the first ferry out and the last one back on Saturday to give me as long as possible in Uruguay – though from all the posts I feel a night over heading back to Buenos Aires on the Sunday would give me a much better option, though not long in Argentina! Dilemma 🙁
Finally, how soon prior to sailing do you need to be at the port, do you need to leave an hour or two for check-in, or can it be left a wee bit later?
The help and insight you give to travellers here is greatly appreciated.
Hi Jason, obviously travel is very personal. My preference is not to race around checking off a checklist, but rather to hang out and really get a feel of a place. So my advice would be to minimise your travel times and take the direct ferry to and from Buenos Aires. I would suggest you stay in the Old City which is where most of the sites are – it is also closest to the port. You can get a 7am ferry, arriving before 10am on the Saturday, and take the 11am ferry back to BA, after checking out the Tristan Narvaja antiques/flea market in the morning. If you like live music definitely plan to be in Mvd either Friday or Saturday night (Sunday night is usually quieter though there is a typical tango cafe-concert most Sundays in Joventango). If you really want to do both Colonia and Montevideo, then take the direct ferry to Montevideo and then on Sunday morning take a bus to Colonia (unfortunately the fastest Sunday morning but takes almost three hours). You can have lunch and wander around and take a 4.30pm ferry back to Buenos Aires, leaving you time for a nap before you hit the big city nightlife. Definitely do it this way, BA-MVD-Colonia-BA if you are here on a weekend and have just one day. Montevideo is very quiet on a Sunday.
Regarding arrival at the port, they tell you to be there an hour beforehand but this is wasted time. All you will do is wait in a line which does not move until the last 10 minutes before boarding. I personally roll up to the port 30 minutes before sailing and STILL end up having to wait in line. All the very best and have a great time! — Karen
Thanks for all the information Karen. My original plan was simply to see Mvd, I had no idea Colonia existed or that it was also accessible by ferry/bus from BA and Mvd. Finding this out, I was then left in a typical Libran dilemma – what to do! 🙂
Ahhhh, you’ll have to plan another trip here!
We are a New Zealand family of 2 adults and 1child 11years.We arrive at Ezeiza Airport from Auckland at 3.45pm on a Friday and need to get to Montevideo by midday the next day at the latest to catch a cruise. Seacat operate a ferry via Colonia at 6.55pm getting into MVD at 11.10pm-would we have time to catch this taking into consideration going thru customs at Ezeiza Airport then taking TiendaLeon shuttle to port. If we can then what time do you recommend I book shuttle. Also what is the latest time you can arrive at ferry terminal-do you need 1 hour to checkin.It is just passengers and 3 bags-I would book our tickets online.If you do not think we can make the 6.55pm ferry it seems the next ferry is at 10pm. Would very much appreciate your help.
Hi Sandra, gosh, 3 hours is really cutting it tight, but it *could* be possible. You’d need to have good luck with the length of the line at immigration and the traffic in BA. You would definitely want to take a taxi from the airport. You will not have time to wait for a shuttle. Double check that 10pm ferry. It could very well be the slow slow boat, which you really would NOT want to do after a long flight.
I would always recommend stopping off in BA after a long international flight, rather than trying to make it to Uruguay on the same day. Then you could catch the early morning direct ferry which gets you into Montevideo about 10am.
In your case, I can imagine you may be a little nervous about doing that because of the midday cruise deadline. You don’t mention what month you are travelling. Generally the ferry is very reliable but in the winter there can be fog in the morning which leads to a closed port (and airport).
Thanks for your recommendation.It will be mid November so what is the weather like then? Also can you give me any idea of taxi fare from airport to port.
After we do the cruise we arrive back at EZE Airport in Buenos Aires at 3pm on a Sunday (early Dec).Do you recommend we take the ferry back to MVD as we want to spend 3 days in MVD before we fly from there to Ecuador.
The other alternative is to fly but I see most flights leave/arrive at Jorge Newbery in BUE. How far/long is this from EZE by shuttle.
After Ecuador we fly back to MVD and arrive back early Sunday morning-04.14am 18 Dec. We can either fly to Jorge Newbery BUE and then transfer to EZE for flight back to NZ-this flight leaves around11pm in the evening Or take a taxi to ferry terminal?
As we haven’t been to this part of the world before your recommendations would help a lot.
This is super informative and will save me a lot of time and headache as I go from Argentina Buenos Aires to Colonia and then to Buenos from Montevideo! The fact that the airoort is so far outside the city is an added + to know!
Check out my travel blog too http://www.richtrek.com thanks for your help 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to comment, Rich. The video of the Peruvian macaws on your site is amazing!
Nice service. About, how much is the ferry from Colonia to B. A. for a car and four people?
Hi Richard, you would need to check the ferry websites for the prices. But do remember that you cannot take a hire car across international borders in this part of the world. Best, Karen
I have just booked the Colonia Express return ticket with a bus combo from BA to Montevideo via Colonia del Sacramento. My plan is to catch the ferry early in the morning, make a stopover for the day hours in Colonia del Sacramento and then catch a bus around 5-6PM to Montevideo. How possible is that?
Also, I’d like to know where are the buses located exactly, in order to book hotel in Montevideo as near as I can and not spend a lot of money on non-sense taxi trips.
Also, I’d be very thankful of a hotel recommendation, not more than $40-$50 USD for a night.
Regards from Bulgaria,
Thanks for all the great tips, Welshwitch! Question: When you buy a bus-ferry ticket combo, is it like a multi-leg flight in that they transfer the luggage to your final destination? Or is the passenger responsible for transferring the bags in Colonia? Thanks.
Hey, Ann! Pleasure! You have to grab your bag in Colonia off the luggage belt and take it yourself to the bus waiting just outside. All the best Karen
Hi, thank you for your great informations. I just booked the ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo fortunately without a problem. But I also want to buy a ticket from Colonia to Buenos Aires with SEACAT and when I come to the “posnet” page where they ask about the credit card details again, I cannot send those informations away – I always get the information that I only receive a confirmation when I informed about my e-mail adress. I stored it in my seacat profile – whatelse I can do? I also tried to contact SEACAT – until now, without any sucess. Do you have any idea what I could do? All the best Petra
Hi Petra, so sorry I only just saw your question now. Unfortunately as I mentioned, the websites are difficult to use and it is often impossible to get someone on the phone. If you can, wait until you get to Argentina or Uruguay, and then go into an office and buy the ticket. Buquebus and Seacat as they are a monopoly are particularly guilty of providing very poor customer service. Good luck!
Does the ferry run year round? We are planning a February or March trip and want to make sure it runs then.
Hi Susan, the ferry service is a major form of transportation here and operates all year round. All the best Karen
Thanks for great tips on traveling to Montevideo, but I have one other question I am hoping you could answer.
I am in Buenos Aires and want to travel to Montevideo this week-end. Is there any way I can go to their office to get the tickets tomorrow?
It will be a lot cheaper with the blue dollar rate to pay in cash than with a credit card online.
Hi Emma, I hope this gets to you in time! All three companies have offices in Buenos Aires – BQB and Colonia Express have them on Corrientes. I am not sure about Seacat. You can buy tickets in offices right up to last moment. However I am not sure if you can pay with Argentine pesos as a non-Argentinian. I have just read somewhere that you cannot. So when you go be prepared to have some other method of payment just in case – and do let us know what happened! All the best – Karen
How are you? I am just about to travel from Buenos Aires to Montevideo by ferry and facing the same problem. How it went out with you? You’ve managed to pay in cash? Thanks in advance, looking forward your answer.
Hi. What a great post with so many information ! Thank you!
I´d like to ask about driving a rented car from BA to MVD. All rental companies allow to take a car abroad? Is it safe to drive?
Hi Hermann, as far as I know, no car rental company will allow you to cross from one country to another. It’s definitely safe to drive in Uruguay, the roads are fairly empty. If you need a car rental company in Uruguay, I recommend this one. Enjoy your time! – Karen
Thank you very much.
We were thinking of flying into Montevideo in Feb 2016 (can use frequent flyer miles) and then traveling to Buenos Aries either the same day or a day later. I am trying to sort the total cost… if we take the ferry (my preference) how difficult and how much would it cost to travel from the airport to the ferry port VS purchasing a one-way airfare directly Buenos Aries (and enjoying Monevideo at a later date in our travels). Any help is appreciated!
Hi J, the cost is going to be pretty similar I think between an airline ticket vs a ferry tickets plus 40 USD transfer to the port. To me, the important issue to put in the balance is TIME. There are just 2 direct ferries per day to BA. Will you arrive in time to catch one fairly smoothly? If not, then go with the air connection. Best — Karen
Thanks so much for your quick response! So other option… if we wanted to see Colonia and spend one night there, what would you estimate the cost for an airport transfer followed by ferry next day to B.A.? Since I don’t speak Spanish (working on it!) I seem unable to sort through all the online info myself. Muchas Gracias!
Dear J, if you go to Colonia (you will have to get to Montevideo and then take a 2.5 hour bus ride to Colonia) then you are a one hour ferry ride direct from Colonia to BA. Best — Karen
I would like to travel with my kids from Buenos Aires to Tigre via train, Tigre to Montevideo via ferry.
Do you know how I can buy the tickets online? Do you have the timetables for the ferry and the train?
I understand we will need to catch a bus at some point. What town? Is it an additional cost?
Please let me know if you can assist and thank you in advance.
I understand this route is very entertaining for young kids.
Hi Monica, you are talking about the ferry between Tigre in Argentina and Carmelo in Uruguay. I am trying to contact the transport company to arrange a trip so that I can report back as as you mention there is not a great deal of info online. My prior experience has been that you have to buy tickets in person and that there are two ferries a day. But all this I will hopefully confirm if I manage to arrange something with the ferry company.
The bus is between Carmelo and Montevideo and if is part of the ticket if you buy Tiger-Montevideo. Best and hopefully more in the future — Karen
Hi Karen – great information. My request is a little different. I will be traveling from Santiago and I want to come to Montevideo first and then travel to BA.
There are many buses from Santiago to BA via Mendoza.
But I can find only one bus from Mendoza to Montevideo – Elrapido, departing 18:45 and arriving Montevideo 20:05 the following days – 25 hours!!
Is there a better connection?
Hi Gerald, I am pretty sure that that is the only one. That bus doesn’t make detours – distances here are big!
Bonjour from Québec Karen.
We would welcome information & comments on the following. As we will have a number of suitcases (heavy) going from Buenos Aires to Montevideo to board our ship to Antartatica (reason for all the bags) after 2 nights stay in Montevideo, what would be the best method of water transport. We would like to visit Colonia but this might be difficult with all the luggage.
Hi Michel, greetings from Montevideo! You should check out my article about Colonia. There you will read that there is a luggage deposit in the Colonia bus station. If you are looking for accommodation in Montevideo for your two nights, let me introduce you to our little (but award-winning) guesthouse. We specialise in providing our guests with inside information about the city, which means that you can really make the most of your very short time. But wherever you decide to stay, have a wonderful time! Very best wishes – Karen
Thank you very much for having taken the time to reply and the information offered. We did take a look at your guesthouse and it is one of our options depending on how (oh, how I hate to say it!) the “schedule” works out as we might only be in Montevideo for one night coming back from Igazu.
Many thanks again and hopefully “au revoir”
Hi Michel, it’s a pleasure to be of assistance. Yes, at the guesthouse we do have a two-night minimum stay, however we do try to be flexible, so let us know when you’ve pinned down your ‘schedule’ 🙂 – maybe we can accommodate you! All the best — Karen
Hi all, does the dierct (2hr) ferry from BA to MVD run by buquebus only run friday-Saturday?
I arrive in BA midafternoon on a tuesday and want to get to monte asap,
I tried to seach for the one way trip i need but got no results…
Hi Mike, the direct ferry runs twice a day every day of the week. Were you trying to buy for late in the year? You cannot often buy tickets more than a few months in advance of travel. I know, crazy! Best – Karen
I was looking 6mths down the track.. i just booked my flight and seems i got a lil’ too excited :/
Ha! Uruguayans are just so darned laid back! 🙂 Glad to help! – Karen
thanks for this nice article and helpful tips!
I want to have your opinion about a trip I am planning to make in July.
I will be in Maringa-Brazil and I don’t want to miss the chance to travel to Uruguay and Argentina.
how to make it with a limited budget and time?
I want to visit the must-see places in the capitals and to interract with the locals!
I appreciate your help! 😀
Hi Rania – you should definitely try to get to Uruguay and Argentina. I have put a bunch of ideas together for what to do in Montevideo if you have four days to visit. A lot of them are for free or very cheap to do, so it should help you if you are on a tight budget. Make sure you dress right for the Uruguayan winter though and have a great time!
Are there left luggage boxes at Colonia bus station so that you can let your luggage while touring the city of Colonia?
The idea is to go from Montevideo to Colonia, spend some time there before traveling to Buenos Aires with the ferry.
(Apologize if info already published but was lazy to go through all the comments)
great and informative article!
i want to book the ferry-bus-combo form Buenos Aires to Montevideo. When I checked the uruguayan version of the seacat webpage, i get a better price than at the argentine version. Same at the colonial express page. BUT, this webpages says “ColoniaExpress.com Uruguay es exclusivo para pasajeros de nacionalidad uruguaya. Si usted no es uruguayo, por favor, haga su reserva en ColoniaExpress.com Argentina”. On the seacat page i couldn’t find these regulation. So can i just book my ticket on the uruguayan seacat page, or is there somewhere a hidden regulation i should know about?
Thanks a lot!
Hi Lennart, my understanding is that for people with Uruguayan credentials, the prices are slightly cheaper. As you have to give your passport number at the time of booking (and show it obviously when you travel), then unless you are Uruguayan, there will be no hiding your true identity! I’ll see if I can find out any more info about this though… Glad you found the article helpful.
thanks for the reply! On the last step of the booking process is some kind of a “terms of agreement”, and its saying that you need a uruguayan ID for booking it via the uruguayan seacat page. It’s the first time they mention it in the whole booking procedure. So in the end I booked of course the bit more expensive ones at the argentinian page, to be sure that I won’t get any trouble. 😉
Well, there you go – you did indeed need a Uruguayan ID 🙂
I am going from BA to Montevideo on Jan 11, 2015 by ferry (Buquebus). Want to rent a car to drive to Punta del Diablo. Is it best to take a taxi to the Montevideo airport to get a car or is their any car rental at the port in Montevideo?
thanks in advance
Hi Anderonia, it is a 40-50 USD taxi ride from the port to the airport, so I would recommend hiring a car with a company that is based in the centre of Montevideo (or the port) or one like Marinio Sport who will come and meet you at the port with the car.
Am I getting it right as googled it that Darsena Sur terminal( the Colonia Express Terminal is quite closer to the Eze airport than the Buquebus one?
Mon – they are both close together and equally far from the airport. You will need to take a taxi. Good luck!
here am I again with new issues..;/ on the way back…
Its difficult to find English explanations anywhere,so can you help me with the way back from Colonia to BA? What’s the best way?
Do these three ferry companies: buquebus, SeaCat and coloniaexpress go to the same terminal in BA or how far apart they and where they are.
Buquebus goes to a big building that says buquebus but I cannot figure out what’s the official name.
SeaCat says “darsena Norte puerto madero” – I cannot find that on Google maps anywhere.I cant find anything useful for Coloniaexpress as well….
Thank you in advance.
Hi Mon – Seacat and Buquebus are run by the same company. They both dock in Buenos Aires in Puerto Madero at the North Dock (darsena norte) which is very central and you can walk into the city. Colonia Express docks at a more remote location ( Av Don Pedro de Mendoza 330 if you want to google it) and it is advisable to take a taxi into the city centre.
To find where any port is locate, do a search which includes “Name of company, terminal”. Cheers Karen
Thank you for your help, appreciate it!
We are hoping to do a quick trip to montevideo from buenos aires for 2 nights in February (weekend and peak time!). Should we book our ferry tickets in advance and if so, how do we do this? We’re hoping to take the fast boat to maximise on time. Also, what are the times the fast boat goes from each end? Are there any chances that the boat won’t go as we are hoping to catch a flight from buenos aires later in the day post the ferry trip? Is this wise to have a tight schedule?
Thanks in advance for your help! xx
Hi Asha — what a shame you can’t come for longer! There’s so much to see and do in Montevideo… Yes, you should definitely buy your tickets in advance any time during holidays and in January and February. You should check the buquebus website for the boat schedules. Hmmm, a tight schedule combining boat and flight carries some risk. In summer you are unlikely to have bad enough weather to close the port but I would worry about any traffic jams on the Argentinian side to be honest. So hard to say, but there is some risk involved there… All the best Karen
I need some help urgently…;/
I went through all your comments. Really useful information.Thanks
But since this is all in spanish which we dont understand,//www.tiendaleon.com/destacadocentral/home/.
Am I getting it right that if going to their desk at the airport we can arrange a bus or taxi from them to the ferry boat/going to montevideo/?
What is the aprox price? And which is cheaper bus or taxi to there?THANKS in advance.
Hi Mon – let’s see if I can help you quickly. The company that you provide the link to provides shuttles and private cars (remis) from the international airport in Buenos Aires (Ezeiza) into the city. You will need to tell them you are going to the ferry, so that they drop you off there and you do not have to walk extra. Marcos in the comment above estimates that a car will cost you appx 35 USD. So shuttles will inevitably be cheaper. Good luck!
Great advice, is is best to go down to the company offices to book and pay for these tickets. I’m in BA, and paying by credit card at the official rate does not work out so good.
Hello, thanks so much for the detailed and updated info. May I ask you more about the bus only option? I know the route is kind of stupid when there’s a direct crossing by boat. I am travelling from Montevideo to Tigre. So I think the bus that goes directly to Retiro will save the hassle of getting from the port in BA to Retiro. Do you know about the price and time required for the bus? Thanks so much!
Hi Mi, thanks for the kind words. There is actually a different option that will suit you MUCH better – you can take a boat from Uruguay to Tigre in Argentina! Yes, really! Cacciola will take you by bus from Montevideo to Carmelo where you take the ferry to Tigre directly. Much better for you than going to Buenos Aires and then having to take the slow train out to Tigre. The total journey according to their website will take you about 6 hours. The cost appears to be 850 Uruguayan pesos one way Montevideo-Tigre (apx 35 USD). It’s a beautiful trip! Enjoy!
So if I have limited time. should I leave BA for Montevideo early in the morning, spend 1 day there, next day take bus to Colonia, spend day and then ferry back to BA later in the evening? or is that too much?
One of the problems with this plan is that i have luggage. What do I do with my luggage while in Colonia. I could stay the second night in Colonia and leave it at a hotel and return the following morning. (or reverse? 2 nights Montevideo)
Or is it better to go to Colonia for 2 nights but on the second day do an early morning rise and bus to Montevideo and return in the evening, And back to BA the following morning
Appreciate any suggestions.
Hi Shelley, it’s really sad you have just two days to see Uruguay. The country deserves so much more! But I will forgive you and help you plan your itinerary to make the most of your really limited time 🙂 I would suggest you take the fast boat to Montevideo. You’ll arrive at 11am. Choose from some of the different activities I suggest in my four-day plan of what to do in Montevideo. Plan to spend at least one evening in Montevideo –it’s a capital city and has wonderful music and culture– and check out what I recommend to do at night on my Guruguay facebook page. You can catch a bus around 10am to Colonia (you can check out how to read the bus timetables for long distance travel in Uruguay here). That will get you in at midday. Check out my article on Colonia for where to leave your bags as you walk around this lovely old city which is very accessible on foot. Do you have to get back to BA in the morning? Remember it’s one hour earlier in Argentina at the moment compared to Uruguay so you will gain an hour when you go back – YAYY! If you don’t need to get back in the morning, I’d suggest spending the two nights in Montevideo and then your third day roaming Colonia, taking the ferry back to BA in the evening. Let me know how it all works out for you! Cheers, Karen
Thanks so much for the quick reply. I need so much more time. I am sure I will come back and make it a trip in itself. I will review all your great suggestions.
It’s a pleasure. Have a great time! — Karen
Very, very helpful indeed!
Could you tell me how to get from Buenos Aires (Ezeiza) Airport to the ferry terminal?
Do I need to exchange any U$ into Argentinian Pesos or can I pay for everything (transfer from airport to ferry terminal and ticket to Montevideo) with Dollars/Visa Card?
Great website, thanks for sharing!
Hi Kyandaka, it’s very easy to get from Ezeiza to the ferry terminal. Tienda Leon runs a shuttle service which costs 100 Argentine pesos between the two. http://www.tiendaleon.com.ar/articulo/BEZEMAD/ You can buy your tickets online or at the desk with a credit card. You can buy ferry tickets online (good luck with Buquebus’s awful site) too or pay with a credit card once you are there. Buying ferry tickets in advance will get you a big discount, so worth looking into that.
So glad you like the site! How did you find me?
I’ve managed somehow to book the Seacat-bus combo to MVD.
There was a checkbox asking if I was “monotributista”, do you know what that means (couldn’t find it in any dictionary, so I did not put a cross)?
Now I am trying to pay for the bus ticket from “Tienda Leon”, but do not get past the “Credit Card information form”. There is the drop-down-menu “Documento” showing the options “DNI, Cedula, L.C., L.E., Otro” and I tried with “Otro” and my passport number, but it doesn’t work (keeps on telling me “Revisa este dato”). Do you have an idea how to proceed from here? Otherwise I’ll just pay after arrival at the desk.
I found your website through a post in the fb-group “Uruguay Expats”.
You really provide very interesting information that is not to be found in the travel guides.
Hi Kyandaka – monotributarista is a tax status, so fine that you did not check it. If I were you I’d just buy your bus ticket when you get to the airport in BA. The shuttles go really frequently.
I agree with you, I have been consistently disappointed with the poor quality of traditional travel guides to Uruguay and it was one of my motivations to start this site. It never fails to surprise me when people tell us that our little four page guide packs more useful information that the (admittedly slim) sections of the big guidebooks dedicated to Montevideo and Uruguay. All the best — Karen
yes, the difference between the traditional travel guides and your “insider information” is very perceptible.
The first is usually quite dry, yours much more juicy.
One can feel that you really enjoy the surroundings you chose to live in.
It’s a very contagious enthusiasm :-).
Just for the completion of the bus transfer from Buenos Aires airport to the ferry terminal: It is possible to choose “pagar en efectivo” and they simply send a reservation code without the need to pay anything in advance.
Thanks again for all these hints!
It all worked out very well.
Directly after the luggage claimcustoms (before the last gate) there is an office from Tienda Leon where I could pay for the bus transfer to the ferry terminal with my credit card.
I want to recommend two things for whosoever goes for the same option:
1.) In case you have bought your ferry ticket directly from SeacatBuquebus tell that to the bus driver from Tienda Leon. I had to walk quite a distance from the “Tienda Leon drop-off point” at the ferry terminal to the check-in for SeacatBuquebus. Guess it is possible to be dropped off closer.
2.) You can check-in your luggage two hours prior to the departure of the ferry. That leaves you some time to stroll around the area and enjoy some snacks and coffe. I recommend not to buy food at the ferry terminal, but to walk five minutes towards the city where you find a bustling area with lots of good cafes, snack bars, grocery shops etc. Better bring your water & food supply with you on the ferry!
Thanks again for the recommendation, it is really worth going for that. I also got a good impression of the country travelling by bus from Colonia to Montevideo. The buses are comfortable enough and there ain’t too much traffic as well (until you enter Montevideo).
Kyandaka – this is such great information regarding the Argentinian leg of the Buenos Aires-Montevideo journey. Thank you so much for reporting back, I’m sure lots of other people will find it useful. While you are in Montevideo, feel free to check out the daily recommendations that I make for things to do (music, dance, carnival, etc). They are on our Facebook guesthouse page https://www.facebook.com/CasaSarandi. While I make the the recommendations with our guests’s stated preferences in mind, it’s fun to share the love and so I have made them available for anyone staying (or living! I know some residents take a peek at them) in Montevideo. Have a wonderful stay, and thanks again for the solidarity — Karen
May I chip in with an alternative suggestion? Tienda León is a bit expensive. If you speak any Spanish, call +541146352500, for SuTaxi. This is a domestic, very reliable radio taxi service, and the only way I travel to/and from Ezeiza. You can arrange for them to wait for you at the terminal and will save circa 25% of the cost.
Tienda León is reliable too. Whatever you do, however, please don’t use the standard airport cabs. They are an absolute mafia.
Thanks, Marcos! Just for those less familiar with the area, you are talking about taking transport from the Buenos Aires International Airport (known as Ezeiza) to the port to take the ferry to Uruguay. Great suggestions – it’s particularly great to be able to book a cab in advance of flying! How much would cab from the airport to the port cost now? Do you have an estimate? Cheers! Karen
Hello Marcos & Kyandaka,
please Van you Tell me how long does it take from Ezeiza to the Ferry Terminal?
We will arrive from Frankfurt 8 a.m, so what Time should I Book the Ferry to MVD.
Bergs from Austria
The taxi now costs circa $AR 300, but that figure will grow old soon because of inflation, so I’d estimate US$ 35 at the official exchange rate or US$ 25 at the parallel rate.
You should definitely book the 4pm Ferry. The cab ride to the terminal should take around 1 hour, or 90 minutes with heavy traffic. Then the cool way to go is do your check in, especially checking your luggage, and just walk around Puerto Madero for a little while (directly across the terminal), have lunch at one of their restaurants, and time will fly by.
Schöne Ferien noch!
I took the same flight as you and arrived at the ferry terminal at 10:30.
I had booked the combo with Seacat leaving from Buenos Aires at 12:15 to Colonia del Sacramento (Uruguay) and taking the bus from there to Montevideo.
The busses are waiting directly at the exit of the ferry terminal in Colonia and they leave as soon as they are filled up. So if you are amongst the first ones getting through the customs, your bus will leave pretty fast ;-). Luckily Uruguyan people behave very nicely in queuing-up-situations so you don´t have to use any close combat skills to get in front of the crowd, you just need to be attentive and keep on moving.
The bus arrived punctually at 17:30 at the biggest bus terminal of Montevideo “Tres Cruces” and from there it is easy to journey on.
Wenn noch Unklarheiten zu beseitigen sind, frage ruhig nach.
Alles Gute fuer die Reise nach Yauguru, es ist ein wahres Schmuckstueck auf diesem Planeten!