Colonia is a great entry point into Uruguay. It is just a one-hour boat ride across the River Plate from Buenos Aires and is small enough that you explore, have lunch and explore some more before catching a bus on to Montevideo. Or plan to stay a few days in this stunning little UNESCO heritage town.
Alternatively Colonia is a great exit point if you have been exploring Montevideo and your next destination is Buenos Aires. You can catch a bus from Montevideo and be in Colonia in just two hours. The buses are comfortable and have free wifi.
Leave your luggage in the bus station, buy your ferry tickets to Buenos Aires (or bus tickets to Montevideo) for the end of the day and head off into soak up the colonial atmosphere of Colonia’s Old Town, a ten-minute walk from the port.
The big two
Both companies run three to five ferries per day. They take one hour. To give you a ballpark idea, boat times are:
- Buenos Aires to Colonia at: 8:30am, 10:30am, 12:50pm, 6:30pm and 8:00pm
- Colonia to Buenos Aires at: 8:30am, 10:30am, 4:30pm, 6pm and 8:30pm
Book your ferry stress-free
Direct 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 🇺🇾
Should I buy in advance?
Our research find that there is little price difference between buying a ticket one week advance versus months in advance. Indeed several companies will not even allow you to buy tickets over a few months in advance. Ahhh South America… gotta love it, gotta remain laid back.
We looked at prices for tickets one week in advance of travel and for tickets in February (high season). Colonia Express and Seacat were charging the same prices. However Buquebus uses dynamic pricing and tickets for February were almost double the price they are now as we tested in November.
We also found that on all ferry websites the cheapest category seats are unavailable for tickets bought a few months in advance.
So, what to do if price is a consideration? Unless you are travelling on over a holiday weekend (both Argentine and Uruguayan) or between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day you can wait to buy your tickets closer to your travel date (say a month). The Guru’Guay Guide to Uruguay has a list of public holidays.
If you are travelling around public holidays get your tickets in advance. Colonia Express and Seacat will sell out and BuqueBus prices will go through the roof. Readers informed us that they paid 250 dollars a piece for tickets over the recent Easter holidays.
- Ferry ticket prices Montevideo-Buenos Aires
- 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 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
- Check out the Guru’Guay recommendations for what to do in Colonia
Photo: Milton Jung