The Montevideo airport is 15 miles from the city centre. You can take a taxi, shuttle or bus. The most common way is private transfer.
Montevideo Airport is 15 miles (apx 25 km) from the centre of Montevideo city, a 30-40 minute cab ride into town, depending on where you are staying. Traffic is very rarely a problem, but calculate a few minutes more around rush-hour or at the start of a long weekend.
You have a number of options for getting into Montevideo city centre from the airport and vice versa.
Private car transfer (remise)
The most convenient way into the city is to have a private car waiting for you. Especially if you want to take advantage of every minute of your stay. These private transfer services are very common in Latin America. These chauffeur-driven cars are known as remises (reh-MEES) to differentiate them from taxis. Remises are large sedans – spacious and air-conditioned. They generally only do longer journeys.
A trip from the Montevideo airport to the centre costs around 40 USD.
If you are going somewhere close to the Montevideo airport you could call a regular cab using the number 1771 (Punta Gorda cabs). I don’t advise it for longer trips as the prices will be similar to a remise and it will be much less comfortable (taxis in Uruguay are infamously cramped and often poorly maintained).
The Montevideo airport minivan shuttle service is reasonably cheap – 400 pesos per person – and an economical option for a solo traveller. The service can be time-consuming if other passengers are dropped off before you. Shuttles go once they have five passengers.
The cheapest way to get to the city is by bus. However only use the bus if you have very little luggage, as buses can get crowded and cannot be guaranteed to have storage areas.
Catch any bus that says ‘Montevideo’. The bus stop is right outside the terminal building. The ride will take about one hour depending on the time of day and the number of passengers and quantity of traffic. Buses run very frequently, even on weekends, and cost just a few dollars. You’ll need to pay in Uruguay pesos. Pay with not more than a 100 peso note ideally (yes, they make change – your first sign that Uruguay is SO civilised). [Check out our tips for where to get money at the airport — we DON’T recommend the Montevideo airport exchange.]
Most buses come into Montevideo along Avenida Italia and then take a street called Uruguay to the Rio Branco bus station which is a few blocks from Montevideo’s main plaza, the Plaza Independencia. Others stop in the Plaza Independencia itself. All very handy if you are staying in the Old City or Centro.
The DM1 bus from the airport goes to the Punta Carretas neighbourhood. It stops at the Portones and Montevideo shopping malls (two local landmarks) on the way.
Montevideo’s central bus station is called Tres Cruces. It is where buses to other parts of the country go from. Ask the driver to let you know when you are at Tres Cruces if you intend to get off there – most buses from the airport stop just outside the bus station, they don’t enter.
More reading about the Montevideo airport
Prefer to hire a car? Check out the Guru’s recommendation for a great little local car hire company
Tipping in Uruguay Find out that you don’t tip a taxi driver but do tip a baggage handler in Uruguay
Photo: Marcelo Campi
[Article first published: Dec 15, 2016. Last updated: See above]
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