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“Day trip to Colonia, Uruguay from Buenos Aires, Argentina by ferry”

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Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
273 helpful votes
“Day trip to Colonia, Uruguay from Buenos Aires, Argentina by ferry”
Reviewed December 21, 2009

My husband and I were in Buenos Aires, Argentina for 3 days. We booked our ferry trip over to Colonia del Sacramento while in BA at the Colonia Express office. We could have paid a lot less if we booked on line more than 30 days in advance. We also checked out Buquebus. They were completely booked. They had a lot bigger boats and were a bit more expensive (also had options to bring a car). A car was NOT necessary in Colonia for a day trip (or even an over night if you have a backpack to carry your things). Colonia Express was good to work with. We only really wanted a ferry trip but it turned out to be less expensive if a short walking tour and lunch was included...it was nice of them to tell us. It ended up being 235 pesos each for ferry, tour and lunch. It would have been closer to 100 pesos each booked earlier. Buquebus filled faster and they had a special for 218 pesos round trip.

We took a taxi to the ferry terminal (all we had to say was Colonia Express)...I think it was 40 pesos from Plaza Congreso, The cab driver charged us a fixed rate on the way there. We were on the meter on the way back and it was closer to 30 pesos. It only took 10-15 minutes to get there by cab.

We took the early ferry (about 8:30 AM) and arrived an hour early. Remember your passport while making reservations and for the trip over. Everything went very smoothly. The seats were not assigned. The boat wasn't anything fancy but clean and seaworthy. The trip wasn't rough (a nice day) and took a bit longer than the 50 minutes stated. I think it was closer to 75 minutes, but not a big deal...we napped!

There is an hour difference on the way to Uruguay...so we arrived at about 10:45 their time. We didn't realize how much we would enjoy it and want to explore. We decided to take the 5PM ferry back but wished we booked the 9:30PM. You need to be at the ferry an hour in advance so we really only had about 5 hours there. The walking tour (they two Spanish tour groups and one English) lasted about an hour. It was very nice to get some historical background and a better appreciate what we were seeing in the historical old city area. It is only a few blocks walk from the ferry terminal and there are many restaurants and hotels/inns in the area too.

We decided to eat at the restaurant that came with our ferry and tour. It was okay. We only had three options to choose from rather than the whole menu, but not an issue. Beverages and tip (about 10%) were not included, but it did come with three options for dessert too. We tried a local lunch of Chivito...can be a sandwich or not. Ours wasn't...just served over fries. It is a thin cut of beef (kind of grizzly for my taste but my husband didn't seem to mind it), ham, I think cheese, and a sunny-side-up-fried egg on top. It wasn't my new favorite thing but interesting to eat what the locals would eat. I had chaja for dessert...it was VERY good. Similar to tiramisu, but had some chunks of peaches in the cream layer and not quite as much coffee taste. I could have had that again!

Everywhere took either Argentine pesos (exchanged 5 Uruguayan pesos to 1 Agentine peso) or US Dollars (exchanged 20 Uruguayan pesos to 1 US Dollar). Only the museums required Uruguayan pesos but our tour guide exchanged just enough for exact change ($5 US for $100 Uruguay...enough for both of us to go to ALL the museums).

We rented mountain bikes at Hertz for $3 US/hour. If we had more time, we would have liked to take an easy ride over to where the beaches were...but we weren't able to reschedule our departure. We peaked in a few of the inns in the old historical part and there looked really nice. It would be fun to spend a night there. We had a great time just looking around and taking a lot of neat photos.

I think 9:30 PM would have been a great time to head back. With the time change, it would have been 9:30 in BA and dinner doesn't start until 9PM but really gets going closer to 10/11ish PM.

It felt 10 degrees warmer on the Uruguay side of the estuary than in BA, Argentina. I think it was because of the way the winds blew into BA off the river/estuary.

Colonia seemed very clean and safe. The people we met were all very friendly. Definitely a tourist destination. We welcomed it as a wonderful change of pace from the very busy (and kind of dirty and run down) BA. It was a great day trip and I would highly recommend it.

248 Thank Going_to_Normandy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sao paulo
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
42 helpful votes
“A cozy place where the future has not yet arrived”
Reviewed May 6, 2009

A very small and cozy place only 1 hour away from Buenos Aires.
What makes it worth visiting is not only the place itself, but also the awesome trip in the very confortable "BUQUEBUS". It is a large boat with huge wide windows which allows one to enjoy the beautiful city of Buenos Aires from a distance. It offers comfort, a pleasant snack bar, clean bathrooms, and a tempting duty free shop. Upon arrival at Colonia del Sacramento one can rent a golf cart/bike/motorcycle to go around and explore the narural beauties of the place. The old part presents us we with very well taken care of streets, restaurants, church, and old constructions worth beeing seen. The high point for us was the pleasure to have found a unique restaurant called The Art Gallery. In fact it is an art gallery with incrdible pieces of old carvings, beautiful paintings, tapestries and much more. The service was impeccable, tables set with linen towels, crystal
glasses and superb food. The owner, a very educated and pleasant man gave us some feedback on the place and told us a copuple of interesting stories about Colonia. To finalize this review, a day not to be missed!

42 Thank curioustraveler26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint John, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
187 reviews
186 helpful votes
“Well worth a visit to Colonia”
Reviewed April 16, 2009

Just spent 2 great days in Colonia. Any visitor to Buenos Aires should take the ferry to Colonia and stay at one of the posadas there to experience a bit of Uruguay. The people are extremely friendly and the pace is very slow...just what is needed to recharge batteries. The tourist information office (Mario) was very helpful and Buquebus was very efficient in getting us there and to and from the posada. Special mention of Eugenia who went above and beyond to make us and other visitors welcome and at home. Great spot.

11 Thank Raymondocanuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san diego
Level 5 Contributor
31 reviews
21 helpful votes
“Great launching for your Uruguay trip”
Reviewed April 10, 2009

I though the Buqebus ferry was really nice, and then you come into Colonia. It is a nice port city, with alot of old shops and alot of history. It is one of the oldest cities in South America and has a nice small town feeling to it.
Exploring the town is easy on foot.

8 Thank scotthasson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
226 reviews
75 helpful votes
“Puerto Deportivo in Colonia del Sacramento”
Reviewed February 2, 2009

After crossing the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires, the Puerto Deportivo in Colonia is welcome and we were happy to arrive there.
BUT, we arrived a little late and the shower facility plus the toilets close after dark; and we have to use the small facilities in our boat. This was the case most of the time while we were in Colonia!
I also noticed that there is no boat service during the night, therefore if you need them you have to get back early from your dinner!
The best of the Port: the location!
The worst: the services.

4 Thank MeryandLeo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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