Argentina and Uruguay Trip Part 1 – Montevideo

A few years ago we decided to escape from the daily grind.  Escape far away.  We managed to accumulate hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer miles and hotel points by signing up for credit cards with bonus offers.  We felt it was time to start spending these not-so-hard earned rewards.

Whenever it gets cold here in North Carolina, I think about how it’s much nicer elsewhere in the world.  Why not go there?  We considered Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America.  All warm places.  Then I started thinking strategically.  Why not find the most expensive plane tickets we could get for free using a limited amount of points?

After some snooping around the internet, we noticed tickets to Argentina were usually expensive.  Since I studied the award chart for our American Airlines Aadvantage miles, I knew we could get to South America for only 40,000 points during the “off-peak” period of March-May and August-November.  As it turns out, March is still nice and warm in Argentina since their seasons are the opposite of ours in North America.  40,000 points for a ticket that normally costs $1,300 is a steal, since a ticket in the US is normally 25,000 points in the American Airlines miles program (for a $300-400 ticket).

Then I started thinking, “if we are traveling halfway across the world, are there other interesting destinations near Argentina?”.  I researched the region a bit, and saw that Uruguay was just across the river from Argentina and travel between the two countries was easy.  Uruguay made the list to visit while in the southern hemisphere.

Iguazu Falls is another interesting destination in Argentina.  By some measures, Iguazu Falls is the widest waterfall in the world.  As I researched Iguazu Falls, I realized Argentina was a big country and there was no way we could see all of Argentina in one trip.  Iguazu Falls would have been at least a two day side trip if we traveled by air, which would consume a big part of our nine day vacation.  In hindsight, I wish we saw Iguazu Falls.  There is always a next time though!

I mentioned Argentina is big.  It’s 2,300 miles from the northern regions to the very southern tip of Argentina.  If you picked up Argentina and rotated it ninety degrees and dropped it on top of the US, it would barely fit within our borders.  Needless to say, there are a number of distinct geographic and cultural regions of Argentina.  It is geographically similar to the US with arid regions, mountainous regions, plains, and forests.

We decided to focus on the main attraction, Buenos Aires, and the surrounding area.  Uruguay is right across the water from Buenos Aires, and Uruguay is where we started our journey.  Since we were using American Airline’s Aadvantage miles, we were able to buy one way tickets to and from South America without paying outrageous prices as you would if you buy one way tickets with cash.  We bought tickets to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, for 20,000 miles, and booked the return flight from Buenos Aires to Raleigh for another 20,000 miles.

Montevideo architecture

Downtown Montevideo buildings

Some say frequent flyer miles are hard to use, but we had no problem getting direct flights with a short layover and reasonable departure times.  We had a two hour layover in Miami International Airport on the flight to South America and on the return trip.  How did we get all these Aadvantage miles?  We signed up for a couple of Citi Aadvantage credit cards that were each offering 30,000 or more miles as an initial sign up bonus.  We also received 50,000 miles on British Airways by signing up for their credit card.  We chose to use the American Airlines Aadvantage miles for the tickets to Uruguay and Argentina.

If you want to get your own free tickets to Argentina or somewhere else in South America, apply for your own Chase Sapphire card, Citi Aadvantage card, British Airways card, or any other travel rewards card that offers a large sign up bonus.  Or sign up for multiple cards and travel around the world for free!  Here’s the link to the best travel rewards card offers available today: Travel Rewards Credit Cards .  For a few minutes of effort, you can get a free flight that normally costs $1,500 or more.

Arriving in Montevideo, Uruguay

After a short layover in Miami, the flight to Montevideo, Uruguay was about 9 hours.  The flight was overnight, and I didn’t get a lot of sleep on the plane.  Montevideo’s airport is rather small and clearing customs was a breeze.  Bienvenidos to Uruguay!

We immediately changed some US dollars to Uruguayan pesos at the airport to cover the bus fare to our downtown Montevideo hotel.  The bus ticket was about $1 (USD).  The taxi was a little more expensive, however I think we had a more genuine local experience on the bus.  After 45 minutes, we knew we were getting close to downtown Montevideo, but we had no clue where our hotel was located (we didn’t have a smart phone with GPS).  I turned to a police officer riding the bus with us and asked if he knew where our hotel was.  Not only did he know exactly where our hotel was, but he offered to personally escort us to the hotel.  Score!  I think.  I noticed he had a really old revolver strapped to his wide leather waist belt.  The gun looked like an antique pilfered from a history museum or something you might see in an Old West cowboy movie.  Bienvenidos to Uruguay!

The middle aged police officer on the bus was very friendly and helpful to us strangers from 5,000 miles away.  You would think the Montevideo Chamber of Commerce sent this guy to personally welcome us to the country.  After walking a few blocks along the cobblestone sidewalks, the nice officer delivered us to our hotel and wished us well.  Not even a subtle suggestion that we should “tip” him for his assistance.  Maybe they pay the cops well here in Uruguay, unlike much of Latin America.

Everyone was friendly in Montevideo.  Montevideo itself was fairly cosmopolitan, with a lot of Brazilian tourists.  We heard Portuguese regularly, but rarely heard English.  Size wise, Montevideo is like Raleigh, Charlotte, or other mid-sized US cities.  Montevideo has a population over 1 million people, and constitutes about a third of Uruguay’s citizenry.  The city proper was decidedly urban, but like many mid-sized cities in the US, once you drive 20-30 minutes out of downtown, the scenery turns more rural.

Vaguely European style. Swiss perhaps?

Vaguely European style. Swiss perhaps?

 

We spent two nights in the historic “Old Town” in the middle of Montevideo at the Hotel Palacio.  We paid around $35 USD per night back in 2010.  Today, they are charging $45 USD per night.  The room was decent but basic.  The building must have been 100 years old but appeared well kept and updated.  The elevator appeared to be of Victorian vintage, however it faithfully allowed us to bypass four flights of stairs every day.  We didn’t really spend a lot of time at the hotel, so it was perfect for us.

Spiral staircase surrounding the open air elevator shaft at Hotel Palacio

Spiral staircase surrounding the open air elevator shaft at Hotel Palacio

 

We could have stayed for free at the Four Points by Sheraton Montevideo hotel using our Starwood Preferred Guest Points (Sheraton Hotel’s loyalty program).  We signed up for a few of the Starwood American Express credit cards and obtained enough points to stay for a few WEEKS for free.  Since the historic Hotel Palacio was very inexpensive, we decided to go local and pick a cheap option for our first two nights in South America.  The Four Points in Montevideo was in the same points category as some $150-200 per night hotels in the US, so it wasn’t a great value to get a few free nights with points when there was a viable $35 per night room nearby.

Pro Tip: If you are interested in getting up to eight free hotel nights at a Sheraton or Four Points hotel, check out the 25,000 bonus point offer on the Starwood American Express card here: Travel Rewards Credit Cards.  Starwood is the most valuable hotel loyalty program in my experience.  Don’t forget you can get a card in your name and in your spouse’s name for double bonus points!

 

Mrs. RootofGood enjoying the sun on our walk along the jetty

Mrs. RootofGood enjoying the sun on our walk along the seawall

 

Exploring Montevideo

We spent most of our three days in Uruguay exploring Montevideo.  After arriving at our hotel we relaxed for a few minutes on our balcony and made a plan for the day.  Our overnight flight left us a bit tired, but curiosity overcame fatigue and we headed out for a day of exploring the Old City of Montevideo.  The Old City’s streets are arranged in a grid pattern, making navigation by foot very easy.  The Old City covers the entirety of a small peninsula one half mile wide and one mile long that extends into the Rio de la Plata river.  You can walk across Old City in ten to twenty minutes and you don’t need a car at all.

 

Thanks to our guidebook, I navigated those streets like a human GPS

Thanks to our guidebook, I navigated those streets like a human GPS

 

I can’t really describe the Old City with one adjective.  It’s a mixed bag.  Some parts were really nice with well maintained plazas surrounded by architecturally impressive buildings.  Other parts were rather run down with streets and building facades best labeled as “works in progress”.  I guess it would be unreasonable to expect everything in the “Old City” to be shiny and new.  The word “old” is in the name of the area, after all.

 

old montevideo

 

What was probably the doorway to a grand house a century ago peeks through a crack in its concrete encasement

What was probably the doorway to a grand house a century ago peeks through a crack in its concrete encasement

 

We never felt unsafe anywhere in the Old City or anywhere in Uruguay for that matter.  We did have some unruly teenagers approach us while we were resting on a bench.  They wanted to know the time.  Me being a nice guy, I offered them the time of day.  It was after I pulled out my broken watch with no straps to tell them the time that they started asking about my phone.  “Where’s your phone”?  “Where’s your phone”? I assume they wanted me to pull out my phone to tell them the time so they could snatch it and run away.  Since I didn’t have a phone (just my crappy old broken watch), they eventually got frustrated, gave up their attempted thievery and went their merry way.  The quickly approaching police officer may have also hastened their departure after discovering my cellular poverty.

 

This is the Montevideo version of an environmentally friendly recycling program. These guys go around in their horse drawn cart and pick recyclables out of the garbage.

This is the Montevideo version of an environmentally friendly recycling program. These guys go around in their horse drawn cart and pick recyclables out of the garbage.

 

Our first dinner in Montevideo was quite an experience.  “Eat lots of meat” was very high on our “to do” list while in Argentina and Uruguay.  Both countries have abundant grazing land that produces lots of beef.  We headed down to the Mercado Del Puerto (Port Market).  The Mercado Del Puerto looks like it beat up a train station and stole its Victorian era wrought iron roof structure.  The large cavernous enclosure under the wrought iron roof hosts a variety of parillas – restaurants that serve a wide variety of grilled meats.  We walked around the Mercado Del Puerto at least twice looking for the best grilled meat.  In an episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain visited this same market and supped on large chunks of meat.  After seeing him chowing down and visiting the rest of Uruguay, we knew we had to visit some day.

Eventually we pulled up some bar stools to the side of a particularly appealing grill and placed an order for a couple of beers and some hunks of meat and sausages.  We were sitting about five feet from the edge of the grill.

 

The old wrought iron building that houses the Mercado del Puerto

The old wrought iron building that houses the Mercado del Puerto

 

Mrs. RootofGood enjoying the slabs of grilled meat fresh from the parilla

Mrs. RootofGood enjoying the slabs of grilled meat fresh from the parilla

 

After a short wait, our food arrived smoking hot and juicily smiling at us from our plates.  Eating ensued.  The meat here was good.  The prices were a little cheaper than in the US – around $35 for the whole meal for two including a couple of drinks and a tip.  We ended up at the Mercado Del Puerto later in our stay in Montevideo and had some less than stellar fish and chips at American prices.  My take on the Mercado Del Puerto: a little touristy.  It’s a neat experience to visit and grab a meal, but one meal is probably enough.  Better quality food and prices can be found elsewhere in Montevideo away from the most tourist-laden areas.

 

A typical lunch in one of the many cafes in Montevideo. Pizza and pasta with pesto. And a couple of beers and a glass of wine. Under $20 for a nice meal.

A typical lunch in one of the many cafes in Montevideo. Pizza and pasta with pesto. And a couple of draft beers and a glass of wine. Under $20 for a nice meal.

 

On our second day in Montevideo, we finished our exploration of the Old City.  We walked out on the sea wall or jetty that extends a half mile into the Rio de la Plata river.  Lots of locals were enjoying an afternoon fishing or lazing about.  We hit up a few museums and local restaurants before stopping for dulce de leche (caramel) ice cream at McDonald’s.

 

We were about a half mile out into the Rio de la Plata at this point. What a view! And so much solitude.

We were about a half mile out into the Rio de la Plata at this point. What a view! And so much solitude.

 

Since we only stayed a few days in Montevideo, we didn’t have a lot of time to explore the rest of the city.  We managed to break away from the Old City for a few hours when we took a local city bus (fare = $1) to Pocitos, a visibly nicer and wealthier part of Montevideo.  The bus route skirts the beaches along the coast for part of the way.  We tend to skip the paid organized tours when we travel and instead jump on a city bus and see where it takes us.  It’s a more authentic way to experience the city and its people.  You’re rubbing shoulders with the locals (literally) and you get to see off the beaten path neighborhoods where the locals live and work.  Compared to organized tours, it’s also way cheaper and the schedule is more flexible since local buses run all the time.

How did I find out about this awesome bus route?  In this case, I asked the lady at our hotel’s front desk about local bus routes that could take us to Pocitos and she let me know about the nice scenic route along the beach, and she showed on a map exactly where to catch the bus.

In the evening of our second day in Uruguay, we caught a presentation of Macbeth (in Spanish) at the Solis Theatre just a block down from our hotel.  Built in 1856, it is the oldest theater in Uruguay.  Inside the theater, it looked just like an opera house plucked straight out of Vienna or Italy.  Probably because most of the interior furnishings were imported from Europe back in the 1850’s.  Since I’m a big Shakespeare fan (love the Bard!!), I got a kick out of the play.  Mrs. RootofGood?  She got a good nap.

 

The Solis Theater or Teatro Solis as they call it. A real marvel inside. Guided tours $1 USD.

The Solis Theatre or Teatro Solis as they call it. A real marvel inside. Guided tours $1 USD.

 

We finished off our last night in Montevideo with some late night pizza and drinking 40’s in the park.  Slumming it Montevideo style!  The pizza here is good, but different than what we are used to in the US.  Order pizza and you get bread sticks with some marinara sauce on top.  You have to order “with mozzarella” if you want cheese on top.  And any meats or other toppings must be requested.

 

Mmmmm street food. Hamburgers for 20 Uruguayan pesos ($1 USD) or loaded hot dogs for 8 pesos ($0.40 USD).

Mmmmm street food. Hamburgers for 20 Uruguayan pesos ($1 USD) or loaded hot dogs for 8 pesos ($0.40 USD).

 

In the Old City, there were dozens of restaurants, cafes, and bars, most with sidewalk seating.  For breakfast one day, we bought some delicious pastries and quiches from a bakery for just a few dollars and dined by the waterfront.  Overall, the prices were a little less than what I’m used to in the US.  $5-10 could get you a basic lunch or dinner, or you could try street vendors for $0.50 to $1 for hot dogs or burgers ($5 lunch for two!).  Our meatstravaganza on our first night was the most expensive meal in Uruguay at $35.

 

After spending a few bucks on some quiches and pastries from a local bakery, we sat here on the waterfront and enjoyed a mid morning brunch.

After spending a few bucks on some quiches and pastries from a local bakery, we sat here on the waterfront and enjoyed a mid morning brunch.

 

 

The travel guide we used.   Includes Buenos Aires and also covers Montevideo and Colonia in Uruguay:

 

In part two of the Argentina and Uruguay Trip Report, I’ll cover Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.  I’ll also sum up my thoughts on Uruguay and provide a detailed cost summary.  In part three, I’ll cover Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Make sure to subscribe on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (in the column to the right) if you want to catch parts two and three of the Argentina and Uruguay Trip Report.

 

Have you ever been to Uruguay?  What did you think?  If you have never been, what images did you have of Uruguay before reading this article?

36 comments

  • Amazing trip! I am jealous! I am building up my rewards points as we speak, so hopefully, I will have some good stories like this in the near future as well!

  • Sounds like a great adventure! Using miles to travel is amazing, I’ve never looked into it, but I might have to see what kind of rewards I can get.

  • Thanks for the tips on the credit cards to get free/cheap trips! I just recently signed up for the Chase United Card and got 35k free miles, but I have never redeemed the miles for this card or from any other card or freq flyer program. I was uneasy if I would actually be able to use them, but from your experience, sounds like I should be able to use them! Now I may sign up for the American Airlines card, too.

    • I have some united miles and haven’t used them yet. I think United is a little trickier to get the best flights from my airport. The AA miles have been really easy to use in my experience.

  • I’ve been reading a lot about Travel Hacking recently… It sounds pretty darn good! Need to sign up for a few cards asap to build up some points in time for the holiday season.

    We went to Buenos Aires in ’08 so will be great to hear your thoughts on that. Shame you didn’t get to see the falls, they are breathtaking. A good reason to save up those points and go back though eh 🙂

    The mention of Parillas brought back some mouth-wateringly good memories as well. Although I take it you didn’t try the turkey testicles ha ha!? (That’s what we got offered at one of them, we obviously passed on that one!)

    • That was some good meat down there. I’ll be covering Argentina in Part 3 (and maybe Part 4 if Part 3 is too long). I think the food was better in Argentina.

      I have heard the US credit card market is much more generous for sign up bonuses compared to anywhere else in the world. British Airways offers a card in the US through Chase that gives 50,000 to 100,000 BA Avios miles. We recently redeemed 36,000 of these points for 4 round trip tickets (9k points each) from Raleigh to Chicago Illinois for a family vacation. Pretty amazing what you can do with these mileage reward points.

      • Yea I get the feeling that US is more generous, but I’ll be researching it in the new year and will probably write up a UK based guide for the site.

        Ahhh just had another memory of the best steak I have ever eaten, it was in Salta in Argentina. It was the size of a large dinner plate and cost about $10. Amazing!

  • Looks like a beautiful trip, great photos! Thanks for sharing!

  • Wow! Looks like an awesome place. I’ve never been.

  • I’ve been reading more and more about using card points and rewards. To be able to take these kinds of trips for little money is great. So what do you do with the cards once you’ve used the initial incentive? Do you get rid of them to avoid the annual fee (if it has one)? Keep them because the continuing rewards are worth it? If you get rid of the card, can you re-apply later and get the reward again? Sorry for all the questions but this is a very interesting topic.

    • It depends on the card. I keep some of the cards so I can use them in particular situations. If the annual fee is high, there would have to be a really good reason to keep the card after the annual fee kicks in during year 2. Sometimes you can call the card issuer and ask to waive the annual fee, or they will give you 5,000 miles/points to partially offset the annual fee. I think the Southwest card gives you points automatically each year to in essence cover the annual fee.

      Cards worth keeping and paying an annual fee in my opinion: Starwood Preferred Guest Amex and Southwest Chase card. Both have moderate annual fees and the rewards for recurring spending are big.

      After you get the card and use the bonus miles/points, you are free to cancel it if you don’t want to keep it. As for re-applying for the card later (called “churn”) – I have read it is possible in some cases but I haven’t really worked the programs that hard (yet). There seems to be enough new cards coming out to pick up 3-4 cards per year without having to try to get another card again. And often there’s a business and a personal card available with similar rewards (Southwest and Starwood Preferred Guest are both like this). Well, I have a business so I can get a business and a personal card in some cases. And I have a spouse who can get a business and a personal card. The rewards can add up quickly.

  • We ended up going to Ecuador for our excursion out of Peru, but were strongly considering Uruguay or Argentina. What a great summary to your trip. I love the line about being a human GPS. We similarly leaned on guidebooks (or pictures taken on our phone of maps in the guidebook) to go around. Didn’t use one dime of data down there.

    • Pics on your phone of the guidebook – sweet! Great idea and we actually did that in Chicago while on vacation there. So much easier than hauling a book around if you just need 1 map.

      I didn’t even own a smartphone when we went to Argentina and Uruguay. So I had to do it the old fashioned way. Today, I would probably check into getting a smart phone that I could use overseas (not sure if my current phone can swap the sim card but I can definitely use it like an ipod with wifi).

      If you’re ever down in South America, definitely check out Argentina and Uruguay. Awesome places.

      I’d like to hit up Ecuador at some point. I’ve heard mostly good things about it but don’t really know a lot about the country (other than the equator runs through it).

  • Wow, looks like you had an amazing trip. I’d love to see that part of the world one of these days!

  • I went to Argentina from Guatemala for about $400 by buying a friend’s miles, usually flights are $1,000+ like from the US. It was amazing and I have fond memories of the meatstravaganzzas with wine for $10 per person. Wish my cards were half as good for rewards as the US ones.
    I splurged and did a helicopter flight over Iguazu falls, it was breathtaking, sorry you guys missed it.

  • Never been there….sounds awesome though! I’m currently churning the Citi AAdvantage card to start racking up American airlines miles!

  • How is your spanish? I would love to do more travel, but one of my big fears is not being able to communicate in the native language.

    • My Spanish is awesome. In Mexico. I grew up learning Mexican Spanish. In Argentina, it was rough, because the dialect is very different than that in Mexico. After a week down there I was getting the hang of the “rioplatense” dialect. You might be able to swing it in English, but it would be hard to get off the tourist path.

      One goal in my early retirement is to gain at least a passing knowledge of a few different languages so we can travel and have a feel for local languages. I’m thinking French (in progress), German, Portuguese, and Italian to start.

  • You make me jealous! Uruguay has been on the ‘to visit’ list forever now! Great post and awesome pictures!

    • Uruguay was definitely worth a visit. In my Part 2, one observation from me is to visit Buenos Aires and Montevideo in the same trip, since Montevideo doesn’t quite warrant a whole trip from the northern hemisphere. We felt like we saw everything after 3 days in Uruguay, although we didn’t get inland or hit any beach resort areas. So you could make Uruguay into a week or two trip, but Buenos Aires is not far away (3 hour direct ferry ride if you want to skip Colonia).

  • Awesome trip, loved the pictures! Wish I had more knowledge about travel credit card bonus hacking and frequent flyer miles earlier. I did use some bonuses on a trip to Asia which was great. But now with a little baby, I’m not sure what kind of traveling we’ll be doing. You guys travel with the kiddos? And we’re looking to take on a mortgage so I’m trying not to apply for anything in the meantime. We’ll see what happens in the future.

    • We did the Argentina/Uruguay trip after our oldest 2 were born. They were 3 and 4 years old and we left them at home with the grandmas for the nine days. Mrs. RootofGood says she wouldn’t do that again. Skype helped keep in touch with them, since they still saw us. At 3 and 4 they don’t really know if you’re in the room next to you videochatting or half way across the world.

      We spent 4 days in Chicago this summer and took the (now) 7 and 8 year old girls. We left the 1.5 year old at home. The trip went really well, even though we were constantly hopping on and off public transit (trains and buses). It would have been a difficult trip with the toddler in tow.

      Young children definitely change your vacationing!

  • I really enjoyed this post, and having been waiting for subsequent parts (2-4???). I don’t see them on the blog so I’m hoping you didn’t forget about them! I’d really like to hear about the rest of your trip. Thanks for the stories!

    • Thanks for commenting, Mark! Glad you enjoyed the first post in the series.

      The second installment exists in draft form and #3 and maybe #4 exist in my head only. I’ll try to get them up eventually, but it might be a while. I’m retired after all. 😉

  • My wife and I lived in Montevideo for two years (after you visited, but we were there when you wrote this post…). A couple observations, in case any readers are planning a trip: (1) You were right to take the bus from the airport. 50 pesos for the express bus vs. 1,000 pesos for the taxi (which is only slightly faster). (2) Arguably the best steak I have ever had was at “La Pulperia” in Punta Carretas (near Pocitos). Opening hours are unpredictable (as for all good, mom-and-pop places in Uruguay). (3) “Alfajores”…go to several bakeries and sample all the variants of this dulce de leche dessert. You won’t be sorry. (4) The recolectores (the recyclers in horse-drawn carriages) are not picturesque nor particularly good for the functioning of the city. They are an entrenched feature, though.

    The charm of Uruguay is in its feeling of smallness and tranquility. That’s the national mood…”tranquilo”…and you will hear that very word in describing most things about the country. Amble the streets of 1920’s grand architecture, with dominating 80-year old trees that would be ripped out in an American street. Stop in little hole-in-the-wall places where everyone is happy to chat even if you’re not going to buy something. Marvel at the decaying decrepitude of parts of the city center—the place is economically a shell of its former self—and envision the kinds of post-apocalyptic movies that could be shot there. And ramble along the Rambla, the seaside (sorry, “riverside”) promenade that is a point of reference for all Montevideanos. Study your Spanish first: unlike in many places in the world, not many people speak English. It’s not a tourist town, and it’s all the more charming for it.

    Punta del Este is often highlighted as a side trip, but you didn’t go all the way to Uruguay just for another beach resort. Stop off in Piriapolis instead, which is closer to Montevideo by half, and is much more picturesque (a Uruguayan Santa Monica, for Californians). If you like art, go as far as Casapueblo, the home and workshop of Uruguay’s most famous artist, Carlos Paez Vilaro. The place is a work of art itself, and is reminiscent of the work of Gaudi, the famous, crazy Barcelonan.

    And if you go on to Argentina afterward—as you should, since for all its charm Uruguay probably doesn’t warrant the travel and expenditure by itself—go by Buquebus: first take the bus to Colonia, and enjoy another piece of historia tranquila…and then take the ferry to BA. Book online in advance, as the cheaper Buquebus tickets are gone around 3 weeks before your target travel date. And book on the Uruguayan Buquebus website…the prices will be higher on the Argentine Buquebus site. South American economics are a world of fascination.

    • Great advice, thanks!

      We did end up going to Buenos Aires and took the exact course you mentioned. Bus to Colonia then buquebus ferry across the river. I can’t remember the exact cost but it was really cheap. Maybe $20-25 for the bus and the ferry per person. Colonia is really pretty too (but full of mosquitos when we visited).

      Both Uruguay and Argentina are both worth a visit and make for a great pairing if you’re coming from the US and have the time to spend a few days in Uruguay. Yes, very tranquilo for sure.

      We didn’t go north to Punta del Este for the exact reason you mention. I’m not flying 5000 miles to go to just another generic beach resort (I can go there 500 miles from home).

  • Mate loving the look of Uruguay! :), shame you didn’t get to Igauzu Falls, we were fortunate enough to check this out in 2014 when we went to Brazil.. Like you we realised that South America was massive and unfortunately we didn’t see Buenos Aries, except the airport..

    Good hustle on the air miles as well!

  • Planning to go to Montevideo and Punta next week. This really helped!

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