buenos-aires-to-montevideo

Travel from Buenos Aires to Montevideo

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Buenos Aires, the elegant South American capital, is a stone's throw away from its smaller cousin across the La Plata river. There are many similarities between them. Both cities share a common language, an obsession for Mate  -a type of tea- and a passion for soccer (football). Vegetarians beware! In this part of the world people eat a lot of meat, with the highest consumption of beef per capita in the world.

But there are differences too. Buenos Aires is a bustling, loud city. Over 12M people live in its metropolitan area. Montevideo, on the other hand, is smaller and more laid back. Oh and cannabis is legal there, which probably helps to explain the slower pace.

There are four different ways to travel between Buenos Aires and Montevideo. We give you the lowdown of the options available, to help you decide how to get there.

 

Travel

1. By Air

2. By Boat

3. By Bus

4. Combined Boat/Bus

 

Best Way

So… what should you do? Obviously every person has unique preferences and different circumstances, but our traveller recommendation is to take the boat/Bus combination. It provides the best value for money. Yes, it does take longer than the direct ferry to Montevideo, but it is significantly cheaper and there are more sailings to choose from.

For the same price, travelling by bus seems pointless (unless you want to visit the Entre Rios province) and takes away the charm of navigating through the brown-colored river. Flying is often more expensive and of course more damaging to the environment.

 

2. Travel by Air

Aeroparque Jorge Newbery

Aeroparque Jorge Newbery

Airports:

Aeroparque Jorge Newbery and Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires

Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo

Companies:

Aerolíneas Argentinas

Alas Uruguay (in Spanish)

Amaszonas

Travel Time:

40-50min

Approximate price:

2,255ARS/4,174UYU/122GBP/148USD return

Book with:

If is best is to compare flights with our price comparison search engine (opens in new window) and book through an agency. Aerolíneas has a fully working website in English but the interface is not very user friendly. The website of Amaszonas is in Spanglish, and Alas has not yet translated its website. Alternatively you could buy a ticket over the telephone or at the airport.

Description:

Most flights from Buenos Aires to Montevideo leave from Aeroparque, as is commonly known by porteños. The small airport is used for national and regional flights, and is centrally located in the Palermo area of Buenos Aires. The more modern Ezeiza airport, is about 35km (22mi) southwest of the city. Book a taxi here* for the quickest way to get there.

Aerolíneas has more scheduled flights (from Aeroparque as well as Ezeiza) than the other two airlines, but Amaszonas is competing for a share of the market with low fares. The latter took over the defunct Uruguayan BQB Líneas Aéreas, while Alas was itself created by former employees of PLUNA, the former flag carrier of Uruguay that went into administration in 2012.

Carrasco airport is a 30 minute drive away from the city center, so will you need to add this time to the duration of the flight when planning your trip. You can either take a bus or a taxi. We highly recommend pre-booking here* to save yourself the hassle.

Furthermore:

Here is a chart to give you an idea of the cabin baggage policy with each airline:

Airline

Cabin baggage allowance (economy)

Aerolíneas Argentinas

8kg and 55cmx35cmx25cm

Alas Uruguay

10kg and 55cmx35x25cm

Amaszonas

5kg and 30mx20cmx27cm

 

2. Travel by Boat

Ports:

Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires

Puerto de Montevideo

Company:

Buquebus

Travel Time:

​2h15m

Approximate price: 

1800ARS/3300UYU/118USD one way

Book with:

We recommend you book online with Directferries where you can pay directly in all major currencies.You can also book your ticket with Buquebus on their Spanglish website where you will pay in Pesos. There is also the option to buy tickets at the port or over the telephone.

Description:

There are two sailings every day in each direction. When you factor in the travel time to/from the airport and other necessary airport annoyances, it makes this the fastest way to travel from Buenos Aires to Montevideo. However, it comes at a premium. This ferry is significantly more expensive than the bus+boat combination. Maybe one day this route will open to competition but for the time being Buquebus holds a monopoly so they can pretty much charge what they want.

Furthermore:

There is WiFi on-board the ferry but… it´s not free 🙁

 

Book a hotel in Buenos Aires* or Montevideo* with 

 bookingnew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 3. Travel by Bus

Stations:

Estación Retiro Buenos Aires

Terminal Omnibus Tres Cruces or Terminal Omnibus Plaza Cuba​

Companies:

Pullman

Condor

Bus de la Carrera (Cita)

Cauvi

Travel Time:

8h

Approximate price: 

700ARS/1,300UYU/38GBP/46USD one-way

Book with:

We recommend you book your tickets using Busbud. They are a reputable site and have a user-friendly interface where you can check times and prices from the different bus operators. Alternatively you can book them on Omnilineas, a south American bus specialist portal, for the same price. You could easily book the tickets at the station too or by the phone. It is always preferrable to book in advance, especially at peak times like Christmas, carnival and other public holidays.

Description:

Buses leave late in the evening, whether they are departing from Buenos Aires or Montevideo, and arrive in the early hours of the following morning. . Foreigners are sometimes surprised at the level of comfort of bus travel in Argentina. All of the buses have cama-ejecutivo or seats that can be turned into flat beds. Meals and personal entertainment screens are included too. The journey will take you through the Entre Ríos province, where there are many gaucho cattle farms. There are usually other stops along the way, such as Campana, Fray Bentos (yes, the same as the name as the steak&kidney pie brand) and Mercedes.

Furthermore:

Quick Spanish lesson! In Argentina and Uruguay a colectivo is a city bus, while an omnibus is a type of greyhound bus used for long distance travel. Pretty much like the difference in British English between bus and coach.

 

4. Travel by Combined Boat/Bus

Buquebus mooring in Buenos Aires

Buquebus mooring in Buenos Aires

Stations:

Terminal Fluvial Puerto Madero – Buenos Aires

Terminal Omnibus Tres Cruces – Montevideo

Companies:

Buquebus

Coloniaexpress

Seacatcolonia

Travel Time:

4.30h

Approximate price: 

650ARS/1,200UYU/35GBP/43USD each way

Book with:

You can book a ticket with DirectFerries*, where you can compare prices before you buy. Alternatively, you can also book tickets with on the ferry operators’ websites (issues have been reported to us of foreign credit card payments being denied) at the port or over the telephone.

Description:

If you start the journey at Buenos Aires, you will be boarding the ship directly at Puerto Madero terminal. The port is very close to the Aeroparque airport, and within easy reach from the city center, by metro, bus and taxi.

After border control formalities, you will embark the ship and cross the La Plata river until you reach Colonia del Sacramento, in Uruguay. The river crossing takes about 1h.

Colonia is a popular destination in itself. Its historic quarter is a UNESCO world heritage site. However, you will not be able to stop by if the final destination printed on your ticket is Montevideo. If you are interested in a day trip to Colonia we recommend you book a ticket here*, including return ferry tickets and a sightseeing tour.

At Colonia you will switch the ferry for a bus, and follow the Carretera 1 road all the way to Montevideo. The station at Montevideo is called Tres Cruces, and the journey takes about 3h. 

There are a few differences between the three companies. Buquebus is generally more expensive with a more modern fleet. Seacat is mid-priced, while Colonia Express is usually the cheapest option (and feels like it too!).

Furthermore:

If you have to travel the route frequently, Buquebus offers a season ticket which is significantly cheaper than buying individual tickets. They also have family tickets available. Colonia Express on the other hand has a clubcard where you gain points every time you travel.

 

Recommended Guidebooks*

 

Compare travel insurance 

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