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Buquebus between Buenos Aires and Uruguay

Buquebus between Buenos Aires and Uruguay

Old Mar 21, 19, 9:43 pm
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Buquebus between Buenos Aires and Uruguay

There’s been quite a few threads asking about the Buquebus ferry between Buenos Aires and Montevideo, so I thought I should write a mini “trip report” concerning the voyage, which I did earlier this week.

Both in Buenos Aires and in Montevideo I checked-in around 40 minutes before sailing time and I had no issues. Of course I travelled on a Sunday morning and on a Tuesday afternoon so both terminals were quite empty, but still I’d say it’s ok to be at the harbour ca. 1 hour before departure. Any extra time you allow is quite useless. Check-in is airport style but the baggage allowance is much more liberal than on airlines – I was travelling with a colleague who brought a huge suitcase and they let her carry it on the ferry.

Otherwise you can also check your bag. After the ferry ties up at the arrival port, there is an airport-style belt were bags are delivered.

After check-in there is a small, informal security check (no need to take your phone, wallet or even keys out of your pocket). Immigration for both Argentina and Uruguay is done at the departure port. Upon arrival you will clear no formalities.

The terminal in Buenos Aires is much larger and modern than the one in Montevideo. Both have cafés. I didn’t look for ATMs in the Buenos Aires terminal. Note that there’s one single ATM in the Montevideo terminal, located on the check-in lounge, so it’s a 50-meter walk from arrivals if you want to get some Uruguayan pesos. I didn’t try it but it’s a Banco República ATM, so I assume it takes most cards.

The “Francisco”, which operates from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, takes 2:15 to complete the voyage. I was on Clase Turista and the seat was a bit more comfortable than your average Economy airline seat. The onboard café accepts Argentine pesos at a pretty favorable exchange rate and Uruguayan pesos at a pretty awful rate. A can of Coca Cola is 95 ARS (2.30 USD) or 95 UYU (2.85 USD), so there’s a bit of a difference between both currencies. Better to pay cash in ARS – Buquebus is registered in Uruguay and credit card purchases are billed in UYU. The duty free shop, which has some very decent spirits and chocolates (I can’t comment on makeup), operates in the Southern Cone’s favourite currency – US dollars. There is also a bureau de change onboard.

There’s no onboard entertainment whatsoever and you lose all mobile signal through most of the voyage. I noticed a Buquebus WiFi hotspot appeared on my phone but it was a paying network and I didn’t check the prices. There are no plugs for charging devices. I slept on the way to Montevideo and had a long conversation with my colleagues when coming home, but otherwise bring a book or some other form of old-school entertainment with you.

Upon arrival to Montevideo there is a taxi line which is pretty well organised. We were staying in the Hyatt Centric, in the Pocitos area, and the taxi charged us by the meter around 450 UYU (14 USD). On the way back we took an Uber and it was 8.5 USD. The Uber car was a Fiat Uno, which is tiny, so beware if you are travelling with anything more than a carry-on bag.

In the Buenos Aires terminal there is the traditional taxi mafia waiting for you. I tried to take one of the taxis and as soon as the driver heard my local accent he told me to go away, so you get the idea. I suggest walking two blocks from the terminal to Alem Avenue and pick up a street cab from there.

I hadn’t been to Uruguay in years, and I have to say that, even though I love flying, the Buquebus ferry seems to be the most convenient way between Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Door-to-door it took me around 4 hours. With MVD being so far away from the city centre and airport formalities being more strict than Buquebus’, I think, time-wise, the ferry is unbeatable.
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Marambio is offline  
Old Mar 22, 19, 5:47 am
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Good report Marambio!

I agree that the ferry option beats the flight option when you look at the door to door timings. Apart from the check in times , the ferries are very seldom late and arrive on schedule . I also get pissed off at the taxi prices from MVD to the city center. I now only look at flying if my business takes me to Zonamerica, which is located close by to carrasco.

You can charge your devices if you travel Business class , but only if you have an Argentine plug !

Business class has more room and great if you want to work. it is usually quite quiet except on Friday afternoons and Sunday afternoons .- Commuters going back home for the weekend in both directions

The wifi works quite well - Cant remember the actual price but it was reasonable . It sometimes doesnt work due to satellite problems but if that is the case they dont sell the vouchers..

If you travel first class , you get free wifi - there is a decent buffet in first class but you have to pay for it .

Last edited by malagajohn; Mar 22, 19 at 5:56 am
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Old Jun 3, 19, 9:35 am
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Originally Posted by Marambio View Post
There’s been quite a few threads asking about the Buquebus ferry between Buenos Aires and Montevideo, so I thought I should write a mini “trip report” concerning the voyage, which I did earlier this week.


Thanks, Marambio, for this thread. We will be in South America in September this year, so I have been ramming up the research. I will post a few questions about the ferry from Montevideo to Buenos Aires - in the next few weeks.
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Old Jun 3, 19, 6:08 pm
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I think Marambio and myself are the only regular ferry travellers of the posters here.

Buquebus is the best option . Colonia Express is cheaper but their BS AS terminal is a little off the beaten track and they onlt travel to Colonia de Sacramento.

Passenger figures are down about 20/25% on last year and Bquebus is now discounting on its own website - Look for the OUTLET signs...
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Old Jun 4, 19, 2:25 am
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Originally Posted by malagajohn View Post
I think Marambio and myself are the only regular ferry travellers of the posters here.

Buquebus is the best option . Colonia Express is cheaper but their BS AS terminal is a little off the beaten track and they onlt travel to Colonia de Sacramento.

Passenger figures are down about 20/25% on last year and Bquebus is now discounting on its own website - Look for the OUTLET signs...
Many thanks, malagajohn, for the additional info. It will be a quick trip for us to South America in September - from LHR to Santiago, Chile for 2 nights, then to Montevideo, Uruquay for 2 nights, then to Buenos Aires, Argentina for 2 nights, then to Iguazu Falls for 3 nights, then to Rio de Janiero, Brazil for 2 nights before returning to LHR. We have booked BA flights from / to LHR, LATAM flights within South America - except for the ferry from Montevideo to Buenos Aires. I have been researching the Buquebus ferry from Montevideo to BA on a Sunday. We are likely to stay at a boutique hotel (Alma) near the ferry terminal in Montevideo (walking distance) so will take the morning ferry to BA. The question which I have is how best to buy the Buquebus ferry tickets? online or on the day at the ferry terminal? Glad you mentioned Colonia Express that the terminal for it is a bit out of the way - we don't want to get lost, so will stick with Buquebus.

Other questions which I have are: Are hop-on hop-off buses in Montevideo and BA a good option to see these cities on short stay? In Santiago and Rio we will hire private tour guides for the sights. What are the best ways to get from MVD to hotel (Alma)? and from BA ferry terminal to hotel (Fierro). We are not Uber as hubby will not use it. In BA, I thought of staying at the Hilton (as it is within walking distance of ferry terminal, but hubby said he would be wary of walking around BA for safety reasons) but it is rather expensive, so maybe Fierro a better option?
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Old Jun 4, 19, 6:40 am
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I would buy the ferry tickets online.

There is no advantage waiting until the day of travel . Occasionally before hand there will be discounts a couple of weeks before on the webpage.

If your plans are unlikely to change you should buy today or tomorrow as you can use the code CIBERLUNES to get a 25% discount on the ticket price for your whole party.

This a about as good a dscount as you can get on Buquebus.
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Old Jun 4, 19, 6:41 am
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You have to use the Uruguayan page to get the discount

www.buquebus.com.uy
malagajohn is offline  
Old Jun 4, 19, 7:15 am
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Originally Posted by malagajohn View Post
I would buy the ferry tickets online.

There is no advantage waiting until the day of travel . Occasionally before hand there will be discounts a couple of weeks before on the webpage.

If your plans are unlikely to change you should buy today or tomorrow as you can use the code CIBERLUNES to get a 25% discount on the ticket price for your whole party.

This a about as good a dscount as you can get on Buquebus.
Many thanks, malagajohn, for this tip. Our plans are relatively firm, so I will try to go into the link site you have provided and book the ferry trip from Montevideo to Buenos Aires. I will post back, if any problem.
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Old Jun 4, 19, 2:31 pm
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Hi malagajohn
Need your help here. I went to the buquebus link (UY site) to book our one-way ferry from Montevideo to Buenos Aires. After some google translation, I got to the quoted price for business (hubby said business, not economy or first) and applied the 25% discount code. When i tried to register as a new user, I got a message saying that it only applied to Uruguayan, and for non-Uruguayan use the buquebus.com website instead. When I did that, there was no discount. So, I guess the 25% discount only applied to Uruguayan? Thanks for any head up.
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Old Jun 5, 19, 5:37 am
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It certainly is possible . i just checked on the Argentine site and the discount is not available either.

I have booked from the Uruguayan site several times as soemtime the prices are more favorable.

I can only suggest that you try and register on the Uruguayan site and use your hotel as your address . I quite often use my UK credit card on the Arg site and the UY site.

Hope you can do it .. 25% off is a decent discount.
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Old Jun 5, 19, 4:25 pm
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Originally Posted by malagajohn View Post
It certainly is possible . i just checked on the Argentine site and the discount is not available either.

I have booked from the Uruguayan site several times as soemtime the prices are more favorable.

I can only suggest that you try and register on the Uruguayan site and use your hotel as your address . I quite often use my UK credit card on the Arg site and the UY site.

Hope you can do it .. 25% off is a decent discount.
Thanks, malagajohn, for your further reply.
Still no good - no discount on Argentine site, only on Uruguay site (25% off). I could not register on the UY site, kept getting error message that I must register on the Argentine site. I did that with my UK passport and logged into UY site, but it would not let me buy the discounted tickets! I have found both sites were slow and had to keep hitting the date a few times to get fares to show. Some dates were shown as numbers, others as letters! I tried to book without the discount on the UY site, but it would not let me - kept saying only for Uruguayan. So I guess I will have to book via the Argentine website - and pay a higher price (the difference is about £10 pp one way). Will wait to see if there is any discount on the Argentine site in the future.
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