Skip to Content

How to Get A Ferry from Buenos Aires to Uruguay

Perhaps you’re planning a weekend getaway from Buenos Aires.
You might be doing an Argentinian visa run. Or maybe you’re moving on to your next South American backpacking destination. Regardless of your reasons, here’s everything you need to know about getting a ferry from Buenos Aires to Uruguay.

You can of course go by air or road. But getting a ferry to Uruguay from Buenos Aires is what we would recommend because it’s quicker and cheaper.

A ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo

How to Get A Ferry From Buenos Aires to Uruguay

The first thing you need to decide when taking a boat from Buenos aires to Uruguay is whether you want to head to the smaller, picturesque, historical port town of Colonia del Sacramento, or the larger, bustling, trendy port city of Montevideo.

There are options to get a direct ferry to ports at both. However, because Colonia is closer, it is usually the cheaper route.

If you are wanting to head straight to Montevideo, you can can also take a ferry to Colonia and then a connecting bus direct to Montevideo.

Colonia Express bus Uruguay

There isn’t a direct ferry to Punta del Este. To get there you need to take a ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia and then a 4 hour bus from there.

Or alternatively opt for a direct Buenos Aires to Montevideo ferry and then a 2 hour bus from there.

Still trying to choose your backpack? Look no further! The Osprey Farpoint 70 Travel Backpack is perfect for big trips. It’s lightweight but durable, incredibly comfortable, super spacious and even has a detachable daypack.

Which Ferry Company To Choose

There are three companies that you can use to take a ferry from Buenos Aires to Uruguay: Buquebus, Colonia Express and SeaCat.

We found Buquebus and Colonia Express to be the cheapest and have used them both.

The Buenos Aires to Colonia ferry takes either one hour or three hours depending on whether you opt for a catamaran or the larger ferryboat option.

Thankfully there’s usually little to no difference in price so you should always check the journey time and choose the fast ferry.

Colonia Express Ferry Terminal Buenos Aires

The ferries from Buenos Aires to Montevideo take between 2 and 3 hours depending on which ferry company you are going with.

Buquebus runs 13 times per week with a journey time of 2 hours 15 mins. And Colonia Express 3 times per week with a journey time of 3 hours 30 mins.

We paid around £45 GBP / $58 USD each for the ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia. This was for a one way foot passenger ticket.

If you have a car or have hired a car in Argentina, there are ferry crossings that you can also book cars onto.

It generally isn’t any cheaper to book return tickets. But it is cheaper to book online in advance.

Ferry tickets direct to Montevideo are more expensive at around £220 GBP / $281 USD. So if you are going from Buenos Aires to Montevideo it will be cheaper to take a ferry to Colonia and then a connecting bus direct to Montevideo.

Ferry from Buenos Aires to Uruguay

Seats aren’t assigned but there are plenty and they are comfortable. If you need to charge anything there are a few plug sockets to be found but not many. So it’s best charge your gadgets before you leave to get the ferry from Buenos Aires to Uruguay.

We always travel with a filter water bottle. Not only does it stop us getting ill, but it means we’re not killing the planet or wasting money on plastic bottles. The GRAYL Geopress is hands down the best on the market & makes water from virtually any source safe to drink.

Buenos Aires to Uruguay Day Trip

Up until only a few years ago, the cost of a ferry to Uruguay from Buenos Aires was much cheaper, making a Buenos Aires to Uruguay day trip way more affordable.

Of course it is still doable, but we just wanted to mention this as many outdated guides provide old prices.

If you still want to do it, the best option is a day trip to Colonia from Buenos Aires. This will cut down on both travel time and expense.

The Portuguese founded, colonial town of Colonia is a lovely chilled out place. And there’s plenty to do for a weekend if you do decide to stay overnight.

sunset in Colonia

If you have a few more days to play with or are leaving Argentina to travel in Uruguay, our advice would be stop off in Colonia del Sacramento before heading to Montevideo. Even if just for the day. The walled town is a UNESCO world heritage site after all.

Buenos Aires to Montevideo via Colonia

If you choose not to get the direct ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, you’ll need to catch a connecting bus from Colonia. Buses run from Colonia to Montevideo every hour and it’s around a 2 hour journey.

If you get an early boat from Buenos Aires to Uruguay you will have time to explore Colonia. A great option is to take a look around and have lunch before getting an evening bus to Montevideo.

If you choose to do this, don’t book a boat-bus combo ticket for your ferry from Buenos Aires to Uruguay. Your bus will leave too soon after you dock into the port for you to do anything in Colonia.

Instead, book your bus ticket to Montevideo separately when you get to Colonia.

From the port, turn left and it’s a 10 minute walk into the town, or turn right and it’s a few minutes walk to the bus station. You can also leave your luggage in lockers at the bus station so you’re not carting them round all day.

Trip to Uruguay

There are loads of different bus companies running the route between Colonia and Montevideo. We used the company COT, the buses were really comfortable and had decent wifi onboard.  We paid $383 UYU (£9 GBP / £12 USD) each.

You can also check and book buses around Uruguay here, if you’d prefer to do it in advance of getting to Colonia del Sacramento.

A travel adaptor that works anywhere in the world? Yes please. It’s one of the most useful things we own & an absolute essential for your trip. This one’s lightweight, durable & also has 1 USB-C port and 2 standard USBs. Get one in your bag.

How To Get To Buenos Aires Ferry Port

All ferries from Buenos Aires to Uruguay go from the same port, Puerto Madero.

The easiest way to get there is to take an Uber, especially if you have a backpack or suitcase. From where were staying in the neighbourhood of Palermo it cost us just £3.30 GBP / $4.20 USD.

It takes around 20-25 minutes from most central neighbourhoods. Be sure you go to the right termianal of Buenos Aires Ferry Port. Because the Buquebus and Seacat terminals are at the top of Puerto Madero and the Colonia Express terminal is at the bottom, a 45 minute walk away.

Buenos Aires to Uruguay

You will need to get there 1 hour and 30 minutes before the departure time for your ferry from Buenos Aires to Uruguay.

Please note that you will also likely need to have your ticket reservations printed. It will say on the information when you book it.

Checking in For Your Trip to Uruguay

The buquebus terminal can be a little overwhelming upon first arrival, mainly because it’s so busy and it’s difficult to see where you need to go.

There are different desks for collecting tickets, checking in and purchasing tickets – which is another option.

Although in summer, taking a trip from Buenos Aires to Uruguay is a very popular thing to do amongst Porteños. So we’d always recommend booking your ferry tickets from Buenos Aires to Uruguay in advance.

Also, because Buquebus and SeaCat run from exactly the same port, they frequently interchange their services. So even if you have a ticket booked with one company you could be put on the other company’s boat. If you are in any doubt, ask.

The Colonia Express ferry terminal is newly built so is way more organised and efficient, it was relocated from La Boca to Puerto Madero.

Check in is pretty easy. You just present your printed reservation and ID, collect your tickets then go through the bag scanner. Next up is immigration.

Just be aware that they do both your Argentina visa exit stamp and Uruguay visa entry stamp here. Once you’ve been seen by the Argentinian side you’ll be directed to a Uruguayan booth. So make sure you don’t miss getting your entry stamp to Uruguay.

Buenos Aires to Uruguay day trip

Ferry to Uruguay From Buenos Aires

Once you go through passport control at the ferry port, there isn’t anywhere to get a coffee other than a crappy drinks machine.

So make you sure you get something at the cafe before you go through if you haven’t had breakfast.

And you can take drinks i.e. liquids through check in. It’s a boat, not a plane. There are small shops on the ferries too but they are super expensive. Like $2.50 USD for a small pack of Oreos expensive.

The aircon was blasting on the last ferry we went on, so be sure to have a sweater handy. Even if it’s hot outside.

Ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia Info

Announcements happen in both English and Spanish. So don’t worry if your Spanish isn’t great.

If you are going straight onto Montevideo or Punta del Este, when you get off the ferry from Buenos to Uruguay the buses will be waiting for you.

Buenos Aires to Uruguay ferry journey

There’s a cashpoint in Colonia ferry port if you need to take out cash, but don’t dawdle if you’re travelling in a pair and want to sit together.

Depending on the time of year, there may be an hours time difference from Buenos Aires to Uruguay.

If you are just taking a short trip from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento, you don’t have to worry about getting money changed.

Argentinian pesos are widely accepted by shops and restaurants in Colonia. And there’s no need to take a cab or bus, it’s just a 10 minute walk.

Where To Stay In Colonia

Cheap & Cheerful: El Viajero Colonia Hostel

Right next to the old town and a short walk from the beach, this hostel gas an ideal location. 

The colorful decor matches the vibrant and welcoming atmosphere. We really enjoyed our stay here. There’s daily breakfast, communal BBQs and often live musicians playing.

Mid-range: Posada Del Virrey

Set inside an old colonial-style building, this hotel features a charming central courtyard with marble chequered floors.

Elegantly rooms have air-conditioning and private bathrooms with baths. A buffet breakfast of croissants, fresh juices and regional jams is served daily.

Luxury – Charco Hotel

Situated in the old town, this hotel has one of the best-rated locations in Colonia with guests treated to either river or garden views.

There’s is an à la carte restaurant, excellent breakfasts served daily and each room is tastefully decorated in a modern farmhouse style.

Great Reads To Take To Uruguay:

Uruguay Travel Insurance

If you haven’t left on your travels yet, or even if you have, don’t forget your travel insurance. Uruguay is a very safe country. But accidents happen all the time and the last thing you want is to be stuck abroad without good insurance.

Our go to travel insurance provider is World Nomads. They have a no bullshit approach to policy & are perfect for adventurous travellers like us. Get a no obligation quote here:

And if you have any other questions about how to get a ferry from Buenos Aires to Uruguay, drop us a comment below and we’ll do our best to help.

If you’re planning on visiting other places in Uruguay you may also find these posts helpful:

Pin Me For Later

boat terminal with text overlay how to get a boat from buenos aires to uruguay

Arthur Meier

Monday 30th of December 2019

Hi guys...!

First of all, thanks so much for those informations. It was very helpful!

I am going to Buenos Aires for 7 days with my girlfriend and we wanted to make a sidetrip to MV. I saw that the tickets stopping in Colonia are more cheep. We’ll do that!

My question is : As I work with internet , do you guys know if there’s a wifi inside the ferry? Or we are completely disconnected in the way?

James McAlister

Thursday 2nd of January 2020

Hey Arthur, we've never had access to wifi on the crossing so I don't think there is any on the boat I'm afraid!

Enjoy your trip :-)

LB Hall

Tuesday 12th of November 2019

We are flying to BA on Feb 7, 2020 and then have all day Feb 8 free in-between two Road Scholar trips. We are thinking about going to Colonia for the day. Do you know if the ferry takes credit cards? We had not planned to get any Argentinian money as all of our lodging and most meals are included in our tour price. Also, do you think we'll be able to find a restaurant in Colonia that takes credit cards. The information in your post is great and has answered a lot of my questions already. Thank you.

James McAlister

Wednesday 13th of November 2019

Hey LB, glad you've found the info useful.

I'm assuming you mean can you pay for your ferry ticket by card? Our advice would be to book online in advance, that way you can definitely pay on card. The link in this post will take you to the Direct Ferries website and you can book there.

Most places in Uruguay allow you to pay by card so you'll have absolutely no issues finding a restaurant.

In fact it's actually beneficial to pay by card because as a tourist you receive a tax rebate. It gets put back on to your card automatically a few days after your transaction.

Hop you have a great trip and enjoy Colonia :-)


Monday 28th of October 2019

Hi! Very helpful blog :) thanks! I will be backpacking and don’t have a return flight yet, as I will eventually head up to Bolivia.

Do you know if an outbound needs to be shown when entering Argentina again?

Thanks so much!

James McAlister

Friday 1st of November 2019

Hi Melanie, sounds like a great trip you have planned.

We've never had to show any travel plans when re-entering Argentina so you shouldn't have any problems.

We have been asked for these details unexpectedly elsewhere and have just booked a cheap coach trip that covers the requirements on the spot. So on the off-chance you do get asked to show something, this could be an option.


Monday 23rd of September 2019

Do you have information about using a ferry BA to Colonia or BA to Montevideo for my car?? plus 4 passengers in car?


James McAlister

Friday 27th of September 2019

Sorry Hugo, we haven't made the trip by car, we've only been as foot passengers so don't have any first hand info on this.


Monday 16th of September 2019

This post was very helpful. We were going to from Buenos Aires to Montevideo on Dec 30th 2019, BUT the prices are US$111/person (and we're a family of 3 so that's US$333!) so we decided to go to Colonia first on 29th(US$34/person) and spend the night and then and take a bus to Montevideo on 30th Dec. But here is my question: It appears that the buses are about US$12/person from Colonia to Montevideo based on current month's schedule - but the schedules don't go out as far as December. Can I assume that the buses will be running on 30th December? (They don't close for holidays?) And will the prices shoot up for high season? It's hard to plan the best route and price ahead of time when you don't know for sure what things will be costing. I have emailed bus company but am hoping you might be able to offer some insight. Thank you!

James McAlister

Saturday 21st of September 2019

Hey Talchinsky, that's a great way to save money! As far as we're aware the buses will be running on 30th December, yes. It' not a public holiday so you shouldn't have any issues.

With regards to prices, I couldn't say with certainty I'm afraid. However, from our personal experience we have travelled this route a couple of times during these holidays and the buses have not been significantly more expensive. Enjoy your trip!