Since our home base in Buenos Aires, the Borges Hostel, was booked over the weekend, we decided to cross the Rio de la Plata and visit Colonia and Montevideo in Uruguay, before returning to Buenos Aires. This little excursion was very badly planned! As a result, we wasted a whole afternoon, because we missed the 3 o’clock boat … Unfortunately, we had never bothered looking at the map and thus did not realize that the bus station El Retiro in Buenos Aires, where we arrived from Rosario, was only one kilometer from the Buquebus terminal, where the ferry leaves for Colonia.
So when arriving from Rosario, instead of going straight to the boat, we went to the Borges Hostel, where we left most of our luggage and played around using their fast WiFi. Finally Gilles checked the ferry schedule online and then panic: the boat leaves in 50 minutes! Well, we got there in time, but there were long lines for buying tickets and in order to cross an international border you need time. So we had to wait over four hours for the next boat, whereas the ride itself takes only 50 minutes.
The high speed catamaran linking Buenos Aires and Colonia or Montevideo is sailing at an incredible 40 knots or 76 Kph! It is a highly modern and rather comfortable boat. But it is expensive: 37 USD to Colonia and a hefty 74 USD per person to return from Montevideo! As a consequence, we decided to spend 4 whole days in Uruguay to make the most of it.
Even though this ferry navigates on what is considered a river, the estuary of the Rio de la Plata is so wide and so open to the sea that it more feels like being on the ocean. Also the waves and the rocking & rolling reminded us more of a cruise on the open sea than on a river.
So we finally arrived at 08:30 pm in Colonia and checked into the first hotel that had any vacancy and was within our price range, the Hotel Rime. Well, it was ok but surely nothing fancy or special.