Considering how close the Argentine and the Uruguayan capitals are, one would expect that travelling from one to another would be simple. The two cities are separated by the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, which is more than 200km wide (124 miles), so although many people wonder if it’s possible to travel by bus from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, the fact is that you can’t. Don’t let that put you off, as no matter which side of the river you are, it’s worth visiting the other city. So, enough talking, let’s now find out how to get to Montevideo from Buenos Aires (or vice versa, of course).

Direct Ferry Between Buenos Aires and Montevideo

The easiest way to travel from Montevideo to Buenos Aires is by ferry (the opposite direction also works, of course :-)). The direct service is dominated by Buquebus, who has no competition on this route. The comfortable ferries depart from the Buquebus terminal in Puerto Madero.

At the time of writing, departure times from Buenos Aires are 7:30am and 3:45pm, arriving three hours later. Ferries Montevideo leave at 11am and 7:30pm

Ticket prices follow the airline model and vary considerably depending on when you are travelling and how far in advance you bought it. With some luck, you will pay around 100USD.

How to Get to Montevideo from Buenos Aires

Ferry and Bus via Colonia del Sacramento

There are only two direct ferries from Buenos Aires to Montevideo daily (and vice-versa), however many companies operate between Buenos Aires-Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. You may want to check out my other post on how to go from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento. But in a nutshell, there are two types of service to Colonia: a slow one, which takes three hours, and a fast one that takes around one hour. See here what TripAdvisor users say about Buquebus.

If you bought just a Buenos Aires-Colonia ticket, the bus station is 100 metres from the Maritime Terminal. Several bus companies offer services to Montevideo throughout the day. I travelled with COT, which I found very good and it has the added convenience of wi-fi onboard. The trip takes 2 1/2 hours and a one-way ticket cost me 254 Uruguayan pesos.

TIP: If you are in Buenos Aires and decide to visit Uruguay in the last minute, you will save money by buying your ticket in cash at the ferry terminal. There are two different exchange rates, cambio oficial and cambio paralelo (aka black market). Your credit or debit card company will always use the official exchange rate, which is less favourable than the one you will get at any bureau de change or cambistas around town. As bad as this may sound, this is actually the norm in the Argentine capital.

Flights from Buenos Aires to Montevideo (and Vice-Versa)

This is the most obvious option, and the least exciting, too. Flights from Buenos Aires to Montevideo take 50-minute and operate mostly from Aeroparque Airport (AEP), rather than Ezeiza International. The route is dominated by Aerolineas Argentinas, a member of SkyTeam, with five daily flights each way. Buquebus used to also offer lights, but their airline branch went bankrupt – so, Aerolineas is the only option with no competition.

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20 Responses

  1. Uma

    I should be down in Argentina and Uruguay sometime in the new year, so this should come in handy then … thanks!

    Reply
  2. Satya

    Hello:
    I arrive at AEP at 2pm on July 18, from Ushuaia. I need to leave for Montevideo the same day. Is there a overnight direct bus? What are other options for me? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Pedro (The Author)

      Hi Satya, the only options are the ones listed here. There’s no direct bus between Buenos Aires to Montevideo, you will have to either take a ferry+bus, a ferry, or fly between the two cities.

      Cheers!

      Reply
  3. Robert

    Hi,
    I’m trying to find out out if it is true that I cannot buy Buquebus tickets at the BsAs terminal for cash Argentine pesos for a trip to Montevideo. I believe I will be required to pay with US dollars or a credit card.
    if this is not true I would like to know because we would save money by waiting until after we arrive in BsAs and have a chance to exchange USD$ for Argentine pesos.
    thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • Pedro Richardson

      Hi Robert, sorry for my late reply. Honestly, I’ve never heard of such thing. I’ve done this three times and always used cash. Unless it changed in the last 5 months. Still, that sounds very strange to me.

      Reply
  4. Thomas Feigel

    Going to Buenos Aires and Montevideo next month, so thanks for making my life easier!

    Reply
  5. Marlinde

    Dear Pedro (or someone else who could help me),

    Thanks for your information, it is very helpful. I tried to book a ferry for the 16th of april, but I’m only getting very expensive options, from around $400 minimum. Both with buqebus and seacat. Could I be doing something wrong?

    Reply
    • Pedro Richardson

      Hi Marlinde, prices can be very high for some dates. But are you sure it was in USD and not AR$? Sometimes from their websites it’s hard to tell.

      Reply
  6. Goytá

    This is outdated regarding the flying part. BQB (Fly Buquebus) Airlines went bankrupt (though their ferry and bus services are still going strong) and the rights were acquired by Bolivian regional airline Amaszonas. So, the competition on that route is now between Aerolíneas Argentinas and Amaszonas – the former usually on Embraer 190s, the latter usually on Bombardier CRJ200s, and with Aerolíneas still offering more flights. Also, Brazilian airline Azul is negotiating with the Uruguayan government to establish a subsidiary there, so there may be news soon.

    I agree that flying is less exciting, especially as you’ll miss the charming Colonia on the way, but the Río de la Plata waters can be rough sometimes and the voyage can make sensitive people seasick (or river-sick, whatever). So, for some people, flying must not be discarded as an option.

    Most flights are indeed to/from the small Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport in Buenos Aires (very close to downtown and the touristy districts of Palermo and Recoleta, where most hotels are), but Aerolíneas does have one or two daily flights between Montevideo and Ezeiza International, which is very far from the city, but convenient if you’re going on an international connection instead (as Buenos Aires is served by far more international destinations than Montevideo). There are also direct flights from Buenos Aires (Aeroparque) to Punta del Este, the posh Uruguayan seaside resort that is a must-see.

    Reply

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