If you are in Buenos Aires, or plan to visit the city, remember that the small historical town of Colonia del Sacramento, on the Uruguayan side of the Rio de la Plata, deserves a day visit or even an overnight stay; and getting there is very easy. As I like to share some little secrets from time to time, let see how to travel from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.

How to travel from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento

A Buquebus ferry returning to Buenos Aires

From the Argentine capital you have the time consuming option to drive, but the easiest and quickest way to travel to Colonia is by ferry. There are many of them linking Buenos Aires to the Portuguese founded town, and the trip could take between 50 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the company and service you choose. Having said that, the slow service won’t necessarily save you much money, so most of the time you’re better off taking the fast services from either of the companies below:

HOW TO TRAVEL FROM BUENOS AIRES TO COLONIA DEL SACRAMENTO, URUGUAY

Buquebus Ferries From Buenos Aires

Most ferries from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento are run by Buquebus. It’s by far the most popular company doing the crossing, and the one I used on my trips most of the time. They also have direct ferries to Montevideo (3 hours), or you may choose to take one of the company’s connecting buses from Colonia. This service doesn’t allow you time to enjoy the town, though.

The fastest Buenos Aires-Colonia crossing with Buquebus takes one hour and a quarter, and the slow service takes three hours. The ferries themselves are comfortable and have a duty free shop and a small snack bar. Seats are not assigned, so you can choose to sit wherever you please. If you want to use this time to charge your camera, phone or laptop, do choose one of the corner seats on the last row, by the wall. Electric plugs are few, and make sure you have an adaptor.

How to travel from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento

The Buquebus terminal is located in Puerto Madero and has free wifi

The ferries depart from their own terminal in Puerto Madero. A one-way ticket on the fast ferry will cost anything between 200 and 600 Argentine pesos (£23, €27, USD36 on the official exchange rate). When you travel, you must arrive at least 30 minutes in advance, since you’ll be clearing Argentinean customs and immigration, which includes checking your finger prints.

Book Your City Tour of Colonia del Sacramento Here.

TIPBuquebus website is slightly confusing, since it only shows $ as currency, so at first you don’t really know if that’s US dollar, Argentinean or Uruguayan peso. The trick is to tick one of the South American countries’ flags on the top right hand side of the page. Also, as explained, if you are already in Buenos Aires, your money will go further if you buy your ticket in cash at the Buquebus office, since you will already changed money at the parallel rates at a bureau de change. Credit cards will only give you the official exchange rate.

How to travel from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento

Arriving in Colonia del Sacramento

Colonia Express Ferries to Colonia del Sacramento

Another fast ferry to Colonia del Sacramento is with a company called Colonia Express. The ferries depart from the Terminal Internacional de Cruceros on Ave. Inmigrantes in Buenos Aires, and take 50 minutes. Colonia Express services are not as frequent as those of Buquebus,  but their prices are very competitive. However, bear in mind the initial price you’ll see on their website doesn’t include taxes and that fare will increase by a hefty 50%. Having said that, I found one-way tickets on their site for only 150 Argentine pesos including taxes (£17, €20, USD27), if you buy in advance.

Getting Around Colonia del Sacramento

When you arrive at Colonia Port Passenger Terminal, all you have to do is pass your luggage through x-ray security – remember that you cleared Uruguayan immigration in Buenos Aires!

The terminal has a bureau de change, ATM with Uruguayan pesos and US dollars, tourist information desk and a few shops. When you leave the terminal you will see the sign on the picture above. If you want to go straight to the old town, turn left and you’ll be there in 10 minutes. If you would like to buy a bus ticket to continue your trip to Montevideo or any other Uruguayan town, turn right and the bus station is only 100 yards away. There are buses to Montevideo almost very hour and many companies do this route. I travelled with COT, who has comfortable buses with Wi-Fi on board. One way ticket costs 254 Uruguayan pesos (£8, €9, USD12) and the trip takes 2 hours.

To find out here what to do in Colonia del Sacramento, and also explore some places to stay in Colonia. To book a city tour,

Book your city tour here, and you’ll help the blog stay alive.

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38 Responses

  1. Snapshots of Antarctica

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    Reply
  2. Veathika

    Hi, I am an Indian passport holder n have visas for Argentina, Brazil and US. Can I make a day trip to Colonia from Beunos Aires?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Pedro (The Author)

      Hi Veathika, when you go to Colonia you’ll have to clear Argentine immigration, so you’d need a multiple entry for Argentina. You will also need a Uruguayan visa, even if it’s just for a day trip.

      Thanks for your visit!

      Reply
  3. Paulo

    Hey Pedro, I’m going to Buenos Aires during July. Do you consider it’s safe to buy the tickets there? Or should I buy on their website? I’m trying to avoid buying the tickets through the internet, as my credit cards taxes for international transactions are pretty high, but I’m really worried about the availabilty of it. Specially because my return flight departures from MVD. Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Pedro (The Author)

      Hey Paulo, July is very high season, so demand for tickets is high. Despite the high taxes, you should get better prices if you book as far in advance as possible.

      Reply
      • Tahir Jan

        I am Tahir I want to go to montevideo uruguay from Rio de Janeiro or sao Palo Brazil, in the last of this month. And will stay there at least 10 dasy and the will return to Rio de Janeiro. Please give some information about the Prices from one side and both sides, How can I buy the bus ticket? If i buy the ticket can i change the dates. Please give me some information if you have.

        Best regards
        Tahir

      • Pedro

        Hi Tahir, I’m sorry I don’t have such information. There’s a website where you can buy bus tickets from Brazilian bus stations. But you’re better off flying there, since sometimes there’s little difference between the flight and bus prices. The bus trip from Rio will take at least 36 hours.

  4. Ritva Hiltunen

    Hi Pedro,
    I enjoy reading your advise on travel. I am trying to buy Buquebus tickets roundtrip from Buenos Aires to Colonia. The website does not allow to continue to the payment selection. I have emailed them but received no reply. How can I secure tickets without using the Buquebus website. I have Finnish passport and my travel companion has US one. We wish to travel Aug.14-17, 2015.
    Thank you, Ritva

    Reply
  5. Pedro (The Author)

    Hi Ritva, sorry for my late reply! Unfortunately I’m not aware of other means of buying your ticket. Did you try the other companies listed on the post? Or maybe a travel agent can help you with that as well.

    Have a great trip!

    Reply
  6. Julie Landman

    Hola Pedro!
    I am planning an overnight trip to Colonia from BA at the end of August. I am considering a couple of walking tours or one that takes you to the bull fighting rings. One tour is through the company Say Hueque (I’ve already booked a trip to Iquaza with them, so I hope they are good! ) and another one that includes a wine tour.
    So, I have two questions really. One is about taking a tour. I like to get some understanding of the place and history, and since I’m travelling lone, I thought a tour might be good, but I’ve seen some comments around that a tour is not necessary. They are somewhat pricey.
    Second question is on the ferry. I definitely want the fast ferry, but I’m finding the options still quite confusing. On the Buquebus site, there are several different types of tickets with varying prices. I don’t speak much Spanish (working on it), so I’m lost. I’ve also read information saying that Seacat is cheaper for the same fast ferry. Do you know much about them? The options on their site still confusing though!
    I appreciate any advice you have, y gracias!
    Julie

    Reply
    • Pedro (The Author)

      Hi Julie, to be honest I wouldn’t recommend taking a tour, especially if they’re pricey. Despite the long history, the town is so small that a tour wouldn’t be necessary. I found the information from travel guides and blogs enough.

      As for the ferry, yes, they’re quite confusing! The reason for the varying prices is that they follow the same airline model, so there’s no fixed price, and the person sitting next to you could be paying twice as much as you, or a third. Just choose the lowest price and you’ll be fine. I saw that Seacat is cheaper, indeed, but for some reason there seems to be a lot of cancellations on their journeys.

      Have a great trip!

      Reply
      • Julie Landman

        Thanks so much for the advice Pedro!

  7. Jaime D

    We are going to Buenos Aires at the beginning of October and are considering a trip to Colonia. If we leave on an early ferry, around 8 am, would we have enough to time see Colonia if we wanted to depart back to Buenos Aires after lunch? I have tried looking at the two ferry websites you mention but I can’t find an English translation. It’s been challenging to figure out using Google translate! Thanks for the great info.

    Reply
    • Pedro (The Author)

      Hi Jaime, sorry for my late reply! If you take the fast ferry at 8am and return to Buenos Aires after lunch, it’ll be enough. I know, it’s quite annoying they don’t have an English version of their website.

      Reply
  8. Stan

    Hi Pedro, are there buses heading north from Colonia to the Hyatt (former Four Seasons) in Carmelo? If they are infrequent, are taxis a better bet? Thank you!

    Reply
  9. Daniel

    I am travelling to BA in mid Jan 2016 and wish to travel to Montivadieo via Colonia by ferry ,is it essential to ore book or can I book the ferry on the day ?.
    Daniel

    Reply
    • Pedro Richardson

      Hi Daniel, you can buy the ticket on the same day or physically go to their offices to buy it once you arrive in Buenos Aires. If you buy online you will most likely get a good price, but you’ll have to use your credit card and pay the official dollar rates. Whereas if you buy in it in person, you’ll have changed money and will have got better exchange rates in the “cambio negro”, which is what everyone does – and that’s legal, in case you think I’m giving bad advice. 😀

      Reply
  10. Julian

    Hi Pedro, thanks to your reassuring information.
    However, on the websites they are all extortionate at the time I wish to travel – at the holiday time of 29/30 December (-either day being fine)…; and this is one-way from Colonia to Buenos Aires.- The cheapest being 482 US Dollars with Buquebus… – which = £350! Obviously, I am not going to pay that much. However, (I went online for people told me it’d be cheaper to book now… 3 weeks in advance
    Can you tell me whqat is going on?
    Yours, perpexedly,
    Julian

    Reply
    • Pedro Richardson

      Hi Julian, that’s probably because of the high demand during the Christmas/NY period – unfortunately I don’t have an answer. But I’ve just checked on Buquebus for departure from Buenos Aires on 29th and return on 30th December, and got a price of USD145/ARS718.

      Reply
      • Julian Bates

        Thanks, but was hoping that you were going to tell me I was wrong, for the people tell me it will still be only 30 dollars, around me here in La Pedrera! I will have to go by coach if this is truly the case! 🙁

      • Julian Bates

        And USD145 is too high as well…
        It is just that they are SO much higher than normal. Maybe ii will sneak in the cabin 😉
        have a good holiday 🙂

  11. Daniel B

    Dear Pedro,
    Thank you for the great posts!
    We are going to spend one week in Buenos Aires soon. I have just one question. We will take the Seacat ferry from BA to Colonia, but instead of boarding the next available bus to Montevideo, can we stay in Colonia for several hours, and board a later bus? Does Seacat has its own buses? Can we reschedule the bus tickets once we arrive to Colonia?
    Thanking you: DB

    Reply
      • Daniel B.

        I am having lots of difficulties with Mercadopago the company handling payment for Seacat. When I tried to buy tickets for the COL-BUE route, mercadopago keeps rejecting my credit cards, when my credit card company authorized each and every attempt. At least there is a gentleman there who replies to my emails, but I have to write in Spanish, and since I do not speak the language, have been using Google Translator. Anyway, it is crazy that Seacat would team up with this company, when no credit cards are accepted, despite the fact that the charges appear them as pending.

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