Buenos Aires - Argentina
The photo above shows the main Buquebus terminal in Buenos Aires. I have marked some parts of the photos with Red letter that mean the following:
A: This is where you go if you have already purchased or reserved your tickets either online on via an agency. They will give you the boarding ticket here.
B: This is counter you go to if you just turn up to buy the tickets on the day. They won't give you the ticket here, it is more to 'reserve' it and then you will have to go to the cashier at C to pay for it.
C: Once you have been to B you go to C to pay for the ticket where they give you your boarding pass.
D: This is the schedule for the day with the times and destinations of outgoing and incoming boats.
How to get from Buenos Aires to Colonia
To get to Colonia del Sacramento, which is the closest Uruguayan city to Buenos Aires, there are two options: an express ferry that takes an hour to get there and another that takes 3 hours. The 3-hour one is of course a lot cheaper, in fact almost half the price, but you will find it eats into your day and there isn't much to see from the boat other than lots of water. Most people take the 1-hour ride.
Same day return tickets are at cheaper rates and there are also special offers of return tickets plus a tour and lunch thrown in. Unless you like being herded along like sheep with others, I found the tour not to be necessary in Colonia since it is relatively small and easily done by yourself at your own pace. Doing it by yourself all means you can stay longer at or leave quicker from the main attractions and you can also find your own hidden nooks and crannies. It's also easier for photos where you don't need to fight with others for the perfect shoot (and there won't be another 50 people in it).
Immigration officials from both countries are surprisingly in the same room (and sometimes even at the same desk!). You get your exit stamp from the Argentina side of immigration and they point you to the Uruguayan immigration official in the same room (or next to them) who will give you the entry stamp. That way once you get off in Uruguay, you don't have to queue up with the hoards as per usual and are free to run out of the terminal in no time at all. The same happens on the way back, you get the Uruguayan exit stamp and Argentine entrance one at the terminal in Uruguay. What a great time-saving system!
Since the ferry is an international ride, they say you should be at the terminal at least an hour and a half before the boat leaves for immigration purposes etc.
For up-to-date prices and schedules for the Buquebus Ferry, you should check their website: www.buquebus.com
Photos of a trip between Buenos Aires and Colonia
The view through a window at the back of the boat looking towards Buenos Aires. Unfortunately you can't go outside, at least not on this boat.
The view from inside the smaller boat that took us to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. You will notice that it has the classic 'airplane/bus' style seating but there are also a few tables with chairs around them which are good if you want to use a laptop or just play cards with some friends. You need to try to be one of the first on board though since there aren't many and as you can imagine they go quickly.
This was inside the boat on the return journey back to Buenos Aires. As you can see it was much larger and more modern with many areas to eat and have a drink.
This is the view entering the port at Colonia del Sacramento. It gives you an idea of the distance between the old city (where the lighthouse can be seen above) and where you get off at the terminal. It only takes around 10-15 minutes to walk from the terminal to the center of the city.
The view from the waiting room from the Argentine terminal. The spire that sticks out in the middle is a part of a restaurant overlooking the harbour.
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