Yesterday I visited Uruguay‘s Colonia del Sacramento with some new friends at my hostel. “Colonia” is an old quiet once-important port on the Rio de Plata. It’s not a city or port, it’s much more of a tourist hit. Quite a pleasant break from Buenos Aires!
So for 92 Argentine pesos or 30 USD you can catch a one day return ferry across the widest river in the world. The ferry company Buquebus oddly sells itself as the fastest way to Uruguay. Surely air travel can beat my procedure:
- Queue for booking
- Queue to pay for booking
- Queue for checking in
- queue to exchange some currency
- Queue for security
- Realise I am carrying my Opinel and queue for “checking in” again, to check in my knife
- Ignoring the second queue for security, now queue for immigration
- Finally queue to board the boat
This procedure takes at least an hour. Quite inefficient considering there isn’t a “War on Terror” waged here. Interestingly on the way back I didn’t have to check in my knife as there was no security check. Also Uruguay doesn’t seem to operate an immigration check. One of the few countries I’ve listed where one can “disappear”.
Then wait ~3 hours across a murky brown river. I recommend occupying the red seats to the front of the boat. I think they’re first class, though I plead ignorant. I actually slept despite them playing a ridiculous safety video over and over again.
There in Colonia we rented some bikes for 10 ARS each. We rode along the beach which was refreshing, as Buenos Aires doesn’t have one. After eating at a picturesque spot at the end of the beach road, we rode back on the back roads and saw the old bull fight arena. Eventually with just a couple of hours to spare until we had to return to ferry we found the old “historic” town. That’s really the most fantastic thing about this Colonia. To think we almost didn’t find it!
There seemed to be a few sail boats out geared for a race, but unfortunately there was no wind. Had some over priced ice cream and made it back to the check in queue to overhear obnoxious young Americans whilst exhausted. A pleasant day nonetheless!
Though “Colonia” was a tourist trap, it was done it a good way. There were uniformed guides about, though mostly in the old city who were happy to help without have to pay them. The toilet facilities could be improved, though thankfully that boat’s toilets were surprisingly great.