I have been living in Buenos Aires for a few months and if you’re working and getting paid with USD, everything is cheap here(in Buenos Aires). I thought it’d be cheap to go to Montevideo for the weekend. After all, it is the city right across the Rio de la Plata. To sum it up, I thought wrong. In Buenos Aires, you can go to a medium priced restaurant and order two bottles of wine, two steak entrees, and dessert for a total of $35 USD. In Montevideo, you go to a restaurant in the same “price range” and only buy one bottle of wine and two entrees, and it comes out to $50 USD. The crazy thing is that it’s literally a 2.5 hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires, yet prices are double. Now, if you’re coming from a country whose currency is as strong as the dollar, it’ll be equivalent more or less to what you’d be used to.
Montevideo is a smaller sized city with about 1.3 million people in the country of Uruguay. Uruguay is a tiny country wedged in between Argentina and Brazil. It is very clean and somewhat modern. Marijuana is legalized and they accept Visa cards everywhere, unlike Argentina. If you use your visa card, you will be given a discount! The discount is actually the tax removed. Around 15% is discounted off both food and clothes.
The people in Montevideo speak Spanish with an accent like the Argentines. When you hear chicken (pollo), think “po-sho” versus “po-yo”. The Argentines and Uruguayans pronounce words with a shh sound versus a “ll” double L. Tango and mate(a strong bitter tea) are loved by both countries. A nice difference with Montevideo is that it is a very clean city with friendly people. Also, there is a mix of different backgrounds versus in Buenos Aires where it is just all light skinned people (for the most part).
Really and truly, Montevideo is good for just a day trip, maybe a one night stay. I stayed three nights and it was just too much. While the city itself is very cute, there is not much nightlife. If you decide to stay in Ciudad Vieja(the oldest part of the city), keep in mind that the majority of the restaurants close by 6 p.m. It has it’s own charm with the old buildings and cobble stone streets. During the day, Ciudad Vieja is bustling with bankers as at least 15 different banks line the streets.
HOW TO GET TO MONTEVIDEO
You can go directly to either Buquebus or Colonia Express to buy your ferry ticket across the river. There are options for direct travel with about 2.5 hours in a ferry or you can take a one hour ferry ride to Colonia Del Sacramento and then a 2.5/3 hour bus ride to Montevideo. The difference between the direct travel via ferry and the bus is about more or less about $15. Just think about which option would be best and how much time you have to spare when making your decision. Expect to spend anywhere from $90-$120 roundtrip.
If you are a boujee person who would like to take an airplane, get off my website. No, I’m just kidding. I thought about taking a flight to Montevideo even though it would only be an hour in a plane. The flight was more costly than taking the ferry by about $50 dollars. The thing to keep in mind when dealing with Argentine airports, is that they take forever to process you. Getting to the airport two/three hours prior to leaving and then dealing with customs and immigration is no fun. But what’s fun is sitting on a ferry and looking at the brackish, oily waters of Rio de la Plata.
WHAT TO DO
- Go the big MONTEVIDEO sign that is located right along the beach on Rambla Republica de Peru.
- Sip some mate as you stroll around Ciudad Vieja
- —If you walk along a street called Sarandí, you’ll eventually walk straight into the ↓
- Plaza Independencia
- There is a fantastic book store called Librería Puro Verso for anybody that loves books and lovely decor. It’s a brilliant 3 story store that has a wine cellar in the basement. If you buy a bottle of wine and drink it there, you get a complimentary empanada and a little cup of water. The ambiance is fantastic and to be honest, I should have moved a tent in there and camped out in the basement of the bookstore from the very beginning of my stay. The address is Av. 18 de Julio 1199. It’s a few blocks from the Plaza Independencia.