We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Return to Buenos Aires via Punta flight or Colonia ferry?

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
15 posts
Save Topic
Return to Buenos Aires via Punta flight or Colonia ferry?

Please help us finalize our itinerary! We will be spending 3 days/nights in Mendoza, 4 days/ 3 nights in BA, 2 days/nights at Iguaza falls. We just need to finish off the Uruguay piece.

We fly into Punta del Este 2:35 on Monday. Spending two nights in Jose Ignacio. We can't decide what to do for the final day / night. We depart BA 9:00 pm Thursday. Options I've identified:

1) Leave Jose Ignacio midday Wednesday, drive to Colonia del Sacramento, spend Wed night in Colonia then take ferry to BA on the day of our international flight

2) Leave Jose Ignacio midday Wednesday, fly out of Punta del Este ($512 USD total for two) or Montevideo ($286 total for two). Final night in BA, leaving another day of sightseeting in BA

3) One more night in Uruguay (Jose Ignacio again, or Punta or Montevideo maybe?), then fly back to BA in time to catch our 9 pm flight (how much buffer time necessary?)

Is one evening and full day in Jose Ignacio enough to do it justice? I'm worried options 1 and 2 cut Jose Ignacio short. And as much as I want to see Colonia del Sacramento, the purpose of our Uruguay trip is to "rest and restore" before returning home. On the other hand, I'm a little concerned about same-day travel snags causing us to miss our international flight.

Any recommendations / ideas??

Punta del Este
Level Contributor
228 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Return to Buenos Aires via Punta flight or Colonia ferry?

I would go for option 1 all the way!

Spending 2 nights in JI, and then the final 1 in Colonia will grant you time to relax and recover as both places are very chilling. On top of that, driving quietly will let you keep enjoying the coast of Uruguay, add lunch in either Piriapolis or even Montevideo and you're still making the most of the 'return' to Buenos Aires. Driving time JI - Mvd 2.5 hrs, Mvd - Colonia 2.5 hrs or 3.

I know your first concern will be catching the flight from BA on time. There are two ferry companies linking Colonia to BA. Even if a volcano erupts you can drive from Colonia to BA leaving at noon and still have idle time to catch that 9pm flight.

Punta del Este is only 35km from JI, so it's part of the sightseeing area that we cover on day trips, so no need to spend a separate night there, well only if you're the kind of tourist that gets to the hotel and does not leave it at all.

WDC
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
4,206 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Return to Buenos Aires via Punta flight or Colonia ferry?

Given the capricious nature of the airlines in Argentina / Uruguay, the potential for strikes clogging roadways etc., and the need to be at the airport 3 hours ahead of flight time, I would never allow myself to be in another country (or distant city, for that matter) prior to an International flight.

1 1/2 days is good for Jose Ignacio and then you could drive down the coast and see Atlantida on the way to Montevideo to fly back to spend the last day/night in BsAs. There is plenty to see and do there - you will not be bored.

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
15 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Return to Buenos Aires via Punta flight or Colonia ferry?

Thanks for the feedback. One vote in favor of what I'd like to do (spend more time in Uruguay) and another confirming my concerns (same day travel to catch an international flight).

At least we've eliminated option 3!

I am really leaning towards taking the Colonia ferry at 12 noon the day of our international flight back to US. If we hire a driver to pick us up at the BA port (scheduled instead of potentially long taxi wait), that would afford ~4 hours of ferry delays, right?

What would cause the ferry to be delayed more than 4 hours? I've found no prior posts regarding ferry strikes nor outright cancelations due to weather. The drive from Colonia up to the bridge and back down to BA is 9 hours, so driving would only work as a backup plan if we knew our ferry wasn't viable *before* scheduled departure time.

Thanks for any further insights / feedback

WDC
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
4,206 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Return to Buenos Aires via Punta flight or Colonia ferry?

Please do give us 'feedback' on your decision and how it goes.

Hopefully, the weather will be conducive to sailing, relatively on time, and your trip will be smooth and timely. I think one's level of anxiety is a factor, and your's seems to be relatively low...so safe and happy sails, and enjoy your time in Uruguay and in Buenos Aires - DH and I have had great visits to both.

montevideo
Level Contributor
30 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Return to Buenos Aires via Punta flight or Colonia ferry?

Do you rent a car?, or move by bus , taxi or remise?.

Be carefully with this ,, depend that you use to move it the time that you need .-

Punta del Este
Level Contributor
228 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Return to Buenos Aires via Punta flight or Colonia ferry?

Marnie's concern is reasonable. Two ferry companies and the road won't stop you from getting to BA. The only reason to worry would be a storm or very choppy waters on the River Plate, but even then, early that morning you'll know what to do if it's the case.

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
15 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Return to Buenos Aires via Punta flight or Colonia ferry?

We are gong with option 1, spending the last night in Colonia and taking the 11:30 ferry to BA. We are renting a car for the drive from Jose Ignacio to Colonia, so we can hold onto the car if we to implement the back-up drive to BA that morning. I will report back after the trip to let the forum know if we were successful or not!

We leave this Friday, can't wait. I'm usually a meticulous trip planner, so I find it amusing that I didn't even have our itinerary finalized until the week of our departure.

Thanks everyone for your recommendations, appreciate your time and insight.

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
15 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Return to Buenos Aires via Punta flight or Colonia ferry?

Update on the outcome - we did take the 11:30 ferry from Colonia back to Buenos Aires on the date of our return international flight to the US. No problem at all.

The 11:30 ferry from Colonia was 30 minutes late, so we arrived in BA at 12:15 due to the time change. Prior posters are correct, the cab line at the Buquebus terminal is horrific (plan for at least 45 minutes). I waited in line for 30 minutes while my husband waited for our checked bags to make an appearance. Since I was still at the halfway mark when he returned with bags, we decided to just pay more and hired a remis at the counter. We had a driver within 5 minutes.

You can get to the front of the cab line by queuing up near the exit as the ferry approaches port, but more importantly by not checking bags. Our bags were airline carry-on size, so I wish we had just lugged them aboard instead of checking.

We had the driver take us to the very nearby Sheraton hotel, where we checked our bags with the bell hop for a last few hours of site-seeing. Driver took us over to La Boca, where we had one of our favorite lunches of the trip (very authentic, non-touristy place). My hotel said it was Don Carlos, at 699 Brandsen, but the actual name on the door was slightly different (maybe Carlitos?). They kept the door locked when it was at capacity, which lent to amusing gesticulations between the manager and the person outside trying to get a table.

We explored the La Boca Caminito, hopped in a cab back to Galeria Pacifico, did some final shopping there and along Florida. Walked back to the Sheraton, caught a cab to the airport at 5:00 pm for our 9:00 pm back to the States. It did take the full hour in weekday rush-hour traffic, if not more. Despite our United ticket saying to arrive at the airport 3 hours early, they did not open the ticket counters until about 6:30.

I am very happy we decided to see Colonia and take the ferry rather than fly out of Punta a day early. As another side note, the drive between Jose Ignacio and Colonia is quite pretty...much more green and pastoral than I expected. And the Mercado del Puerto in Montevideo, along with a crazy beautiful building in Montevideo old town (I really need to figure out what it was!) were very pleasant bonuses I wasn't expecting.

Thanks for all the feedback when we were making a decision!!

Punta del Este
Level Contributor
228 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Return to Buenos Aires via Punta flight or Colonia ferry?

Great to hear you had a good time! I'm intrigued about that "crazy beautiful building" in Montevideo, was it Palacio Salvo? on a corner of the main avenue and a huge plaza?

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
15 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Return to Buenos Aires via Punta flight or Colonia ferry?

Yes, it was Palacio Salvo! Thank you, you saved me the effort of figuring it out. I have never seen a building quite like it.