Every day, when we wake up, I tell Mark what the program is.
“Today, we are taking…”
“Nope, no train. A big bus.”
“Boat. Please, boat!”
Mark loves boats, but unfortunately, unless we follow the Amazon River or take a cruise (and I’d much rather choose the first option than the second!), we can’t really travel only by boat. Unless… unless we go to Uruguay. Which is exactly what we did.
“Mark, guess what… today, we are taking the boat,” I said proudly.
“Oh… No big bus?”
From Buenos Aires, we took the boat across the Río de la Plata, the estuary on the border between Argentina and Uruguay. Why not? We’ve been to Uruguay once, in 2009, and I quite enjoyed this smaller country, stuck between two giants—Argentina and Brazil. I thought Mark was ready for his first real land border crossing.
We traveled with Colonia Express, a cheaper company than the ubiquitous Buquebus, and we bought the tickets online. The downside was that the terminal was in a not-so-great part of Buenos Aires, and we didn’t know much about the company. We crossed our fingers and hoped the trip would be smooth.
The boat terminal was lost in the middle of nowhere, but it was brand new and the process was efficient: first, check-in; then immigration paperwork, i.e. getting the exit stamp for Argentina and the entry stamp for Uruguay. Once again, we had our picture and fingerprints taken. It seems to be part of the standard migración process now. Then we all boarded the boat, and less than two hours later, we arrived in Colonia.
Río de la Plata is known as the “chocolate river” because of its colour, and it felt like crossing a giant cup of cappuccino, although the colour was less intense as I remembered it—maybe because of the heavy rain the days before.
Uruguay is close to Argentina, but it’s still a new country with a new currency, exchange rate, stores, brands, customs, etc. Once in Colonia de Sacramento, we were all business for the first couple of hours: we checked in at the hotel, withdrew Uruguyan pesos and bought our bus tickets for the next stop. Then, finally, we relaxed and decided to explore the city.