Today was a travel day again. We went from Punta del Este via Montevideo to Colonia by bus, and then took the ferry back to Buenos Aires. If you ever want to take a bus, COT is one of the companies you can choose from. The bus system is great here, we even had wi-fi on the first bus. The second bus was a little older, and the connection didn’t work. Overall, there is free wi-fi everywhere here, at the hostels and hotels, as well as the Tres Cruces bus terminal in Montevideo. The ferry to Buenos Aires was luxurious, spacious, quiet, and a pleasure to ride in.
A few words on immigration procedures. When traveling to Argentina from the U.S. as an American, you currently have to pay an entry fee of US $140, which is not the case for German citizens. It’s a reciprocity fee, which means Argentinians are also charged when entering the United States. Going from Argentina to Uruguay is a very simple process. You get your ferry ticket at the Buquebus Terminal in Puerto Madero, and then proceed to immigration. The Argentinian authorities mark your passport with an exit stamp. After that you turn around, and you will find the Uruguayan authorities right across in the same room. You receive your entry stamp and an entry card (tarjeta de entrada), which you need to keep until you leave the country, because you need to return it to the Uruguayan officer. After getting your entry stamp for Uruguay, you’re all set!
Overall, Uruguay was quite impressive. Beautiful coastline and countryside. As mentioned before, it was much richer than we thought, and prices were often en par with Europe (i.e. accommodation, coffee, and beer), which left us quite disappointed, because we thought our dollars would go very far here. And you would definitely not think that if you saw some of the old cars, run-down buildings, and broken sidewalks. Nevertheless, I’m happy for the Uruguayans that they live in such a great place, which will surely catch up even more over the next few years. We saw a lot of construction projects on the way.
One last cultural note: Before leaving Colonia, we had one of the national snacks – chivito, a steak sandwich. Very greasy and tasty! This was our final impression of Uruguay, and now we’re back in Buenos Aires. Two nights to see more of the city, and to get everything organized for our trip to Las Cataratas del Iguazú (Iguazú Falls) in the Northeast of Argentina, right at the border with Brasil.