We didn’t originally plan on a day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires, but somehow it worked out perfectly! Not only is Colonia del Sacramento considered the most beautiful city in Uruguay, but it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That means it’s absolutely worth it to cross countries to get to! Travel with us as we go from Buenos Aires to Uruguay on the Colonia Express, and spend the afternoon exploring this magical place. This guide includes everything from where to get the Colonia del Sacramento Museum Pass to the must have meal in town.
Pin For Later ↓
Argentina Travel Inspiration
- What to Expect in the Colorful Neighborhood of La Boca in Buenos Aires
- Complete Two Day Iguazu Falls Itinerary Visiting Argentina & Brazil
- Perito Moreno Glacier Tour: Breaking Ice and Boat Adventures
- Mendoza Argentina Wine Tour: Cycling and Sipping Malbec
- One Month Argentina Itinerary: Patagonia to Iguazu Falls
Why Only a Day Trip from Buenos Aires to Uruguay?
Originally we wanted to spend two weeks exploring the country of Uruguay. Unfortunately, because of the time of year the beaches were cold and many places were not yet open for the season.
We then settled on two nights in the small, but charming town of Colonia del Sacramento. However, the Colonia Express ferry tickets were not on our side either!
Coming in at $100 USD each round trip, the 45 minute boat trip from Buenos Aires to Uruguay was going to cost us the same as we paid for our round trip fight to Iguazu Falls.
That’s when we found the only deal: A round trip boat ride and Walking Tour with Colonia Express for about $40 USD each. We wanted to have more time in Uruguay, but for now we’d have to get just a small taste of this charming country.
Colonia del Sacramento Tip: We’ve heard so many cases of travelers not being able to book their tickets on the Colonia Express. We had problems with the website as well, and our hotel was able to help us with the booking.
Colonia Express and Customs
Our boat was scheduled for 8:15am and we made sure to arrive an hour early like we were told. It’s super important to leave yourself enough time because you have to go through customs on both the Argentina side, and get stamped for Uruguay.
Colonia Express Tip: This is so important! We had no idea that when you go through Argentinian customs they do the Uruguay Visa in practically the same spot. Don’t forget to get a stamp for your entrance to Uruguay as well. If you don’t speak Spanish this can be confusing, but just look for the two windows that say Uruguay customs.
7:15am: Arrive at the Ferry
9:30am: Arrive in Uruguay
10:am: Walking Tour of Colonia del Sacramento
Honestly we don’t often take group walking tours. Still, we were excited that this was part of our ticket. We hadn’t been told much about the history of the town so the Colonia Express tour was just what we needed! The guide walked us through the main parts of town explaining the architecture and European influence in both English and Spanish.
You won’t spend much time in each place as you’ll have plenty of hours to explore after the tour. This is especially true if you’re on the evening boat back to Buenos Aires like we were.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Some of our favorite destinations around the world are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are only 42 of them in South America, so it was amazing to see Colonia Del Sacramento on our short trip to Uruguay! Below are some of the other lovable UNESCO towns and sites we’ve been to over the years.
- Butrint National Park: Fun One Day Guide to the UNESCO Site in Albania
- Sunrise at Angkor Wat Cambodia: One Day Tuk Tuk Tour
- Exploring the Fort City of Galle Sri Lanka
- 22 Must Do Things In and Around Hoi An Vietnam
- One Day Exploring Hallstatt: A Visit to Austria’s Most Famous Lake Town
- Dubrovnik City Walls: Epic Guide to the Best Stops & Viewpoints
- Kotor Montenegro Guide: 15 Helpful Tips, Hikes, & Things to do
Colonia del Sacramento Museum Pass
The museum pass is a unique way to see the history of this one of a kind town. For only $2 USD you get access to all the museums and exhibits in Colonia Del Sacramento. What a bargain right?
There was 8 different museums at the time of our visit and we spent all day weaving in and out of them. The history which involved the Spanish and Portuguese colonial powers is quite interesting so there’s plenty to see. Definitely take advantage of the Colonia del Sacramento Museum Pass on your day trip!
5 Tips for Your Day Trip to Uruguay
1. Hop on a bike to get around Colonia Del Sacramento. It’s such a fun way to see the area!
2. Not everywhere takes credit cards, but you sometimes will get a discount for using them instead of cash.
3. Like credit cards, takeaway food is also another way to save money. We saw menu items up to half price off at some places.
4. Keep an eye out for old cars. These colorful classics are parked all over the Colonia del Sacramento.
5. Try the Chivito at a grill or restaurant. We promise you won’t go home hungry after eating the national sandwich of Uruguay!
Catching the Ferry Back to Buenos Aires
Once you’ve conquered the Chivito sandwich and all the great history with your Colonia del Sacramento Museum Pass, it’s time to get back on the boat! Just like in the morning make sure to get to the port at least an hour early.
We took the last boat back to Buenos Aires at night and it was completely packed. There was a huge line for customs so we’re glad we showed up with enough time. Also, try to be the first off the boat if you’re taking a taxi from the port in Buenos Aires.
Have any questions for us, or want to share your own experience on a day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Buenos Aires
Ultra Luxury – Alvear Palace Hotel- Leading Hotels of the World – This 5 Star hotel has large beautiful rooms set in a French style decor. Recoleta is an upscale area to base yourself in, and one of the many popular areas of the city. At the Alvear Palace you’ll also find a large indoor swimming pool with a spa and fitness center to enjoy.
Fun Vacation – AQ Tailored Suites – AQ Tailored Suites is also set in the gorgeous Recoleta neighborhood! Here they offer large suites with balconies overlooking the Buenos Aires streets from above. In the warmer months make sure to take advantage of the outdoor swimming pool as well.
Budget Travel – Selina Palermo – Selina Palermo is a mix of an upscale hostel with a unique co-working vibe. Rooms have fun decorations and this hotel is the perfect place to get some work done after exploring. Make sure not to miss the beautiful views of the city from the rooftop terrace!
Hostel Life – America del Sur Hostel Buenos Aires – This popular hostel is located in the San Telmo district which is a great area to explore Buenos Aires from. The hostel has private and mixed dorms, and staff who are very helpful with tips on the city. The famous Sunday San Telmo Market is only 3 blocks away from here.
For more places to stay in Buenos Aires Argentina you can explore the latest prices here!
Argentina Travel Planning
Flights: We always find the best flights using Skyscanner. Remember that a lot of the time it’s cheaper to fly between cities in Argentina than driving or taking the bus!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling in Argentina. It is especially fun to have a car in scenic regions like Patagonia.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Argentina. Attend a tango show in Buenos Aires, visit Iguazu Falls with an epic boat tour, or go glacier trekking in El Calafate!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Here’s all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
Explore More of Argentina
- 20 Interesting Facts About Argentina to Know Before You Go
- The Tastiest Dishes and Drinks We Tried Traveling Through Argentina
- Hiking to the Best View of El Chalten: Los Condores and Las Aguilas
- Conquering the Mount Fitz Roy Hike in El Chalten Argentina
- How to Crush the Laguna Torre Day Hike from El Chalten
- The Best Hiking in El Chalten: Our Guide to the Top Day Treks
- Visiting El Bolson Argentina and the Cerro Amigo Hiking Trail
- Biking the Circuito Chico Loop in Bariloche Argentina
- Cruising the Magical Seven Lakes Drive on Argentina’s Route 40
- Day Trip to the Brazilian Side of Iguazu Falls
- Iguazu Falls Argentina Full Day Guide With Boat Tour & Waterfall Route
- 12 Facts About Iguazu Falls That Will Inspire Your Wanderlust
Yes we agree! We also can’t wait to go back to Argentina and Uruguay. Thanks for reading!
I love the city of Buenos Aires. It is a very beautiful city in the country. Thanks for your beautiful guide. I am planning to visit that country again.