I was not a big fan of Uruguay before I got there.
This is partially Uruguay’s fault but also partially my own fault. The anal-retentive project manager in me who would normally plan any day trip well in advance with great attention to detail, especially one involving a border crossing and a ferry, apparently went on vacation once I decided to settle in Buenos Aires for a bit.
First off, let me say that I was really excited about making a border run.
This is a big deal.
It means I have finally stayed in one country long enough to actually be required to leave.
3 months! Yea!
Since the expats living in Buenos Aires always make their border runs to Colonia del Sacramento, the oldest town in Uruguay, I assumed it was easy.
What I had not expected was how expensive it would be.
My last minute planning.
So I waited until the week I had to get out of Argentina and then looked up the Buquebus ferry online.
What?!! 400 pesos (US$100) to do a day trip!!
The problem with the cheapest option is that it would require a trip on the slow ferry 3 hours each way. And of course the cheapest ticket rate was only available for the worst ferry times and most likely require spending the night in Colonia (more money!!).
A cry for help.
I sent a message to my resident expert Chance to find out if there were more options. He of course came through with two more ferry options: Seacat and Colonia Express.
Then he gave me some bad news.
Me: “I got my visa on 3/21. Does that mean I have to leave by 6/20 or 6/21?”
Chance: “You have to leave by 6/19. March and May have 31 days.”
Me: “What?!! 6/19 is bullshit. It should be 3 months.
Chance: “It says 90 days. Why should it be 3 months?”
Me: “Shut up.”
So here I am on a Monday trying to figure it all out. I have to leave by Sunday. It’s supposed to rain Wednesday and Thursday, and I don’t know the forecast past Thursday. Tickets are more expensive on the weekend.
Crap. Crap. Crap. This is what happens when you don’t plan in advance.
Yes, part of what I wanted to learn during my year of travel is patience and not stressing over the little things and making the best of situations.
Obviously, I still have a long way to go.
So after stressing about it and beating myself up for not planning in advance (which did not actually help the situation or make me feel any better of course), I realized that I would have to go Friday and hope for decent weather.
If it rains, it rains. No good photos, but it is not the end of the world.
And I would have Jeff from Lengthy Travel (also a fellow procrastinator who waited until the last minute) to accompany me. So we would both be in it together whether it turned out to be a disappointing day or a great day.
The best deal was with Colonia Express for US$65.
It included breakfast on the boat and a 1-hour walking tour in Colonia. The ferry ride was only an hour each way, and we would get back to Buenos Aires late afternoon. Of course the Colonia Express website was not working properly, so we could not book our tickets online. Jeff was nice enough to go to their office and purchase our tickets.
Jeff was then informed that not only does the online booking function not work, the actual times of the ferry are listed incorrectly. Come on people… we are in Argentina, not a third world country. You are a real business. Get it together.
So instead of spending 7 hours in Colonia and getting back to Buenos Aires during daylight hours, we would have to be in Colonia for 11.75 hours and return to a not-so-safe part of La Boca at night.
I had heard from several people that there is not that much to do in Colonia, so I was not thrilled about having to spend so much time there nor getting home so late. But in the end, the priority was to spend the least amount of money.