The view from the lighthouse in Colonia del Sacramento Uruguay

I had a few days left in my 3-week itinerary to fill up and so I decided that while I was in Argentina, I would visit Uruguay from Buenos Aires. I looked around and discovered that I could catch a ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento directly.

It sounded like a perfect way to visit another country! Especially one which had a UNESCO World Heritage site I could visit.

This could easily be done as a day trip from Buenos Aires, but I decided to go overnight.

When I first started researching how to go about catching the ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento, I was worried it was going to be difficult. I tried to find information everywhere on the process. I even contemplated not going! But in the end, it wasn’t difficult or hard or scary. It was quite an easy process from booking tickets through to arriving in Colonia. Here is a brief rundown of the process.

Original Portuguese streets in Colonia del Sacramento Uruguay

Table of Contents

Buying Tickets

As I like to be prepared, I decided to book and pay for my tickets prior to leaving on my trip. While it was probably more expensive, I didn’t want the ferry to sell out beforehand and so I wouldn’t be able to go. I needn’t have worried about that as the ferries are very large and there are multiple trips per day. Although, I’d still book early again, just because I like certainty.

I booked the ticket for the ferry through Direct Ferries as I didn’t have a preference between the two companies, Colonia Express and Buquebus. I just picked the one that fit in with my timeline the best and that was Colonia Express.

Check-in and passport control

I booked the 8.15 am ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia. Check-in closes 90 minutes prior to the departure time, because of this, I aimed to arrive at 6.15 am. I ordered an Uber to take me to the docks. Uber is so easy to use in Buenos Aires. Once I arrived at the Colonia Express Port in Puerto Madero, I made my way to the check-in counter but wasn’t opened just yet and I had to wait a few minutes.

Screening and passport control didn’t open until closer to 7.00 am. While I waited, I grabbed some breakfast in the foyer cafe.

Once I went through the screening, it was then passport control. Passport control was interesting.

You wait in one line to have your passport stamped to say you’ve exited Argentina. Then you are told to join another line. You aren’t told why you need to join the other line, just that you need to. I noticed the Uruguay flag and I figured it was to have your passport checked for your arrival in Uruguay. The counters for this are literally next to each other and the line snakes around and gets in the way of everyone trying to pass through.

After you’ve received your entry stamp for Uruguay, you head upstairs to the waiting area to await the embarkation of the ferry.

Ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento passport control

The ferry ride

The ferry to Colonia Del Sacramento, across the Rio de La Plata, is very smooth. Although I did take a seasickness tablet as I was a bit worried after getting seasick on the Antarctica cruise.

It takes a little over an hour for the Buenos Aires to Colonia ferry to travel from port to port.

To pass the time you can visit the duty-free shop that is onboard, or just sit and relax. There are TVs on board but they weren’t showing anything other than an advertising loop.


As you’ve technically already gone through passport control back in Buenos Aires, you’re free to disembark the ferry and then you are free to leave the terminal. I decided to walk the 1km distance from the ferry terminal to my hotel in Colonia del Sacramento.

Ferry terminal at Colonia Del Sacramento
Ferry terminal in Colonia Del Sacramento

Final thoughts

The ferry from Colonia del Sacramento to Buenos Aires is basically exactly the same but in reverse.

All my fears about travelling from Buenos Aires to Colonia Del Sacramento were for nothing. The process was simple and straightforward. Unlike me, you don’t need to find blog posts and videos of how to complete this trip, just trust me when I say it is probably no more difficult than catching a ferry in your home country.

If you have a spare day or two and you’re in Buenos Aires, definitely check out Colonia del Sacramento. It is worth the effort just to see the Historic Quarter. I would thoroughly recommend it.

What to take on the ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia Del Sacramento

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Stashbandz – to keep your valuables safe.
Reusable water bottle – the tap water in Argentina is perfect to drink.
Books – or something else to keep you occupied.
Snacks – who can resist an alfajores while in Argentina?!

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