Uruguay is an excellent country to explore independently. The long-distance buses run frequently and are clean and comfortable, and there are lots of hotels and hostels to choose from throughout the country. That said, we recently travelled through on an Intrepid Travel tour and learnt a lot from that experience too.

To listen, hit play below or find episode 210 in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud:

When we were there last year, four of us travelled from Puerto Iguazu in Argentina, crossed into Uruguay at Concordia, then went to Montevideo and Colonia before catching the ferry to Buenos Aires. Now, we’re doing almost the same thing in reverse, but this time on an Intrepid tour from Buenos Aires to Rio. A couple of exceptions: when we travelled independently we spent several days at a friend’s lake house, and also spent a day at Punto del Este. On the tour, we spent three days on an estancia, and had half a day in Salto to enjoy the hot springs.

Getting there

The crossing from Buenos Aires to Colonia (or vice-versa) is straightforward: an hour on a fast ferry or three hours on a slow one. Both times, we travelled by slow boat.


Colonia is a small town that makes a great stopover when travelling between Buenos Aires and Montevideo, or as a day trip from Buenos Aires. The tour allowed one night there, which was the perfect amount of time, especially when the weather was as brilliant as it was for us. Last time, we had two nights, we spent a lot of our time looking for the right hotel and organising ferry tickets: it was nice not to have to do that this time!


Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay, a nice but rather sleepy city. The one night we had there on the tour gave us enough time to see the old town but not much else. Last time, we had more time: we hung out
with locals, watched a football game in a local pub and visited an art gallery, as well as eating the best asado ever.


One of the highlights of the tour so far were the three nights on the Panagea estancia, something we probably wouldn’t have organised while travelling independently. Owner Juan collects visitors from the Tacuarembo bus station an hour away from the estancia, and he also drove us the four hours to Salto at the end of our stay. We spent our two full days there mostly on horseback, accompanying Juan on his daily rounds of the estancia. All meals were included though we were expected to serve ourselves and help a little with the preparation.


The Termas del Dayman hotsprings at Salto are a tourist attraction for locals and were the perfect way to relax the muscles after a couple of days of horseriding.

Getting away

The trip from Puerto Iguazu to Montevideo was one of the horror stories of our South America trip last year — a hive of misinformation turned a straightforward journey into a 25-hour marathon. This time, we caught taxis across the border to Concordia then an overnight coach to Puerto Iguazu, followed by a minivan across
the Brazilian border to Foz do Iguacu. The overnight bus experience was exactly the same as it was a year ago — not very pleasant, and our taxi driver thought she’d got lost at one point, so it certainly wasn’t super-smooth sailing. The whole trip from the estancia to Foz worked out to about 24 hours — so quite comparable, really.

Look for more information on travel in South America or travel in Uruguay. To listen, hit play above or check in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud.

Your thoughts on "Cities and cowboys on a South American tour: the Uruguay podcast"

  • Travelling long distance by bus may not be fun, but catching a flight in Foz won´t be very confy as well. The airport is very small and crowded.

    on September 12, 2011 at 10:08 pm Reply
    • Good to know, but (hopefully!) you won't be in it for 20+ hours!

      on September 13, 2011 at 5:35 am Reply
  • Hi Craig and Linda As always loved the show. Have added a link to a new feature on my website: The Travel Bloggers Guide (to Uruguay). Hopefully will attract some more listeners! Keep up the good work. Regards Si

    on September 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm Reply

Would you like to leave a comment?