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Montevideo on the Move

We wrote this guide on how to get around Montevideo, Uruguay because this is everything we wish we knew before our visit. There isn’t tons of information online and most of what we learned was by experiencing the Uruguayan transit system for ourselves. We’ll go over buses, taxis, Ubers, walking, biking, and more in this comprehensive guide to transportation in Montevideo. Let’s dive in!

Read about the best things to do in Montevideo!

How to get around Montevideo Uruguay

So… What is the Best Way to Get Around Montevideo?

Walking and using the public buses are by far the cheapest and easiest ways to get around Montevideo. When you’re in the heart of the city, walking is a great way to explore and experience the vibrant street life. To get to and from other neighborhoods, however, you’ll likely want to utilize Montevideo’s extensive public bus network. These buses run frequently and are super convenient and cheap! Taxis and Ubers are also available throughout the city, but these will obviously be a bit more expensive.

Check out the best ways to get around the rest of Uruguay here!

Best Way to Get around Montevideo

Public Buses in Montevideo

The public bus system in Montevideo is incredibly easy to use. The frequency of the buses means you likely won’t be waiting more than 5 minutes for a bus regardless of your destination. While we were in Montevideo, we used Google Maps to plan our route and figure out which bus/buses we would need. The public buses run from 5 am to 11 pm; before or after that we recommend getting an Uber.

Bus Ticket Cost in Montevideo

In Montevideo, it costs 56 pesos (about 1.5 USD) for a común without an STM card, or 46 pesos (about 1.2 USD) for a común with STM card. A común is a single bus ticket that allows you to take one bus. If you don’t have an STM card, you can pay in cash using Uruguayan Pesos. Keep reading for how to get an STM card!

Combinación or “Combination” tickets can be used to take multiple buses in a specified time period. The available time periods are 1 or 2 hours. These save you money as you don’t have to purchase two full bus tickets as long as you get on the last bus within the specified time period!

Credit and debit cards are not accepted on the buses but they are at the Abitab stores, where you can get an STM card. 

How to Get an STM Card

You can pick up an STM card (for free!!) and load it at Abitab locations (which are closed on Sundays) and other locations marked by green dots on this helpful map! The blue dots show where you can recharge your STM card. You need to bring a passport as a form of ID in order to get an STM card. 

Other Tips For Taking the Bus in Montevideo — MUST READ!

  • You NEED to wave down the bus driver so they know to stop, even when you’re standing at the bus stop.
  • Once you pay with cash or your STM card, a ticket will be printed. Keep your ticket just in case the assistants or bus drivers come around.
  • People will come onto the bus to perform a song and it is customary to clap and, if you liked them, give a tip!
  • Sit towards the back of the bus. That way when it’s almost time for your stop you can easily get up and press the button above the doorway to let the driver know to stop a few blocks ahead of time.

See Montevideo’s Attractions Fast with a Hop On Hop Off Bus

Montevideo does have a hop on hop off bus that takes you around the major tourist attractions in the city. The times say 24 hours online but it’s really from 10 am to 5:45 pm on weekdays and 9:30 am to 4:30 pm on weekends. The cost for the hop on hop off bus is 35 USD. The stops for the hop on hop off bus include: Port of Montevideo, Gate of the Citadel, Municipality of Montevideo, Legislative Palace, Agricultural Market of Montevideo, Monument to the Diligence, Botanical Garden Museum, Tres Cruces bus terminal, Football Museum, World Trade Center, Punta Carretas Shopping, and Casino Parque Hotel. This can be a great way to explore the city if you are pressed for time!


Taxis, Ubers, and Rental Cars in Montevideo

How Much are Taxis in Montevideo?

Taxis are fairly expensive in Montevideo, and they have a weird meter system. Basically a number appears on the meter, the driver takes out a laminated sheet of paper and that number corresponds to a price, and then a tip or tax of 108 pesos (about 3 USD) is then added to the price. There’s nothing stopping a taxi driver from making their own laminated piece of paper with prices that they can use on those who don’t know better. We ended up paying around $1.50 per minute for a taxi at 2 am from the airport.

Is Uber Available in Montevideo?

There are Ubers in Montevideo, which are usually around half the price of a taxi. However, they aren’t super abundant so it can be hard to catch an Uber if it is late or a busy time of day. If you’re fine with waiting a 10-20 minutes and don’t want to take the bus, Ubers in Montevideo are a great option!

Do you need a car in Montevideo?

You definitely do not need a car in Montevideo as the bus system is so convenient, but if you want to do day trips out of the city it makes sense. Rent a cheap car here!

How to Get From Montevideo Airport to Downtown Montevideo

Taking the bus is the cheapest option by far. The 700, 701, 703, 704, 705, 710, 711, and 724 buses run to the center of Montevideo and leave as frequently as every 7 minutes during the day. These cost around $3 for a ticket. You can use Google Maps to find the route to get to your hotel from the Montevideo airport.

If you arrive after the buses stop running, taxis may be your only option. Taxis line up outside the airport; if you have no problem paying $1-$1.50 per minute (the center of Montevideo is about 40 minutes away) or if the buses are unavailable, this is the best option for you!

For a slightly cheaper method than the taxi but one that helps you avoid the public buses, you can book a shared shuttle here for around $35 per person or a private shuttle here for around $45 per person.

How to Get from Montevideo to Buenos Aires

Is Montevideo a Walkable City?

Montevideo is very walkable and safe all around. Drivers here are very patient, respectful, and almost always stop at crosswalks. Taxi drivers are the main exception to this. There aren’t many pedestrian crossing signs, but pedestrians have the right of way with a green light. We most enjoyed walking part of La Rambla and and in old town Montevideo!

Biking Around Montevideo

Biking is a great way to see the city. One of the most popular things to do in Montevideo is bike La Rambla, the 14-mile long boardwalk. Many hotels and hostels will have a few bikes for rent so make sure to first try organizing through your accommodations! If not, there are bike rental services all over the city and services like Orange Bikes even drop the bikes off at your hotel! Check out this 3-hour bike tour if you want to sightsee by bike!


Keep Exploring Uruguay…

Our Favorite Travel Resources

Accommodations: We use for hotels and HostelWorld for hostels. We also use VRBO or TrustedHousesitters for longer stays.

Flights: We recommend using Skyscanner to find the cheapest and best flights.

Ground Transport: We use 12Go and Omio for buses and private transfers, and and Discover Cars for rental cars.

Activities: GetYourGuide and Viator are the best websites for booking organized tours.

International Medical Insurance: We highly recommend SafetyWing for Digital Nomads and HeyMondo for those not traveling full-time, or who frequently engage in higher-risk adventure activities.

eSIM: We recommend Airalo or Holafly for getting data internationally.

Check out our Travel Resources Page for more of our favorite travel-related products and services!

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