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Tackling Transportation in Uruguay

Uruguay, sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil, captivates travelers with its relaxed charm. It’s got something for everyone, from the bustling energy of Montevideo to the serenity of hidden coastal towns. On your Uruguayan trip, you’ll likely want to explore a few different destinations, which is where this guide comes in handy! In this post, we’ll be discussing how to get around Uruguay, from budget-friendly buses to the freedom of a rental car. We’ll break it all down so you can explore this awesome South American spot however you like!

If you only need to know how to best get around Montevideo, check out this post!

Palacio-Salvo-Tour-Montevideo


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

The answer to this question depends on your budget and what type of traveler you are.

For those who don’t mind spending more money, renting a car offers the most freedom and flexibility. Cruise down scenic coastal highways and discover hidden gems off the beaten path without worrying about bus times!

Rent a Car Here

For budget-conscious travelers, Uruguay’s extensive bus network reigns supreme. Comfortable, reliable, and incredibly affordable, buses connect major cities, towns, and even smaller villages. Many companies offer wifi onboard, allowing you to stay connected while soaking up the passing scenery. Though buses might not be the fastest option, they are certainly the cheapest and easiest. Based on our calculations, bus tickets between cities cost a little over $5 per hour, on average.

How to get around Uruguay Transportation


City to City Buses in Uruguay

The Tres Cruces Bus Terminal in Montevideo is the biggest hub for transportation between cities in Uruguay. The building also houses a shopping mall with a food court, convenience stores, and lots of ATMs (which also dispense US dollars). The terminal is located on the ground level.

We highly recommend buying your bus ticket online because buying at the bus station can be a bit of a hassle. To do this, search for your bus route at the website linked below to find the time you want, and then head to that company’s website to purchase the ticket. Once you buy your ticket, the only information you likely won’t have is the gate number, which you can find on the large screen in the center of the terminal when you arrive.

If you buy in person, you should know which ticket you’ll want in advance – you can find all bus times and what company is running it at the website linked below – and you’ll head to that company’s stall when you arrive. If you click on the company name on the schedule, you’ll be sent to a link with a map of the terminal that points to where that company’s stall is located. We found Terminal Tres Cruces to be super busy and there were lines for pretty much every company, so it’ll definitely save you time if you buy online ahead of time.

Check bus times on the Terminal Tres Cruces website. On this website, you can look for buses that run all over the country, not just those that go to or from Montevideo.

Tres Cruces Terminal Montevideo


Popular Destinations in Uruguay: Colonia del Sacramento

How to Get from Montevideo to Colonia del Sacramento

The journey from Montevideo to Colonia is super easy – buses run super often from the Tres Cruces Terminal and are very comfortable. The ride takes about 2.5 hours and is very budget friendly. A one way bus ticket costs around 496 pesos, which is about 13 USD. You can also rent a car or arrange a private or shared shuttle here.

Read about the best things to do in Colonia

How to get from Montevideo to Colonia


Popular Destinations in Uruguay: Punta del Este

How to Get from Montevideo to Punta del Este

The best way to travel to Punta del Este from Montevideo is with a rental car. This will allow you to explore coastal towns and other areas of interest that would be very hard to get to if you were limited to bus routes.

If you’re only heading to Punta del Este for the day and don’t want to rent a car, consider doing this tour. It takes care of transportation, provides an English, Spanish, and Portuguese speaking guide, gives you some freedom to explore outside of the predetermined destinations, and includes a stop at the beautiful Casapueblo!

If you decide on traveling by bus to Punta del Este from Montevideo, you can take a two hour bus that leaves from the Tres Cruces Terminal. A one way ticket from Montevideo to Punta del Este costs about 418 pesos or 11 USD.

Check out our post on the best way to spend a day in Punta del Este

Public Transportation in Punta del Este

There is a great public transportation system in Punta de Este. The buses run frequently and can be tracked with the Moovit App. The same tips apply for bus rides in Montevideo: wave the bus down, ask for a común if you only need one bus or a combinación ticket if you need to take two buses, and before your stop push the button above the back door to let the driver know to stop.

How to get from Montevideo to Punta del Este


Popular Destinations in Uruguay: Casapueblo

How to Get from Montevideo to Casapueblo

To get to Casapueblo from Montevideo, follow the above instructions for getting a bus to Punta del Este. However, when you board the bus, ask if you can get dropped off in Punta Ballena. It helps if you don’t put your bags in the undercarriage so the driver doesn’t have to fully stop to get out and help you with your bags. From your drop off point, you’ll have to walk or get a taxi/Uber the rest of the way. If they can’t stop, follow the directions below for how to get from Punta del Este to Casapueblo!

How to Get from Punta del Este to Casapueblo

To get from Punta del Este to Casapueblo, the best option is an Uber that will typically cost 20-30 USD or a taxi that is a little more expensive. If you’re on a budget, you can take bus 20 from Punta del Este to Punta Ballena for 2 USD and walk about 30 minutes to Casapueblo. The Moovit app is helpful for finding this bus’s schedule.

How to get from Montevideo to Casapueblo


Uruguay to Buenos Aires

Crossing the Rio de la Plata from Uruguay to Buenos Aires is a breeze. The most popular option is by high-speed ferry, departing from either Montevideo or Colonia del Sacramento. These ferries offer a comfortable and scenic journey, taking just over 2 hours from Montevideo and around 1 hour from Colonia del Sacramento. Several companies operate these routes, so you can compare schedules and prices to find the best fit for your needs.

Check out our post on traveling from Montevideo to Buenos Aires!

How to get from Montevideo to Buenos Aires


Keep Exploring Uruguay…


Our Favorite Travel Resources

Accommodations: We use Booking.com 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 rentalcars.com 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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