Getting to and around Montevideo, Uruguay

Last weekend, I jetted off to the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo for a long weekend. This is one of the perks of expat life. Whereas friends back home in California might take a road-trip to Vegas, when you’re living in Paris you can Eurostar it to London. South America’s countries are bigger than European ones, so those of us on this continent can’t country-hop quite as easily as your average European expat. But from Santiago, Buenos Aires and Montevideo are each appproximately 2 hours away by plane, and you can get to Rio de Janeiro in 5. Not bad.

I’d never been to Montevideo and didn’t really know what to expect. In the end, however, I had such good experiences that I wanted to share my tips for getting to and around Uruguay’s biggest city.

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Statue of General Artigas in Montevideo's Plaza Independencia http://www.flickr.com/photos/philliecasablanca/ / CC BY 2.0

Getting there

I flew Pluna non-stop. It was cheaper than LAN, and I have to say I was impressed. The little regional jets are new and nicely outfitted, and aside from a delay of about half an hour on my flight out everything went smoothly. Checked bags will run you $10 if you check-in online ($20 at the airport), food and drink have to be purchased, and you can’t book a seat until you check-in 36 hours beforehand, but in return you get far lower prices than anything else out there. Luckily for me, it looks like Pluna’s expanding service from Santiago – there’s now a non-stop to Asunción, Paraguay three days a week – so hopefully this will bring some good low-cost options to the market. If you’re traveling around South America and might want to stop in Montevideo, look into flying Pluna.

Getting around

From the airport, I took an official taxi. It was expensive – US$43. I was in a rush to get to the stadium set up on Pocitos beach to see the Chilean handball game my fiancé was playing in, so I paid up, but otherwise I probably would have taken a bus or seen if I could find one of the unofficial taxis. It took about 30 minutes to get from the airport to the city center at 6:45pm on a Friday.

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Pocitos beach http://www.flickr.com/photos/37081617@N00/ / CC BY 2.0

Taxis within the city are cheap. The meters tick off numbers of credits, and every taxi has the official chart to convert that number into the amount you owe. The drivers have a reputation for being honest.

We also took buses. They cost $16 or US$0.80. We asked people what bus to take to get wherever we were trying to go, and everyone was helpful. If you speak a bit of Spanish and are on a budget, buses are a great way to get around the city.

Sleeping

I stayed at the Sur Hotel due to its price (US$38 per night for non-Uruguayans who don’t pay tax) and TripAdvisor recommendations. It’s really well located, and the staff are friendly. It’s not luxurious, but it’s a solid little boutique hotel and a great value for the price. We would stay there again.

The hotel is a remodeled old house

The hotel is a remodeled old house

To read more about what we actually did in Montevideo – aside from me watching my fiancé participate in the first ever Odesur beach games as part of Chile’s beach handball team – check out my recap here. And if you ever find yourself headed for a few days there, have fun!

Emily Williams is a US gringa living in Santiago, Chile. She writes about expat life at AffordableCallingCards.net and on her personal blog, Don’t Call Me Gringa, and loves hearing from readers!

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  1. by Tiffany

    Hey, I went to Uruguay and Argentina and I found renting apartments more difficult in Montevideo. To get apartment for rent buenos aires
    I did some research and found one near the downtown that was really nice. I liked both countries, but in Buenos Aires I had a little bit more fun.
    Anyways, Montevideo is very beautiful and similar to BA.
    That is my opinion!
    Tiffany

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