For the expat hopping the border or the traveler traversing from Argentina to Uruguay – the most common route is a ferry ride across the Rio de la Plata. There are 3 companies that rule the river: Busquebus, Colonia Express, and Sea Cat. In this post, we break down the good, the bad and the fabulous on account of price, timeliness, location, and comfort.
With ticket prices starting around $100USD, Busquebus is the most expensive of the three and is almost twice as expensive for foreigners as the Sea Cat or Colonia Express. If you’re looking for luxury, you will find it with Busquebus. Busquebus runs a tight ship and is also known for being the most responsible for time. Its location from Buenos Aires is in Puerto Madero, which is easy to get to and a really nice area to explore.
Do not be fooled by the ticket prices on the Colonia Express site. Taxes are almost 50% of the ticket cost, and a $600 peso ticket quickly becomes $1200 ($80USD) at check-out. The launch location is a sketchy port, under an overpass, close to La Boca (a very unstable area), and the boats are almost always late and/or just canceled. The ships are old and cramped. Once I saw a crew member wrap a plastic bag around one of the overhead lights in the cabin to secure it in place. True story. I felt the ship was going to fall apart at any moment.
Last but not least, is our crown jewel, the Sea Cat, which is the cheapest ($50USD) and best ferry for traversing the muddy river waters. It leaves from the same lovely port as Busquebus, so it comes with the luxury terminal at half the price. There are no hidden taxes and the ships are almost always on time. They’ve also got the comfort factor going for them as they are retired Busquebus boats with the old-school, luxury feel of grandma’s Buick. The only catch is that some foreign credit cards don’t work on their site, so you may need to go to one of their brick and mortar offices to purchase tickets.
All three of the ships leave/arrive from the same port in Colonia.
Image source: elmundo.es