The coast of Uruguay is a popular spot amongst people living in Buenos Aires, given it offers beautiful beaches within a relatively short distance from the Argentine capital. For those seeking peace and quiet, and perhaps a few surfing sessions, end of February or begining of March are ideal moments of the year to visit the area.
The easiest way to reach the Uruguayan seaside is by ferry with buquebus, from Puerto Madero to Colonia (approx. 1 h). A slower yet very enjoyable alternative is by boat with cacciola, from Tigre to Carmelo (approx. 2h30). To avoid endless queues, it is highly recommendable to buy tickets beforehand. As a tourist, you should do that directly from buquebus or cacciola counters: when holding a non-Argentine passport, it is impossible to purchase tickets online.
Once in Carmelo, you can (should) rent a car with ururent (approx. 360$ for 1 week). Don't forget to download offline maps to avoid paying extra for a GPS! Although it is slightly out of reach, we strongly recommend driving to Puerto Camacho for lunch. Then, back on the road towards Colonia, stop by El Legado, a local family bodega, and savour a good glass of tannat.
When our friend, Marisa, found out we were headed to Uruguay, she shared her dream to get married in Colonia. It only took a few steps along the city's cobble-stoned streets to understand her wish. As we saw the moon rising above the waves, we were immediately charmed by the romantic ambience Colonia gives off. Cherry on top of the cake? Dinner at Charco: the pumpkin ravioli with mushroom sauce is a must.
Thanks to a lucky encounter, we had free accomodation both in Colonia and in La Barra, near Punta del Este. We hadn't realized how fancy and pricey this part of Uruguay was, and unfortunately can't recommend any good deals to sleep or eat. However, we can tell you about our top rides: for endless beaches, head to Jose Ignacio (bring a picnic if you'd rather not spend a fortune). Then, with the help of your offline maps, follow the dusty road leading to Garzón and enjoy the silence.