Colonia in Uruguay is the closest port in Urugauy to Buenos Aires and is a popular destination for day trips. It’s just an hour ferry ride across the Rio del plata to get there. As you may know, I hate boats..possibly even more than planes, so I was a little nervous. The fact that it’s called the Rio del plata made me feel a little better about the situation. Why? Because Rio means River in Spanish so in my mind I thought it would be a nice, calm river cruise situation. Wrong! I feel that it’s an ocean in disguise of a river. There were waves, some big at times and there was no land in sight the whole time. “Just look at the horizon” I kept telling myself.
We arrived an hour later, safe and sound and in one piece. Our ferry ride included a free walking tour around Colonina but we decided to skip that and go off to explore on our own! Unfortunately it was a cold and cloudy day so there was no lying on the ‘beach’ for us. We wandered around, checked out the local markets and got an insanely big lunch in a nice restaurant.
Cobbled streets of Colonia
Outstanding views of the Rio del Plata
Our insanely big lunch, so yum!
We found that there wasn’t a whole lot to do in Colonina because of the weather. In summer it’s popular to hire bikes and ride around or just lay on the beach and soak up the sun. It was a really beautiful town to visit though with some stunning views. It was also nice to escape the hustle and bussle of Buenos Aires for the day for some fresh air and peace and quiet.
We got out some US dollars to cambio back in BA (see previous post) and headed back to the ferry terminal.
I feel like in most groups or pairs, there’s always that one person who’s the most street smart and has the most common sense. Unfortunately when it comes to Tom and I we seem to be as dumb as one an other at times (sorry Tom) and get ourselves into some silly situations that could easily be avoided if one of us had decided to use our brains.
We were all set to go through customs, Tom had already been through and got his passport stamped when suddenly there was a problem with mine. As we are Australians we are required to pay a fee of $100 US to enter Argentina. When you pay this fee online you print out a page to prove you have paid and hand it to customs when entering the country. We had already done this when crossing the border in Chile and hadn’t even given it a second thought. The customers officer was asking to see this piece of paper which I didn’t have on me. I asked Tom if he had his and how he got through. She hadn’t realised his passport had said he was Australian (how observant). She told us we could not travel unless we showed her the paper. “Go find a computer, I don’t know where, and print it off” she said rudely. Not very helpful for a customs officer I thought. ” I already have a stamp right here saying I entered Argentina, so clearly I have already paid” I argued back. ” no, I need to see the paper you can’t travel” she replied.
She was being very rude and unhelpful as far as I was concerned, so I contined to argue my point and back chat her. Rule 101: don’t give attitude to a customs officer whilst trying the cross the border. I clearly forgot that tip in all my panic. “you have to wait here miss and you come with me” she said pointing to Tom (Mr cool, calm and collected). I don’t know how, but somehow they managed to get it all sorted, thank god! And we were back on that hideous ferry to my beloved Buenos Aires.
If I thought the boat ride was terrible on the way there, well I was in for a shock on the way back. The winds had picked up and boy it was rough. To make matters worse it was pitch black outside so there was no horizon to focus on. I couldn’t tell if the boat was going forwards, backwards or sideways. I felt like I was swishing around in a washing machine for an hour trying not to vomit until we reached the shore. Hooray!
Was it worth the horrible boat ride? Most definitely! Colonia is a beautiful town with a great, almost romantic charm about it. I think it is definitely well worth the visit. It’s only an hour away and another stamp in the passport after all 🙂