Buquebus vs Seacat
If you are in Buenos Aires and you are planning a trip Colonia or Montevideo everyone will tell you that the best way to get there is with Buquebus. Even Lonley Planet would only lists the web address of Buquebus. We used Buquebus back in December for a short trip to Colonia and these guys charged a killing. It seems they can, because they dominated the market. Some people even go so far as to imply Columbian mafia connections ;-)
But there are alternatives and one of them is called Seacat. Ups, now I spilled the beans! We used them just a couple of weekends ago to get to Montevideo and it only cost us a fraction of what the shorter trip to Colonia has cost us earlier. The best part of it all is that Seacat leaves from the same new fancy terminal building in Puerto Madero which all people believe is exclusively used by Buquebus. In fact our taxi driver who brought us there kept telling us during the whole way that he did not think that there are any other boats leaving from there.
Montevideo itself was great for a weekend, but wouldn't have liked to stay much longer. People say that going to Montevideo is like time travel and you see Buenos Aires in the 1940ties, which is partly true. Unfortunately, there are other sides to it gave my experience of Montevideo a negative touch. A certain decay was noticeable in many neighborhoods and it felt that the broken window syndrome was at play, only that people have given up fixing them :(
Nevertheless, there are a few great spots you should visit in case you get the chance.
- The Mausoleo de Artigas
- Teatro Solis - make sure to get a tour and enjoy a coffee in the new refurbished cafe. Probably one of the best places in Montevideo to do so
- Mercado del Puerto - absolute highlight of the trip. I could have spent hours sitting in this market, eat good food and watch people. I in particular can recommend El Palenque were you can sit at the bar and watch the cooks do their business. I had the most delicious chorizo pan there!
Another thing we discovered was real Spanish style Churros. You find churros a lot in Buenos Aires as well, but there they tend to be of the thick and soggy kind. This guy at a local Carneval celebration made them super thin and crispy. Yummi! Believe me - no point to eat them any other way :)