Buquebus is a good choice....you can take the direct ferry from BsAs. to Mvdeo. w/ direct bus transfer to P.D.E or take the cheaper semi-directo to Colonia + direct bus to P.D.E. But be warned bookings are scarce for weekends...probably no space left for the next few weeks... We live in Mvdeo. and travel frequently to BsAs. and up the coast of UY... Right now P.D.E is in high season lots of $$$$ for hotels, meals etc...for example recently returning from P.D.E ,I can report a cafe + media luna is $18 USD...yikes...!!! A good meal will set you back $100 USD per person...so bring lots of $$$$..!!!!
am not much of lie on the beach and fry type, i guess i prefer air conditioning to being hot... but just took my first trip to montevideo via buquebus.
first of all being a longtime student of havana, cuba as a city, i found montevideo - the ciudad vieja - very much similar to havana vieja, though sadly a lot of this was due to the decay of a district of spectacular and historic buildings. truly worth a visit - even if partly for the beaches which montevideo has at pocitos and carrasco, its got a sea breeze thats missing in buenos aires so is often cooler.
i found montevideo unbelieveably inexpensive. i stayed at the very severe and sterile nh columbia on the water in the old city and convenient to all. it was 82 a night for a good hotel room on the water. not a super bargain but there are many hostels and cheaper places too. what was the bargain? s? food, at the hotel, french style rack of lamb, cooked nicely pink in a dijon mustard crust with roasted veggies, only 12 dollars. breakfast in bed, a ham and egg omelet, scrambled eggs, coffee, jam, toast, medialunas all delivered for 5.60 cent usa
beautiful sheepskin rugs with intricate patterns less than 30 dollars. friendly people, good prices for beer and pizza and chivitos - not goat but some sort of colloquilsm for a type of sandwich that seems to include almost everything
and a free architectural museum to walk around - la ciudad vieja
why go to punta del este to see a thousand ugly apt building strewn along the coast ?
We drove via Colon on the way there, on the return we took Buquebus.
We liked Uruguay it was lovely, very VERY clean and the people were very friendly.
We stayed at the Sheraton Colonia for Christmas which was nice, good pool and we really like Colonia it was nice and relaxed. Hotel was a reasonable room rate, but they get you on the extras charging in US dollars.
Punta de Este on the other hand was very over priced and pretentious. The place looked a bit like the Gold Coast of Australia, although not as nice and you may as well be in Argentina as they overtake Punta at this time of the year.
Driving back to Colonia for the ferry it was like a convoy of Argentines heading to Punta to worship the sun!
It will be hard to get a room in the next weeks. We barely got one in Punta and it was an average motel and cost US$260 per night, with the Sheraton in Colonia only charging $199.
Ferry on the return was great, only one hour and very easy. It cost us 1200 Uruguay pesos for the return including the car. Think that is about US$200. That is for two of us and our car, with departure tax.
Overall we found Uruguay a nice place to go, especially Colonia and very clean..... no rubbish around the streets or on the side of the road.
Sure there are ugly apartment buildings, but that's not the whole place. Overall it's the nicest area I've seen in S.A. There are many nice residential areas and great unspoiled beach areas North of Punta. The people are very nice, less crime, etc. than Argentina. I would highly recommend the area despite the high prices in high season. It blows away any beach area in Argentina. If I were to return to S.A. Punta and Uruguay would be at the top of my list of places to live.