I love Montevideo. It’s a smaller, more humble version of Buenos Aires. Bus drivers wave you by rather than speed up to hit you. Stores close on Sundays, and people walk around with giant thermoses and mate gourds to pass the time. We’ve been there twice, and both times we’ve sat back and said, “We could live here; yeah, it would be really nice.” The city borders Rio de la Plata, so it has a serene feel to it.
From Buenos Aires, Buquebus is the easiest way to arrive. You’ll either arrive at Tres Cruces station by bus or at the port by ferry. If you want to go downtown from the bus station, you can either walk (it’s a hefty journey but doable on a nice day), or you can take city bus 188. Exact change is not needed, thank goodness.
Our epicurean friends J. and N. from Washington, DC, recently visited. We suggested a trip to Mendoza since we knew they’d enjoy a weekend of wine tasting with the backdrop of the Andes. As fans of Malbec, we had also wanted to visit for a while. The four of us took the autobus Andesmar in cama suite class. Andesmar’s service was excellent.
Our trip was very enjoyable thanks to Emir, the owner of Bohemia Boutique Hotel in Mendoza city. Emir and his staff ensured that we were comfortable and occupied all weekend. For those with basic Spanish skills, Emir speaks both English and Spanish fluently.
We recommend staying in the year-old hotel, which offers affordable and stylish lodging. It’s also two blocks away from a strip of restaurants and bars and two blocks from the city park.
Photo Credit: Mahadeva
I have been very satisfied with the three classes I’ve taken at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), if you are interested in taking spanish classes in BA. If you are self motivated and speak up in class, you should do well. I consider the price to be reasonable, especially because the price lowers for returning students. Eight week or sixteen week classes are offered.
On the day of registration, when you arrive, queue up in a long line starting in the entryway. A professor will give you a form to fill out and send you into a larger room to your right to take a placement test. There is a cafeteria there if you want an espresso or cafe con leche. After you finish the test, you can give it to the instructors at the center table, and one of them will grade the exam and talk to you to measure your proficiency.
Photo Credit: Christi Nielsen
Buenos Aires dwellers are some of the friendliest and brashest people (in a good way) you’ll meet. As in any big city, residents are wary of strangers but will usually go out of their way to help a person in-need.
If you are visiting Buenos Aires for the first time or if you are new to traveling, there are some important tips to keep in mind for your safety. Sometimes being paranoid can pay off. These tips can also apply to other countries.