The Colonial Hostel in Colonia was an old building with a nice courtyard that was renovated into a hostel. It’s a nice place with a few bathrooms and a tiny kitchen. It’s nothing special but it wasn’t the worst place we’ve stayed in and it wasn’t overpriced. We ate our breakfast, which was small but included, and proceeded on our way to Montevideo at 10:30am.
After about 3 hours and two (hefty) tolls, we arrived in Montevideo at around 1:30pm. I say that the tolls are hefty because you pay UY$55 each time and the roads aren’t very good, they’re paved but have a lot of potholes or they are badly patched. Once we got into the city we quickly found a parking garage just one block from our hostel that was a good price. We paid UY$490 for 2 nights, which was more expensive than Buenos Aires but still not as expensive as we thought it would be.
We checked into Red Hostel, which was recommended to us by many people and we were told that everyone stays there when they go to Montevideo. Well we got there and it was a fairly nice placed and looked like it had been recently renovated, especially the bathrooms, which were very nice. Also all the rooms were the same price, even the 4-bed dorm, at UY$400 per person per night, so we were happy to get a room with only a couple of people. Turned out that we even got A.C. in our rooms! We were very grateful because Montevideo was extremely hot during our stay there. Red Hostel is also located just behind the city hall, which is on the main avenue that runs through the city, so it is a very convenient location.
After settling in, we went to the tourist information office to find out about the highlights of the city. While we were there we got free tickets to go to the city hall lookout which gives a great view of the city and some information about the famous buildings and where they are located. It takes about 15-20 minutes to view the city and read the information, then we headed down the main avenue, 18 de Julio, to begin our self-guided walking tour.
We stopped at Chivito del Oro for lunch, which we heard is famous in Montevideo for their chivitos so we had to try one. This time, we had two regular-sized sandwiches and they were way better than the one we had in Colonia. This was an actual sandwich and I don’t know if the spices were different or something but they were amazing! Highly recommended!
After we ate enough to feed a family of four, we continued down the avenue in the direction of the old city. You hit most, if not all, the main attractions of the city: Plaza Fabini, Plaza Independencia, Teatro Solis, Plaza de la Constitucion, Plaza Zabala (do you see a pattern here?) and finally ended at Mercado del Puerto. If you walk down from the tourist information office to the port it barely takes an hour and a half, including the time to snap some pictures. There are many museums in Montevideo that also border this avenue but we weren’t interested in seeing anything. So we walked around the old city, which was very cute but also dangerous, because there are many sketchy people around. Advice: take the roads with the most people on them and don’t walk around with a camera. Also if you don’t speak Spanish, try not to speak loudly or you might get dirt spilled on your head from one of the neighborhood kids, which happened to Dani.
The Mercado del Puerto is nice but only for eating because 90% of the shops are restaurants and they are only open for lunch (they close around 5pm). Since we had already eaten we just walked back towards our hostel. Earlier we asked the tourist information office if Teatro Solis has free tours on Wednesday (because I read that they did and it was Wednesday) and he said no. This is not true! We passed Solis on our way back to our hostel and stopped in to check out tour times and prices and discovered that it IS free on Wednesdays. The rest of the days it’s UY$20 for a Spanish tour and UY$50 for English, Portuguese, and French tours. I was upset because we would have gone much earlier if the guy didn’t tell us otherwise.
Basically you can do the main part of Montevideo in a few hours, which is what we did.
- Left Colonia @ 10:30AM
- UY$1160 = Gas [UY$41.8/L]
- UY$110 = Tolls
- Arrived in Montevideo @ 1:30PM
- UY$490 = parking
- UY$1600 = Red Hostel [UY$400/person/night OR AR$200/per/night]
- UY$627 = Lunch @ Chivito del Oro
- UY$280 = Ice cream @ Freddo
- Total = UY$3,826