Buses are comfortable, the government-regulated fares are reasonable and distances are short. Many companies offer free wi-fi on board. In the few cities that lack terminals, all companies are within easy walking distance of each other, usually around the main plaza.
Reservations are unnecessary except during holiday periods. On peak travel dates a single company may run multiple departures at the same hour, in which case they’ll mark a bus number on your ticket; check with the driver to make sure you’re boarding the right bus, or you may find yourself in the ‘right’ seat on the wrong bus!
Most towns with central bus terminals have a reasonably priced left-luggage facility.
Car & Motorcycle
Visitors to Uruguay who are staying less than 90 days need only bring a valid driver’s license from their home country. Uruguayan drivers are extremely considerate, and even bustling Montevideo is quite sedate compared with Buenos Aires.
Due to government regulation, all service stations, including the ubiquitous state-owned Ancap, charge the same price for fuel. At the time of research, regular unleaded gasoline cost UR$54.95 per liter, premium UR$57 per liter.
Economy cars rent locally for upwards of UR$1500 a day in high season, with tax and insurance included. Advance online bookings are often significantly cheaper than in-country rentals. Most credit-card companies’ automatic LDW (loss-damage-waiver) insurance covers rentals in Uruguay.
Road Rules & Hazards
Drivers are required to turn on their headlights during the daytime on all highways. In most towns, alternating one-way streets are the rule, with an arrow marking the allowed direction of travel.
Outside Montevideo, most intersections have neither a stop sign nor a traffic light; right of way is determined by who reaches the corner first. This can be nerve-racking for the uninitiated!
Main highways fanning out from Montevideo are generally in excellent condition, especially Ruta 1 to Colonia del Sacramento and Ruta 9 (the Interbalnearia) to Punta del Este. Outside the capital and coastal tourist areas, traffic is minimal and poses few problems, though some interior roads can be rough. Keep an eye out for livestock and wildlife.
Speed limits are clearly posted but rarely enforced. Arbitrary police stops are rare.
It’s not uncommon to see locals hitching in rural areas, as gas is expensive and relatively few people own cars.
Hitching is never entirely safe, and we don’t recommend it. Travelers who hitch should understand that they are taking a small but potentially serious risk.
Taxis, remises (private cars) and local buses are similar to those in Argentina. Taxis are metered; between 10pm and 6am, and on Sundays and holidays, fares are 20% higher. There’s a small additional charge for luggage, and passengers generally tip the driver by rounding fares up to the next multiple of five or 10 pesos. Uber and similar ride-sharing services are also widely used in Montevideo. City bus service is excellent in Montevideo and other urban areas, while micros (minibuses) form the backbone of the local transit network in smaller coastal towns such as La Paloma.