My 3 months tourist visa expires in some days but its renewal is really easy as I’ve been told and it can be done in many ways. In our opinion, the best way to renew it was to go to to a neighboring country for at least 1 day and back to Argentina. The new visa lasts 3 more months and for the vehicle it’s 8 months temporary import permit. So, let’s go to Uruguay!
There are 2 options for a trip to Uruguay: either driving to the small town of Fray Bentos (Uruguay) – 300kms from Buenos Aires, or taking a boat from Buenos Aires and going to the opposite bank of Rio de la Plata, at the city of Colonia del Sacramento. At first, we chose the easy way and went for a boat ticket but due to the fact that we wanted to travel during the Holy Week, we were disappointed by the prices (about 300EUR for two persons and the Vespa). So, we quickly changed our minds and for once more, we took the necessary equipment, put it on the Vespa and started our small trip to Las Cañas (a small village on the bank of Uruguay River, 8kms from Fray Bentos).
For the first 200kms from Buenos Aires we were traveling with Jose Luis (an Argentinian friend we met in BsAs) and his 250cc Honda. For the last 100kms we were alone on the Vespa…Crossing the borders was really easy and the only “difficult” part was that we had to wait in a long queue because everyone was leaving the big cities for the Easter holiday. We have to mention that the temporary import permit for a vehicle in Uruguay is 365 days and the tourist visa is for 90 days – important for someone who wants to leave a vehicle in South America for a long period. The only money we had to pay was 0.78EUR (11ARS) at the tolls around BsAs (we’ve been told that in the rest of the country, the tolls are free for the motorcycles) and 1.42EUR (20ARS) to cross the bridge of Uruguay River. When I first got to Argentina, I also bought an insurance in BsAs for the motorcycle (33EUR for 6 months) which is valid in all the countries of Mercosur (an alliance between some countries of South America) and it would be necessary to have it with me at the border customs control. The company hadn’t sent me that “green card” yet, and I only had the rest of the papers with me, but no one asked me for it on the borders.
A few kilometers after the borders with Argentina, there is the small town of Fray Bentos and after 8 kms, you will find a tiny village on the bank of Uruguay River, called Las Cañas. Most of the houses in Las Cañas are holiday houses and the place is full of people during holidays. The river bank forms a beach where you can swim and the area around has many trees and is ideal for picnic and camping. We definitely recommend it!
While we were searching for a nice spot to pitch our tent and spend the night for free, we came across this magnificent “wallpaper” – look at the picture!
We were so lucky and around the corner, there was the municipal campsite where we finally spent the night! Not bad at all… :p
PS One more useful information for Argentina and Uruguay is that you should never use an ATM or a credit card in Argentina! The official rate for USD or EUR is different from the rate you can find at an unofficial exchange office (blue dollar) and it is way better to carry enough USD or EUR with you when you travel in Argentina. If you spend all your dollars and you need more money, you can go to Uruguay and take USD from an ATM there. There is the option between USD and the local currency in every ATM.