This past weekend lasted 5 glorious days for me, as I don't have class on Friday and had Monday and Tuesday off for the Carneval holidays. I decided to take the opportunity to do some traveling along with a few of my American companions from CEA!
We elected to go to Punta del Este, a beach town on the southeastern coast of Uruguay. It was a great first experience of traveling abroad, while abroad! In total the travel took about 6-7 hours, combining taxi and ferry and bus. We departed early Friday 2/13 morning from the ferry station in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, on a boat to Colonia, Uruguay. From there we took a four hour bus ride to Punta del Este. Everything went smoothly, it was a very satisfying travel process! My tips for successful travel in Argentina and Uruguay are pretty straightforward - arrive early to any terminal to get situated and check in without a rush. The process is laid out well with signs, and if you get turned around don't hesitate to ask someone! Enter with an open mind and eager attitude, and any slight complications or missteps will pale in comparison to the invigoration of travel.
|Ferry across Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires to Uruguay
|View of the coast in Punta del Este, Uruguay
Punta del Este is a fantastic town, and we loved our time laying on the beaches and chowing down Uruguayan fare at restaurants overlooking the marina. By far one of the highlights was staying in a hostel, which was a first-time thing for me. What started as unfamiliar territory quickly became a great joy. I certainly can't speak for all hostels, but some good general principles can definitely be gleaned from this experience.
Sharing a bedroom with strangers of mixed gender could be unfamiliar to some, but when you think about it as a giant sleepover with new friends is a great way to shift your perspective. Someone might be a loud snorer or come back really late and wake you up, but it's good to value the life experience and unpredictable encounters over usual comforts.
|Camp style bedroom at the hostel. Cozy!
The hostel should have plenty of services available, such as towels, locks, electronic adaptors, and bike rentals, perfect for those traveling light. The rental fees can add up though, so that's something to keep in mind.
Don't hesitate to talk to the workers at the hostel! One reason they took the job is to interact with travelers and help them feel at home. They can give great tips about local deals or info about events.
It's always wise to be on your guard and keep a close eye on your belongings, as a lot of different people come through. But overall, the other guests are in the same boat as you! They're young, enthusiastic travelers eager to make friends and experience life in a new location. Friendships form quickly and easily, and you never know what could turn into a long-standing relationship! It's an incredible resource to form connections all over the world. My roommates one night were a group of Brazilians my age, and after introducing myself with a cheery "Bom dia!" we ended up spending the whole day together! It's hard not to be friends when you all wake up together to the (afternoon) sunlight streaming in and fresh ocean air.
|Common area at the hostel, great for relaxing and mingling
Staying in a hostel is a cheap, authentic experience that I would recommend to anyone! If you're willing to sacrifice a few small comforts for international community and conviviality, a good time is basically guaranteed.
|New Brazilian friends!
Maximilian Mohr is the Spring 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is currently a junior at the college of William and Mary.
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