By the time we reached the Colonia Express ferry, we were on our final legs of our trip in South America. Heading out to unknown Uruguay, and yes, even a little bit to Brazil. We did not plan that much anymore, just figured out what we be on our paths, letting adventure take control. Our 6 days in Uruguay and Brazil with small but beautiful. Let’s get it on with our budget breakdown !
Travel budget: important facts and figures
- I traveled around Uruguay and Brazil with Ms. Rice, all expenses mentioned are for the two of us (unless per person is specified).
- We spent 3 days in Uruguay, entering the country by boat from Buenos Aires to Colonia and leaving by bus at the Brazilian border in Chuy. After 3 more days in Brazil, we returned back to Argentina via bus in Puerto Iguazu.
- I quote prices in Uruguayan Pesos (UYU) or Brazilian Reales (BRL) as this is the currency of Chile and Brazil. I’ve also added prices in EUR and USD. At the time of traveling (Nov 2016), the exchange rate was 1 EUR = 30 UYU and 3.55 BRL or 1 USD = 28 UYU and 3.4 BRL.
- In total we spent 500 EUR or 525 USD in 6 days across 2 countries, which comes down to an average of 83 EUR / 88 USD a day as a couple.
- All expenses are included, also the bus journey to cross the border from Brazil back to Argentina.
Our five Expense categories in Chile
1. Activities: 0% of daily costs
2. Transportation: 30% of daily costs
3. Food & Drinks: 40% of daily costs
4. Accommodation: 29% of daily costs
5. Other: 1% of daily costs
I felt Uruguay was quite similar to its bigger brother Argentina regarding costs. The fact that we did not travel that much within Uruguay and mainly relaxed at the beach, makes our total cost picture easier. Up next: details !
1. Cost of activities
Yep, that’s right. 0% or 0 pesos spend on activities in Uruguay. For starters, our planned “gaucho homestay”, a 2 day stay over at a ranch with horse riding and helping with cattle, got cancelled last minute (unfortunately, by our hosts). So we embraced the warming spring sunshine, took our free bikes from the hostel and spend most of our time on the beaches of laid-back Punta Del Diablo.
2. Transportation costs
Getting from Argentina to Uruguay is pretty straightforward (unless you want to spend a lot of time in the bus): you go by boat. The journey from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento is pleasant, with nice views on the skyline, and actually pretty fast: only 1h15 minutes. We used Colonia Express, but you could also opt for Buquebus. We included this cost in our Argentina budget breakdown.
Total transportation costs were 1,424 UYU / 47 EUR / 50 USD, on average 475 UYU / 15 EUR / 17 USD a day as a travel couple. That’s killing, quite cheap ! We took the 4h bus from Colonia del Sacramento to Punta del Diablo, which is one of the furthest places you can go along the beach. We also took the bus from Punta Del Diablo to the border town Chui. Uruguayan buses are pretty neat, with wifi and nice comfortable seats.
3. Cost of food & drinks
One word: ASADO!
We had a very memorable night at our hostel in Punta del Diablo (Hostal La Viuda, highly recommended !). The owner put on his grill and organised one of his famous Asado nights. That meat was really out of this world! Very juicy and delicious, reminds us of our fresh pork BBQ in Yunnan, China. We did not even take a picture, we were that flabbergasted!
Beyond that, we mainly cooked ourselves, or had some empanadas to go and snack them on the beach.
In total we spent 1,910 UYU / 64 EUR / 70 USD on food and drinks, on average 636 UYU / 21 EUR / 23 USD a day as a travel couple. Not bad at all!
There’s actually nothing going on in Uruguay, so nothing to mention. Stay tuned, because I did try some Brazilian craft beers, read further below for more details !
4. Cost of accommodation
Total costs for accommodation came to 1,380 UYU / 46 EUR / 50 USD, coming down to 690 UYU / 23 EUR / 25 USD per night as a travel couple. We only stayed in one place, Hostal La Viuda in Punta del Diablo. It was a very relaxed place with a pool, large garden, and awesome owners. Close to the beach and walking distance from the town.
Fun fact: 2 travellers who joined us on our Salar de Uyuni tour, we met them, 6 weeks later (!) at the hostel ! Being on the road always has these nice unforeseen surprises.
5. Other costs
Other costs typically holds the stuff I can’t really categorise in any of the 4 mentioned above. Some souvenirs, post cards, crap, …, you know, those kind of things.
For Uruguay, it’s simple: we could not leave the country without buying a magnet ! We always buy one to decorate our fridge at home. It’s a nice small light souvenir, easy to take from every place. The magnet was 50 UYU / 2 EUR / 2 USD.
And finally: Brazil
I’m not going into too much structured details, as our time in Brazil was short. We did not stay over in any hostel/hotel. Why? Because, no kidding, we spend 2 nights in a row in a bus… We had a huge amount of ground to cross (we def underestimated this), so we had to travel by night to save up some time: from Chuy to Porto Alegre to Foz de Iguacu.
In total, we spend 1,206 BRL / 340 EUR / 355 USD. That’s more than expected, but it’s all related to the bus trips: our 2 overnight tickets together (22 hours in total!) cost 776 BRL / 215 EUR / 225 USD for 2 persons. Buses ain’t cheap in Brazil !
Besides walking around in Porto Alegre (it’s nice, but maybe not a must visit), our Brazilian journey all amounted to one thing: visiting the Iguazu Falls. One day before we went to visit the Argentinian side, the Brazilian side was a great treat! The entrance fee to the park is (Nov.2016) 64 BRL / 18 EUR / 20 USD per person.
You can observe the falls from a very good perspective AND you could almost enter into the Devil’s Throat. One advice: waterproof camera !
Food? Brazil is known for it’s meat dishes, so yes, we really eat a lot of meat in those 3 days. The Bisteca Plancha was enormous !
Beer ! Craft beer to be precise. Brazil is known as the most innovative and upcoming South American market with respect to craft beer. Quite some breweries already do collaborations with breweries from USA or Europe. You’ll be paying around 3 or 4 EUR / USD for a bottle.
I only came by one smaller beer shop on a market in Porto Alegre, so I took this opportunity to buy a few bottles of Tupiniquim. This is one of the top notch breweries out there. That Monjolo Imperial porter (think coffee style porter at 10.5 % with notes of coconut) sure tasted devine!