Montevideo, Uruguay: Day 1

An extremely expensive plane ride on LatAm from Foz through São Paulo to Montevideo Uruguay (Country 61) at $448 and a close call as I ran at warp speed to make the connection due to 1) a 20 minute delay out of Foz; and, 2) the fact you have to go out and back through security and customs in a different terminal at GRU airport in São Paulo when flying internationally so keep this mind. Also, remember it is absolutely necessary out of Foz to arrive 2 hours early…not an hour 45, not an hour 50…at least 2 hours due to numerous long lines and several bag checks.

I selected Hotel Plaza Fuerte for what originally was going to be a 11 hour sleepover in Montevideo before heading to Cabo Polonia at a cost of $70 USD from hotels.com. A quick reminder of some of the differences between hotels.com and agoda.com and booking.com. One, like today, is Agoda is cheaper. I completely forgot that even though the prices look the same on the other sites, they aren’t. I have Agoda set to show the price for all nights and with taxes and fees included. And Agoda generally just charges my credit card and I never have to worry again (plus many other advantages to using this site); however, there are zero rewards for using Agoda unlike hotels.com where you can get a free night stay after 10 nights booked through them. Given how much I travel my initial instinct is that free nights could add up rather quickly but does it really help if the cost (with taxes/fees) for the room is $14 or more over the price of Agoda or Booking for each night on hotels.com? So much for “secret prices”. Anyway, I am now set on investigating this for not only you but me as well moving forward given the cost of traveling in South America and the need to cut expenditures wherever I can. (By the way, first lesson learned about hotels.com came when I arrived at the hotel and extended my stay one night. Not only is hotels.com overpriced compared to Agoda, it is $30 USD more than the hotel itself is charging.) Booking.com, by the way, is Agoda under another name. I don’t know that it is as user friendly as Agoda but Booking does in many instances offer cancelation of your reservation at zero cost and doesn’t always require a credit card to hold the room. Another good thing about booking is it is very easy to contact the property via email to ask questions like “Is there an airport shuttle?” or “Can I have a balcony room facing the ocean?”.  Just an FYI.

Back to Uruguay, I’m staying in Cuidad Viejo a/k/a old town as it is alleged to be the closest to the must see sites in the capital and relatively close to the rambla, the Pocitos playa, Plaza de Independcía and Punta  Carretas where good dining, shopping  and other delights are available.  It, just like everything else, is very far from the airport though just to let you know.

On arrival, I can say the hotel is pretty interesting thus far. It has certain old world charm to it. It was built in 1913 and the stairway, hallways, and most especially the elevator are original which is really quite cool. It’s in the heart of Cuidad Viejo and while extremely noisy on Friday nights and probably Saturday too (I’m still awake and it’s almost 3:00 in the morning), it should be a great location for sightseeing in Montevideo before leaving the capital and really seeing Uruguay. My room has a huge balcony and it has two floors in the room. We shall see how tomorrow goes but I already, as aforementioned, extended my stay for one more night.

In any event, will do a quick walk thru of the capital tomorrow before scheduling my bus ride to my real Uruguayan destination.  Ruta’s del Sol bus leaves daily at 10:10 a.m. arriving Cabo Polonio later that afternoon so perhaps I can catch it Sunday. I also want to make a quick stop in Punta del Este if possible to see “the hand” and perhaps Colonia as well if time permits!  Will tell you all about it later.

That’s all for now. With love from Uruguay (and excitement as the wheels touched down on the runway in Montevideo).

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