After spending a day exploring UNESCO-listed Colonia del Sacramento, it was time for my daughter to move on to the Uruguayan capital for a couple days. We’d finish off our time in South America here, with an easygoing itinerary in an easygoing (and oft-overlooked) city. As we’d arrived in Colonia via the Colonia Express Ferry, we’d be taking Turil Bus from Colonia to Montevideo.
Turil Bus Basics
Turil Bus provides regular and consistent service between the two cities, as well as others in Uruguay. Turil can take you all the way to Rivera, along the Brazilian border to the north, if you’d like. They operate your typical large, long-distance motor-coaches. You’re not taking a city bus for 180 kilometers.
The Turil Bus service between Colonia and Montevideo has several daily departures. You can often leave as early as 5:00 a.m. and as late as 9:00 p.m. The bus operates from the Colonia del Sacramento bus depot and arrives at Terminal Tres Cruces (near the mall) in Montevideo. From there you can catch the city bus to numerous locations, or grab a cab or Uber.
Booking Your Turil Bus Ticket
You can book your Turil Bus ticket online or directly at the ticket office near the ferry terminal in Colonial del Sacramento. I highly suggest booking online ahead of time, as the buses can fill up during busy times (from what I’ve read). Navigating the website can be a bit tricky, but it is manageable if you can read a little Spanish (or use Google to translate the page). There is a Portuguese language option, but not English.
You pick your origin and destination, whether you want a one-way or round-trip ticket, and desired date(s). Then you get to pick your departure, and even seat. I did mess up in one regard. Instead of booking the express bus like I intended, I booked the one that makes all local stops along the way. This cost us some time. Unfortunately, it is hard to know which you’re booking, as both departed at the same time. Hopefully you do better!
Here is a typical day of departures for the Turil bus from Colonia to Montevideo:
I booked our tickets for $826 UYU (~$25 USD) for the two of us, one-way. This is a completely reasonable price, given the distance. I only booked a day ahead.
Colonia del Sacramento Bus Station
The bus station is a short distance from the ferry terminal. If you’re arriving in Colonia by ferry, you’ll need to exit the ferry building and keep to the right, heading out toward the main road. The bus station will be on your right, maybe 100 meters down the road. It’s super easy to find.
The bus station has a luggage storage service which we took advantage of during our day in Colonia. It was nice to drop that bags and explore freely. The service is priced hourly, but it is entirely affordable. They only take Uruguayan pesos, but the cost is ~$5 USD for several hours. The luggage area is watched, but not locked. I wouldn’t leave anything especially valuable in your bag!
When it was nearly time for our bus to depart, we headed out to the bus bays. Pay attention to the destination of the bus and number. There were two going to Montevideo when we departed. The attendants or driver will direct you to your correct bus, if there is any confusion.
Riding the Turil Bus from Colonia to Montevideo
Once on-board the bus, it was smooth sailing all the way to Montevideo. Uruguay has a lovely landscape of rolling hills. The bus seats are comfortable, and it was a pleasant ride. It wasn’t perfectly clean, but I thought that the state of the interior and seats was generally good.
Our bus stopped several times along the way. As I mentioned before, there are express buses, including the one that departed at 4:30 PM, which I failed to book. This would have gotten us into Montevideo nearly an hour faster. Instead, our journey took nearly three hours. Eventually, the sun went down, and there wasn’t much to see. But we only had an hour left.
Our Turil Bus from Colonia to Montevideo did have WiFi, but don’t rely on it. It will not be possible to stream anything, but you may be able to browse the web and check social media and email. It functioned, but just barely.
Arrival into Montevideo
The final stop of the Turil Bus from Colonia to Montevideo is at Tres Cruces Mall. You’ll need to plan transportation from here to your hotel, as this is not likely a neighborhood you’ll be staying in. There are bus lines that will take you to the old part of Montevideo, or you could opt for a taxi like we did since I wasn’t familiar enough with the bus lines to Pocitos. Both taxi and Uber in Uruguay are cheap and convenient.
The Turil Bus from Colonia to Montevideo is a great option for traveling between the two cities. Whether you’re interested in visiting Colonia del Sacramento as a day trip, or if you want to spend a couple days before continuing onward to Buenos Aires, this is the easiest transportation option.