a ferry to uruguay on the francisco, one of the fastest in the world


The trip from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Montevideo, Uruguay is relatively quick and easy, if you are fortunate enough to travel on the Francisco. As a part of the fleet of nine fast ferries operated by the Argentine-Uruguayan company Buquebus, the Francisco, built in 2013, joins the Eladia Isabel [1986], the Flecha De Buenos Aires [1986], the Atlantic III [1993], the Albayzin [1994], the Juan Patricio [1995], the Silvia Ana [1996], the Luciano Federico [1997] and the Thomas Edison [1999] in making the journey from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, Colonia and Piriapolis.

The Francisco, named after Pope Francis, the pride of Argentina, is capable of speeds up to 58 knots, or 107 km/hr [66 miles/hr]. It has a capacity of 1024 passengers and crew and 150 cars.

Tickets can be bought online in advance, and if buying them from the U.S. it is better to use the Uruguay site as buying tickets from Uruguay is a bit cheaper than buying them from Argentina. Just be sure to have your Google Translate handy just in case your Uruguayan Spanish is rusty. Further, when buying the tickets you should be sure to use a Visa card that is part of the “Verified by Visa” security program [i.e. the British Airways Visa card], otherwise it may not work.

A short taxi ride to the point of embarkation in Buenos Aires [you can’t miss the huge blue “Buquebus” sign], and you will then proceed to check in. After checking in with your barcoded receipt from the website, you are given a ticket and head towards passport control. Beyond that you proceed to the ferry.

Before you board the ferry, however, you are required to wear plastic shoe covers for “safe ferrying.” Whether this is for reasons related to the transfer of contaminants between Argentina and Uruguay or it is to keep the new “Francisco” pristine [or both] is unclear.

On board there is a small bar with coffee, juices and sandwiches, and a large duty free shop on the fist floor [economy class], and upgraded facilities, including two small lounges on the second floor [tourist and business class] where you can get a proper cafe con leche. During the journey you can definitely feel the speed, and due to the mildly rough water your seat will feel like a coin operated massage chair.

In no time [approximately two and a half hours] you will be in Montevideo, ready to eat famous Uruguayan barbeque.