I went to Uruguay on Saturday. It’s winter but it’s a nice sunny winter, so why not? If you’ve never been to Buenos Aires you wouldn’t necessarily know it, but it’s a mere 60km across the River Plate (widest river mouth in the world fact fans) from the Buquebus ferry terminal to Colonia de Sacramento, the jewel in Uruguay’s colonial crown.
Colonia is a nice little place, with the emphasis on little, 3 hours easy strolling and you’ve done it. I’ve been before and I’ll go again. In fact this time, I had to go and I’ll need to go again. Colonia you see, has a secret.
When you arrive in Argentina as a tourist and if you’re paying attention you’ll notice the stamp that you get in your passport says Turista 90 Dias. As a tourist I would be just be a little bit excited about getting a stamp in my passport and would play very little attention to the length of time given. However, when you’re actually living (and working) here you have to pay closer attention otherwise you’ll be getting a nice fine when you try to leave, and maybe they won’t let you back in.
Colonia’s dirty secret is that every boat that leaves Buenos Aires for Uruguay has at least five long-term “tourists” on board who need to get a fresh 3 month stamp in their passport. And they’ll get one. Argentinian immigration officers must be aware of what is going on, but they just don’t even bat an eyelid and just stamp you in. Now that I’m working I have the possibility of getting residency through work, but to be honestly, having seen the hoops I’m going to have to jump through and the money I’m going to have to spend, it’s going to be easier just to jump on a ferry once every 90 days..