Getting to Chuy from Brazil
I took an overnight bus from Porto Alegre to get to Chui (The Brazilian name of the city, Chuy is the Uruguayan name). There’s a bus company that operates out of Porto Alegre, called Veppo. It was easy to buy the ticket at the Rodoviaria of Porto Alegre. Just go to the office, say you destination, choose if you want the ordinary seat or the executive seat and choose your seat number on a screen. I don’t know if there’s buses going straight from Brazil to Uruguay. But there’s no difficulties to change bus when in Chuy. The rodoviaria central (Bus terminal) felt very safe. I had my doubts about going there late in the evening with all my luggage. But lots of people around and many guards too so there was no discomfort at all. I heard that there’s buses coming all the way from Florianopolis too.
Why I choose an overnight bus
Theres’ two reasons for this. First of all, I didn’t want to redo my French Guiana -> Suriname mistake. The overnight bus made sure I’d have a full day, from morning until evening to get into Uruguay the absolutely right way. My other choice would’ve been to come into Chui at 9-10 pm. If things wouldn’t work out, I’d be stuck with expensive but at the same time pretty bad options.
The second reason was that it made it possible for a “free night”. Because the bus left at 11 pm and arrived at 7-8 am, there was no need for a hotel/hostel overnight. It also was the reason why I chose the executive seat which cost around 60 real more. In total, for a bus trip that made sure I saved money on accomodation, I payed 162 real which is equivalent of around $40 today. The ordinary ticket cost around 100 real (<$30).
Never tried the ordinary seats on this bus, but I could almost lie down fully with my executive seat. Slept very well which was what I counted on for the more expensive seat.
Arrived early in the morning. Sun was shining and it felt like a good day. My doubt about where to be heading cleared out when I heard another backpacker ask for the directions. Three of us joined forces and set sail against the Uruguayan side. From the bus station, it was just a block or two to the avenida that is considered to be the real border. On the Uruguayan side, the road is called Avenida Brasil and on the Brazilian side, the road is called Avenida Uruguay. Many roads around this city have names of other countries. If you just want to pass from the bus terminal straight to the Uruguayan border, the quickest way is to head towards the Avenida Brasil and Avenida Uruguay. From there, it’s a couple of blocks to the road called Gen. Artigas which has a bus stop and also is a 10-15min walk from the Uruguayan border office. Follow the road and you’ll find it.
Bring cash to exchange
As usual, this was a problem. At least getting cash from the ATM. I tried and the girl from Australia tried without any success at two different ATMs. The cambios (money exchangers) opens at around
9 am, some might open a bit earlier. These are all around the town, especially to the Gen. Artigas road which is the shortest way to the border and also has a bus stop. Without pesos, we couldn’t buy the ticket on the bus to go away from Chuy. Real, € or $ was not accepted. A good advice would be to bring cash in Brazilian Real, American dollars or Euros and exchange. Be aware of the not so good rate of the Brazilian Real.
Continuing to the Chuy border control
After succesfully exchanging some Euros to Uruguayan pesos, we started walking towards the border. It was possible to take the bus from the city of Chuy going towards many of the cities/villages along the east coast. We had some time to kill and at the same time, wanted to be sure that we had all the papers in order at the border. Nothing strange at the border. After all of us stamped our passports, we stepped outside waiting for the bus. It stopped and a guy jumped out to get his stamp too. This is not something you need to worry about. Don’t want to walk? Just wait for the bus, it will stop at the border but just to be sure. You should always tell the bus driver to stop at “la frontera”.