Wife and I are planning a second honeymoon.
Our daughter was born in January. We brought her to the States to introduce her to the gringo family in June. Before arriving in St. Louis, however, we were supposed to spend four days in San Jose, Costa Rica during a long layover. Relax, see a new country, etc.
Avianca would not let wife board the plane. She hadn’t had a yellow-fever shot and she didn’t have six months’ validity left on her passport, which expires in October.
Sidenote: Costa Rica’s requirement that Peruvians get yellow-fever shots is a little gringo-ish and superior. But tourism drives Costa Rica’s economy. So if there is a mosquito-borne illness outbreak, the economy could go into recession.
Another sidenote: Costa Rica is trying to join the Pacific Alliance, the political and economic bloc formed by Peru, Colombia, Chile and Mexico. The bloc aims for free trade and openness. But it goes further than the free movement of capital and goods by requiring the free movement of people. So if Costa Rica wants to join the cool kid’s club, they’ll have to dump this requirement.
We cancelled our flights and received a one-year credit to go to Costa Rica.
Two months later, I’m looking at good times to go for a vacation. Then wife says, “What about Zika?”
Oh yeah. Two months ago we didn’t know she was pregnant. Now we do know.
I find out Zika is everywhere in Costa Rica below an altitude of 6,500 feet, which is basically everywhere and all the tourist attractions. Then I think about that yellow-fever shot during pregnancy. I learn that it’s technically OK to get the vaccine while pregnant if completely unavoidable. Then I remember it’s rainy season in Costa Rica until November.
Costa Rica’s out. Anywhere with Zika is out. So let’s go somewhere cold.
Now I’m going to have to pay some money to change the destination, and if I’m going to do all that, I’m going to leave the children at home with my in-laws. That’s how this became a second honeymoon, or a vacation from the children if you will.
I get Avianca on the horn and ask about Buenos Aires or Santiago. How easy is it to change this flight, and what’s the least expensive way to do it?
The agent tells me that what everybody’s doing is flying into Montevideo, and then taking a ferry into Buenos Aires. He says flying into Buenos Aires is complicated right now.
I get a little excited about the idea. I’ve been to BA and I loved it, and it’ll be a great second honeymoon. But it’ll also be nice to see Montevideo and cross another country off the map.
But the ferry deal sounds strange. I email two expat friends in Buenos Aires, and I was surprised to see their answers.
I think you got some bad gouge from the Avianca agent. BA is generally cheaper than MVD for flights from LIM – on account of much higher capacity in the market. The ferry between BA and MVD ain’t cheap either. Plan on $150 round trip for the slow ship which is two hours. Shuttle into downtown from EZE airport should be around $20 with Manuel Tienda Leon, which is what I use.
As far as Montevideo is concerned, I was pretty underwhelmed with the place. Rather dull city with nothing interesting going on. Food sucks too. Wine is good and cheap though. The beach is what Uruguay is all about. Punta del Este rocks from Christmas through February, with outrageous prices to match.
Place is kinda boring. Good for relaxing or seeing something new. But not very exciting or remarkable.
One thing that sucks about Uruguay is the taxes. If I remember correctly, taxes are like 25% on most goods and services. So you get your bill for whatever good/service you ordered and you see this big charge for taxes. It adds considerably to the cost down there.
More taxes than a lame duck democrat.
For the most part, the people are ugly. There are a few hot Uruguayan girls. Not many though. Way hotter argentinas, brasileñas, peruanas, paraguayas, colombianas, venezolanas. Uruguayas aren’t the ugliest of South America, but they are close. Gay guys tell me the male population is ugly too, and they have no sense of fashion.
Otherwise, not much more to say.
I couldn’t believe it. I told the news to wife, and she said everybody says that. Not gringos, she says (obviously). All the Latinos who visit Uruguay say it’s boring too.
I had no idea. I knew the entire population was like 3.5 million, so more a city than a country, and I knew it’s one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries per capita. I knew they were good at soccer and that they legalized weed. And I read Open Veins.
But I didn’t think it would be so bad it’s not worth a visit. Of all the expats I’ve met, and all those in contact through this blog, I don’t think I’ve ever met an expat in Uruguay.
So what do you say folks? Does Uruguay suck?