Our original plan had been to spend a couple days in Colonia del Sacramento and then head to Salto, Uruguay, for a few days before crossing back into Argentina to go to Iguazú Falls. However, that itinerary was going to put us at Iguazú on the weekend which we figured would be the busiest time of the week. The logistics of going to Colonia del Sacramento were also complicated. There were no night buses from CdS to Salto, so we would end up having to go back to Montevideo (3 hours away) to catch a night bus or spending all day on a bus just to arrive in Salto in time to pay for accommodation. We are also trying to avoid arriving in new cities after dark. As a result, our new plan had us on a midnight bus to Salto directly from Montevideo.
Unfortunately, the bus ride to Salto only takes six hours, so as a night ride, it’s not quite long enough. It also requires that you go to sleep right away if you want any hope of functioning in the morning. Upon boarding the bus, Jess got out her neck pillow, eye mask and scarf blanket, and promptly fell asleep. In her eyes, this bus was an improvement over the last one because there was no border crossing to wake up for in the middle. Eric struggled to fall asleep despite the very quiet bus, blamed the 6pm coffee, and resorted to plugging away on his laptop and reading his book. He finally fell asleep a few hours before we arrived.
We asked the bus drivers to drop us at Termas del Daymán which was a few minutes outside Salto because that’s where our Airbnb was. Despite being Uruguay’s second largest city (although with only 100,000 people), Salto did not appear to have a lot of good accommodation options. Staying in Termas was no big issue since we wanted to visit the thermals baths there anyway.
So there we were at 6am sitting at a bus terminal in the dark watching the sunrise and spreading dulce de leche on crackers with the end of a toothbrush. In theory, we were allowed to check into our Airbnb at 12pm, so we had a lot of time to kill. Once the sun came up, the bus station seemed to have a surprising number of bugs that thought Jess looked like a yummy snack, so we moved to the plaza near our Airbnb and laid down on a bench to wait. It was shaping up to be a very hot and humid day! By 8am, we had contacted our Airbnb host and she had come to find us in the plaza, and by 9am we were napping in a comfy bed.
After our nap, we went out to investigate the thermal baths but decided we were hungry along the way and stopped at a parrilla for a mixed grill for two. The mountain of meat that arrived included intestines and blood sausage along with ribs and chicken. It was all delicious.
After lunch, we discovered we had forgotten sunscreen. Since it was 3pm and 90 degrees with blazing sun, sitting at the baths without sunscreen was not an option. We headed back to the Airbnb to get sunscreen and a torrential downpour began – not particularly conducive to swimming! When the rain stopped at 5pm, we went back to the baths and found an incredible municipal facility with multiple thermal pools. It’s an outdoor swimming complex with delightfully hot water. Luckily for us, the rain had sent the sun away and cooled the air, so getting in warm water was something we actually wanted to do. We spent an hour and a half in and out of the water exploring the various pools of the complex.
That evening we made ourselves open-faced tuna sandwiches with peas and drank wine out of tea cups because our Airbnb’s tiny kitchen only had a sink and a refrigerator.
Tomorrow we are heading into Salto to catch a bus to Concordia, Argentina just across the river. While Salto didn’t have much accommodation, Concordia seems to have quite a bit, and we need to get to Concordia to take a bus to Iguazú anyway.