Colonia del Sacramento is a charming little city at the coast of Rio de la Plata in Uruguay. It’s proximity to Montevideo and Buenos Aires makes it a very common destination for a day trip for people staying in both cities.
From Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, Colonia is 3 hours away by bus. The bus company that provides this service is COT. From Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, Colonia is only 1 hour away by boat. The boat companies that provide the transport across the Rio de la Plata are Buquebus and Colonia Express.
The historic quarter is perfect to explore by foot. It has the narrow irregular streets built by the Portuguese, contrasting with the wider streets built later by the Spanish. Colonia del Sacramento has a peaceful atmosphere, giving me the impression that the time passes slowly here. It’s a romantic destination where couples walk on the streets holding hands and admiring the sunset at the riverfront. There’s nothing to worry about. You can spend the day wandering around, taking pictures, and drinking wine sitting on table under the sun.
I felt nostalgic walking on these cobblestone streets. Each step transported me back to my childhood. Colonia del Sacramento reminded me of Paraty, a beach town in Brazil, where I spent every summer vacation with my family when I was a kid.
Puerta de la Ciudadela
Passing through the Puerta de la Ciudadela you will enter the historic quarter, the Barrio Histórico. Take some time to admire the Rio de la Plata from the Bastión de San Miguel. Built in 1745, this walls protected the city from invasion by the Spanish, English, and pirates. The Puerta de la Ciudadela was the main entrance to the city, and it was guarded by the Portuguese military.
Calle de los Suspiros
The most photographed street in Colonia is the Calle de los Suspiros. This street has the oldest preserved houses in the city. The houses have the original Portuguese architecture that almost disappeared over the course of time. Now, most of the buildings have Spanish or neoclassical architecture.
The lighthouse is poor maintained and doesn’t offer much of a view. It’s better to skip it and head to more interesting places. If you have time to kill and don’t mind climbing lots of steps maybe this is for you. At least the entrance is very cheap. But I must warn you, the view from up there is pretty unimpressive.
Rio de la Plata Waterfront
The Rio de la Plata separates Uruguay and Argentina. The river is so wide that one might mistake it by the Atlantic Ocean.
Lunch at the El Drugstore Restaurant
The El Drugstore Restaurant allure many tourists by its charming decor. For me, it turned out to be a horrible experience. The restaurant was full, and the service took forever. The employees were very rude to the customers. I saw many people waiting a long time without any service and leaving with angry eyes. With an extra dose of patience, we waited almost an hour for our food. We ordered a bottle of Tannat and a Chivito without bread.
After lunch, we stopped at Bortolot Gelato & Caffe for some Dulce de leche ice cream. Yummy!
Basílica del Santísimo Sacramento
This church was built over the ruins of another church as old as the city itself. The church is simple with white interior and very few ornaments. Although the church is modest, it’s pleasant to visit.