If you’ve followed my trip to Buenos Aires then you’ll have seen the 10 Things you Must Do. One of them was taking the ferry to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay for a day trip, and I cannot recommend this one enough! Buenos Aires is a great city, but like most big cities it’s hectic and crowded. The hustle and bustle can be overwhelming. Personally, I needed an escape, and only one hour away is the perfect escape from city life. This is Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.
Colonia del Sacramento is a city in the South West of Uruguay, and the reason for the contrast to Buenos Aires is the old town and cobbled streets. It has a laid back vibe and buildings from the Portuguese era. You can get there in just under an hour on the ferry, and it’s not too expensive to do so. But remember, you’ll need to pass immigration and security, so arrive with plenty of time before departure.
Once you’re there, you’ll find the Old Town and most of the attractions within walking distance. But the first thing you’ll notice… Peace and calm! It really is a contrast to Buenos Aires. So, there are a few things I can recommend doing, and one particular way to get around!
Here are my things to do in Colonia del Sacramento.
Rent a golf buggy
Yes! My eyes lit up when I saw this. OK you could hire a bike and get fit, but I didn’t have much time and I loved the idea. It’s not too expensive if there’s a group of you, but I can’t remember exactly how much and I didn’t really care. It gave me a chance to have some fun and see far more of Colonia than I would have any other way.
The Faro de Colonia del Sacramento is iconic to Colonia, and it overlooks the ruins of the San Francisco Convent. It’s pretty impressive, and was built in 1857. I didn’t have time to go to the top but I wish I had as the views look pretty spectacular.
Walk along the beach
After a week in Buenos Aires, it was great to see beaches! The further you get away from the city centre the more secluded they get, and you can find your own little peaceful spot to relax, enjoy a book or take some photos.
Get lost in the Old Town – Barrio Historico
The Old Town has a number of places to visit, but I enjoyed simply getting lost in the side streets, walking passed old ruins and Portuguese style buildings. Round each cobbled street corner you’ll find hidden cafes, local restaurants and souvenir shops.
The local cuisine is very similar to Argentinean food, with many famous dishes being the same. However I was recommended Chivito, a steak and cheese sandwich. And they know how to cook their steak here, perfect when washed down with a Uruguayan beer!
Watch the Sunset
It’s a beautiful spot without a sunset, but at dusk Plaza Mayor is awesome. If you’re on a day trip, it will be tight to make it back for the ferry, but for me it was worth the gamble, and I made it, just! The sunset here was nothing short of magnificent. The photos speak for themselves.
Plaza de Tores
You’ll need transport to get here, but a short drive (or cycle) up the coast and you’ll find the bullring Plaza de Tores. It’s an impressive structure, but thankfully abandoned, as I don’t agree at all with bullfighting. But whilst you’re up this way you’ll also find two more museums and an ocean lookout point.
Markets, Museums and Galleries
I’ve grouped these together as on a day trip, there simply isn’t enough time to take everything in. There’s a handcraft market a short walk from the port (below), if you like that kind of thing, and many museums and art gallery’s, often free to enter.
Have a drink at the Port
The port of Muelle de Porto de Yates is just another place to chill. Are you sensing a theme here? It’s why I loved Colonia so much, unwind and prepare to go back to Buenos Aires. It was great to watch locals fishing, and boats returning to the harbour.
I was asked a lot, is it worth an overnight? I would say yes, to most people. But it’s very quiet in the evenings, perhaps go there for a romantic dinner for two or for some alone time! So that’s it, have I sold it to you? I hope so, because if you’re coming to Buenos Aires then at very minimum, a day trip to Colonia is a must.
KLM flies to Buenos Aires, using Amsterdam as a hub, along with many other destinations in South and Central America, meaning you can fly in to one city and out of another, making your own way between them. Going via Amsterdam allows you to fly from 17 UK based airports, and from May 2016, Southampton will be added to this list. Changing at Schiphol (Amsterdam) is quick and easy, and they will often tell you your gate from the plane.
I flew to Buenos Aires as part of the KLM Music Guide campaign. My flights to Buenos Aires were complementary, but return flights from the UK start at £589, including taxes. All of the content, opinions and photography are my own, and I have not been paid for this article. Please take time to visit KLM’s website to support me on more adventures like this one!
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Support Intrepid Escape by adding this article on Pinterest to read later and share with your friends. Have you been to Colonia del Sacramento? How did you find it? Am I missing anything amazing on my list? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy travels!