Only an hour away, tucked into the mouth of the Rio del Plata, lies Colonia del Sacramento, a perfect respite from the busy streets of Buenos Aires. This quiet town in Uruguay offers cobblestone streets, plenty of outdoor dining and small beaches that dot the coastline. If you have some extra days in Buenos Aires, a visit to Colonia is a fantastic way to enjoy a sunny afternoon.
As the oldest town in Uruguay and a World Heritage site, Colonia offers plenty of beautiful and historic sites to discover. The town was founded in 1680 by Portugal, but changed hands between the Portuguese and the Spanish in a series of sieges and treaties that spanned almost 150 years. Today, the architectural influence of both can still be seen all around the historic quarter.
Getting to Colonia couldn’t be easier. Several ferries throughout the day make the hour long trip across the river. The boats range in sizes and amenities. The larger boats even carry a two story duty free shop to help pass the time and offer some enticing deals.
Colonia’s small size makes it a breeze to explore in a day. It’s the type of place that encourages foot traffic and scooters, due to the small winding alleys created hundreds of years before. The popular food choice found almost everywhere is the chivito, a couple of thin slices of churrasco beef, accompanied by eggs, ham, bacon or bread atop a bed of fries. It’s a heavy lunch, to be sure, but a delicious one, none the less.
If you decide to spend more than one day in Colonia, you’ll find a myriad of choices in activities offered just outside the town. Wineries, estancias and pristine beaches beckon visitors to explore just a little more of this very beautiful and always friendly country.
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