Just Wanderlust Blog » A discerning, food-loving, & culturally curious road warrior seeks the world's beautiful and bizarre destinations.

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A Day Trip From Buenos Aires: Colonia Del Sacramento, Uruguay

I know, Uruguay – who goes there?  That’s what I thought the first time I went in 2005 and I couldn’t believe I just went back!  There are only so many day trips out of Buenos Aires worth exploring and Colonia came highly recommended so I bought a ferry ticket on Colonia Express and explored this cute little seaside town.

Colonia is the oldest city in Uruguay and located next to the Rio de la Plata.  On the Colonia Express, it was only a short 1 hour and 15 minute ride from bustling Buenos Aires, making it the perfect little daytime getaway if you’ve had your fair share of tango shows, empañadas, and alfajors (gosh, I am amazed at how much the Argentines love their alfajors and dulce de leche!).

The whole town of Colonia is compact and walkable.  You can also rent a car or a buggy for the day, but I think its cobblestoned streets are best explored on foot.

I went in winter time so Colonia felt like a sleepy town – not only were the only locals I saw the shop owners, but I kept running into the same people over and over again (the people who basically got off the same ferry as I did!).  Despite that, I could totally picture Colonia being the quaintest little town in the summer with its the cobblestone streets, portuguese influence, colorful shops, and the abundance of trees and florals that blanket the buildings and line the streets in the right season.  It would be so relaxing to sip a cafe con leche at one of the cafes or take a casual stroll through the town on a bright summer’s day.  Given it was winter, I bundled up, admired the architecture, daydreamed about the lively little resort town this place must transform into when the weather warms up, and enjoyed my cafe con leche indoors at a super cute cafe.

Here are some of my pics from my day there:

If you’re planning on going:

  • There are several ferries that service Colonia but Colonia Express is the best deal (gets you there fast and it’s cheap!  I paid around $70USD for the round trip ticket).  You can also get discounted fares if you buy it online.
  • All the vendors accept USD so bring that if you can!  Then you won’t have to exchange any money into Uruguayan pesos.
  • Whatever you do, don’t pay in Argentine peso.  Argentina’s going through a lot of economic woes right now and the only way you can pay with the Argentine peso is if you’re ready to get shortchanged on the exchange rate.
  • Bring good walking shoes.  Colonia has some of the worst cobblestone streets I’ve ever walked on.  The streets are cute, but the cobblestones are painful if you wear the wrong shoes!
  • The climb to the top of the lighthouse is worth it for the views of the city and the lay of the land.
  • Don’t forget your passport!

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EDGYMIX-TRAVEL FOR FASHION - August 16, 2012 - 9:03 pm

Hey Diana…Beautiful photos. YOu know what, When I went to CHile, I need to passby Bueno Aires (to head down to ushuaia)but I have been there before, so I though why not go to uruguay. I have 2 choices, to fly to the capital or take a ferry trip to colonia. I asked people which one should I pick since I do not have enough time to travel for so long and I do really want to cross out uruguay on my list. People told me, they are pretty much only a day trip city(well colonia is more like an old town)and Montevideo is just a city by the beach. at the end I choice to go to Montevideo…boring:P Colonia seem like an interesting place…what do you think?

Cheers

EDGYMIX-TRAVEL FOR FASHION - August 16, 2012 - 9:04 pm

also..when you said you just went back….when? Did you just go to SA latelY?

Just Wanderlust - August 16, 2012 - 9:20 pm

hey Tammy! I went to Montevideo before and it was okay. I remember not being too impressed with it since I was comparing it to Europe (maybe it wasn’t a fair comparison) where there were tons to see/do everyday. In Montevideo I remember just seeing the monuments/statues all over the city and thinking “uhh, the statues are so small? why is this even an attraction?” haha. Colonia was cool though but you should go in the summer! Plus, it allow someone to cross Uruguay off their list with a day trip! 😛

Just Wanderlust - August 16, 2012 - 9:21 pm

and yes… I was just in Colonia less than 3 weeks ago!

EDGYMIX-TRAVEL FOR FASHION - August 17, 2012 - 1:53 pm

wow..you went to SA again?? Cool. Yea, like I said Montevideo was boring!! hah! hmm…I don’t think i will go to Uruguay again unless I need to go to Paraguay through this country@-@…sorry….Uruguay:P..would you go again? I mean you were already there twice..ahahaha. I mean you know some people experienced a country different, you know the weather, the people, the things you did……

hey, have a great weekend dear;)

Jan Polatschek - August 17, 2012 - 6:11 pm

Hello….. I was in Uruguay in May. Colonia was my last stop before taking the ferry to BA. My favorite moment was lunch at El Drug Store restaurant. I sat outdoors for a few hours and listened to the guitar duo, Dos en Do. Simply enchanting!
Jan Polatschek

For my Travel Letter, photos and videos from Colonia, please visit my website:

http://travelwithjan.com/2012uruguaycolonia

Just Wanderlust - August 17, 2012 - 8:36 pm

Tammy – I never thought I’d go back to Uruguay either! I only went to Colonia because I was searching for something to do for the day from Buenos Aires and the locals recommended Colonia. It was good for 1 day. I’m not sure there’d be much to do for more than that, but I did like how it was super quaint and so diff from Buenos Aires!

Just Wanderlust - August 17, 2012 - 8:40 pm

Hi Jan – that sounds like a good time! Nothing like hanging out with a cup of coffee and listening to some live music! On a random note, I saw that you’ve been to Uzbekhistan — that’s pretty cool! I’ve never known of anyone who’s gone there…

Jan Polatschek - August 17, 2012 - 9:25 pm

Hello,

The cup of coffee turned into a big meal. Salad and fish and vegtables. As you know from BA, portions in this part of the world are enormous and I could not finish it all.

Uzbekistan is a great place to see. Train transportation is good, people are friendly, food is good and the sights are wonderful.

It is a populat tourist destination, but for Westerners, it’s not exactly on the radar screen.

I highly recommend two to three weeks there: from Tashkent to Khiva.

Jan Polatschek

Just Wanderlust - August 17, 2012 - 9:37 pm

Sounds good. I love the places that aren’t on everyone’s radar! Some of my fave places have been the ones that I hadn’t even heard of before and I love it when that happens (kind of like a happy travel accident!). Maybe someday I will make it out to Uzbekistan, too. 🙂

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