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South America

Colonia Del Sacramento: A Day Trip from Buenos Aires to Uruguay in South America

Visiting Colonia del Sacramento from Buenos Aires makes for a delightful day trip, offering a glimpse into Uruguay’s colonial past and charming coastal atmosphere. Here’s a guide to help you plan your excursion:

Overview of Colonia del Sacramento

Colonia del Sacramento is a historic city located on the shores of the Río de la Plata in southwestern Uruguay. Founded by the Portuguese in the 17th century, the city boasts cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and a relaxed ambiance that attracts visitors from around the world.

Getting There

By Ferry:

  • Departure Point: Ferries to Colonia del Sacramento depart from the Buenos Aires port area, with terminals located in Puerto Madero and Buquebus.
  • Ferry Operators: Buquebus, Colonia Express, and Seacat Colonia are the main ferry operators servicing the Buenos Aires-Colonia route.
  • Travel Time: The ferry journey takes approximately one hour, making it a convenient and scenic way to travel between the two cities.

By Bus:

  • Bus Terminals: Buses to Colonia del Sacramento depart from Buenos Aires’ Retiro Bus Terminal.
  • Bus Companies: Various bus companies offer services to Colonia, with different schedules and ticket prices available.

Exploring Colonia del Sacramento

Historic Quarter:

  • Calle de los Suspiros: Wander along this charming street lined with colorful colonial buildings and artisan shops.
  • Plaza Mayor: Visit the main square, where you’ll find the iconic lighthouse, historic monuments, and outdoor cafes.

Museums and Landmarks:

  • Portón de Campo: Admire the historic city gate, which dates back to the 17th century and serves as a symbol of Colonia’s colonial heritage.
  • Colonia del Sacramento Lighthouse: Climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the city and surrounding coastline.
  • Museo Portugués: Explore this museum housed in a colonial-era building, featuring exhibits on the city’s Portuguese heritage.

Waterfront Promenade:

  • Rambla Costanera: Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade, offering scenic views of the Río de la Plata and the Buenos Aires skyline across the water.
  • Playa Ferrando: Relax on the sandy beach and enjoy swimming or sunbathing during the warmer months.

Dining and Shopping

Culinary Delights:

  • Uruguayan Cuisine: Sample traditional Uruguayan dishes such as chivito (steak sandwich), empanadas, and dulce de leche desserts at local restaurants and cafes.
  • Waterfront Dining: Enjoy seafood specialties with waterfront views at restaurants along the riverfront.


  • Artisan Markets: Browse artisan markets and boutiques in the historic quarter, where you can find handmade crafts, artwork, and souvenirs.
  • Antique Shops: Explore antique shops and galleries offering unique treasures and vintage finds.

Colonia del Sacramento, often referred to simply as Colonia, is a charming and historic town in Uruguay known for its cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and picturesque views of the Río de la Plata. Here are some tips to enhance your visit:

Exploring the Historic Quarter (Barrio Histórico)

  1. Walking Tours: Consider taking a guided walking tour to get a deeper understanding of Colonia’s history. The guides are often very knowledgeable and can provide context that you might miss otherwise.
  2. Map and Highlights: Obtain a map from the tourist office and mark the main attractions like the Portón de Campo, Basilica del Santísimo Sacramento, and Plaza Mayor.
  3. Museums: Don’t miss the small but interesting museums, such as the Portuguese Museum and the Tile Museum. A combined ticket usually provides access to several of these.

Scenic Spots

  1. Lighthouse (El Faro): Climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the town and the river. It’s especially beautiful at sunset.
  2. Riverside Promenade (Rambla Costanera): Take a leisurely walk along the promenade to enjoy the river views and relax. There are plenty of benches where you can sit and take in the scenery.

Eating and Drinking

  1. Local Cuisine: Try local dishes such as chivito (a Uruguayan sandwich) and asado (barbecue). Restaurants like El Drugstore and Pulpería de los Faroles offer great local flavors.
  2. Cafés: Enjoy a coffee at one of the many charming cafés, such as Lentas Maravillas or Ganache Café & Pastelería. These spots often have lovely outdoor seating.

Shopping and Souvenirs

  1. Artisan Markets: Visit local artisan markets to buy unique souvenirs like handmade jewelry, leather goods, and crafts. The market near Plaza Mayor often has a good selection.
  2. Wine and Cheese: Uruguay is known for its wine, particularly Tannat. Visit a local wine shop to pick up a bottle or two. Also, try some local cheese, which pairs nicely with the wine.

Practical Tips

  1. Currency: Although Uruguay uses the Uruguayan peso, many places in Colonia accept US dollars and Argentine pesos. Credit cards are also widely accepted.
  2. Timing: Colonia can be quite crowded on weekends and during Argentine holidays. If possible, visit during the week for a more relaxed experience.
  3. Weather: The weather can be quite variable, so pack layers. Summers can be hot, while winters can be chilly, especially near the water.

Off the Beaten Path

  1. Playa Ferrando: For a quieter beach experience, head to Playa Ferrando, a bit away from the main tourist areas.
  2. Real de San Carlos: Explore this area for its interesting attractions like the old bullring (Plaza de Toros), which adds a unique historical dimension to your visit.

Day Trips and Excursions

  1. Ferry to Buenos Aires: If you have the time, consider taking a ferry to Buenos Aires for a day trip or longer. The ferry ride is about an hour and offers a great way to see another vibrant city.

Colonia del Sacramento is a beautiful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Enjoy your trip!



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