Published: August 1st 2012August 4th 2011
A one hour ferry trip took us to the historic town of Colonia Del Sacramento, founded by the Portuguese in 1680 to smuggle contraband across the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aries (which is on the opposite side of the river) into Uruguay. Today it is very much a tourist spot though we were visiting off season and the streets were near deserted on our arrival. Leaving the large terminal we eventually found a hotel on the edge of the old town - it was not a cheap place to stay - and the hotels within the historic area were double the price, despite the season. We only spent two nights in the town though we had planned to stay Saturday evening as well but the hotels prices increased again for the weekend!
It was a pretty place though - full of tiny squares, cobbled streets and pastel coloured tile and stucco houses and was UNESCO listed in 1995. The historic area surrounds two main squares, all of which is surrounded by the remnants of the city wall, the entrance gates of which are still used today. We spent an enjoyable few hours wandering the streets, admiring the many old
cars which ‘decorated’ them. One car was being used as a planter box and was full of greenery. Most of the cafes had outdoor eating areas and despite the sunshine it was very cool so the majority had no customers. They would be lovely places to sit on starry summers evenings. There were some lovely shops- I loved the shop run by the Government tourist board - the woollen products were exquisite and I bought a few pieces. Our trip was nearing it‘s end so we were happy to fill the gaps in our bags with presents knowing that we would not have to carry them for too much longer. We decided against visiting any of the museums though did check out the Iglesia Matriz, Uruguay’s oldest church.
We checked out he newer part of the town as concluded that there are probably worse places to live. We loved the streets lined with trees, bare branched then but they would create wonderful shady paths in the hot summer months.
The tourist office near the ferry port - a new venture which was quite impressive - was worth a visit. Very well displayed and helpful staff - I wish we had
found more like it during the previous few months. Our few days in the tiny town were spent wandering and enjoying the atmosphere. It looked particularly pretty after dark with all the old street lanterns. It was a great place for us to rest and it would certainly be at it’s best in the summer months. I could understand why it was a popular weekend trip for locals from Buenos Aries. We caught a bus onwards to Montevideo - a two hour trip passing through countryside which was surprisingly green and flat.
There are more photos below