A Comprehensive Day Trip Guide to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Are you in search of a perfect day trip destination in South America? Look no further than the charming Uruguayan city of Colonia del Sacramento. Situated on the banks of the Rio de la Plata, this UNESCO-listed city boasts a rich cultural and historical heritage, coupled with stunning natural beauty. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at all the best things to do and see on a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento.
Getting to Colonia del Sacramento
The closest airport to Colonia del Sacramento is Laguna de los Patos International Airport (CYR) in Uruguay.
Outside of Uruguay, however, Colonia del Sacramento is also extremely accessible by ferry from Buenos Aires, Argentina, a bustling hub and popular travel destination in South America. This is how we visited Colonia for the day!
If looking to visit Colonia via Buenos Aires, it is recommended to purchase your tickets online in advance as time slots can sell out before the day of your departure. On the day of travel, it is extremely important that you remember to pack your passport as you will be required to go through customs, both when leaving Argentina and returning from Uruguay.
Tip: Be sure to give yourself ample time (at least 45 minutes) before the ferry is set to depart, to pick up your tickets and go through security and customs. Note that the ferry may also depart a few minutes ahead of schedule, so it's best to be on the boat 15 minutes before it's scheduled to leave.
How to spend your day in Colonia del Sacramento
Begin Your Day in the Historic Quarter
One of the best things to do to kick start your day trip to Colonia is to take a stroll through its historic quarter. The city was founded in 1680, making it one of the oldest settlements in South America. The historic quarter is home to a plethora of colonial-era buildings, cobblestone streets, and picturesque plazas that will give you a glimpse into the past. The colourful facades, charming cafes, and old cars scattered throughout also make for beautiful photo ops!
Visit the Iconic Lighthouse
After exploring the historic quarter, head to the nearby Lighthouse for breathtaking views of the town and ocean surrounding it. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse, which stands at 118 feet, to catch panoramic views of the city, the Rio de la Plata, and the horizon beyond. You can also visit the nautical museum located next to the lighthouse which boasts an impressive collection of maritime artifacts.
Explore the Street Art Scene
Colonia del Sacramento's thriving street art scene should be next on your list. The city is home to some of the most impressive murals in Uruguay, showcasing the work of both local and international artists. Some of the best places to find street art in the city include the walls surrounding the Portón de Campo, Capilla de San Benito, and the former prison of the city, now transformed into an art centre.
Enjoy Local Cuisine
A day trip to Colonia del Sacramento wouldn't be complete without trying some of the local cuisine. The city is renowned for its fresh seafood, including grilled fish and seafood stew. You can also try a traditional Uruguayan dessert, "chajá," which is a cake made with meringue, cream, and peaches.
I recommend grabbing lunch at Charco Bistro, located in the Charco Hotel in the historic quarter of Colonia del Sacramento. The service was amazing and we enjoyed beautiful views of the ocean from our table. The food and fresh fruit juices were also delicious!
If looking for a caffeinated pick-me-up, check out "The Coffee Shop", also located in the historic quarter. This quaint cafe has an idyllic courtyard setting and is surrounded by tranquil greenery and a fountain. The vibes were great.
Relax on the Beach
To wrap up your day trip, head to the nearby beach for some sun, sand, and sea. The beaches are a popular destination to go for a walk, enjoy a picnic, or simply relax and take in the views.
Colonia del Sacramento offers an immersive day trip experience for anyone looking to explore a unique historical and cultural destination in South America. From its charming cobblestone streets to impressive street art, and stunning coastline, there's something for everyone in this delightful Uruguayan city.