Colonia, Uruguay

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay is just a short 1 hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires and is a great daytrip to get out of the big city. Colonia del Sacramento, Colonia for short, has an old town that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is where you should beeline to once off the ferry from Buenos Aires.

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The Colonia Express Ferry was big, clean, easy to navigate boarding, full of families, backpackers, and other tourists. There was food and drinks onboard but the ride is short and smooth enough that the banana and bottle of water I brought along were good enough.

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The Historic Quarter lies off the Rio de la Plata, a river that really looks like the sea.

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Lighthouses dot the landscape warning ships of the shoreline. I climbed to the top of the still functioning Faro del Colonia del Sacramento for the equivalent of a dollar for some views.

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You can see Buenos Aires off the in the distance if you squint really hard but looking over Colonia was the better sight. On the day I visited Colonia it was really hot, also summertime, so standing in the bright sun taking selfies was not much fun.

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In Colonia, many places do not take credit cards but will take Argentinian pesos, Uruguayan pesos, and a few places US Dollars. Things are cheaper in Colonia than in Buenos Aires, especially if you pay with local currency, so drink your cute coffees, eat all the amazing Uruguayan sandwiches, and buy those souvenir magnets. (All of which I did).

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The amazing Chivito sandwich was one of the most memorable meals I had in South America. I think it is the equivalent of eating a cheesesteak in Philadelphia or a bagel in New York City- it tastes that much better.

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A Chivito incorporates grilled beef (churrasco), ham, lettuce, tomato, mozzarella cheese, fried egg, and mayo on the most amazing chewy bread. Accompanied by a cold Uruguayan beer, the Chivito at El Drugstore, with its’ outdoor tables and shade, overlooking the church square was a fantastic late lunch venue.

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After my late lunch, I attempted to walk around and take photos of pretty trees, doors, and see the sights. But it was hot, hot, hot and there was not a lot of shade.

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After some souvenir shopping and a stop for ice cream, I walked back to the ferry terminal for the ride back to Buenos Aires. A daytrip to Colonia del Sacramento is the perfect amount of time to see the sights of Colonia and get a feel for Uruguay. Someday, I’d love to see Punta del Este and Montevideo, Uruguay too!


On your South American trip, don’t forget about Uruguay and if you are short on time, take the 1 hour ferry to Colonia for a pleasant day away from the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires.

Reader Question: When on vacation, do you tend to take photos of colorful things, interesting buildings, food, selfies, all of the above???

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