Most of the people that visit Colonia del Sacramento only come for the day and typically travel from Buenos Aires or Montevideo. We decided that since we had the time, we would stay the night. Our goal was to have some time in the city when all of the tourists had left.
Getting to Colonia del Sacramento
We took the Colonia Express ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento. Since the early morning ferry had a special price of 198 pesos or $15 per ticket, we went with that. Annoyingly, there was 200 pesos or $15 more added onto the ticket price to cover all sorts of taxes and fees.
Our ferry didn’t leave until 8am, we had to be there at 6:30am, 1.5 hours ahead of time. While it seemed excessive on paper, it was actually for a reason. Before we boarded the ship we had to go through customs and get stamped out of Argentina and into Uruguay. It was nice that this was done on the upfront since right when the ship docked, we were free to go on our way.
As soon as we arrived in Colonia, we dropped our bags off at the hotel and ended up crashing for a while since we were absolutely exhausted from our 4:30am wake up call. After a little snooze, we were ready to head out for a bite to eat, then to see the city.
The Vibe of Colonia del Sacramento
The city itself was a cute, quaint town. You could tell that everything moved at a slower pace which wasn’t a bad thing at all. The pace was so slow in fact, that cars stopped to let us cross the street, something that we hadn’t experienced since we left Chile.
We laughed when we arrived at the bus terminal and saw that the standard rental car places – Hertz, Avis, etc. were not renting cars, they were renting golf carts and bicycles. Just about all of the streets in the town are a cobblestone type material. While this added to the charm, it also deterred us from riding the bikes that our hotel had available for use.
What We Saw and Did
Calle de los Susprios
The street in the city which has retained the most original buildings is Calle de los Susprios. In addition to the original buildings, the street was made out of large pieces of rock which were not very even. Being a klutz, I had to be extra careful when I was walking as it would be extremely easy to trip.
When we arrived in the afternoon there were a lot of people and the lighting wasn’t good for taking photos. Luckily, when we returned in the morning, we were practically the only people there and the lighting was perfect.
Since Colonia del Sacramento is a harbor town, it isn’t surprising that there would be a lighthouse. When we arrived in the afternoon, there were tons of people around and on top of the lighthouse as well as the ruins near the lighthouse.
Like all of the main attractions that we re-visited in the morning, there was nobody else around when we returned. Sadly, we weren’t able to climb up to the top as the lighthouse was not yet open.
When we went in the afternoon, the drawbridge area was super crowded with tons of tourists around taking pictures and even a mime, yes a mime. Fortunately, when we returned the next morning, we were the only ones there. It was perfect for capturing a few pictures without anyone photobombing us.
Looked at the Water
We spent about 2 minutes looking at the water which was almost pudding color brown. I’m not sure if it was the time of the year that we were there, an impact of El Nino, or something else but it didn’t look pretty.
Ate Ice Cream
Andy, a dessert lover, stuck in a continent with bad desserts, has resorted to only eating ice cream. In fact, he has been having me take pictures of him eating ice cream all over the world which is pretty funny. He rated Colonia del Sacramento as acceptable, but not the best ice cream he has had on the trip, that honor still belongs to Cuenca, Ecuador.
Leaving Colonia del Sacramento and Heading to Montevideo
Our plan when we left Colonia del Sacramento was to head to Montevideo, Uruguay. It’s a short 2.5 hour bus ride on very good roads.
We booked with the COT bus company which turned out to be one of the best short distance buses that we had to date. Our bus was relatively new, the seats were comfortable, the driver was very safe and we even had free wifi, something which we haven’t had on a bus since Colombia.
I can see why Colonia del Sacramento is typically a town that people take a day trip to. While it was very cute, there was not a ton to do once you hit the few hotspots.
The only attraction which we didn’t make it to was the bullfighting ring. It had a very interesting story – it was built in 1910, but bullfighting was banned in Uruguay in 1912. This means it was only open for 2 years and only saw 8 bullfights in its time. While it would have been fun to visit it was a bit of a distance to get to since it was 5 kilometers from town.
We were extremely glad that we spent the night even though it was a little expensive. The best time that we had was going out in the morning before the ferries arrived since we pretty much had the town to ourselves. Why we didn’t run into other people who were up early beating the crowds to the sites, I’m not quite sure.