Colonia del Sacramento

Posted on October 18, 2008


Over the weekend we visited Colonia del Sacramento, one of the best preserved historical areas in South America. It is one of the original landing areas for the Spanish and Portuguese settlers and served as an important port area. Today it is relaxed and quiet, visited mostly by tourists. Colonia is across the Uruguay Platte (river) from Buenos Aires, and you can see the tall buildings on a clear day from the light house. The light house (en Espanola: faro) stands above everything else in the town and is the central landmark.

The town is characterized by plazas ringed by long straight streets lined with very old trees. There are buildings that date to the 1600’s which were clearly aged and quite beautiful. A large stone wall that used to protect the colony is still partially standing. The food and wine are good and the pace is slow. There are beautiful art galleries and little shops selling cheap tourist knick knacks. We didn’t have time to visit many of the small museums, though we did enjoy a little two room display of tiles imported from Europe around 1840. I will let the pictures tell the story.

Colonia is slightly over two hours from Montevideo and buses are readily available. A round trip bus ticket can be purchased for the princely sum of just $15. The bus was comfortable and just as modern as anything you would find in the US. Something that was different is that anyone could stand by the side of the road and flag down the bus for a ride to the next town or all the way to the final destination. The journey was nice because it was my first opportunity to see the Uruguayan countryside. This is a green, flat country full of cows, sheep, and tin shacks. It is beautiful in its own right.

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