Tour en Colonia, Uruguay
Besides its historical neighborhood, Colonia has the charm of its shores. The water currents have created sublime beaches of fine sand.
Buenos Aires, infinite, fascinating and amazing city, has its antithesis on the other shore of the Río de la Plata: Colonia del Sacramento, a beautiful port over three centuries old that offers delightful tranquil charm at just a one-hour boat trip from the Argentine capital city. It offers a change of country and ambience. This short boat trip is also a trip back in time.
Very near the port, the historical center is surprisingly well preserved: colorful houses full of flowers along the stone-paved streets, trees decorating the squares.
The town is flooded with calm from its sleepy streets, the river, the historical buildings and the terraces of the cafés.Besides its historical neighborhood, Colonia has the charm of its shores. The water currents that drain the river sand towards the northern shore, have created sublime beaches of fine sand.
As part of its heritage, Colonia has plenty of restaurants on the shores and an extraordinary view of nature. Colonia has all it needs to seduce. It is up to you to choose between a pleasant walk on foot, or a bike ride to get to know it…
A bit of history…
In 1680, Portuguese Manuel Lobo decided to create Colonia del Sacramento on the shores of the Río de la Plata, a region that at that point had been inhabited by the Spaniards since the 16th century. Strategically positioned to have control of the river, since its creation, the city has been involved in the conflict between Spanish Argentina and Portuguese Brazil.
Colonia was part of the domain of the two countries before finally becoming part of Montevideo in 1828, following Uruguay’s independence. For a long time, this place was a thriving port, and most part of the city has survived destruction, thus currently showcasing a unique heritage. In 1995, it was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
A day in Colonia
You will start your trip at the port of Buenos Aires. The docks are located in the same area of the city that the history of Buenos Aires, and the rest of Argentina, began to be written. This sensation is later confirmed once you pass customs and realize that just across the river is another country, a totally unknown culture.
After an hour, you will reach Uruguay, which will soon amaze you with its characteristic tranquility that dominates the scene. A few streets from the port is the historical neighborhood of Colonia, far away from the buzz of Buenos Aires… Time seems to have stood still on these narrow streets, full of perfectly preserved old houses.
As you tour the city, you will come across sunny squares or giant palm trees, with the river as a natural backdrop.
Your tour guide will tell you all about the architecture of Colonia, a true witness to history, which blends Portuguese, Spanish, and post-colonial styles. The founders of the city built up the current historical center of the city without changing any of the natural levels of the land, without following any coherent pattern. Away from the shore, the unleveled Portuguese houses, stone-paved streets, and tiles left behind, you will discover colorful Spanish-style architecture with much more geometric streets. A little further on, the white of post-colonial houses are the finishing touch that highlights the unique style and mix of character of this city. You will also be surprised by the many cars from the ’50s that are so celebrated in Uruguay. This gives an antiquated feel to this portrait of 18th century houses.
Among the places not to be missed in the city are: The Santísimo Sacramento Church, the oldest in the country standing out at the Plaza Mayor. Opposite the church is the impressive San Francisco Lighthouse, built up over the remains of the convent bearing the same name. A few steps is all it takes to get to the top of the tower, but the view you get from there totally deserves the effort. You will continue the tour by visiting the Puerta de Campo, a draw bridge dating from 1745, one of the last remains of the old forts of the city, demolished since then. You will then go along the shore of the river up to the yatch club. From there, you will see the sailboats dancing on the waters and enjoy a panoramic view of both the historical center and the beaches that are just some hundred meters away…
Mesón de la Plaza, a large restaurant with a typical interior patio, is the ideal place to have lunch in the heart of the historical neighborhood. You may then choose to walk along the shore of the river towards west or east to the beaches, or continue wandering around the streets of Colonia.
You may also ride horses or bikes, or also drive to the nearby beaches.
The end of your day in Colonia
It’s time to call it a day… Depending on your time of return, before embarking you may enjoy the beautiful sunset. From the deck, the view is breathtaking, the lights ornament the colorful streets of the city. Should you depart before, you will have the chance to see the towers of Buenos Aires appearing progressively below the red sky.
The lights that illuminate the city at sunset offer another magnificent view of the place, more intimate and unknown till now. A night at the Posada del Virrey will be the final magic touch to your Uruguayan escape.
Activities: you may play golf at the Sheraton Hotel Colonia (9-hole course). You may also rent bikes or cars to get to the beaches of Colonia. Ask for more information.
Lunch: at Mesón de la Plaza.
Night in Colonia: you may spend the night in Colonia at the Posada del Virrey. Ask for more information.
Documents: remember to bring your passport to be presented at customs.
Currency: local currency is the Uruguayan peso, but the Argentine peso is also accepted in Colonia. The exchange rate is one Argentine peso equals around seven Uruguayan pesos.