Colonia del Sacramento: Day tripping from Montevideo (or Buenos Aires)
Updated: May 6, 2020
Colonia del Sacramento is a must see if you are trying to plan your perfect Uruguay itinerary! You do not need much time here, but it is a totally different feel than any other spots we visited in Uruguay. The city of Colonia sits on the south western coast of Uruguay across from Argentina. It is full of portuguese influence and views of the beautiful river, Rio de Plata. Colonia is the perfect city to stroll around and see the historical buildings, charming cobblestone roads, historical buildings, views of the water, and the laid back feeling Colonia brings you! By visiting Barrio Historic in Colonia, you also get to check off seeing another UNESCO World Heritage Site!
What to See
Puerta de la Ciudadela:
This drawbridge is the entrance into the charming Barrio Historic area. It leads into an area that used to be a fortress. I wouldn’t worry too much about what to see because it is not too big and you will want to wander every corner of it !
The perfect shady spot to step out of the Uruguayan hot blazing sun! This area is full of trees and shops. It is very beautiful and you will walk through it to get to the water and other areas of the charming old town. My favorite part is all the birds chirping as you walk through this area!
Convent of San Francisco & the lighthouse
A major historical landmark in this historical quarter. You won’t be able to miss the ruins of it because the lighthouse was built towering over the ruins. So if you spot the lighthouse you are getting closer to the ruins ! Also, you can climb the lighthouse for ~$1.
Basilica of the Holy Sacrament:
One of Uruguays’ oldest churches that displays the heavily influence of Portugues in this area.
Calle de Portugal: THE STREETS!
The streets alone are so beautiful that you could just spend the whole day strolling around looking at the cute vintage stores and shops, cool vintage cars, and flowers and vines spilling off of the buildings. This is the part that made me fall in love with this area! It is nothing like Montevideo or Punta del este. It has its own identity. It has old charm that isn’t comparable to other places!
If you are visiting this historic quarter, make sure you walk all the way through it to get to the waterfront. It will not disappoint ! We spent a lot of our time walking along the waterfront and just admiring the view.
How to Get There:
Sam and I were mainly located in Montevideo for most of the trip. We traveled from Montevideo to Colonia. However, we decided to add Buenos Aires on to our trip after Colonia. So I am going to include traveling between Buenos Aires and Colonia in this post, as well.
Montevideo: There are two options to get from Montevideo.
The car ride is about 2 to 2.5 hours drive from Montevideo to Colonia. It is a very beautiful and scenic ride! There are beautiful trees that hang over the road as you drive, plenty of animals, and endless blue skies! If you don’t have a car, then you can take a bus.
There are three different bus options to take!
The bus should cost between $9-13 and takes about 2.5 hours-3.5 hours depending on the stops.
Here are some bus company options:
COT: bus runs about every 2 hours to Colonia http://www.cot.com.uy/site/horarios.php?dest=colonia&ciu=col
Turil: bus runs about every 2-3 hours to Colonia https://www.turil.com.uy/horarios_tarifas.php
Grupa Agencia Central: Not many bus times https://web.agenciacentral.com.uy/index.php
The ferry ride is about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. The ferry ride should cost $50-75. Prices range depending on dates and availability. There are two different ferry companies:
Direct Ferries: Direct ferries is a good third party website to use to help look and compare ferry options! We have used them before and have never had any issues with them! https://www.directferries.com/buenos_aires_colonia_del_sacramento_ferry.htm
To fly between Buenos Aires and Colonia can be more pricey. However, I did spot roundtrip tickets for $181. The plane ride is 55 minutes.
Where to Stay
Colonia can be done in a day if you wish. There is not a whole lot to do, but if you want a more relaxing less rushed stay without constant travel. Staying two to three nights is reasonable.
The average nightly place to stay in Colonia is $72.
When browsing airbnb I found entire places ranging from $13 and up! So there are many different options depending on your budget!
You can use this link for first time discount up to $55 https://www.airbnb.com/c/madisons337?currency=USD
Depends on dates and availability. We stayed at a hostel so I do not have any personal recommendations.