Colonia del Sacramento...
An irresistible, cute little town

 Colonia del Sacramento. Uruguay.
Colonia del Sacramento - © Daniel Stonek /

Welcome to Colonia del Sacramento, oldest town in Uruguay.

Sitting on the estuary of Rio de la Plata, in the southeastern part of Uruguay, right in front of Buenos Aires, lies one of the most charming destinations in South America...Colonia del Sacramento, one of the top Uruguay tourist attractions.

It was born as Nova Colonia do Sacramento in 1680, founded by Portuguese Manuel Lobo.

Throughout a century, it suffered the extended custody battle between Spanish and Portuguese conquerors.

In fact, it suffered sieges, assaults, change of dominions - it was founded twice - and handed over to Spain through San Ildefonso Treaty in 1777, before becoming part of Oriental Republic of Uruguay.
Uruguay was officially recognized in 1828.


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This fortress city and old smuggling port has to be included in your next trip to Uruguay.
It's just irresistible, particularly the historic center (Barrio Historico).
You will walk cobblestoned streets aligned by 300-year-old houses and sycamore trees.

Old Colonia shows a distinctive architecture.
From a "disarranged" street plan and saddle roof blanket houses of Portuguese influence, to wider orthogonal streets (calles) and ceramic tiles related to Spanish domination.
A mix of Portuguese, Spanish and post-colonial style. The historic center is reminiscent to Alfama district of old Lisbon.

Colonia del Sacramento, Porton de San Pedro
Porton de San Pedro - © Daniel Stonek /

Colonia del Sacramento is worth at least a day's visit.
It's a favorite retreat for Porteños (inhabitants of Buenos Aires) wishing to escape from its vibrant city life.

There are regular, 2 to 3 daily ferry and hydrofoil services to/from Buenos Aires - hydrofoil does the journey in about 45' and costs three times more than a regular ferry (2,30 to 3 hours ride).

A cheaper and also interesting alternative is to take a boat in Tigre (just outside Buenos Aires), to Carmelo (Uruguay) and then get a bus to Colonia.

What to do in
Colonia del Sacramento:

You will spend most of your time in the historic center.
If you need some guidance upon arrival just go to the Tourist Information Office (General Flores y Rivera St., just outside the walled town. Phone: 2-61-41 / 2-37-00)...


  • Museo Portugues
  • Museo Municipal
  • Museo Español
  • Museo del Azulejo

There are several others that you can visit them with a single ticket entrance.

  • Iglesia Matriz:
    Built in 1600s, the oldest in Uruguay
  • Lighthouse:
    Built in 1857 from the stones of the convent of St. Francisco Javier (circa 1700).
    Still active. Nice view from the top
  • Plaza de Toros: (Bullfight Ring)
    Genuine Morisco style.
    Inaugurated in 1910, it held about ten official bullfights until cancelled by Government in 1912
  • Yacht Port:
    Nice stroll. You can also rent a row or sail boat

There are old houses opened to tourism...

As for beaches (playas), Colonia del Sacramento has several to choose from...

  • Real de San Carlos
  • Balneario Municipal
  • Oreja de Negro
  • El Alamo
  • Playa de Ferrando have enough to keep you busy for a while. Don't forget to shop for some souvenirs and above all visit some of the excellent restaurants...and some local Swiss cheese.

This historic gem it's been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995. Visit Colonia del Sacramento Photo Gallery for a visual introduction to the place.

Have a great time in Colonia del Sacramento!...and if you've been there already, please take a moment and share your personal list Uuruguay tourist attractions.

How to Get There:

From Montevideo is serviced by bus.
From Buenos Aires, just go to the port (next door to Puerto Madero). Please check Buquebus(in Spanish) to get a ferry or hydrofoil.

Where to Stay:

Colonia offers several hotels to choose from, from low -priced to comfort.

Book budget accommodation in Colonia.
Find and compare best hotel rates in Colonia.


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