Colonia del Sacramento is a popular coastal destination along the coast of Uruguay. Many Argentinian locals and travelers in Buenos Aires make the quick journey across the border to experience a little slice of what Uruguay has to offer. The ease of getting there makes this a great day trip or multi-day excursion.
After exploring other parts of Uruguay for several days prior, we spent a night in Colonia before taking the ferry back to Buenos Aires. We really enjoyed our couple days strolling the cobblestone streets and quiet beachfronts. Here are a few things to do during your time in Colonia Del Sacramento.
Hit the Beach
Colonia del Sacramento sits on the coast where the Rio de la Plata enters the Atlantic Ocean. While the water resembles murkier river water, the temperatures were still pleasant and the shores were kept clean. Some of the beaches had nice covered sections to get some shade.
The coast faces west, making the beaches a great place to also watch the sun set over the water! Grab your towel and some snacks and relax on the sand.
Grab Some Local Eats
Whether you’re visiting for the day or staying a while, we definitely recommend getting a taste of Uruguay by grabbing some local eats. Uruguay has some delicious traditional dishes, like chivitos, asado/parrilla, empanadas, and a variety of seafood plates.
There are a ton of restaurant options in Colonia, many of which offer wonderful outdoor seating. Many restaurants post their menus outside, so you can always gather ideas as you walk around town.
Uruguay is known for its maté and wine, so you’ll probably come across these beverages when eating out. Wine tasting tours are also available in Colonia if you want to learn a little more wine and what goes into making it.
Stroll Colonia del Sacramento’s Picturesque Streets
Colonia is an urban photographer’s paradise. Green parks, flowering trees, vintage cars, and pretty buildings line the cobblestone streets around the historic center, making it a nice place to take a stroll and take in the scenery.
There are a few shops and boutiques offering souvenirs, clothing, and other knick-knacks that we enjoyed stopping in as well. If you want to cover more ground, there are golf carts and bikes for rent at Thrifty rental locations.
Climb the Lighthouse
The Faro del Colonia del Sacramento is an old lighthouse built in the mid-1800s that sits in the historical center of the city. For less than $1USD, you can climb to the top. The staircase and interior ladder are very narrow and steep and the platform at the top is pretty small, so this may not be the best activity if you are afraid of heights or may be unable to climb the stairs.
The views over the streets and the coastline are really beautiful and we were very glad that there was nobody at the top or a line to enter when we visited.
Check out the Ruins
The Convent of San Francisco burnt down a long time ago, and the lighthouse was built over the ruins. Some of the old walls that remain standing can be seen around the lighthouse. Also near the lighthouse, you’ll see the Bastion de San Miguel, a waterfront fort built in the late 1600’s. The fort has some old stone walls, stairways, and canons, and it is surrounded by some really lush vegetation and pretty coastal views, so it is an enjoyable place for a walk.
A bit farther inland is the Puerta de la Ciudadela. This stone arch marks the entrance to the city and is the only remaining structure of the city walls built in the 1800’s. You can take a walking tour of the historical center to learn more of the history of all of these landmarks or simply walk the city on your own.
Visit Colonia del Sacramento’s Museums
There are quite a few museums around Colonia where you can learn a lot about the history of the city. Museo Municipal includes a range of exhibits, from wildlife to colonial artifacts. Museo Portugués contains information and artifacts from the time of Portuguese occupation of the area. There is a ticket option for 50 pesos that covers entrance to several museums in the area. It includes both of these museums. The museums are within walking distance of each other, so this is a great activity if you love museum hopping.
Other unique museums in the area include Museo del Origami, a beautiful display of paper art pieces, and the pretty quirky Museo del Humor.