I don’t need much to absolutely fall in love with a place. I don’t need fancy restaurants, shopping malls, museums, or skyscrapers.
Instead, give me cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafés, cups of hot chocolate, ocean waves, and a view of a sunset. That’s not asking for too much, right?
By this criteria, Colonia del Sacramento has everything I need to fall in love. And I did just that at first sight.
Colonia del Sacramento is a little town about a 3 hour bus ride away from Montevideo. It’s positioned on a peninsula on the Rio de la Plata river, with Buenos Aires about an hour’s boat ride away on the other bank. This town was originally settled by the Portuguese in 1680, despite the fact that the rest of Uruguay and the neighboring Buenos Aires was under Spanish rule.
Being in Colonia is like stepping back in time 300 years. Every inch of this tiny peninsula town oozed historical charm. The only signs of modernity suggesting that it progressed into the 21st century with the rest of the world are credit card and wifi signs taped behind shop windows (and the presence of cars, of course. But even the cars are old here!).
Now, let me be clear that there is the city of Colonia, where you can jump ahead into the current century. But I’m talking about the historical quarter (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which is in a world of its own. It’s also tiny, easily walked in a couple of hours. Trust me, there’s a reason why this post isn’t titled “5 things to see in Colonia”, because you can literally see it ALL. Every square inch, every street, and every shop. There’s not much to do here except to just BE there in the moment. And that’s precisely why I love it.
Our 2 days were spent hobbling over the cobblestone streets, wandering into shops, walking on the piers, and playing with silhouettes against the sunset (in other words, not doing much). We ended the day at a cozy café (by the way, Ganache is the BEST café there), sipping on thick hot chocolate and defrosting in front of an open crackling fire – the perfect antidote to the biting winds outside.
I now know that there’s a part of me that yearns for the small town lifestyle, where life is slow and free of worry. I felt it more than ever during these two days. I mean, you know when something feels right when you’re wondering if you have enough cash to buy property within an hour.
I don’t need all the bells and whistles that a city has to offer, nor the hustle and bustle that comes with it. Here in Colonia, the setting is idyllic and the pace is unhurried, not to mention that it comes with a premium view of the sunset. And that’s all I can really want.
Let me show you the charming little town of Colonia through this photo journal! (Warning: be prepared for cobblestone overload!)
- From Montevideo: Buses leave from the Tres Cruces bus terminal about every hour – 1.5 hour.
- From Buenos Aires: The Buquebus boat departs from the Buquebus terminal (by Puerto Madero) a couple of times each morning and evening.
Where to stay: There are a number of hotels. We stayed at the Posada Las Terrazas, just right outside the historical city wall. I would definitely recommend it!
Currency: Colonia is a popular tourist destination, and many places will accept Uruguayan pesos, Argentinian pesos, US dollars, and Brazilian real.
Are you a city person or a small-town person? What are your favorite places?
This post is linked up to Budget Travelers Sandbox with Nancie.