There’s good reason the tiny Uruguayan town of Colonia del Sacramento is one of the most popular day trips from Buenos Aires. The town, which is really more like a village, is a straight-up hotbed of charm. I’m talking cobbled streets lined with leafy, looming sycamore trees, a historic and picturesque town square, a smattering of lovely attractions including an 18th-century lighthouse. Heck, the Barrio Historico, or historic town center, is even a bona fide UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ayaz and I decided to spend a long weekend in Colonia, which is a bit of a rarity, since truth be told, the town and its attractions in their entirety can be enjoyed in approximately, oh, 2 hours.
But we longed for an escape from the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires, and this uber-quiet town fit the bill. Ayaz and I had both been to Colonia during previous trips to South America, so there was no pressing need to see the towns few attractions, though they’re all worthy of visiting on a day trip, particularly the aforementioned lighthouse, the 19th-century Basilica of the Holy Sacrament, the Portuguese Museum, the Casa de Nacarello (a 19th-century Portuguese house), and the Municipal Museum.
On this sojourn, we instead chose to devour our respective books while lounging poolside at our phenomenal hotel, the spectacular El Capullo Posada. What our tiny room lacked in space, the hotel more than made up for with an uber-chic architecture and decor, a grandiose breakfast spread, as well as a brilliantly manicured pool area that was, basically, la bomba.
To reach the town, we bought tickets for a ride on the Seacat Colonia, a high-speed ferry which is an offshoot of the large Buquebus ferry operation. The trip is a quick hour’s jaunt from Buenos Aires’s main port, and most of the Colonia’s hotels and all of its attractions are in walking distance from the town’s port. No need to be tempted by the cab drivers if you’re willing to make the 15 minute, easy stroll into the historic center.
Our stay was peaced out and delightful, if not remarkable. We lounged poolside by day, wandered into town for a few empanadas for lunch, then returned to the town’s waterfront overlooking the Rio Plato for a sunset cocktail and dinner. Food was on the pricey side, particularly after enjoying Buenos Aires’s prices and Argentina’s exchange rate.
Yes it was tranquil. And yes, 2 nights is a long time to spend in a town this small. But we left feeling relaxed and refreshed, having sufficiently laid on our buns and soaked in scenic views galore, which really — I contend — is a major win.