Destination Guide

The Travel Well Guide

Colonia del Sacremento

City: N/A       State: Colonia Departamnto       Country: Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento (formerly the Portuguese Colónia do Sacramento) is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia. It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site. Modern Colonia del Sacramento produces textiles and has a free trade zone, in addition to a polytechnic center and various government buildings. Founded by the Portuguese in 1680, the town was a focus of struggle with the Spanish who established the settlement on the opposite bank at Montevideo in response. For years the colony changed hands between the two crowns until 1816, when it was claimed by the Brazilians and the entire Banda Oriental (Uruguay) was seized by the Rio de Janeiro government. Initially acting as a contraband port, evading the strictures imposed on trade by the Spanish crown, today Colonia is a resort city, a port and the trade centre for a rich agricultural region. Whilst having expanded to the east, the old part of the city still keeps the irregular terrain-fitting street plan designed and built by the Portuguese. The winding, cobble-stoned streets and colourful Portuguese-style domestic architecture, so reminiscent of Lisbon, are a delight to explore and mark the city out from its Uruguayan neighbours. Visit the Puerta de la Ciudadela, also called Puerta del Campo - a 1745 drawbridge built by the Portuguese governor to safeguard the walled city's only entrance. Set on a small peninsula jutting out into the river, with its thick fortified walls and tile and stucco buildings, the site is definitely worth the walk. Alternatively you can amble through the relatively tourist-free streets and discover the small bars, the excellent restaurants, the art and craft shops and museums or explore the large yacht harbour.

Climate | When to Visit

Visit during: January to December

Directions | How to Reach

By Road:From Montevideo (capital city of Uruguay) you can go to Colonia by bus; there are two companies (COT and Turil) with several daily frequences. Or , you can go from Montevideo to Colonia by car, it is only 177 km far.

miscellaneous | Important Information

Don't miss:The Sunday market in the Plaza Mayor. Bastion del Carmen, once a wharf and factory, today a theatre and cultural centre. El Faro, a lighthouse constructed in 1857 with stones from the ruins of the Convento de San Francisco. Iglesia Matriz - the oldest church in Uruguay. A ferry trip to Buenos Aires.

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