First settled by the Portuguese in the 17th Century, the very picturesque Colonia de Sacramento is located on the banks of the Rio de la Plata. The town was a strategic settlement for the Portuguese. The Spanish and Portuguese fought over it for many years and you can see the remnants of the Old Fort and the original city walls near the waterfront. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a very picturesque little town. The cobblestone streets, lime washed stone buildings, vintage cars, and historic waterfront area all provide some great photo opportunities.
The Museum in town is good. Your ticket takes you through a number of the old historic buildings around town and provides a good look at the history of the town and its settlement. The opening hours seem to be a suggestion not a rule.
And if you are game, you can climb the steps of the old lighthouse for a panoramic view of the town.
But one of the most pleasant experiences in picturesque Colonia de Sacramento is just having a wander through the cobblestone streets taking pictures. Everywhere you turn it looks like something out of an old movie or a living museum.
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Colonia de Sacramento’s role in Bullfighting in Uruguay
One of the sites of interest outside the historic old city is Plaza de Toros Real de San Carlos, an old, abandoned bullfighting ring. It is 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from town and makes a nice walk or short bike ride along the water or you catch the local bus.
It was built in 1910, and housed 10,000 spectators. The Moorish architecture reflects the Spanish influences and several famous Spanish bullfighters did fight here. Only 8 official bullfights were held before 1912 when Uruguay outlawed bullfighting. Since then it has been abandoned. The building is derelict and unsafe, you cannot enter the stadium, but it is interesting to see and walk around. It is a huge structure to have only been used 8 times.
Uruguayan Wine near Colonia de Sacramento
You are near a number of Uruguayan wineries when you are in picturesque Colonia de Sacramento. Between Colonia de Sacramento and the Carmelo about 40 miles further along the Rio de la Plata there are a number of wineries. And if you are looking for luxury accommodation, Carmelo is it. There is a Hyatt and the luxurious Narbona Wine Lodge part of the Relais & Chateaux Group.
Wineries nearby include:
If You Go to Visit Picturesque Colonia de Sacramento
There are a number of restaurants in town. Price and quality varies widely. Price does not seem to be a reflection of quality here. Price is probably more a reflection as to whether the locals eat there or just tourists. You can find our suggestions in our upcoming post.
The most common way to reach Colonia is via the ferry from Buenos Aires. It is a clean, modern ferry that takes about 1 hour. Immigration was easy with stamping you out of Argentina and into Uruguay taking place at the same time. You can book the ferry here. The town is walking distance from the ferry terminal.
Alternatively, you can also reach picturesque Colonia de Sacramento via the bus to or from Montevideo. So it is possible to travel from Montevideo to Colonia and then continue on to Buenos Aires or do the reverse.
Picturesque Colonia de Sacramento is primarily a tourist town, but it seems to be quite hit or miss. We were not there during peak season and despite there being lots of tourists around, many things were closed during the week.
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