Visiting the historic quarter of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay


We earmarked Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay as a place in which to stop and take a breather from our hectic travels. Much like our time in Tahiti in the South Pacific, we thought it would be an ideal place in which to pause for a few weeks and reset before continuing onto another chapter of our trip.

Unfortunately, by the time we reached Buenos Aires in Argentina – just 50km across the Río de la Plata – we were running desperately short on both funds and time. Therefore, what should have been an extended stay with some much-needed downtime turned into a brief stopover with little more than a whistle-stop tour of the major sights of the historic quarter (Barrio Histórico). 

Nonetheless, what we saw in Colonia del Sacramento, we liked.

Colonia del Sacramento Uruguay - 5
Atlas & Boots

The Portuguese founded the small and charming settlement in 1680 in its strategic position on the north shore of the Río de la Plata opposite Buenos Aires. Over the next 150 years the region would change hands no fewer than 10 times, with rule swapping back and forth between Spain and Portugal. The region was captured, besieged and repeatedly attacked by the two colonial superpowers until 1822 when it was incorporated into the newly independent Brazil. Six years later when Uruguay declared independence, Colonia del Sacramento would finally find a lasting peace and elevate itself to a “ciudad“ (city status).

Inscribed in 1995 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site the well-preserved urban landscape is a popular tourist attraction for visitors from Buenos Aires and the rest of Uruguay. Despite this, the city remains a calm and intimate destination. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants catering for the crowds but the city has not swollen or lost its charm. Despite promotion to city status, Colonia’s population remains low at 27,000.

Autor: Peter
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