Introducing Colonia del Sacramento
On the east bank of the Río de la Plata, 180km west of Montevideo, but only 50km from Buenos Aires by ferry, Colonia is an irresistibly picturesque town enshrined as a Unesco World Heritage site. Its Barrio Histórico, an irregular colonial-era nucleus of narrow cobbled streets, occupies a small peninsula jutting into the river. Pretty rows of sycamores offer protection from the summer heat, and the riverfront provides a venue for spectacular sunsets. Colonia’s charm and its proximity to Buenos Aires draw thousands of Argentine visitors; on weekends, especially in summer, prices rise and it can be difficult to find a room.
Colonia was founded in 1680 by Manuel Lobo, the Portuguese governor of Rio de Janeiro, and occupied a strategic position almost exactly opposite Buenos Aires across the Río de la Plata. The town grew in importance as a source of smuggled trade items, undercutting Spain’s jealously defended mercantile monopoly and provoking repeated sieges and battles between Spain and Portugal.
Although the two powers agreed over the cession of Colonia to Spain around 1750, it wasn’t until 1777 that Spain took final control of the city. From this time, the city’s commercial importance declined as foreign goods proceeded directly to Buenos Aires.
Best places to stay in Colonia del Sacramento
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Colonia del Sacramento destination guides
Rio to Lima Adventure
If you have the time and can’t decide between Peru and Brazil, then see them both—and pretty much everything in between—on this 51-day extravaganza. Trek the legendary Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, cross the Bolivian Salt Flats, sip wine in Argentina and hit the beach in Brazil.
Day Trip to Colonia from Montevideo
Get to know the city of Colonia del Sacramento on a day trip from Montevideo! Discover the colonial charm and history of this coastal city as you explore the cobblestone streets with your knowledgeable guide. Visit Barrio Histórico -- Colonia's historic area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- and see Real de San Carlos, Fernando's Beach and more.