Uruguay – Colonia del Sacramento

We couldn’t even remember when we first heard about Colonia del Sacramento or Uruguay in general. Can you imagine how embarrassing it is when your host asks you and all you can do is scratch your head? We saw it on the map, read a few blogs and decided we liked it. We choose our destinations with no more than that and most times we don’t regret it. And since Colonia is one of the pleasant memories, we’d like to do it justice when describing the city. So here’s how we spent few days in Colonia del Sacramento, enjoying everything with our local host and having a blast!

Uruguay, Colonia del Sacramento, tiles in historic center

Welcome to Uruguay and Colonia del Sacramento!

The important part is the people you meet. When you combine an amazing place with amazing people the result is…amazing! When we got off the ferry, our host had been waiting for us for over an hour and he was running late for an event. It was 21:30, we thought we were about to go sweaty at a party. No such thing, the event turned out to be a protest against the unjust conviction of a policeman who had chased a thief. The citizens, some of them ex-cops, wanted to dispute the jury’s decision. The first thing we did in Colonia was to demand justice! We hope that more people from the city of 20 thousand citizens would support this cause. Even people from the other side of the globe came to protest.

Mariano (our first Couchsurfing host ever) took us on a night tour through the city, driving us in his car. Тhe Historic Quarter is a preserved colonial mixture of Portuguese and Spanish architecture because of the dispute between the two countries for power over the town, which lasted for over 100 years. Every second there was a bolt of lightning in the sky towards Buenos Aires, a storm was coming. We were lucky to try the local chivitos before it rolled in. Chivitos are presented to the tourists as cholesterol bombs. Imagine how tasty they are…

The Old Town of Colonia

At daytime, we had a lot of time to pass through all the cobblestone alleys with their little museums, the lighthouse, the stone walls and the Street of Sighs (Calle de Los Suspiros).

Colonia del Sacramento off the beaten path

Farther from the center one can find the not-so-famous church of San Benito with its image of a black saint and the abandoned arena for corrida. We snuck inside to take a look at the court and the crumbling supporting structure. It is said that the same iron bars are used in the London underground system. A hundred years ago not only those with connections in the police entered under the metal grid, but people came to the arena with trains pulled by horses. Now those carriages, along with some classic cars, are turned into a romantic restaurant in the Historic Quarter.

Colonia’s beaches

Apart from the restaurants, which seemed quite expensive compared to our expectations for backpackers’ Uruguay, the entertainment was cheap or free. For example – the beaches along La Plata River where you can lounge and dip in the water at sunset. Or you can even see some of the skyscrapers of Buenos Aires on a clear day.

Another example is the museums. With a single ticket of 50 pesos (at that time, about 1.8 EUR) you can visit all 7 museums in the Historic Quarter. The museums present the opportunity of getting to know the history, the nature and the people of these lands. Also, they are a welcome shade after the hot streets.

Uruguayan delights

If you ever visit Uruguay, you must try the tomatoes, they are delicious. They are often underrated because of the meats everywhere. In this country, just like in many places in South America, everybody survives on pasta and meat, maybe pizza. We, being a merry band of tourists (from Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Macedonia, Bulgaria) made ourselves a wholesome dinner with pasta, tomatoes, and extra hot chilly peppers… rubbing it with oil didn’t help, but at least we found solace in the beer…

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

As a memento of our time together, we received this beautiful picture from the future architects of Argentina and Mexico.

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Let’s travel to South America! Here’s our 2-month South America backpacking itinerary.

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