Colonia Del Sacramento
On the way from Buenos Aires to Punta Del Este is Colonia del Sacramento, the small Uruguayan town on the mouth of the River Plate where the ferry lands from Argentina. Compared to Buenos Aires, it feels extremely small and quiet, which is a lot of what makes it so appealing. There isn’t a lot to see, but the town does have the remnants of an old fort, an old lighthouse, and a central area populated by colorful old buildings, and numerous places to enjoy a meal outdoors. The town itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the ferry from BA takes only an hour or so. Apparently ferry tickets can be purchased online, but we had no problem showing up and buying tickets shortly before departure.
There’s no traffic or crowds to speak of, and four wheeler/off road go cart type vehicles are available to rent and drive around the cobblestone streets. We spent half a day wandering around and enjoying the waterfront, but if you weren’t in a hurry, you could probably kill an entire day here. If you’ve already spent some time navigating the traffic and crowds of Buenos Aires, you’ll likely enjoy the peace and quiet of Colonia even more. I highly recommend ordering up some asado outside with some cold beers.
Because of Buenos Aires’ location on the mouth of the River Plate, this also might be the closest spot to do some swimming if you’re so inclined. It’s really not much further up the mouth of the river, but the water is a little clearer and more inviting. At the very least, it’s a great excuse to see Uruguay if you happen to already be in Buenos Aires. I’d say it was a highlight of the trip, but it’s pretty hard to compete with BA and Punta Del Este. Even if I didn’t have time to go all the way to Punta Del Este, I’d still definitely find a day to get over to Colonia.