2010 SOUTH AMERICA TRIP REPORT
My original plan was to fly to Montevideo, spend the day there, and take a ferry back, but after talking to my butler at the Park Hyatt (more on that in the next segment of my trip report) and doing some research of my own, I decided to go to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay instead.
Colonia is the oldest city in Uruguay and its historic section of town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The former Portuguese colony traded hands between Spain and Portugal (and later Brazil) nine times before becoming part of Uruguay in 1828 (recall that Uruguay had declared independence from Brazil three years earlier).
The historic part of town is lined with cobblestone streets and an eclectic mix of architectural styles. There is not a great deal to do or see in Colonia, but certainly enough for a day trip.
The best way to get to Colonia from Buenos Aires is to take a ferry boat operated by Buqebus. A standard ferry takes three hours and a fast ferry takes 1 hr, 15 min. Tickets on the fast ferry are about $80 r/t, though you can save by buying in advance.
The ferry terminal is located near the rail and bus stations in Beunos Aires and you are stamped out of Argentina and into Uruguay before you board the boat (vice-versa on the return). You also must go through a (very non-evasive) security checkpoint. The fast ferry is modern and spacious with clean bathrooms, a snack bar, duty free shop, and even an arcade.
Main lobby of ferry port
"Premier" Class section onboard — no customers (tickets 3x the price)
Once I arrived in Colonia I spent about 3.5 hours walking around before having a delicious fish lunch and then returning to Buenos Aires.
View from top of lighthouse
Looking down the lighthouse steps
Good food here.
Long immigration lines before return trip to Buenos Aires