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Overview

The best-preserved colonial settlement in the Southern Cone countries, the walled city of Colonia del Sacramento is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its cobbled, sycamore-lined streets and the gentle pace of life here, it’s the anti-Buenos Aires, but it draws many excursionists and overnighters from the Argentine capital, which is barely an hour away across the Río de la Plata. Its Barrio Histórico, bounded by bulwarks that protected it from attack by land and river, reflects the fact that colonial Spain and Portugal battled for control of the Banda Oriental, the territory on the east bank of the river. Many of its architectural treasures ...

The best-preserved colonial settlement in the Southern Cone countries, the walled city of Colonia del Sacramento is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its cobbled, sycamore-lined streets and the gentle pace of life here, it’s the anti-Buenos Aires, but it draws many excursionists and overnighters from the Argentine capital, which is barely an hour away across the Río de la Plata. Its Barrio Histórico, bounded by bulwarks that protected it from attack by land and river, reflects the fact that colonial Spain and Portugal battled for control of the Banda Oriental, the territory on the east bank of the river. Many of its architectural treasures are now museums, with collections ranging from natural history to the Portuguese and Spanish presence, but some are intimate hotels and cozy restaurants in a place that remains one of the region’s under-appreciated treasures. A photographer’s dream, it’s also a romantic getaway for honeymooners and others, with additional amenities that include a small yacht harbor and even a winery.

Wayne Bernhardson
About the Expert

Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Argentina, Buenos Aires (including coastal Uruguay), Chile (including Easter Island), and Patagonia (including the Falkland Islands).

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Wayne Bernhardson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Colonia is an all-year destination, though summers can get hot and muggy. It gets crowded on weekends, though, with visitors from Buenos Aires — hotel prices are lower Monday through Thursday.