After our brief time in Montevideo we headed west to the charming former Portuguese colony Colonia Del Sacramento. This historic old town of this city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is well worth a look around. The city receives a large number of visitors every year due to its close proximity to both Montevideo (2 hours 30 minutes by bus) and Buenos Aires (1 hour by boat), making it a great place to meet people both travellers and locals alike.
We stayed in a vibrant hostel called El Viajero, who run a chain of hostels around Uruguay and Colombia. The dormitories are clean, comfortable, and most have their own bathroom. As a member of Hostelling International the longer you stay, the cheaper your room gets. We stayed 4 nights and got the last one for free. El Viajero provides a range of activities: from asado (BBQ) and pizza nights to live music. On our first night Mauro, an amazing flamenco guitarist, played for the guests in the common room and then took many out for beers in the city. Still jetlagged I declined but Nicklas came home sometime around 6am after playing midnight chess in the street and joining a local birthday party for the last hours of their celebration.
After years of staying in Asian guesthouses I am loving the way that most hostels in South America offer a free breakfast, and it’s actually pretty good! El Viajero offer cereal, fresh or toasted bread, a selection of jams, marmalades and the omnipresent Dulce de Leche, as well as tea, coffee, juice, hot chocolate and yoghurt. As the breakfast is usually a buffet you can fill up for the day!
Colonia del Sacramento is a great place to relax and walk around. The city is beautiful and there is no end of coffee shops and boutiques to lose yourself in. The beach is also very pretty if you can ignore the fact that the water is brown, this is because Colonia lies on the banks of the Rio de la Plata rather than the actual ocean. If you want clearer waters then you should head to Punte Del Este-the St.Tropez of South America-further down the Uruguayan coast. Unfortunately for us Punte Del Este was still boarded up for the winter while we were in Uruguay.
Colonia del Sacramento will always be pretty and we enjoyed fine weather during our stay, but as it was still winter it was surprisingly cold. Summer might be a better option when the trees are green and you can sit out on the streets to watch the world go by.
Here is a selection of my favourite photos from Colonia del Sacramento: