Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay – Picture Perfect

Have you ever wandered around a place and wished all the people would go so that you could take the right picture? This is a place where you can walk the streets, see the perfect shot, size it up from many angles and be confident that a stray intruder will not spoil your picture at the critical moment. Particular out of the peak season (we were there in late April) and once the day trippers have left, you will have the picturesque streets, alleys and square pretty much to yourself.

Colonia is a popular day trip from Buenos Aires (an hour by hydrofoil) or a couple of hours by bus from Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo. It feels like a place that hasn’t changed much over the centuries. The Spanish influence is evident in both the buildings and the street layout. The central square, dominated by an impressive church, and the cobbled lanes leading to a variety of artisan shops and old houses.

Classic car lovers would linger on the streets in Colonia, as many of the 1950s favourite cars (and some pre-war models) sit parked on the kerb, unlikely to be flying away across the cobbles anytime soon. None is more permanently out of service than the one that has been fitted out with a table and serves as an extension of a local restaurant!

Uruguay may not be top of your list of places to visit, and may not even make it on your list for your South America trip (unless you have a desire to visit Fray Bentos – yes, it really does exist, and yes that’s where the pies originate). But if you are in Buenos Aires with an extra day to explore, make the trip across and you won’t be disappointed. And if you can stay the night, you’ll have the place to yourself for the many arty pictures you’ll be sure to want.

(Apr 2007)

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Freelance travel writer

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