A trip to Uruguay by ferry from Buenos Aires
There are many things to do in Buenos Aires, and many places to visit as a day trip from the city. One of the most popular ones is a trip by ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia, in Uruguay.
Colonia del Sacramento is by the river, in Uruguay. Our river is so wide that you can not see the other side. There are no bridges in or close to Buenos Aires, so going by car is a very long ride. We do have ferries, and the trip from Buenos Aires to Colonia is only one hour long.
And being so close, it is so different. It is small and quiet, not that away by ferry but so far away in time. The historical center is conserved as it was during the colonial period of the country, when the port of Colonia was taken by Portugal, while all the area around was under Spanish dominion. Houses are old, or at least as old as they can be in this part of the world. The one hour ferry trip from Buenos Aires is a travel in time.
The historical center of Colonia is the part you want to see. It was named part of the World Heritage list by Unesco, and you can read something about the history and historical importance of the place in the Unesco website.
The place can be visited walking, but you may also want to rent a small scooter to make it easier. Personally I think that even the small noises of the scooter are too loud or too modern for this town.
The visit can be done in a day, and it will be a great experience. However, Colonia is also a perfect place to spend a night. The city is full of small hotels (usually called “posadas”) and some of them are really charming. There are a few small restaurants that you may want to try, and the whole area is completely safe to walk around even if you are the only person in the street. Which does happen, by the way.
My recommendation is to take the trip during the week, and avoid Saturdays and Sundays. First of all, the weekend is great in Buenos Aires and you would miss that. Second, Colonia gets too full of people during the weekend and it kind of ruins the place.
Most people recommend to buy your ticket in advance just in case the ferry gets full. It can happen, but I would not buy the tickets without being completely sure that the weather will be nice. I love rain, but it can ruin your trip to Colonia.
There are three ferry lines. Buquebus, Seacat Colonia and Colonia Express. Buquebus is the best one (or so they say) but the three of them offer the same trip and the ferries look really nice. Colonia Express has one small problem, and it is that the port they use is not that close to the center. The other two use the port in the north, very close to Puerto Madero, and you will be there in ten minutes from any hotel close to the center of the city.