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Colonia, Uruguay

Colonia del Sacramento, or simply Colonia, is a lively colonial town, with narrow cobble stoned streets flanked by whitewashed buildings. A trip to this charming town will seem like a trip back in time.

Colonia was founded in 1680 by the Portuguese and has served as a port for contraband for a number of years. Now Colonia a quiet resort town that is cultural jewel and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995.

The old city of Colonia, which holds the main attractions, is quite small. It can be easily walked in a single day. There are shops where you can rent bicycles or scooters which you can use to ride around the city or in to the countryside. Streets aren't always in perfect condition, so keep an eye on the road, especially cobbled ones.

The ferry terminal is about half a kilometre south of the old city and the main bus terminal is about a kilometre south of the city center.

You can rent row and sail boats from the marina.

The main attraction of Colonia is its historic center. Seven small museums in the center can be visited with only one cheap entrance ticket, which must be purchased in the Museo Municipal. For a few pesos you can go up to the top of the lighthouse (faro) and see most of the city and look out over the city and the river.

Outside of the city there is a semi-abandoned amusement park with Uruguay's only bullfighting ring, no longer in use.

There is a large tourist information center adjacent to the ferry terminal, and a small office at the western terminus of Calle Manuel Lobo.

The Beach:
Colonia is a favorite getaway for many Argentineans because of one its greatest features, many miles of beach coastline. During summer weekend the beaches will be full of people from Buenos Aires that took the ferry to lie on the sand.

El Faro:
The lighthouse, El Faro, was constructed in 1857 from the stones of the ruins of convent.

Museo Portugues:
The museum on Plaza Mayor is a look at Portuguese architecture, furnishings and military uniforms, standards and other items from the period.

Without a doubt, Colonia is well worth a day or two. You can either explore the town on your own or make use of a guided tour. There are
several hotels and hostels if you are in need of accommodation.

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Colonia del Sacramento
Old Town Colonia
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