You are currently viewing Colonia del Sacramento: The Perfect Day Trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires

Colonia del Sacramento: The Perfect Day Trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires

Sharing is caring!

Are you looking for a great day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires? Maybe you're in Uruguay and want to explore some of the great areas that it has to offer. Well, look no further than Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. This town may be small, but it surely is worth visiting.


We took a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento from Buenos Aires, and then spent the weekend in Montevideo. We found that it was the perfect way to introduce my brother to Uruguay for the first time, as well as a nice and convenient day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires to take again in the future.


In this guide we're going to share all of the best spots to visit, how to plan your trip, and everything we learned from the locals in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. Buen Viaje!

*Please note that this blog post may contain some affiliate links, which we make a small profit on, at zero cost to you. Links are only used on products & services that we've used and believe in, to give you the best buying experience. Purchasing from these links helps us to continue providing free travel guides for you- so thank you for your support!


Where is Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay?

Colonia de Sacramento is off the south western coast of Uruguay. Located along Rio de la Plata, this small town is located just across the river from Argentina's capital city, which is what makes it the perfect day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires.

where is Colonia del Sacramento Uruguay

Colonia del Sacramento is just across the river from Argentina, making it the perfect day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires.


How to Get to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Colonia del Sacramento can be reached in a few different ways. Here are the different options for visiting.


The Ferry to Colonia from Buenos Aires

The most popular way to visit Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, is by taking the ferry from Buenos Aires


There are two companies that run this route. One is Buque Bus, and the other is Colonia Express. 


Ferries to Colonia with Colonia Express

Colonia Express goes from Avenida Elvira Rawson De Dellipiane 155 in Buenos Aires direct to Colonia. This company only provides this direct route, and has sailings at 8:30, 10:30, 12:50, 6:30 pm, and 8:00 pm. The ride is an hour and 15 minutes, and ticket prices range from 8,500- 21,000 Argentinian pesos for economic, 9,200- 22,800 for express, and 10- 24,000 pesos for "classic: tickets.


The only difference between tickets is the ability to change your ticket, or to get a refund if you miss the ferry. Prices of tickets depend on time and date that you're sailing, and many run out, so we definitely recommend booking in advance for the cheapest rates.

Colonia Express, Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Ferries to Colonia with Buque Bus

The ferries of Buque Bus run from Puerto Madero to Colonia, as well as to Montevideo. The ride to Colonia is an hour and 15 minutes, while the ride to Montevideo is about 2 1/2 hours. (We'll explain more about the Montevideo options in our Montevideo travel guide).


Sailings go daily at 8:15 am, 9:30 am, 12:15 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:15 pm. (Not every sailing goes out at all time slots each day. Make sure to check online and book your tickets in advance). Tickets range from 11-19,000 pesos, and there is also a first class option. We actually highly recommend bumping up to first class, as for only $5 USD we got a private air-conditioned room, champagne, and priority getting off the ferry once we arrived.


The Ferry Ride from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

The ride is pretty smooth, so you won't need to worry about getting sea sick. Colonia Express is a smaller vessel than Buque Bus, but has both indoor and outdoor seating. While Buque Bus is a much larger vessel, and has a cafe, shops, and many different areas (kind of like a tiny cruise ship).

ferry ride Colonia del Sacramento, day trips to Uruguay rom Buenos Aires

There are direct ferries from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.

Ferries from Buenos Aires to Montevideo

It's also important to note that there are ferries to and from Montevideo. There are two types of tickets- 1 is the direct ride which is 2 hours and 45 minutes, and the other which includes a bus to Colonia, and then a ferry from Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay to Buenos Aires (and vice versa).


The ticket stopping in Colonia is 4-5 hours, and is the more affordable option, while the direct ferry is a bit pricier, but less time consuming.


How to Go to Colonia del Sacramento from Montevideo

Colonia and Montevideo are an easy connection by bus, with regular rides going pretty much every half hour. There are two different companies that run this route, and both charge 500 Uruguayan pesos each way (around $12 USD).


Below you can see the two different companies' timetables:

timetables for Colonia and Montevideo
timetables for Colonia and Montevideo

If you plan on going to Colonia del Sacramento from Montevideo as a day trip, we suggest renting a car to save time, and enjoy the ride along the way. You can do so from inside the city, or at the Montevideo Airport.


Here is a site we often use for booking our rentals:

Travel More. Spend Less.

Let us help you plan your dream trip.


Entry Requirements for Uruguay

Before taking the ferry over to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, you'll need to keep in mind the requirements for entering the country.


Visa Entry Requirements for Uruguay

Uruguay actually doesn't require any nationalities to have a visa in order to visit. You can stay up to 90 days in the country as a tourist before having to apply for one, no matter what country you are from.


Nationals from Argentina and Brazil don't need their passport to enter Uruguay, and can simply bring their national ID card.


Entry Requirements Visiting Uruguay by Ferry

In order to enter Uruguay, you do need to still bring your passport, and you'll go through customs before boarding the ferry. Because of this, they recommend you to arrive at least an hour before, since lines for customs can vary greatly. 


On our way our of Buenos Aires, it took just a few minutes, while on our way back in Uruguay the lines were super long. This will of course depend on the time and day of the week that you decide to sail. We suggest allowing yourself a bit more time during the weekends.


Covid Entry Requirements for Uruguay

Uruguay has now dropped all requirements when it comes to Covid-19. You don't need to be vaccinated, or to bring a negative Covid test with you.


All Your Travels

in One Book

Transform your travel memories into a unique book, with personalized pages, country by country.


Local Adjustments for Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Whenever traveling somewhere new there are things which may be different from where you are coming from. These are what we call local adjustments. Here are a few of them to keep in mind on a day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires.


Language Spoken in Uruguay

The official language in Uruguay is Spanish. Just like Argentina, the accent of Uruguay is quite particular, and can be a bit difficult to understand for those that don't speak Spanish as their first language.


One of the most notable characteristics of Uruguayan Spanish is the sound "sh" which is used in place of the y sound. So for example beach in Spanish is "playa", but the pronunciation in Uruguay and Argentina would be "pla-sha".


There are some people in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay that speak English, but it definitely helps to try and pick up the basics before visiting.


Currency Used in Uruguay

The currency used in Uruguay is the Uruguayan peso. Currently (July 2023) the exchange rate is about 40 Uruguayan pesos for every 1 USD.


Is Uruguay Cheaper Than Buenos Aires?

If you are coming from Buenos Aires, you will notice that things are much more expensive in Uruguay than over in Argentina. Meals range around 400-1,000 pesos, taxi rides around 400-800, and budget hotels around $40-100 USD/night.


Most things can be paid with card, but we definitely suggest taking out some local currency for small souvenirs or for transportation.


Which Plugs Work in Uruguay?

Uruguay's outlets are the same as Brazil, and serve plug types C, F, & L. Uruguay operates on a 220V supply voltage and 50Hz.


Do European Plugs Work in Uruguay?

If the electronics you have are between 220-240V then you can use them without needing a travel adapter.


If you are coming from North America or the UK, you will in fact need to get a travel adapter.


Can You Drink the Water in Colonia del Sacramento?

The tap water in Uruguay is potable, and perfectly safe to drink. We suggest getting an insulated water bottle to refill, as it can hold the temperature in the hot temperatures of Colonia del Sacramento.


Tipping in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

The tipping culture in Uruguay is a standard 10%. Many restaurants actually include the service charge, so make sure to check your bill to see if it's been included or not.

Pink Dot Thessaloniki Greece

Buy Us A Coffee ☕

As coffee lovers, we always enjoy the energy of caffeine. It helps us get the best free travel guides out there for you! 😄


Things to Do in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Now that you know almost everything you need to know before taking a day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires, here are the best things to do in the area.


Don't have time to read the whole article and want to save it for later? Just pin it!

Colonia del Sacramento, day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires pin
Colonia del Sacramento, day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires pin
Colonia del Sacramento, day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires pin

1. Roam the Old Town

The number one thing to do in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay is to explore it's historic town. Just a couple of blocks from the ferry station is where you'll find all of the top historical sites, all located within a few blocks along the water.

seaside Colonia del Sacramento Uruguay

the Old Town is located right on the water.

The buildings are old and colorful, and the area is beautiful to just walk around. Admire the architecture, and simply get lost down the picturesque streets.

old town Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
street art in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Old town of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay has a super picturesque Old Town.

One of the best ways to explore the Old Town is to take a tour. Here are a few you can choose from:

2. Walk Down Calle de Los Suspiros

One of the most famed streets in the old town of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay is Calle de los Suspiros. The "Street of Sighs" is a small cobblestone street, but it holds a lot of stories and magic. 


Hundreds of years ago the street was where the Portuguese and Spanish would walk along after a long journey at sea. There are several different legends about why this street became so famous, from putting prisoners there to get drowned, to seafarers searching for prostitutes, and even a woman getting stabbed by a masked man. No one knows the real reason behind this legendary street, but it certainly is a place you'll want to add to your list while visiting Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.

Street of Sighs, things to do in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Street of Sighs, Colonia del Sacramento, day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires

The Street of Sighs has several tales of its history.

3. Stop by the Lighthouse & Ruinas del Convento de San Fransisco

When we first looked up things to do in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, this came up as two different landmarks. However realistically they are right in the same location. Built in the 1850s, this lighthouse rises 112 feet above the historic center, and has ruins of the 18th century convent surrounding it.


lighthouse in Colonia del Sacramento, day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires
lighthouse in Colonia del Sacramento, day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires

The ruins are located right in front of the light house.


4. Explore the Museums

Despite being a tiny place, there are actually over a dozen museums in the historic center of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay! The good thing is that if you pay for ticket (just a few dollars) you'll be able to enter all of the different museums in the city.


Some of the most popular museums include the Municipal Museum, Nacarello House, and Casa del Virrey.


5. Stroll Through the City Gate

Another one of the highlights for things to see in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay is the city gate. This drawbridge is the entrance to a former fort, and is now a place that you can enjoy right in the middle of the Old Town free of charge.


city gate in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
drawbridge, things to do in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

6. Go to the Centro Cultural Bastion del Carmen

Located right along the water, this is one of the most popular places to enjoy the sunset in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. This cultural center also has an art gallery, as well as a beautiful garden area to enjoy.


park in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
park in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

The Cultural Center is located right on the water.

7. Visit the Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament

Right in the center of the old town is an old Catholic Church worth visiting. Admire the architecture, take a peak inside, and enjoy the cute little plaza around it.

Basilica in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Basilica of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Basilica of the Sacred Sacrament is the most recognizable church in town.


8. Check out Plaza Mayor

The main square of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay is Plaza Mayor. The main meeting place of locals and tourists, this large square is home to many of the main attractions in the old town. It's a great place to soak up the vibes of Colonia, and to check out the local artisans that line the outside of the square.

Plaza Mayor, things to do in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Plaza Mayor is the center of the top things to do in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.

9. Take a Tour at the Plaza de Toros

While most of the top things to do in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay are located in the historic center, another one of the highlights of the city is actually situated a bit outside of the center. Plaza de Toros is one of the most beautiful and intricately designed structures of the city, and definitely worth a visit.

Plaza de Toros, Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

The Plaza de Toros has beautiful architecture.

Originally built in 1909 as a bull arena, it actually got closed down just a few years after when the act of bull fighting became prohibited. The arena was closed for over 100 years, and was just recently reopened for events such as concerts. You can either visit if there is an event, or you can take a tour of the arena. In addition, there is a small winery that you can visit, which can be enjoyed without having to purchase tickets for a tour.

Bodegas de Colonia, Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

There is also a winery inside of the bull arena.

The area is open from 12-5 every day, and tours go every hour for 150 pesos.


10. Visit the Hipodromo

Just down the road from Plaza de Toros you can find the Hipodromo, which is where horse races happen. While we weren't able to catch one, we suggest checking to see if there is a race while you are in town.


11. Go Horse Back Riding

Right at the Hipodromo you can also sign up for horse back riding. Due to the shallow waters of the beach, riders usually bring the horses through the water, and we even saw quite a few doing so during sunset.


12. Relax at the Beach

The day we visited Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay was extremely hot, so we couldn't resist running over to relax at the beach and cool off.


Well, what we didn't know was that the water was going to be so warm! After some time though we really started to enjoy the water, and because it is so shallow, it's easy to just sit in the water and end up spending hours there. This is also particularly great for families with small children, as it is basically a big pool that all ages can enjoy.


The beaches stretch all along the coast, with some being busy with volleyball courts, other being covered in palm trees, and the further ones having larger sand areas to relax along.

beach Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay


13. Enjoy a Magical Sunset

One of the things we loved about visiting Colonia is that unlike Buenos Aires, or other Atlantic facing coastal cities, you can actually enjoy the sunset right on the beach in Colonia.


Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay is known for having spectacular sunsets, and you'll notice in the late afternoon is when the locals flock to the beach areas. Our personal favorite was Playa del Real, where the tide makes natural sand bars, giving an even more magical reflection from the sunset.


sunset Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay sunset
sunset Colonia del Sacramento, day trip from Uruguay to Buenos Aires

Colonia has the sunset at the beach.

13. Take a Photo at the Colonia Sign

While it may be a tacky tourist thing, we definitely think it's worth stopping by the Colonia sign. Located right over the beach, the large colorful letters contrast the shining sun and glistening waters behind it. Snap a photo and enjoy walking along the coast where you'll find people playing volleyball, drinking mate, and taking a dip in the water.

Colonia del Sacramento, day trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay sign

Things to Do in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay: Food & Drink

The cuisine of Uruguay is quite similar to Argentina. They are known for the quality of their meat, and also have a great selection of fresh pasta dishes. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in the old town of Colonia del Sacramento. We were recommended Charco Bistro, which is located inside of a hotel, and El Refugio, located right in front of Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament.


Another great place to enjoy a drink and a snack is Parador Cerro. Located just a few minutes from the Colonia Sign, this bar/restaurant is perched right over the beach, and is a great vibe to spend your afternoon. There are even pol table inside, and a large outdoor seating area with beautiful views of the beach below.


restaurant on the beach Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
restaurant on the beach Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Parador Cerro is located right on the beach.

Finally, something that you will see everywhere in Uruguay is mate. This infusion is drank with a straw out of what looks like a bowl.It is very typical in both Argentina and Uruguay, and is a social beverage. Look all around and you'll see Uruguayans relaxing in squares, parks, and on the beach with a mate in hand. We definitely suggest meeting a local and trying some mate for a truly authentic local experience.


Travel on your own terms!

With our Free Travel Planner, you will be able to plan step by step your future trips without having to stress about forgetting anything.


Grab your copy for free when you sign up for our newsletter!

Book cover 2021

Day Trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires: Getting Around Colonia del Sacramento

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay is a pretty small place, and the Old Town is best explored by foot. It is just 4 blocks away from the bus station and the ferry pier, and is between a 5-10 minute walk.

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay