Across the Rio de la Plata
Colonia del Sacramento . Uruguay
Since the Buenos Aires provincial elections were occurring on Sunday, many businesses including restaurants were closed for the day. For a day trip out of the city we made plans to take the ferry to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay that day. BBC Country profile of Uruguay
At 7am we took a cab down to the docks (which are just northeast of the downtown area) and were brought to the Buquebus terminal. Buquebus is Spanish for “boat bus” and is a large ferry company providing service between Buenos Aires, Colonia del Sacramento, and Montevideo (Urugauy’s capital). Buquebus offers a high speed boat makes the journey across the bay in just one hour, but we opted for the three hour ride there and back.
Uruguay passport control was efficiently located in the Buenos Aires terminal and we were processed before boarding, making it easy to exit upon arrival. We headed upstairs to the loading bridge and once inside were amazed at the size of the ship. I expected a boat with two decks and a bunch of seats similar to the ferries between Long Beach and Catalina Island (California), which I’ve taken many times. This ship had five levels, including an open air deck, and a large viewing area in front with first class. reclining seats. We bought a first class ticket which provided us access to a private area on the top level. Other than a private cafe, the seats and accommodations were the same as the rest of the boat, but it was quiet and empty, allowing us a well needed nap en route. The picture in the left is the Buenos Aires skyline. I wandered around the boat a bit more and took some pictures, visited the duty free store, and played some Ms. Pac Man on the circa 1986 video games. As I woke up from a nap the shores of Uruguay came into view.
We exited the boat and wandered into town, getting as lost as we could in a 16 block area, with the help from some attractive traveling Dutch girls we eventually made it to the main street.
Being a map geek I always want to know everything about a town before. I did absolutely no research on Colonia, but we found a map, and the town is small enough to learn quickly just by walking around.
Having no idea what the currency exchange was I withdrew 40 Uruguayan Pesos, which turned out to be the equivalent of about 7 US dollars. Fortunately the small café we found took credit cards, and we enjoyed an early lunch outdoors before I made a second more informed trip to the ATM. Sitting in the cool breeze of the cafe was a nice change from the busy streets of Buenos Aires.
We walked around the blocks on centuries old cobblestone streets, taking in the lush trees and slow pace of life. Colonia del Sacramento is a very old city, and is listed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.