This weekend, I tagged along with Katie to Colonia to meet up with her friends from home who were visiting Buenos Aires. BA is only an hour ferry ride across the river from Colonia, so it was a great meeting place. Located roughly three hours by bus from Montevideo, Colonia is a wonderful edition to the Uruguay tour. This was my first trip away from my new city and I am so happy about my choice.
The bus ride from Montevideo is super easy. Located at the Tres Cruses bus depot, a ticket is only around $12-$15 one way. The seats are super comfy and the views out the window are stunning. I now know where Uruguay keeps all of its cows. Katie had a wonderful conversation with a new Uruguayan friend and I listened to my Spanish podcast. Three hours later, we were rolling into the cutest little historic town.
Colonia was once a fortress. Ruins of the wall are visual around the city and old cobblestones line the street. There are even quaint gaslights that line the narrow tree-lined streets. A rambla outlines the river with numerous piers jutting out. The best features of Colonia are the lighthouses and the restaurants.
Second, head to Cafe Buen Suspiro for a coffee or a wine. This is a super cute little place with a very old-world feel. You even have to duck your head to get into the place. It has maybe ten tables and an extensive wine list. Our waiter was super nice and appeased us by speaking super slow Spanish so that we could try to understand. He also gave us really great wine recommendations from local bodegas.
After Suspiro, be sure to climb the lighthouse and get some killer photos of the city views. It’s only 25 pesos to climb. Make sure you go to the top level. Feeling the wind and seeing the light is such a cool experience. You also get better pictures of the gigantic Uruguayan flag that flies on one of the points. Super great for selfies!
Be sure to take a little walking tour around the historic city. Go to the main street and look at all of the cute little shops. There is also the main square where people show off homemade crafts and tango. There is a basilica in the square, but it was kind of a let-down. I was actually really surprised by how plain the church was. There was no stained glass and a limited amount of statues and decor. Definitely not like the grand basilicas of Europe. If you feel like getting some old-time photos, there is a place on the main street. I felt like I was in Dollywood all over again.
After you have a little nap, head out at night and see the gaslights illuminate the city. The soft glow makes the atmosphere comforting. There are also plenty of places to enjoy a good meal (Uruguayan standards at least). The first place is Sos Gardel if you are on a budget. For a few hundred pesos, you can have an all-inclusive experience. Good food, good atmosphere, and doesn’t break the bank. For a second option is The Drugstore. A super cool atmosphere nestled in the heart of the main historic city. This place has funky art on the walls, polkadots on the table clothes, and live music in the background. Beware of the curry though. I was so excited to see curry on the menu but it did not turn out to be what I wanted it to be. But, the drinks were good and the atmosphere made up for the food. Not only that, you can buy the art! Katie picked up a super cute little piece whom she named Lucia in honor of her new bus friend.
Colonia is definitely a place I recommend enjoying for a day and a night. You can see everything you want to in an afternoon, but the experience of the night lights is worth the stay. The next morning, hop on the bus back to Montevideo (and get a colonial picture in the depot) or head on the ferry to Buenos Aires. You will not regret this stop in Uruguay.