Article (A) guide: Colonia del Sacramento

Colonia del Sacramento
Image by Kevin Jones under Creative Commons License.
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Colonia del Sacramento is the capital of the province of Colonia in southern Uruguay, which shares a common history with its larger neighbors but it has a distinctive character of its own. It is a port city with important connections with Buenos Aires in Argentina and its main attraction lies in being so close to B.A. and yet being so very different. It is a major tourist destination because it has a UNESCO designated historic area..

Walk Route

Guide Name: Colonia del Sacramento
Guide Location: Uruguay » Montevideo
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 km
Author: Anne Ranson
Author Bio: Anne Usher has lived and worked in Latin America for 34 years. She leads up a regional real estate consultancy and also is active in a social development foundation.
Author Website:
Lighthouse and convent of San Francisco

1) Lighthouse and convent of San Francisco

The lighthouse is not particularly tall. It is not even right over the water. It is actually built on part of the ruins of the convent of San Francisco which was built in 1694 and destroyed by a fire ten years later, never to be replaced. The climb is worth it because the parapet gives a good all-round view of the historic center and of the cape on which the city was built. On a clear day, you may just be able to make out the tall towers of the Puerto Madero and Catalinas districts in Buenos...
Image by Liam Quinn under Creative Commons License.
Spanish fortifications

2) Spanish fortifications

The historic city center of Colonia del Sacramento carries a UNESCO Patrimony of Mankind designation. It was built and occupied by both the Spanish and Portuguese colonizers at different times between 1640 and 1823. This area of the colonies was a supply source, of food, grains, oil, olives, wines and wood, to the more economically important areas of mineral extraction in the north and west of the continent. Colonia became important strategically to both the Spaniards and the Portuguese as...
Calle de Los Suspiros

3) Calle de Los Suspiros

The Calle de los Suspiros is maybe the prettiest of the cobbled streets off the historic city center. It runs off the Plaza Mayor. The buildings in this street and in the street that runs across it are mostly Portuguese built, of granite stone. The houses with brick or stucco walls were built by the Spanish colonizers. The streets are paved with the same stone. It comes from quarries along the coast, such as Conchillas further up the coast and from the islands off shore which were used in even...
Plaza Mayor and Plaza de las Armas

4) Plaza Mayor and Plaza de las Armas

Behind the city gate, the cobbled streets open into a space known as the Plaza Mayor. This was originally built by the Portuguese colonizers as an area for military maneuvers and as a market-place for the sale of slaves. The square has gradually been converted over the years to a central reservation planted with mature trees which gives a peaceful and restful space for sitting in the shade. Around the square there are numerous small hotels, bed and breakfast houses and posadas as well as...
Basilica del Santismo Sacramento

5) Basilica del Santismo Sacramento

After visiting the light-house, double back across the Plaza mayor to the Plaza de la Armas square and visit the Basílica del Santismo Sacramento, from which the city gets its name. This was built originally in 1680 and was bombed to the ground in 1777 during one of the numerous interchanges between the two colonial powers. It was rebuilt in its present form by the Portuguese and inaugurated in 1810. Unfortunately, the Portuguese colonizers used the crypt as a munitions store, so the church was...
Yacht Club

6) Yacht Club

The Colonia yatch club and basin is an attractive location with a pleasant view out across the estuary and to the islands. It can be reached by walking around the front or by crossing the main General Flores high street from which it can be seen. By many standards, it is a small club but it is clean, pleasant and quiet. The club house has a very nice restaurant with an open air area for tables with umbrellas. Many of the yachts are Argentinean, belonging to people to sail across the Rio de la...