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Colonia del Sacramento
It's hard not to fall in love with Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of South America's most beautiful cities. Founded in 1680, the city was subject to a long series of wars and pacts between Spain and Portugal, which eventually gave up its claim. Its many small museums are dedicated to the story of its tumultuous history. Like Cartagena, Quito, and Cusco, Colonia offers the best of an old colonial city, with wonderfully preserved architecture, rough cobblestone streets, and an easy grace and tranquillity evident in its people and pace. There are more bicycles than cars here, which adds to the serenity of this roughly six-by-six-block Old City that juts out on a small peninsula into the Río de la Plata. Colonia is often the first (and sometimes only) destination in Uruguay most visitors see; it's easily done as a day trip from Buenos Aires, or makes a convenient gateway to the country if arriving from Argentina.
The best sightseeing activity in Colonia, however, is simply walking through its Barrio Histórico (Old Town). Porteños (as citizens of Buenos Aires are known) come to Colonia for romantic getaways or a break from the city. It makes sense to follow their example: you don't get enough time here on a day trip to really relax or see the city at its own pace. A night in one of its many colonial-style B&Bs offsets travel costs and time and makes a visit here far more rewarding.
Colonia del Sacramento at a Glance
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