From Buenos Aires to Romance
When traveling to Buenos Aires, it is essential to take a day trip to Uruguay to discover Colonia del Sacramento. Ferries depart daily from Puerto Madero, the new and famous district of Buenos Aires. Fares are reasonable and it takes three hours to cross the wide and muddy Rio La Plata.
The passage is far from tedious, even less so when undertaken with a partner, since Colonia is a perfect destination for lovers. Aboard the ferry there are tango shows, a duty free shop and plenty of tourists to share stories with at the on-board bar.
Some vessels offer single-day excursions that include lunch and quick visits to the historic neighborhood. However, this option is best avoided by anyone who wishes to appreciate the true romance of the area. Known as “Colonia,” the city was designated a World Heritage site in 1995. Behind the “Door to the Fortress,” cobbled streets, colorful houses and secret streets evoke the Portuguese ambience of its colonizers.
The tour begins at the famous Plaza de Toros, a former bullring and architectural marvel with colonial influences. From here, we follow along the edge of the little beaches of the Rio La Plata peninsula, heading into the historic district of the city, where our cameras capture places fit for postcards.
We climb the lighthouse, which illuminates the bay at night, to take in a spectacular panorama of the picturesque city below, accompanied by sunshine and a gentle breeze. A few blocks away, we find Uruguay’s oldest church, the Matriz church. The church has undergone a number of reconstructions and once inside, we are surprised by an amusing nativity manger recreated with small caves and waterfalls.
Restaurants surround the church offering colonial patios full of summer flowers. There are also shops full of local handicrafts, and those of well-known designers. It is common to see the locals drinking mate, sitting in the plazas or sitting in front of their houses, contributing to the singular calm that pervades the city. Ending our tour a few blocks from the Avenida General Flores, we visit the handicraft market where delicious local cheeses may be purchased in addition to semi-precious crystals. If you are returning to Buenos Aires in the afternoon, take a stroll along the canals of Puerto Madero where you’ll find exclusive restaurants, bars and cafes to cap off one’s crossing.
Also in Puerto Madero, it is worthwhile to check out the Parque de las Mujeres Argentinas (Park of the Argentinian Women) and the Puente de la Mujer (Bridge of Woman), the former for its natural, green open spaces ideal for a stroll or a rest, and the latter for its modernity, in a city that oozes history.
Finally, the iconic Faena Hotel, created y Alan Faena, combines elegance, design and immaculate appearance. If your budget permits, a drink with your partner at the hotel’s bar is the perfect way to end your evening.