Day Trips To Uruguay
By Viator, February 2012
The rolling hills and vast savannas, marbled with wide, slow-moving rivers, have given rise to a quietly independent people. Despite its lack of epic Andean real estate, it is Uruguay that has earned the title, “Switzerland of South America.” This nation of tidy European-style cities, expansive cattle ranches, and attractive vineyards is governed by an unusually stable and secular democracy, ranked among the freest in the world. The impressive social liberalism inspires comparisons Amsterdam, while a taste for laissez faire economics invites investors from around the world.
Thus, some of the most rewarding day trips from beautiful Buenos Aires begin with a scenic ferry ride across the Rio Plata’s sparkling estuary. Choose from two decidedly different destinations in this most unique of nations, both well worth the trip.
Elegant and understated, Uruguay’s capital looks out over the broad mouth of the Rio Plata toward the Old World. Surprisingly sophisticated for its size—Montevideo is headquarters for MERCOSUR, the increasingly powerful South American free trade zone—it is one of the few world capitals ringed in wonderful beaches, a place where business leaders and bikini lovers both feel right at home.
You may prefer to spend the day looking out over the waves, or perhaps exploring the cluttered confluence of architectural styles, from Spanish Colonial to Art Deco, that preside over the city’s fine collection of museums, churches, and government buildings. Be sure to walk through the Gateway of Ciudadela, an evocative remnant of the city’s old defensive wall, into Ciudad Vieja, the recently refurbished Old Town. Home to an artsy cafe and gallery scene, this is the perfect spot to contemplate this pleasant capital and Uruguay’s bright future.
Colonia de Sacramento
If you’d rather slow down and enjoy a winsome remnant of old Uruguay, however, consider opting for a day trip to Colonia de Sacramento. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was founded across the Rio Plata from Buenos Aires in 1680, the first (and only) Portuguese settlement, and garrison, on the immense estuary. This picturesque village changed hands several times during the rough-and-tumble colonial era, and today its gently settling adobe homes and cobble-stone roads, polished by the centuries, embody Uruguay’s gentle fusion of the Spanish and Portuguese cultures.
The attractive historic quarter, perfumed by pretty gardens and parks, is an easy walk from the ferry terminal and old lighthouse. Centered on the oldest church in the country, the whitewashed and rather modest 1699 Iglesia Matriz, it is a quaint collection of museums, notable buildings, restaurants, and cafes. Supremely strollable and delightfully photogenic, this is the perfect spot to unwind amidst Uruguay’s fascinating history and culture.
Tours & Tickets
Enjoy a full-day trip from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay. Known for its theater scene and cultural heritage, Montevideo offers an ... Read more
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Duration: 10 hours 30 minutes (approx.)
Escape the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the historic Uruguayan town of Colonia del Sacramento. On this day trip, ... Read more
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)