Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento was founded by the Portuguese in 1680, strategically opposite Buenos Aires across the Rio de la Plata. A century of border disputes later, it was ultimately lost to the Spanish. The main draw to this city on the water is its small Historic Quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring quaint cobbled streets, lines of tall sycamore trees and a fusion of traditional Portuguese and Spanish architecture. Many Argentinians especially flock to Colonia on weekends and in the summer for its old-world charm and close proximity to Buenos Aires (only an hour apart by ferry).
For Americans and other foreign tourists visiting Buenos Aires, a day trip to Colonia is an easy opportunity to stock up on US dollars to exchange on Argentina’s blue market. Most ATMs throughout Uruguay allow withdrawals in either pesos or dollars. We arrived by bus from Montevideo and spent just one night here before coming back into Argentina (with a stack of pristine Benjamins, of course).