by Carlos Melia”¨”¨
Uruguay, despite of being a very small country, has a lot to offer to the savvy and experience gay international traveler, any season any time. New and upcoming gay destination in South America, following the path of Argentina.
Some of the best known destinations along with the chic and trendy Punta del Este, are Colonia del Sacramento, and Carmelo, with the fantastic Four Season Resort, only a short and picturesque drive from Colonia del Sacramento.
History, beach, colonial style and and a je ne sais quoi, all combine perfectly at this small, charming and peaceful Mediterranean like town. Colonia de Sacramento, declared UNESCO World Cultural Heritage (1995) for its cultural and natural value, is hands down my second favorite destination in Uruguay, after Punta del Este; and TOP getaway destination when visiting Buenos Aires, either for the day or for the weekend.
Located in southwestern Uruguay, facing Buenos Aires bathed by the waters of the river Rio de la Plata, or how Argentineans like to refer to as “ Cruzando el Charco “ meaning crossing the river. Capital of the county of Colonia, is the oldest town in Uruguay.”¨”¨
Colonia del Sacramento, was voted in 2011, as the Top Must Places to Visit in the World by The New York Times, ranking as number 31 out of 41.
(Flickr Photo Album) Colonia del Sacramento
How do you get there ?
Well if you are coming from Buenos Aires, Argentina, your best and fastest option will by taking the Speed Ferries connecting the two destinations in less than an hour. There are a few companies serving this route, but I alway use Buquebus. + Read More
Now if you are already in Uruguay, like say Montevideo or Punta del Este, then you can either drive, have a driver or take a regular bus. “¨”¨
Points of Interest
The main points of interest are located in Historical District (or casco viejo). You may take or not a guide during your visit, since the town is rather small and easy to walk. But for those interested on the history and personality of this town, I would strongly recommend it. Anyhow following this proposed route, it will allow you to enjoy all the highlights you can’t miss: Puerta de Campo / Calle de los Suspiros / Museo Portugués / Convento de San Francisco / Museo Municipal / Casa de Nacarello / Casa del Virrey / Archivo Regional / Museo Indígena / Casa Portuguesa / Museo Español / Bastión del Carmen / Iglesia Matriz.
Also minutes away is the Plaza de Toros Real de San Carlos, the Museo Paleontológico, the Arenisca and El Calabres beaches. On sunny spring or summer days, is a must walking by the promenade “Rambla Costanera” and enjoy the sights and sunsets.”¨”¨
Most tourist visit Colonia del Sacramento just for the day, captivated by the lights and happening of either Buenos Aires or Montevideo in Uruguay. But I must say that my favorite time to enjoy and explore the town is from 6PM on, when most tourist are gone, the sun begins to set and the full colonial spirit begins to show on the streets, bar and restaurants. This time till the following morning, to me is the most magical. So I strongly recommend to spend a night, if time permits.
Stay at ?”¨
Over the years, I have explored most of the hotels and properties in the area, and I have chosen these three properties, I personally consider reflect in full range the attitude and soul of Colonia del Sacramento. “¨”¨
La Casa de los Limoneros
Rural Boutique Hotel, located only 9 KM. away from the old city of Colonia del Sacramento. The perfect destination to relax, enjoy all this town has to offer. 06 Rooms + 01 Suite. Surrounded by private farms, allowing you to disconnect while being just 10 minutes away from the main attractions, restaurants and Bus / Ferry Terminal. The hotel is surrounded by lemon plantations and only a few blocks away from the beach line. I told the owners that was a bit difficult for us to find the Hotel, and they laughed… ” That is how we like it… ” – Sergio explained.”¨+ Read More
(video) La Casa de los Limoneros
Casa los Jazmines
Also a Rural Boutique Hotel and located pretty close to the previous property, surrounded by farms and vineyards that capture the true spirit of the Rio de la Plata destination.The house counts with several activities to be enjoy during all seasons, outdoor pool, massage sessions, nearby beaches, scuba diving baptisms, biking, horseback ridding, wine – olive oil – and cheese tastings and degustations among others. 05 rooms in total, with an average fare of USD 120 per room per night, including breakfast. All with great views of the park. O4 of them with private decks. Bathrooms are spacious and shared between 2 rooms, with exception of the suite that has its own with a full bathtub. “¨+ Read More
(video) Casa los Jazmines
Posada Plaza Mayor
I like this posada located right in the center of the town, walking distance to the restaurants and bars. A classic Spanish and Portuguese colonial style, with a central patio connecting all the rooms. Homemade breakfast on the second floor of the house. The Inn has 15 basic but charming rooms featuring old, recycled stone walls.
(video) Posada Plaza Mayor
Travel Expert TIP
If you are a wine lover, do not miss trying the local TANNAT. A red wine grape, historically grown in South West France in the Madiran AOC and is now one of the most prominent grapes in Uruguay, where it is considered the “national grape”. It is also grown in Argentina, Australia, Brazil and in Italy’s Puglia region where it is used as a blending grape. + Read and Drink More
Till next adventure in full luxury. Carlos Melia
Carlos Melia is a Travel Expert, Blogger, Niche Marketing Consultant, Jetsetter, and Bon Vivant, who travels around the world discovering what’s new and cool in Luxury Travel and Hospitality. His reviews on hotels, restaurants, destinations, and attractions, based on his own experiences as an OUT Gay Traveler can be found at www.carlosmeliablog.com