Published on March 23rd, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut

Shopping and Sleeping in Colonia, Uruguay

Founded in 1680 by Portugal as Colónia do Sacramento, what is commonly called simply Colonia is a quick and comfortable 45-minute ferry ride from Buenos Aires, Argentina — it’s easy enough to visit that some people do it as a day trip from Buenos Aires, or else as a stopover en route to Montevideo and Punta del Este. I just paid my first visit here in several years (as part of a tour organized by Borello Travel & Tours), as the first stop of my swing through Uruguay’s most popular destinations. While wandering among the quiet cobblestone streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, I decided to jot down a few noteworthy finds for shopping and accommodations. 

Almacen La Carlota
This small shop stocks some very cool stuff, including photobooks, handmade crafts, original artwork and handmade toys.
Calle Real y de la Playa; tel. +598-052-26717

De La Plaza

The most interesting items here are original photographs of beautiful, urban Uruguayan scenes. Most are made by the owner himself, a Brazilian photographer named Eduardo Alvares. This Porto Alegre native moved to Colonia and opened this store in 2009; his work is complemented nicely by photographs made by his uncle, as well as interesting memorabilia like old-fashioned Matchbox cars vintage advertisements from South America.

Misiones de los Tapes 177, Plaza Mayor; tel. +598-09880-4929; www.leinstant.com/delaplaza

Hotel La Misión
This charming small property is set right on the Plaza Mayor. Choose the room in front, and you’ll be able to sit on the windowsill and people watch on the peaceful main square (the room is also equipped with a flat-screen TV, DVD player and a convenient extra bed set on a loft).
Misiones de los Tapes 171; tel. 598-52-26767; www.lamisionhotel.com

Mesón de la Plaza
This beautifully detailed restaurant is laden with antiques and ambiance, and serves an array of international and Uruguayan cuisine.
Vasconcellos 153;  tel. +598-52-24807; http://www.mesondelaplaza.com/

Oveja Negra
Designer Silvia Sarti stocks an array of luxurious, handwoven creations in this shop, including scarves, capes and throws. 
De la Playa 114; tel. +598-052-21323; www.ovejanegraweb.com

Sheraton Colonia Golf & Spa Resort
Colonia is more known for its historic buildings and small inns, but if you’re hankering for a big-resort fix, the Sheraton Colonia Golf & Spa Resort is a good choice, not far from the small-town excitement. I was impressed by the airy lobby area, hard-wood floors and excellent cuisine, and it also has a golf club, large spa and outdoor swimming pool. 
Continuación de la Rambla de las Américas S/N; tel. +598-52-29000; http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1534

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About the Author

The founder and editor of LatinFlyer.com, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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