Before I started my vacation in Uruguay, many locals gave me advice about where to visit. Although they all had their favorites, everyone mentioned Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO World Heritage site 180 km west of Montevideo.
I was well ready to leave Montevideo’s hectic traffic and slightly frayed edges for the Uruguayan countryside. For me, a vacation truly begins when I can match my natural life pace to the one I find more often in smaller towns and rural areas. I also hoped we’d find some slightly more Southern Hemisphere summer weather: the southerly wind that blew most of the time we were in Montevideo came straight from Antarctica and we broke out our jackets and long pants more often than we wanted to.
Colonia del Sacramento didn’t disappoint on any front. Warm, peaceful, and picturesque, I fell in love with it immediately. Wandering its cobbled streets, I was transported back to its 17th century Portuguese roots and the many ways its residents have worked to preserve their town’s heritage.
But the best part of the stay came when we walked through the doors of Las Terrazas Posada, an elegant boutique guest house that became our serene home base. Run entirely by women, its hospitality, artistic design, and welcoming touches had me wishing we had booked more than one night. I enjoyed a quiet afternoon in their library, reading a coffee table book on Colonia while sun poured in from the lofty skylights, Karen Carpenter crooned softly from the next door games room, and one of the posada’s employees watered a tiny adjacent garden.
That evening, we wandered out for dinner, the day’s heat emanating from the cobblestones and the lanterns glowing amber at the street corners. Across the bay where the Buenos Aires skyline was just visible on the horizon, the sun became a blazing ball before dipping quietly into the ocean, and night settled into Colonia del Sacramento.