I've been to many UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites in Latin America that are colonial towns (Havana, Quito, Cartagena, Salvador, Cusco, Sao Luis, etc.) and while Colonia's may not be the most dramatic, it is most certainly pretty and safe, which is a plus. If you're in Buenos Aires and want a day trip to experience something a bit different, I recommend either here or Tigre.
Colonia's Barrio Historico is neat in that the layout is very Portuguese, rather than Spanish, and indeed it was the former who first set up here in 1680. If you've been to Portugal, you may notice the street signs keeping that Portuguese azulejo tile style, etc., and the narrower grids that mark Portguese town planning as opposed to the Spanish. It just feels like an old suburb of Lisbon.
The Barrio Historico is a bit of a walk from the ferry area, but still very much doable on foot. Bicycle or moped rental might be a fun way to go as well. Definitely bring a camera with you as there are beautiful photographic opportunities: bright houses, old cars, cobblestone streets, a lighthouse, the cathedral, etc. I've included some photos with my review, but if you would like to see more or read more, I've written about them at The Gentleman Backpacker so please feel free to stop by.
This area is family friendly, romantic for couples, and just fine for a solo excursion as well. If you can manage it, I recommend going on a weekday to avoid the weekend crowds that visit from the big city.
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