Uruguay – cheap colonial Groupon action

Colonia Del Sacramento is a small town on the coast that is, well, very colonial. Portuguese influence is everywhere. Small cobbled streets cut between colourful historic buildings liberally sprinkled with bars and restaurants. This place has not been allowed to grow up, and although this is a tourist attraction it certainly does not feel one bit Disney.

Whilst in Buenos Aires we signed up to Groupon. If you’re not from this planet you may not have heard of Groupon. It’s a social offers network delivering a number of “exclusive” deals to your inbox every morning. The offers last for 24 hours and you only get the deal if a specific (not advertised) number of people sign up; you give your card details but are only charged if the quota is met.  It sounds like a scam and some of the deals look too good to be true, but it’s all kosher.  Millions of people use it and although you will read some reports of offers not being fulfilled, Groupon does offer a money back guarantee.

So what can you get? Pretty much anything. From dinners out to teeth whitening, it’s a little bit female orientated with many beauty treatments and products.  The retailers heavily discount the deals, often selling at cost or even a loss. The idea here is to get you through the door or in front of their product. For us, it’s a chance to try something new for next to nothing. www.groupon.com – give it a try!

Dog of the month

We’ve used Groupon to bag some excellent sushi, a tango show, tickets to the Jesus Theme park (more on that in a later blog!) and a night in a spa hotel in Colonia Del Sacramento , Uruguay: massage, breakfast , dinner and champagne all included (£70).

So, at 8:45am we (and a huge number of Argies) cram onto a catamaran and head across to Uruguay. Yay, another country!  It’s an hour long trip on the Buquebus ferry.

Colonia Del Sacramento is a small town on the coast that is, well, very colonial. Portuguese influence is everywhere. Small cobbled streets cut between colourful historic buildings liberally sprinkled with bars and restaurants. This place has not been allowed to grow up, and although this is a tourist attraction it certainly does not feel one bit Disney.

Colonia Del Sacramento - centre of town

We spent a long afternoon walking around; I was feeding my new addiction to photos of doors and windows, regularly eating into our delicate budget with beer and food. The weather held, a mix of blue skies and heat followed by overcast skies, we got lucky. Great afternoon.

Colonia Del Sacramento - door

Heading back to the hotel we had our free massage. Leah enjoyed a relaxing half hour of gentle kneading to the sound of whale song whilst I was pummelled black and blue by some sadistic dwarf masseuse. Is it the law that men get painful massages or have I just got that kind of face?

Eating out that night was not in the plan; similar nights like these are the reason we are coming home a little bit early! But we found a tiny restaurant with a great menu (not the usual tourist fare) where the waiter also cooked our meal and there were only four tables in the whole place. It was definitely worth the money.

Colonia Del Sacramento - cute restaurant

The next day the weather turned, fog covered the town and there was a biblical downpour that flooded the streets. Checked out and heading home, it didn’t bother us, but the day trippers from Argentina look a bit miffed. A much smaller and bouncier catamaran later we arrived back in Buenos Aries, which almost feels like home now.

Colonia Del Sacramento - Stephen King like mist

Colonia Del Sacramento is definitely worth the trip, but try and stay overnight when the crowds vanish and you will have the place to yourself. Loads of pictures in the gallery.