For those taking a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento, prepare for a short itinerary. Its small expanse and minimal attractions provide the visitor with a few things to do/see. Here are some recommendations if you are planning to take the trip and need to kill time before your return trip:
1. Visit the 'major' sites of the historic quarter
Places cited in guidebooks include El Faro (the lighthouse - at time of visit, it was not open to visitors), La Plaza Mayor (if you've seen other cities' Plaza Mayor, you may accidentally miss this one!), Calle de los Suspiros (even though the Street of Sighs is merely one block long, the origin of its name is shrouded in mystery), Puerta de Campo (the fortified walls of the historic quarter - there are stairs that lead up to the top of the gate)
2. Purchase a museum pass
You can purchase a pass to visit 5 of the town's 8 museums. The pass will not break the bank. However, it's best to pay with Uruguayan pesos. Some museums include: Museo Casa de Nacarello (a representation of a typical Portuguese house), Museo de Azulejo (Tile Museum, which happened to be closed on Mondays), Museo Municipal, Museo Portugues, Museo Espanol, Museo Indigena. To pass the time, you should visit 5 museums that are open for that day. Due to the small size of each museum, as you can imagine, exhibits are also limited. Take your time with each exhibit and read through any available information that's associated with the artifact.
3. Eat the national dish
When my friend returned from Uruguay, she raved about the chivito - a thin steak sandwich, usually served with lettuce, tomato, cheese, mayonnaise and ham. I tried my mine at Mercosur, a restaurant located on Avenida Gral Flores. The chivito I ordered lacked much of the aforementioned items. I thought the sandwich was quite bland and the steak a bit chewy. Perhaps you can try chivitos from various restaurants/shops around town!
4. Rent a golf cart or bicycle
Weather permitting, it would probably be a fun idea to ride around town in either vehicle.
5. Visit the beaches
Based on recommendation #4, if the weather is cooperative, you can travel beyond the historic quarter and relax on the beach. Make sure to bring a book!