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Mercedes, Uruguay - Town Near Fray Bentos With A River & Island

Uruguay travel blog by Mark Berman - May 2012   » View Photoset (57 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
Mercedes is a lovely small city on the banks of the Negro River inland from the Uruguay River and the border with Argentina. Walking around Mercedes
Uruguay Photo - The tranquil and calm Negro River in Mercedes.
The tranquil and calm Negro River in Mercedes.
is captivating with its many eye-catching streets, colorful houses and tree-lined footpaths. Being beside the river brings a definite sense of being able to relax and take it easy, go fishing or just enjoy the peace of nature. I had arrived in Mercedes from Paysandu. From the bus terminal I walked half a dozen or so blocks into the center and found a reasonably priced (by Uruguayan standards) budget hotel.

Exploring the Town

I spent the day exploring the city. I walked to Plaza Independencia. It's a sunny plaza with palm trees and a monument to Asencio (28 February 1811). On one side of the plaza is the great cathedral of Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes - a National Historical Monument. The cathedral is beautiful outside and in, chandeliers, stained glass windows, dome and dual towers. I enjoyed walking along the cobblestone streets as I admired the old houses and architecture - interesting doorways, windows, facades and colors. The leafless trees created stark shadows on the sides of them. I picked up some delicious sandwiches at a bakery and sat
Uruguay Photo - Colorful old houses are very eye-catching in Mercedes.
Colorful old houses are very eye-catching in Mercedes.
in Plaza Rivera. Plaza Rivera is a big sunny space surrounded by shady trees, it is named after Uruguayan General and President Jose Fructuoso Rivera (1784-1854), the central monument is a tall white column with a figure at the top holding a spear. I continued my stroll around Mercedes, just going where my eyes took me, enjoying every moment as the locals wizzed around on their motor scooters. The center of town has a modern shopping area. Then I passed a few historic buildings - a gothic looking church, the police school and a pink church Iglesia Metodista. I came to another church Sagrado Corazon (1952), not old by historic standards and nearby I found Plaza Lavalleja. It's a big sunny plaza with palms and a fountain, a Juan Antonio
Uruguay Photo - Cobblestone port and boats in Mercedes on the Negro River.
Cobblestone port and boats in Mercedes on the Negro River.
Lavalleja monument stands with a flag, he was a Uruguayan revolutionary figure (1784-1853).

Walk to the River

I walked towards the river through the cobblestone streets, past colorful historical houses until I reached the main road along the waterfront known as the Rambla. Its beautiful and picturesque with trees and parks all around. There are plazas dedicated to various South American countries, I was standing in Plaza Paraguay with its fountain water feature and art piece. I continued along the shady tree-lined path and came to a wild deer artwork. Next I passed a monument to one of the famous conquerors before finding myself in Plaza Republica Argentina. From
Uruguay Photo - Cathedral Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes front facade, Mercedes.
Cathedral Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes front facade, Mercedes.
here a single line of tall bushy palm trees led the way along the riverfront path to the next art piece and then to another in Plaza Brasil. I came to Plaza Sociedad Amigos de la Educacion Popular 1868 next, a nice big open space with panoramic views of the river. The monument is to Jose Pedro Varela (1845-1879) - a Uruguayan sociologist a major advancer of the Uruguayan education system. A group of men carried a boat down to the river, the river was still, it made a beautiful scene. A tourist ferry was docked alongside the cobblestone wharf area as were sailboats and small wooden fishing dinghies, an old railtrack runs by here.

Port Island

I could see the bridge across the river to the island Isla del Puerto (Port Island) as a horse and cart strode
Uruguay Photo - Church Sagrado Corazon (1952), Mercedes.
Church Sagrado Corazon (1952), Mercedes.
along the road across from me. The island has beaches, camping and a restaurant. It's a beautiful place and so peaceful with picnic areas beside the water and tables and chairs spread out underneath the trees. I loved it here beside the Negro River in Mercedes, it was offpeak season, nobody else was here.

Go to Carmelo

It was time to get my backpack from my hotel and make my way to the terminal. As I walked to the bus I saw the church Iglesia de Maria Auxiliadora and visited Plaza Artigas. Every city in Uruguay has a Plaza Artigas, he's the national hero. A group of youth asked me to take a photo of them for which I did and outside the bus terminal a couple of young guys wanted the same thing, they are friendly people here in Mercedes. From Mercedes I travelled south to Carmelo through Dolores and Palmira which took around 2hrs.

     

View all photos in the Mercedes Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from Mercedes (Uruguay) to:


Map location: Mercedes, Uruguay. Mercedes is a lovely small city on the banks of the Negro River inland from the Uruguay River and the border with Argentina. Walking around Mercedes is captivating with its many eye-catching streets, colorful houses and tree-lined footpaths. Visit Port Island for a picnic by the river!
 A : Mercedes to Carmelo - Uruguay 34 kms 34 kms straight distance | 43mins 43mins by car (42 kms) | 51mins 51mins by bus (42 kms) (42 kms)
 B : Fray Bentos - Uruguay 28 kms 28 kms straight distance | 53mins 53mins by car (47 kms) | 1hr 3mins 1hr 3mins by bus (47 kms) (47 kms)
 C : Carmelo - Uruguay 84 kms 84 kms straight distance | 1hr 38mins 1hr 38mins by car (107 kms) | 1hr 57mins 1hr 57mins by bus (107 kms) (107 kms)
 D : Buenos Aires to Montevideo - Uruguay 134 kms 134 kms straight distance | 2hrs 7mins 2hrs 7mins by car (155 kms) | 2hrs 32mins 2hrs 32mins by bus (155 kms) (155 kms)
 E : Colon - Argentina 115 kms 115 kms straight distance | 2hrs 9mins 2hrs 9mins by car (171 kms) | 2hrs 34mins 2hrs 34mins by bus (171 kms) (171 kms)
 F : Paysandu - Uruguay 105 kms 105 kms straight distance | 2hrs 22mins 2hrs 22mins by car (173 kms) | 2hrs 50mins 2hrs 50mins by bus (173 kms) (173 kms)
 G : Colonia del Sacramento - Uruguay 134 kms 134 kms straight distance | 2hrs 27mins 2hrs 27mins by car (183 kms) | 2hrs 56mins 2hrs 56mins by bus (183 kms) (183 kms)
 H : Montevideo - Uruguay 234 kms 234 kms straight distance | 3hrs 15mins 3hrs 15mins by car (262 kms) | 3hrs 54mins 3hrs 54mins by bus (262 kms) (262 kms)
 I : Buenos Aires - Argentina 158 kms 158 kms straight distance | 3hrs 48mins 3hrs 48mins by car (306 kms) | 4hrs 33mins 4hrs 33mins by bus (306 kms) (306 kms)
 J : Rosario - Argentina 253 kms 253 kms straight distance | 4hrs 19mins 4hrs 19mins by car (345 kms) | 5hrs 10mins 5hrs 10mins by bus (345 kms) (345 kms)
 K : Tacuarembo / Durazno - Uruguay 257 kms 257 kms straight distance | 5hrs 2mins 5hrs 2mins by car (355 kms) | 6hrs 2mins 6hrs 2mins by bus (355 kms) (355 kms)
 L : Parana - Argentina 289 kms 289 kms straight distance | 4hrs 52mins 4hrs 52mins by car (371 kms) | 5hrs 50mins 5hrs 50mins by bus (371 kms) (371 kms)
 M : Maldonado - Uruguay 337 kms 337 kms straight distance | 5hrs 4mins 5hrs 4mins by car (385 kms) | 6hrs 4mins 6hrs 4mins by bus (385 kms) (385 kms)
 N : Santa Fe - Argentina 312 kms 312 kms straight distance | 4hrs 53mins 4hrs 53mins by car (392 kms) | 5hrs 51mins 5hrs 51mins by bus (392 kms) (392 kms)
 O : Punta del Este - Uruguay 343 kms 343 kms straight distance | 5hrs 15mins 5hrs 15mins by car (392 kms) | 6hrs 18mins 6hrs 18mins by bus (392 kms) (392 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Mercedes, Uruguay:

Hotel Marin, Mercedes, Uruguay - Large Photo
Hotel Marin, Mercedes, Uruguay (May 2012 - 1 night) - Large room with basic bathroom and a tv. Not too bad for the price. Located in the center of town not far from the plaza.

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Mercedes, Uruguay - Town Near Fray Bentos With A River & Island. Mercedes is a lovely small city on the banks of the Negro River inland from the Uruguay River and the border with Argentina. Walking around Mercedes is captivating with its many eye-catching streets, colorful houses and tree-lined footpaths. Visit Port Island for a picnic by the river!

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