Cruises to South America
Many travelers come to this continent for that giant patch of brambles and briars known as the Amazon. Some come in search of ancient civilizations and ruins and find centuries-old cities atop mountains. Mountaineers come for the thrill of conquering its imposing peaks; skiers for its snow-capped mountains. Merrymakers delight in some of its wildly bacchanalian parties while business types love the cosmopolitan vibe of capital cities pulsing with vigorous beats of economic activity, sassiness and samba.
Welcome to South America, a destination that is alluring on the surface and even more tantalizing beneath.
Due to limited tourist infrastructure in areas outside of major cities and a yet-to-be-developed network of transportation system, traveling to South America by land can present overwhelming challenges. Unless you came for those very same challenges, you may want to give cruising to South America serious consideration so you cover more ground in less time and enjoy some comfort on the side.
South America Cruises
There are four main cruises to South America that have long been a staple for cruisers escaping the North American winter. One is cruises from Brazil which depart from Sao Paulo, swing out into the Atlantic Ocean, and down to the coast of Brazil, either stopping at the heart of samba culture, Rio de Janeiro, or moving down to the sultry home of tango, Buenos Aires.
The other is around-the-Cape Horn cruises from Buenos Aires or Valparaiso near Santiago in Chile. The cruises departing from Buenos Aires via South America’s infamous cape, cruising through an intricate network of breathtaking fjords on the Chilean Tierra del Fuego, and finally stopping at the historic sea port city of Valparaiso. This trip can be done in reverse from Valparaiso. Buenos Aires also has a great range of cruises to Antarctica.
As well as this from North America there is a range of longer cruises from Fort Lauderdale and Miami in Florida; or from Los Angeles in California.
Once cruise ships come out into the vastness of the Atlantic and head down south the coast of Brazil, the experience becomes more “civilized” as quaint towns and cities come into view, like the UNESCO World Heritage hilltop town in Recife; the Indian villages at Boca de Valeria; the colonial architecture of Belem; and the flamboyant and cosmopolitan home of the Rio Carnival, Rio de Janeiro.
Cape Horn Cruises
Around-the-Cape Horn cruises, on the other hand, is a cruise of an altogether different flavor. This route brings cruisers to the rugged and hauntingly beautiful Patagonia, the southern snow-capped spine of the Andes occupying both Chile and Argentina, past the magnificent fjords of Chile and the fingers of crystal clear channels that characterize the southern end of South America, and finally onto the bustling Pacific sea port of Valparaiso in Chile. Not to be missed is a cruise to the Galapagos Islands.
Like cruises from Brazil, around-the-Cape Horn cruises afford travelers up close encounters with oceanic wildlife, such as sightings of colonies of penguins, seals and killer whales. Unlike the generally smooth ride from Manaus down to Rio de Janeiro, cruises around South America via Cape Horn is of a rugged variety, typically running into choppy waters and unexpected gale-force winds that made the cape infamous among sailors equipped with even the most modern vessels.
Cruises to the Antarctic from Buenos Aires
Even better, you can cruise to the Antarctic from Buenos Aires. Cruise to Cape Horn before crossing to Antarctica and the Schollaert Channel, and see ice flows in Paradise Bay. Rocky Elephant Island was where Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men were marooned after the Endeavour was caught in ice flows in the Wendel Sea in 1914.