South America Cruises
The land of adventure: from tropical paradises and breathtaking landscapes to the mysterious Antarctic - the opportunities are endless
It's not just a coincidence that South America is fast becoming a leading cruise destination. The continent is abundant in incredible natural wonders, from captivating mist-covered peaks in Argentina and Chile to thundering waterfalls of Brazil, it also boasts a vibrant and unique culture with rhythmic music and ancient history, all of which combine to make a unforgettable cruise experience.
The vast rainforests of South America, Andean trails, Patagonian glaciers, and Machu Picchu make for an idyllic holiday for nature lovers. Cruisers looking for a city break can take in vast expanses of Rio de Janerio, Lima, and Buenos Aires. Ancient Incan ruins, quaint colonial towns, and white-sand beaches are also not to be missed. Can you think of a more ideal cruise destination? Cruises to this part of the world often offer travellers a combination of destinations in South American, the Caribbean and in the USA.
Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina, is a flamboyant and colourful cruise destination. Old European colonial grandeur meets Latin flair in this metropolis. Cruisers can experience this through the architecture, cuisine and one of many tango performances which take place throughout the city. This traditional Argentinian dance combines nostalgia with the passion typical of Latin America
Rio de Janeiro is famous for many things. The statue ‘Christ the Redeemer’ on the Sugar Loaf is instantly recognisable and has become a symbol of the city and of Brazil more widely. Rio de Janeiro is also surrounded by beautiful beaches, such as the Copacabana and Joatinga. Carnival is the cultural main event on Brazil’s calendar and the most colourful and lively one is found in Rio de Janeiro.
Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, is the city with the highest quality of life in South America. The city centre offers a mix of old and modern with the colonial buildings of the old town and modern skyscrapers homing financial and political institutions. For those looking to have a more relaxed and laid back stay, Montevideo is surrounded by beautiful, pristine, uncrowded beaches.
Ushuaia, the capital of the province of Tierra del Fuego, is Argentina's southernmost city. The Tierra del Fuego National Park offers spectacular scenery alongside the popular ‘End of the World’ train ride through the park. Wonder at the beautiful sights of the city and the natural surroundings from the Martial Glacier. History buffs should make sure to visit the Maritime Museum.
The Peruvian capital Lima is also the largest city in the country. Together with the port city of Callao, it forms the so-called metropolitan area. Lima's historic centre has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. With a mixture of Western influences and indigenous cultures, Lima has developed into a tourist destination not to be missed. Make sure not to miss the site of Pachacamac which is about 40 km south-east of Lima. This site dates back to A.D. 200 and was a religious site built before the Inca invasion of the area.
Punta Arenas, located on the southern most tip of Patagonia, is the southernmost major city in the world. The cultural of the city is mixed and culturally colourful due to the influence of Portuguese settlers as well as English animal breeders who have lived in the area. With it’s proximity to Antarctica, Punta Arenas is often used a base for excursions to see the surrounding wilderness and landscapes.
Known as Brazil's capital of happiness, the city of Salvador is the capital of the state of Bahia. The city was declared a World Heritage Site in the year 1985 due to its historical monuments from the 17th and 19th century. The city is well known for its Portuguese colonial architecture found in its Pelourinho neighbourhood. It’s is also renown for its African influence which can be best experienced in the unique music and cuisine. The city is also considered the home of the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira.
Santos is located about 70 km from São Paulo and is traditionally a coffee port city. Although most people think of it as a good starting point for visits to São Paulo, Santos has a lot to offer cruise passengers itself. As a coastal town in Brazil it offers fantastic and pristine beaches such as Praia da Enseada and Astúrias Beach. There are also There are a number of fascinating museums such as Museu do Mar, a maritime museum and the Museum of Modern Art. Of course, visitors should set aside some time to enjoy some of the freshest and tastiest coffee in the world.
Port Stanley is the capital of the Falkland Islands located on the Island of East Falkland. The port is named after the British politician Lord Stanley and became the capital in July 1845. Visitors from cruises can enjoy a variety of tours and excursions including nature walks, trips to the smaller islands of the archipelago, and wildlife tours. One of the most popular activities for visitors is a tour to see penguins which inhabit the island. This a unique opportunity to see such magnificent creatures up close and personal.
The port city of Puerto Montt has a breathtaking skyline with the Calbuco volcano sitting in the background. This volcano is one of the active volcanos in Chile however there has been no eruptions in recent years meaning cruisers can enjoy the city with no worries. The region around Puerto Montt is well worth a visit offering glacial lakes and mountainous national parks which can be visited on an excursion. Puerto Montt is well known for it’s cuisine and you should definitely visit the craft market in the harbour and enjoy the local seafood.
Manta is located on the Pacific coast of Ecuador and can look back on a long history. Even before the Spanish conquest, there were settlements here. Explore the small shops and don't miss your chance to try the freshly caught tuna.
Located in the Valparaiso Region, San Antonio is the busiest port on the western coast of South America. The main activities within this commune are fishing excursions and trips to the surrounding vineyards and national parks. Cruisers can also take the short trip to the larger cities of Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city, or Valparaíso.
Punta del Este is a seaside city in the southeast of Uruguay. The city is located on a narrow peninsula and is famous for its beaches - the Brava Beach is surfers' paradise, whereas the Mansa Beach on the west coast has calm, shallow waters - perfect for families. Punta del Este is a real resort city with its elegant villas, yacht harbour, luxury seaside apartment buildings and haute cuisine restaurants. It is easily the most expensive city in the whole country and is very popular with Brazilians and Argentinians.
Cape Horn is located on the headland of a Chilean rock island. The circumnavigation of the Cape was once one of the most difficult river passages known to man but the area has since become a major cruise destination. Cape Horn marks the northern boundary of and also where the Pacific and Atlantic meet. Cape Horn and the surrounded area have remained largely untouched and remains home to many species of wildlife. It’s particularly famous for being populated by many types of wild birds including Magellanic penguins. The wildlife as well as the rest of the archipelago can be explored on several cruise excursions offered in the area.
Buzios is a seaside city just east of Rio de Janeiro. It is located on a 16 acre peninsula. The city with its 17 beaches, designer boutiques, fine restaurants, luxury villas and fancy hotels is known as the St. Tropez of Brazil. Once a simple fishing village, it was discovered by Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s and since then developed into the country's most upscale seaside resort. Buzios has nonetheless kept its Mediterranean charm, introduced by the Portuguese centuries ago.
The word diversity sums up South America perfectly in terms of culture, geography and wildlife.
Cruise passengers can rest assured in the knowledge that there truly is something for everyone on this expansive continent, and the best way to explore this vast destination is by cruising. Many of the main attractions lie on the coast or along rivers like the mighty Amazon, and so access by ship saves passengers time and money which would be better spent soaking up the exotic cultures of this land.
South America Cruises
The varied and dazzling skylines of South America will leave you awestruck. Imposing landscapes such as the Andes Mountain Range and the high-rise buildings of Buenos Aires are visible from the vantage point of your cruise liner. And you can also go exploring during an onshore excursion.
Popular South American Cruising Destinations
South America offers travellers a wide range of cruise destinations and caters for all tastes. Cruises to South America take full advantage of the glittering waters and white sandy beaches of Rio de Janeiro, buzzing cities like Buenos Aires, the unique penguins and whales of the Straits of Magellan and the majestic Amazon River and rainforest (see Amazon River Cruises for more information).
South America is a land of contradictions where colonial architecture collides with ancient Incan ruins and unruly flora. Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and the Galapagos Islands are among the most frequented cruise destinations, with attractions such as Machu Picchu, Iguazú Falls and Patagonian glaciers being among the most loved.
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