What are you looking for?

Select Page

Our Ultimate Guide To Cruising South America

Our Ultimate Guide To Cruising South America

A South America cruise offers the journey of a lifetime! It’s a continent of heart-pounding adventures, extraordinary landscapes, and cultures as vibrant as its scenery.

Whether you’re dreaming of wandering through lost cities, marvelling at natural wonders, or simply soaking up the sun on pristine beaches, a cruise to South America offers all of this and more.

In our Ultimate Guide to Cruising South America, we’ll help you to navigate every step of this exhilarating experience. As your South America travel guide, we offer advice on everything from choosing the perfect cruise and discovering the continent’s most mesmerising destinations to more practical tips to help ensure a seamless and hassle-free journey.

So, settle in and read on as we explore the opportunities that this remarkable continent has to offer.

Setting Sail: Your Options for South America Cruises

When travelling from the UK, you have two main options when it comes to cruises to South America: fly cruises and transatlantic cruises. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of each below.

Fly Cruises to South America: A Fast Track to Adventure

If you’re eager to jump straight to the opportunities offered by the countries in South America, fly cruises will be your go-to. This minimal-fuss option involves flying from the UK to a South American cruise port, such as Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro, where your cruise ship awaits, ready to transport you around this alluring continent.

The beauty of a fly cruise is in the efficiency—it cuts down on travel time, meaning more time for adventures like soaking up the sun on the breathtaking beaches in Brazil or gazing in awe at the majestic Iguazu Falls.

Holland America Line is a leading cruise line offering fly cruises to South America from the UK. Two exciting cruise itineraries it currently offers are a 26-night, 5* South America & Antarctica Experience and a 28-night Ultimate South America cruise, which includes a 12-night escorted tour. 

Take a look at these cruise itineraries in more detail on our South America Splendour page.

Princess Cruises also offers some stunning South America cruises. However, these generally fly from airports in the USA, such as Florida and Los Angeles.

Transatlantic Cruises: Savour the Voyage

If you’re someone who believes the journey is just as important as the destination, a transatlantic cruise will be your perfect option. Setting sail from the UK, these cruises to South America provide days at sea filled with luxury, relaxation, and anticipation.

It’s a chance to unwind, indulge in onboard amenities, and slowly adapt to the rhythm of the sea, with South America’s wonders as the ultimate reward.

Cunard is one of the leading cruise lines offering South America cruises from Southampton. For example, its epic 78-night South America Discovery sails around the notorious Cape Horn and stops in the Caribbean for an added bonus of glorious sun.

Celebrity Cruises also offers spectacular transatlantic cruises around South America. For example, there’s the 5* Lisbon To Buenos Aires With Iguazu Falls trip, which includes flights from the UK and offers a 15-night all-inclusive itinerary.

Destinations to Discover: South America’s Cruise Ports

Cruises around South America’s countries deliver a panorama of incredible destinations, each with its own distinct allure. While South America is an up-and-coming region for the cruise industry, compared to places such as the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, there are still several exciting and well-established South American cruise ports to visit. 

Here are a few of the key ones:

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The city of samba, sun, and sea, this South America cruise port is iconic worldwide. Rio de Janeiro is a vibrant city set against the backdrop of towering mountains and crystal-clear waters. It is known for its lively beaches and the infamous Sugarloaf Mountain.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The cultural heart of Argentina, Buenos Aires is a city of wide boulevards, classic steakhouses, and tango dance halls. Dock at this South American cruise port to gain a captivating glimpse into the soul of Argentine life.

Lima, Peru

The capital of Peru is a stunning mix of colonial architecture, pre-Columbian history, and modern sophistication. It serves as the perfect starting point for adventures into this South American country’s rich heritage.

Punta Arenas, Chile

Situated on the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas is the gateway to southern Patagonia. It’s a city that marries rugged adventure with captivating history, offering access to some of the most dramatic landscapes in Chile, including Torres del Paine National Park.

Ushuaia, Argentina

Known as the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia offers magnificent views of the Beagle Channel and serves as a launching point for excursions to the Antarctic Peninsula. Its location is ideal for those looking to explore the wild and pristine beauty of Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Must-See Places and Things to Do things in South America

When embarking on a cruise around the countries of South America, you can expect to experience adventures that are wholly unique from anything back at home.

Here are some of the unmissable places and things to do in South America:

Machu Picchu, Peru

Venture to the astounding Incan city of Machu Picchu, a marvel of ancient engineering and spiritual significance nestled high in the Andes Mountains.

It’s worth noting that exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site typically involves an inland excursion lasting around 3 days. However, taking your time here will allow you to fully immerse yourself in its Incan history and culture.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

Experience the colossal power and beauty of Iguazu Falls, one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. Typically, comprising around 250 separate waterfalls cascading over lush rainforest, the sound is thunderous and the view, utterly spellbinding!

Christ the Redeemer, Brazil

Take in the panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro from the base of the majestic Christ the Redeemer statue, an iconic symbol of peace and Brazilian Christianity.

Buenos Aires Tango Show, Argentina

Immerse yourself in the passionate world of tango with a visit to one of Buenos Aires’ famed tango shows. This enchanting experience combines live music, skilled dance performances, and an unmissable chance to delve into the cultural heart of Argentina, all in one evening.

Tango in Buenos Aires

Antarctic Experience from Ushuaia, Argentina

Embark on an adventure of a lifetime with an expedition from Ushuaia to the Antarctic Peninsula. This extraordinary journey takes you across the Drake Passage to the world’s final frontier, where you’ll encounter an untouched wilderness of icebergs, glaciers, and abundant wildlife, including penguins, seals, and whales.

The experience of the Antarctic’s stark beauty and profound silence is unmatched, offering a truly unique and unforgettable adventure at the southernmost tip of the world.

Other Useful Information for Your South America Cruise

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey around the countries of South America, consider these practical tips:


The continent’s vast expanse encompasses a wide range of climates. From the cool winds of Patagonia to the tropical heat of Brazil, pack for versatility and comfort.

Packing Tips

Include essentials, such as comfortable footwear for exploring, lightweight clothing for the heat, and warm layers for cooler days and evenings. A durable backpack, sunscreen, and insect repellent are also must-haves for adventure seekers.

Cultural Etiquette

The countries of South America consist of a medley of diverse cultures and traditions. Familiarising yourself with the local customs and basic phrases in the native languages (often Spanish or Portuguese) can greatly enrich your experience.

South America is a continent of contrasts, colours and celebrations, with endless opportunities for cultural immersion and discovering breathtaking natural beauty. Book a South America cruise, and you’ll get to combine these enthralling experiences with enjoying the luxuries of sailing onboard a cruise ship.

To find out more about cruises around South America, please get in touch with our cruise specialists.

    Previous Articles