From laid-back surfing villages to capitals of commerce, South America is a varied continent rich with natural beauty and amazing indigenous culture. The mountain peaks and fjords of Patagonia rival those to be found in Alaska or Norway, big cities like Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro are modern and cosmopolitan, and tropical rainforests teem with exotic wildlife. The continent is, put quite simply, massive! It covers thousands of miles in length and width, with 14 countries and territories to explore from the Amazon to Cape Horn.
South America Cruises
Ushuaia, Argentina - South America
Lima, Peru - South America
Buzios, Brazil - South America
Buenos Aires, Argentina - South America
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - South America
The world’s southernmost city, there’s an end of the world vibe in remote Ushuaia. This bustling Argentinean port is a hub for outdoor scenery and adventure, whether you’re up for skiing, hiking or scuba diving. It offers access to the Beagle Channel and serves as a gateway to Antarctic cruises, surrounded by beautiful sea and mountains. The city was only founded in 1884; and was once home to an infamous prison.
Super-chic Buzios is a favoured haunt for celebrities and moneyed Latin Americans. This once-tranquil fishing village was put on the map by Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s, and now draws international visitors to its sleek nightclubs, posh villas and pristine beaches like Ferradura and Praia do Canto. Wander the cobblestone streets like Rua das Pedras, lined with bars and restaurants, or visit the harbour at Ossos.
Peru’s capital is often overlooked as visitors pass through on the way to Macchu Picchu, but it offers an amazing gastronomic scene as well as an impressive colonial centre. Highlights include the sprawling Plaza de Armas and Baroque Basilica of San Francisco. Visit the Larco Museum to see pre-Columbian artefacts. You can admire the sea views and watch the surfers from clifftop parks in Miraflores and Barranco.
From street tango performances to ornate architecture, Buenos Aires is a cosmopolitan city with a true zest for life. It’s famous for monuments like the Casa Rosada presidential palace, mausoleums in Recoleta Cemetery, and the charming alleyways of colourful La Boca. Dine on top-notch beef in a parilla steakhouse, attend a milonga to perfect your tango steps, and soak in the city’s glamorous fashion and nightlife.
Rio de Janeiro boasts many of Brazil’s most instantly recognisable sights including the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue at the top of Mount Corcovado. Take a cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain to survey this seaside city in all its glory, from the golden sands of Ipanema and Copacabana beaches to its colourful architecture. Rio hosts a legendary Carnaval festival, with vibrant costumes and epic samba dancing.
The first thing to think about when planning a visit is that South American is in the southern hemisphere, meaning its seasons are opposite to ours in the UK. Typical travel times tend to fall from November to May as a result, but as climates vary it really depends on where you plan to travel. As you get closer to the equator, you’ll experience year-round sunshine, while Patagonian outposts like Ushuaia will still be snowy in the summer months. Temperatures can be hot and humid in the height of December and January, so avoid this peak time if you prefer a mild climate!
A tour around South America is the trip of a lifetime, peppered with iconic sights like the lost Incan city of Macchu Picchu in Peru or Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. Cruise through Beagle Channel to see the icy beauty of majestic glaciers, or down the Amazon’s waterways to view tropical heartlands. Trek through Patagonia, take a tango lesson in Buenos Aires, or view the unforgettable Iguazu Falls. Cities like Sau Paulo in Brazil are sleek and modern, with art collections to rival any in Europe. Go whale watching in Argentina’s Puerto Madryn, or ride the famous funicular in Chile’s Santiago.
Visa requirements will vary from country to country, so be sure to check your itinerary to make sure everything’s in order and that your passport’s valid for at least six months from your departure date. Most countries in South America allow you to purchase a visa upon arrival or departure, usually consisting of a small fee paid at the airport. This is charged for some nationalities depending on reciprocal agreements. For UK passport holders, no visa’s necessary in countries like Argentina, Brazil and Peru, and you’re allowed entry for up to 90 days.
Eating your way through South America is a true pleasure, and you’re bound to discover tasty dishes in every country. Peruvian cuisine is particularly well-known, including its fresh ceviche, an amazingly delicious plate of seafood marinated in zesty lime juice and chilli. Empanadas are served in many countries, and are often a hit with Brits as they’re simply little pasties filled with an array of meat and veggie options like spinach and ricotta. If you’re visiting Argentina, you’ll have to try its world-famous steak, grilled to perfection and served with chimichurri. Wash it down with a glass of top-class Malbec!
Rogers, Bristol on 15th October 2018
Sailing into the Fiords and seeing the massive ice fields was another eye popping moment and we sipped champagne as the Aurora sat silently in front of the glaciers.
Hensman, Poole on 7th August 2018
Flew to Rio and spent a few days before boarding our ship. We upgraded our cabin from an outside to a balcony which was lovely. The bed and linen are beautiful. The best of any cruise we have been on.