South America Cruise Guide
Set sail to a world of color, music and beauty on a cruise around this dazzling and diverse continent.
Combine wildlife, ancient historical sights, city excitement and adventure sports all in the same trip with a South America cruise. Luxuriate in lengthy journeys that could take you to spectacular Inca ruins, lively capital cities and mountain-lined rivers in one action-packed vacation.
A cruise around South America could take you to the majority of the continent’s 12 countries. Only Bolivia and Paraguay don’t have coastlines. Pull into port in many different nations, each with its own unique culture and atmosphere. Alternatively, select an all-Brazil trip to experience the continent’s largest country.
South America cruise ports vary between exhilarating city centers and untamed wildernesses. Those wanting to experience a South American city can choose between places such as the exciting carnival capital of Rio de Janeiro, the cultural center of Buenos Aires or Chile’s colorfully painted Valparaiso.
Nature-lovers and adventure-seekers have myriad choices for South America cruise expeditions. Look for penguins in Puerto Madryn or land in Punta Arenas to hike through the dramatic landscapes of Patagonia. From here, Antarctica is reachable as an epic, but expensive daytrip.
A cruise in South America isn’t always ocean-bound. Fly into Manaus and drift serenely along the Amazon River through the heart of the continent. Typical itineraries on the river take you through dense jungles and sleepy village. Disembark on a canoe or take an excursion to get within a few feet of local wildlife.
Many South America cruise operators embrace the culture of the destination and give their ships a unique South American atmosphere. Feast on empanadas and churrasco (grilled meat) in the onboard restaurants or take lessons in tango dancing for energetic evenings on the ocean.
The continent is so large that it is impossible to see it all in one trip. Most South America cruises last longer than 7 days. Cruise season here is primarily between November and early May. Choose to start your expedition in the U.S. or in South America itself. Many cruises to South America are not round-trips, especially round-the-horn cruises that circle Cape Horn, so you may need to book your return flight from a different destination.