South America is a fascinating and enchanting part of the world, and a handful of cruise lines will show you the best the region has to offer. From the seductive heat and vibrant energy of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to the icy glaciers of the Chilean fjords, this is a holiday you don’t want to miss!
If you aren’t already desperate to visit South America, check out these must-visit destinations. This list will convince you that a cruise holiday to South America shouldn’t be missed!
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It’s hard not to fall in love with Rio de Janeiro. After spending a few days in the city, the South American metropolis will make you do just that. With acres of white sand beach, towering mountain ranges, and palatial buildings in between, the sultry Brazilian capital has a bit of something for everyone. No trip to Rio would be complete without a tour to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, which overlooks the city with a serene face carved in pale stone. If you want a unique vantage point over the iconic statue and the city, climb to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain during your time in Rio and glance across the bay.
Often overlooked for its more famous South American neighbours, Santiago is a thriving, modern city nestled in the lap of the Andes. Its skyline shows evidence of a changing city with newly glimmering skyscrapers jostling for attention beside the ornate facades of the historic quarters.
The dramatically beautiful city, set between the ocean and the mountains, is best seen from above, so consider a ride on the funicular to the top of Cerro San Cristobal if you’re lucky enough to get a clear day. For a glimpse at the old city and to discover some amazing local boutique shops, take a stroll around one of the historic quarters, such as Barrio Yungay or Barrio Italia. Santiago also has a flourishing food scene. Showcasing indigenous cooking methods and local produce, be sure to stop for some authentic fare as you explore the city.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina’s capital has a rich heritage and offers plenty to do, whether you’re looking for iconic attractions or hidden gems. Visit the grave of Evita, Argentina’s most iconic First Lady, at the fascinating Cementerio de la Recoleta. See amazing artwork by iconic Latino artists including Frida Kahlo at Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. Just wander around the streets, taking in the beautiful architecture. Stop and enjoy the abundance of fabulous street markets in the oldest barrios of Buenos Aires.
The largest city in Uruguay, Montevideo is a fascinating town with a rich heritage. Stroll along La Rambla, a long walkway separating the city from the sea that lets you walk right into the Old Town without any interruption. In the Old Town, you can see the stunning Teatro Solis, the second largest theatre in South America, with its imposing stone-pillared façade, as well as the ruins of the original walls and gate of the town. Whilst you’re there, be sure to try the traditional drink of Uruguay – Yerba Mate Tea. The bitter herbal tea comes in a special container with a unique “straw”.
Commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world, this beautiful coastal settlement is picturesquely snuggled between the snow-capped Andes and the glassy waters of the Beagle Channel. Visit the Tierra del Fuego National Park and see the panorama of beauty that surrounds the city, with its glaciers, forests, waterfalls, lakes, and mountain peaks. The Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse is also worth a visit. However, since it’s still in operation, you can’t look inside. Its picturesque red-and-white conical appearance makes it look more like the cover of a children’s book than a functional lighthouse. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some penguins basking on the stony shores.
Puerto Montt and Puerto Chacabuco, Chile
Puerto Montt and Puerto Chacabuco are stunning settlements surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty. Both relatively unspoilt, you will find more to do in the touristy Puerto Montt. However, Puerto Chacabuco makes for a breathtakingly beautiful visit if you want to enjoy virtually untouched nature.
Known as the gateway to Patagonia, Puerto Montt has a great mixture of modern bustle and fascinating history. It is home to the archaeological site of Monte Verde, which shows evidence of people living in the area as long as 15,000 years ago. Puerto Chacabuco is a small settlement, but it is located in an area in which almost 70% of the land is protected as a national park. Neighbouring towns sell local food and crafts. You can, however, enjoy the majestic wonder of the sloping valleys covered in cascading forest and thundering waterfalls. Not to mention the stunning vistas of the Chilean Fjords are just nearby. Get ready to see kilometres of snow-capped volcanoes, glittering waterfalls, and magnificent mountain ranges on every side.
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Built on a north-facing slope so that its brightly painted wooden homes get as much sunlight as possible, Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands, overlooks the beautiful harbour. British influence still permeates the city, which has iconic red phone boxes and several quaint old inns. Explore the city on foot and search out the many militaries and marine monuments dotted about. The Falklands are renowned for their beautiful leather and woollen products. This is the perfect place to find a souvenir to take home!
A trip to the exquisite Iguazu Falls is likely to be one of the highlights of your trip. Very few things can compare to the awesome spectacle of 275 individual waterfalls thundering into the river below. The breathtaking waterfalls have fascinated tourists and locals for centuries. Even several myths and legends attempt to explain their origin.
Have you fallen in love with South America yet? Visit the iconic metropolises and breathtaking natural scenes this part of the world has to offer. Browse our exclusive South America cruise deals or ring our friendly cruise experts on 1300 857 345. They will be more than happy to assist you in planning your dream cruise to South America.