What are the best cruise destinations in South America?

Across Central and South America, diverse cultures, histories, music, cuisine, and natural landscapes can be found. The region is home to some of the world’s most iconic buildings and landmarks, as well as breathtaking scenery. Whether you’re looking to explore ancient civilizations, enjoy delicious food or dance the night away, there’s something for everyone in Central and South America.

Let’s take a look at some of the best cruise destinations in Latin America.

1. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil’s largest city, Rio de Janeiro, is a favorite on South American cruise itineraries. The iconic city is renowned for its stunning scenery, with the Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue providing iconic backdrops. Rio is also home to lively Carnival celebrations and a vibrant nightlife scene.

Cruise passengers can explore all of Rio’s highlights on shore excursions. Popular options include visits to the city’s iconic landmarks and trips to the nearby beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Active travelers can go hiking or biking in the Tijuca National Park, while foodies will enjoy sampling Brazilian cuisine.

Whether you’re looking to explore Rio’s world-famous sights or just soak up some sun on the beach, a cruise to this South American gem will surely be unforgettable.

2. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is a beautiful and historic city with something to offer everyone. Cruise-goers will find plenty of things to do and see during their time in port. These are just a few of Buenos Aires’ many attractions.

For those who want to experience the city’s rich history and culture, a visit to the Casa Rosada, or Pink House, is a must. The official residence of the President of Argentina has appeared in numerous films and television shows. It’s a fascinating building that you can take a guided tour of.

You can also visit some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Obelisk and the Plaza de Mayo. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to try Argentine cuisine, dance the tango, and explore the city s nightlife. The city is filled with lively bars, fabulous steakhouses, and tango in La Boca.

Those looking for a more active excursion can take a scenic cruise down the Rio de la Plata. This river divides Argentina and Uruguay and offers stunning views of both countries.

3. Galapagos Islands

There are 21 islands in the Galapagos archipelago, located 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador. The best way to experience them is by a South America cruise. The archipelago is home to an incredible array of wildlife, much of which is found nowhere else on Earth.

A cruise allows you to explore the different islands and their unique ecosystems. Guests can see giant tortoises, marine iguanas, lava lizards, penguins, flamingos, and much more. There are also many opportunities to swim with sea lions, sharks, turtles, and rays.

Most cruises include visits to some of the following attractions:

  • The Charles Darwin Research Station, where you can learn about the work being done to conserve the Galapagos Islands’ unique flora and fauna.
  • The Sierra Negra volcano is one of the largest volcanoes in the world.
  • Isabela Island is home to giant tortoises, marine iguanas, penguins, and more.

4. Montevideo, Uruguay

Montevideo, Uruguay, is a top destination for cruises in South America. There are many things to see and do in this vibrant city. Cruise itineraries typically include a stop in Montevideo, so passengers can enjoy the city’s attractions.

Some of the top attractions in Montevideo include the Estadio Centenario, the city’s iconic stadium; Plaza de la Independencia, the main square; and Puerto del Buceo, a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.

In Montevideo, you will also find a variety of great places to eat and drink. The city’s restaurants offer a variety of cuisines, including Uruguayan, Italian, and Spanish. In addition, there are numerous bars and nightclubs that keep visitors entertained until early morning.

For those interested in exploring Uruguay’s natural beauty, there are plenty of options available, from hiking and biking trails in the countryside to kayaking and canoeing on one of the many rivers that flow through the country.

5. Callao, Peru

The seaport of Callao is the gateway to Lima (the capital city), Peru, and is one of South America’s busiest cruise ports. Situated on a large natural harbor, Callao was founded by Spanish settlers in 1537 and is now a modern city with a population of over one million.

Despite not being as large or well-known as some other Peruvian cities, Callao has plenty to offer tourists.

It’s a great idea to explore the vibrant culture of Callao. The city is home to various museums and cultural centers that offer cruise lovers a glimpse into the history and traditions of Peru. The Museo de la Nación is a great place to start, as it houses a collection of artifacts that date back centuries.

A must-see in Callao is the Plaza de Armas, the city’s main square. This is where you will find the Cathedral of Lima and other important government buildings. Be sure to take a stroll around and take in the sights and sounds of this port city.

6. Santiago, Chile

Santiago is Chile’s capital and largest city. Situated in the country’s central valley, Santiago is surrounded by the Andes mountains and the Chilean Coast Range. As such, it experiences a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and cool winters. Despite being a relatively large city, Santiago is easy to navigate and full of visitor attractions.

Popular sights in Santiago include Plaza de Armas, the main square dating back to 1541; Cerro Santa Lucia, a small hill with views of the city; and La Moneda Palace, the seat of government which was built in 1784. It is also possible to go skiing in Chile’s Andes mountains or visit one of Chile’s many wineries on a day trip.

You can go hiking, biking, and climbing in Santiago if you want a more active vacation.

7. Machu Picchu, Peru

An Inca citadel dating from the 15th century, Machu Picchu is located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru on a mountain ridge that rises to 2,430 meters (7,970 feet).

When it comes to Machu Picchu, Peru, there is no shortage of things to do and attractions to see. For history buffs, a trip to Machu Picchu is a must. This ancient Incan city is situated high in the Andes Mountains and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

If you’re looking for a more active adventure, there are plenty of hiking and trekking trails in the area that will take you to some of the most breathtaking viewpoints. And no trip to Machu Picchu would be complete without a visit to the nearby Sacred Valley, where you can explore traditional villages and soak up the local culture.

8. Patagonia

Chile and Argentina share Patagonia at the southern end of South America. The area is renowned for its natural beauty, with glaciers, fjords, mountains, and forests making up the landscape. Patagonia is also home to many wildlife species, including penguins, seals, and whales.

There are several ways to explore Patagonia, including cruises and guided tours. Visitors can also choose from a variety of hotels and lodges in the area.

Patagonia’s top attractions include Los Glaciares National Park, Torres del Paine National Park, and Perito Moreno Glacier. For wildlife lovers, a visit to Isla Magdalena is a must-do. Here, you can see penguins up close as they waddle on the beach and swim in the ocean.

Last but not least, visit Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago at the southernmost point of South America. Subantarctic forests, treeless plains, and rugged landscapes make it a popular tourist destination. You can also take a boat trip to see penguins and seals.

9. Antarctica

When you think of Antarctica, what first comes to mind? Like most people, you probably think of penguins and icebergs. But there’s so much more to this frozen continent than meets the eye.

If you’re planning a trip to Antarctica, you’ll want to add some of these activities and attractions to your itinerary:

Go on a wildlife safari. Penguins aren’t the only residents of Antarctica. You can also find seals, whales, seabirds, and other wildlife. Many tour operators offer wildlife safaris, so you can get up close and personal with the animals.

Cruise around an iceberg. To get the best view of Antarctica, you will have to go on a boat trip.

You need to consider the time of year you want to travel. Antarctica is only accessible during certain months, depending on the ice conditions. The best time to visit is between November and March.

10. Amazon River

The Amazon is a land of contrasts. It is the world’s largest rainforest and is home to an incredible array of plant and animal life. At the same time, it is a region that is rapidly being developed, with new roads and settlements springing up in formerly remote areas.

With an estimated 10 million species of plants and animals, the Amazon rainforest is one of the world’s most biodiverse places. The forest is also home to indigenous peoples who have lived there for millennia.

There are many things to do and attractions in the Amazon. The tourist can take a cruise down the river, go on a safari through the rainforest, or visit one of the many indigenous villages in the area. Also, you can see a wide variety of wildlife, such as monkeys, sloths, toucans, and jaguars, during your trip.


When should one cruise South America?

The best time to cruise South America really depends on what you want to see and do while you’re there. The dry season (July to October) is the best time to go if you’re looking to explore the Amazon rainforest. However, if you want to experience vibrant cities and stunning scenery, then spring (September to November) or autumn (March to May) are the ideal times. Whichever cruise season you choose, a cruise vacation is a great way to see everything this amazing continent has to offer.

What cruise lines go to South America?

The cruise line’s presence in South America varies depending on where you intend to cruise. Holland America, Celebrity Cruises, and Princess Cruises are among the mainstream cruise lines that offer itineraries throughout the region. Luxury lines such as Oceania and Crystal cruise frequently to South American ports, as do expedition ships such as Hapag-Lloyd and Lindblad.

To sum up

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a fun vacation where you can relax and enjoy beautiful scenery, look no further than South America. There are countless places to visit, from Argentina to Chile, Brazil to Peru. And when you combine gorgeous beaches, incredible wildlife, and delicious cuisine, you have the perfect recipe for a relaxing trip.