Our South America Cruise Plans
We are excited to start our 2020 travels by sharing our South America cruise plans.
Our cruise starts in Miami. We get a few Caribbean stops on our way south. And then head up the Amazon River in Brazil. We cruise down along Brazil and head into Argentina. There is one port in the Falkland Islands. The ship sails around Cape Horn and then heads up the east coast along the Chilean Fjords. Our amazing South America adventure finishes in Lima Peru.
We should have a great time exploring South America.
Booking Our South American Cruise
Oceania Cruises has a great set of back-to-back cruises for South America. For many years, we looked at booking these cruises. But we always looked at the cruises too late. Over the 3 different segments of the South America cruise, we would have had to move from bad to worse to horrid cabins!
When we sailed around Cuba, we sat down with the cruise planner and actually found great availability for South America for 2020. So we put our deposit down and started our South America cruise planning.
We reserved for all of our dinners in the specialty restaurants. And we booked a number of shore excursions through the cruise company. There were excursions to get out on the water and to see the wildlife (pink dolphins, penguins and blue footed boobies). There were several winery trips and local food experiences. While many of the excursions we booked were outdoor adventures, we also booked tours to see local architecture and cultural sights.
There were a number of ports where we did not book tours and will explore the cities on our own. On our overnight stops in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, we have two days in the cities. So we planned to wander and discover the gems.
Our South America cruise plans are busy. But we should have an amazing time.
Getting Ready For South America
This trip was a challenge to pack for. We will have a large number of very hot days. But we will also face much cooler temperatures as we hit the south end of South America. We need to be worried about bug protection. Especially when we cruise the Amazon River for 7 days.
We spent a month getting a new vaccination every week. Some of our required vaccination were still up-to-date from our trip to China. But we needed new vaccinations for Hepatitis, Typhoid and Yellow Fever. On top of that, we got Malaria pills to take with us. And antibiotics just in case. The flu shot and a pneumonia vaccination were added to protect us from common travel sickness. We sure hoped we stayed healthy on our South America cruise travels.
We had a longer to-do list to leave home for over 2 months. But with our planning checklist, we felt confident we would not be worried about our home base while we travelled.
Starting Our South America Cruise In Miami
We start the South America cruise in January from Miami. Starting a cruise in Miami always gives us an excuse to head down early and escape the Toronto winter weather.
On this visit, we booked our stay at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. Our efforts to build loyalty and status gave us with a good bank of points at the end of 2019. So we booked an 8 day stay on points. It was a great spot to warm up. And we got a bit of a base tan before we headed into the hot south.
On our flight down to Miami, we sat beside a couple who was joining their cruise that day. Delays on the flight and an hour wait for baggage had this couple super stressed and worried they had missed their cruise. We always love to build in a little buffer when we cruise. So we were glad we booked a stay in Miami.
Heading To The Caribbean
As Oceania Cruises Marina heads south, we have 3 Caribbean port stops along the way. All of the islands are places we visited on previous trips. So we can enjoy leisurely days for these stops.
St John’s, Antigua is our first stop. We explored this lovely island with 365 beaches before. On this visit, we planned to take a hop-on-hop-off ferry and head out to check out a few more of these beaches.
The second Caribbean stop is St Lucia. We visited St Lucia a few times by cruise ship. And have stayed at the Sandals Resorts on St Lucia several times. So we have a good feel for the island. We may plan a return visit for chocolate delights with a view of the Pitons.
The final stop in the Caribbean is in Bridgetown, Barbados. On our first visit to Bridgetown, we took a full day tour of the island. This gave us a great land perspective. On our second visit, we headed underwater in a submarine. On this visit we plan to explore the downtown area.
It will be great to start our South America cruise plans with stops in the Caribbean.
Travelling Up The Amazon River
One of the key draws on the first segment of our South America cruise was the travel up the Amazon River. We have one stop on Devil’s Island before we head up the Amazon for 7 days. There are 5 cruise ports along the way and two days just cruising.
We have a few excursions booked on the Amazon. In Santarem, we will take a smaller boat to travel along the Tapajos and Amazon rivers to experience the spot where the two rivers merge and flow side by side. We will head to Lake Maica and look for the pink dolphins.
In Manaus, we have an excursion booked specifically to see local tropical birds and the pink dolphins on an 80 minute cruise along the Rio Negro.
In Parintins and Boca De Valeria, we do not have excursions booked. So we planned to just explore the small towns by foot.
Starting our South America cruise plans on the Amazon River was an exciting way to kick off this adventure.
Cruising Along The Brazil Coast
After we leave the Amazon River, we will cruise south along the Brazil Coast to Rio Grande for 15 days. There are 9 different ports. And as part of this, we will spend two days in Rio de Janeiro.
We booked several great excursions in Brazil. In Recife, we head off for a catamaran trip along the Capibaribe River. We will see why this is called “Brazil’s Venice”. In Buzios, we will again head off by boat. Our schooner will stop at different points to take us swimming and snorkelling. In Ilha Grande, our schooner trip will take us into the waters of the Blue Lagoon. It may seem strange for us to have chosen water-based excursions. But we do love to enjoy warm water spots whenever we can.
In Sao Paulo, we planned an 8 hour tour. Along the way we will visit the botanical gardens, a coffee plantation and an aquarium. In Porto Belo, we head high on a cable car to visit the small town of Camboriu. And in Porto Grande, we do a half day tour to see some of the local sights.
Rio de Janeiro is the end of the 1st segment on our 3 part South America cruise plans. For our two days in Rio, we planned to explore the city on our own. We collected a great set of ideas of things to do. And will certainly want to head to a high point for a panoramic view.
We also planned to explore on our own on port stops in Fortaleza, Parati and Santos in Brazil.
Our South America cruise plans for Brazil provides a great range of places to visit.
Two Port Stops In Uruguay
We actually have two port stops in both Punta Del Este and Montevideo, Uruguay. The ship stops on the way into Buenos Aires and then when we head back out again.
On both days in Punta Del Este, we plan to explore the city on our own. In Montevideo, we planned a day tour to visit the Juanico vineyards and have a local lunch. And then we will explore the city on our own for the second visit.
Our South America cruise plans for Uruguay will only give us a small taste test.
Exploring A Little In Argentina
Buenos Aires is the end of the 2nd segment on our 3 part South America cruise plans. On our first day, we have an excursion booked for half a day to cruise through the canals of the Tigre River delta. We figured this would give us a view of the city from the water. And we will then explore the city on our own for the rest of the two days we are in Buenos Aires.
When we hit Buenos Aires, we will enter the 100th country that David and I have travelled to together. We have a dinner celebration planned for that night.
The only other port we have in Argentina is Ushuaia. We booked a visit to the Tierra del Fuego National Park by train, bus and boat.
Around The Cape Horn
After we head out from Buenos Aires, we cruise the Atlantic Ocean for 2 days before we land in Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. At this stop, we have a tour booked to Bluff Cove Lagoon to see the 1,000 breeding pairs of Gentoo penguins and a growing colony of King penguins. We could not possibly visit and miss seeing penguins!
After the Falkland Islands, we cruise around the Cape Horn. This trip will have us travel through the Southern Ocean. And this means we will have sailed in all of the 7 Seas!
Cruising Through The Chilean Fjords
We start our cruise of the Chilean Fjords in Punta Arenas. On this port stop, we will explore the town on our own. We really wanted to visit another penguin reserve. Hopefully the tour wait list will clear and we will see penguins again.
The ship will cruise through the Chilean Fjords for two days. We are sure it will remind us very much of our summer cruise along the Norway fjords. We expect stunning scenery all around us. It is a great thing that we have a balcony suite!
The next port in Chile is Puerto Chacabuco. We planned a relaxing day at the hot springs at Ensenada Perez. In Puerto Monte we head out for adventure to visit Lake Llanquihue and get a panoramic view out over the valley of Ensenada and the snow-capped Osorno Volcano. Our day will finish at the waterfalls of Petrohue.
In Santiago de Chile, our day trip takes us for a picturesque winery tour in the Casablanca Valley and then for a visit to a Chilean rodeo. We get another winery tour at the Tabalí Vineyard in Coquimbo. On our way to that wine region, our tour stops at the Enchantment Valley for a view of ancient petroglyphs.
Finishing Our South America Cruise In Lima, Peru
After cruising the Pacific Ocean for two days, we land in Pisco, Peru. We will head to Ballestas Island. This has been called Peru’s own version of the Galapagos Islands. We are hoping to spot the Guanay cormorant, Peruvian booby, Peruvian pelican, Humboldt penguins and Chilean flamingoes on this outing.
Our South America cruise plans finish up in Lima, Peru after 53 days onboard. We stay in Lima for 3 days at the JW Marriott Lima. This will give us a chance to wander the city on our own. Or book a few local tours.
Being in Lima, we considered two additional trips – Machu Picchu and/or Galapagos. Ultimately we figured that after almost 10 weeks away, we would want to head home. So those trips will wait for another year.
Amazing South America Cruise Plans
We have an amazing South America cruise planned. There are so many great ports to visit. And awesome adventures to experience. We hope you enjoy following along.
It was a busy few months in advance of our trip to South America. We worked hard to load the RetiredAndTravelling blog with new content from our 2019 travels. These posts will publish while we travel in South America.
We will likely not publish new South America blog posts while we are travelling. But we will be post to our social media channels regularly. Or as much as we can with challenging internet connectivity when cruising. Watch for updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
What do you think of our South America cruise plans? Do you have suggestions for things we can do in any of these cruise ports?
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This looks awesome! First, I love South America, particularly Argentina. Second, a nice cruise….Buenos Aires is my favorite of the places you will go, but I had a good time in the others. If you drink soda, try Inca Cola in Peru. It is like cream soda. I dont know why, but I love it!
Mara, we are really excited about our coming cruise to South America. We are happy we have two days in Buenos Aires. Although I know we will want to go back. I will look for Inca Cola. Linda
That is one major cruise plan and someway’s, I would loved to do this (even though I never done a cruise in my life before). But what is interesting is the cruise ship going down the Amazon. I never even heard of this being done before. And a wine tour at the stop off in Chile, get me there now! 😀
Danik, We are so excited about our coming cruise. We have been busy getting ready. But are happy to have the coming time to really see the stops we have in South America. So much variety in the excursions we booked. And the Amazon will be so very interesting. But we do have gallons of bug repellent packed! Linda
I’m green with envy after reading this! I’ve yet to visit South America, but have my heart set on seeing at least 1 country this next decade! I’d love to see the Chilean fjords and St Lucia too. I’ll definitely look into these cruise companies, I really like your route.
Lisa, We are so excited about heading off to cruise around South America this week. There are so many great stops along the way. Hope you get South America on your travel plans in the near future. Linda
Wow, I didn’t realize you have to book far in advance but it makes sense now that I think about it. It also helps with the budget to pay for things in segments. I would book every single excursion that involved a pink dolphins, penguins or blue footed boobies. Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires will be such great experiences, this whole itinerary sounds wonderful
Sherianne, We are so excited about this coming cruise. There were so many great options for excursions. It just means there will be lots of reasons to come back again to South America. Linda
A cruise sounds like a great way to see South America! I would want to book every single one of those excursion. That is going to be a great cruise.
Hailey, We are so excited at the variety of things we will see and do on our South American cruise. Linda
Great post!! I literally have no to less knowledge when it comes to cruise, even though I pretty much have great time on cruise ships. I am really amaze by some of the tips you have shared. I had no idea that you need to book some in advance. Traveling down the amazon river sounds super intriguing to me, I would love to try that one out some day soon.
Daniel, We have been looking to do this trip for some time. So glad we got it booked and we are on our way. Hope you get to try this one day. Linda
This sounds like a dream trip guys! Exploring South America is my big travel goal and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m super jealous.. The part that intrigues me more is Brazil, plus I didn’t know there was a “Brazil’s Venice”! 😀
We are super excited to be exploring Brazil as our first South American country on this trip. Each port should be very different from the next. A great first visit. Linda
Wow, this is a lovely plan. I have done only one cruise and I loved it. The whole preparation for South America sounds so amazing. I so want to join you. Miami, Caribbean, Amazon river and Brazil coast would be high on my list. Enjoy and have the best time.
Manjulika, We are so happy with the itinerary for our South America trip. So many different spots and excursions planned. So much to write about! Linda
Going for Caribbean cruise is everybody’s dream vacation and I loved your South America’s cruise plans. To start cruise from Miami is great as Miami is also a worth visiting place. The trip which led you sailed through the Southern Ocean means 7 Seas is an epic journey. The Cape Horn tour looks great as we get chance to see the penguins colony.
Yukti, We are definitely excited about our cruise around South America. It was great to finally leave and be on our way. Love the variety of excursions we have booked. Linda
I’m so excited to follow you on this journey! It’s nice you can chill at the start if you’re going to places you’ve already been. The trip up the Amazon River sounds absolutely amazing and the Chilean Fjords will be mind-blowing especially with a day kicking back at the hot springs at Ensenada Perez. I’m a little bit jealous of this trip… ok, a lot!! Enjoy!
Vanessa, We were so glad we got this trip booked this year. It has been on the planning boards for awhile. We will share it all as we go! Linda
Your South America cruise sounds amazing and I am totally jealous. It sounds like a lot of planning went into this. Especially all the prewritten blog posts! Good for you to start booking everything right away. But man, all those shots! Eeek! Looking forward to reading your posts about the Chilean Fjords and wineries. 🙂
Debra, It was definitely a lot of work to get ready for South America. And it was a long time on the planning board. But now that we are on our way, it is all about enjoying the journey. Linda
I am impressed by these cruises. I always wanted to go on a cruise, but so far, I do not have the opportunity. I love South America. Argentina and Chile delighted me, so I like the route of your trip. I would like to back to Chile and Argentina, and it seems to be a great plan to see these countries from the seaside. Brazil is still on my bucket list. I wish you a beautiful vacation, and I look forward to the photos of your trips!
Agnes, Thank for the best wishes for our trip. We are so excited about visiting all of these new places. Even though we know we are going to want to go back and see more. Linda
I have never been on a cruise before but now I think I am going to, very soon, probably in Singapore. However, your blog on the South American cruise plans is wonderful. The Chilean route seems to be really interesting and soon I will visit the place for a wonderful vacation.
Shreya, Enjoy your cruise in Singapore. Love that part of the world. We are happy to finally be headed to South America. Linda
WOW! This is a trip of a lifetime! Absolutely epic! Hope one day we get the opportunity to cruise to so many exciting places. Especially would love to cruise down the Amazon! Have an amazing trip!!
Thanks! We are so excited about this trip. It took awhile to get on the plan and then to get ready, but now we can just sit back and enjoy. Will be sharing as we go! Linda
Wow this trip sounds absolutely incredible! I’ve just returned from a southern Caribbean cruise and I must say Antigua and St Lucia were some of our favourite ports. We did the chocolate making in Hotel Chocolat too! It was stunning (unlike the chocolate we tried to make ?). I’ve been looking at cruises since I’ve got back and funnily enough had found a cruise from Argentina to Chile so I’ll be interested to read about your trip. I was drawn to visiting the Falklands to see the penguins and the Chilean Fjords.
Laura, I do remember how bad our chocolate was that we made too. Good thing we could buy anything we wanted. We are excited to be able to do this large trip around South America. But so many of the individual segments are interesting. I hope our trip will get you excited for yours. Linda
Very inspiring post. While I won’t really follow you since I won’t go on a cruise, the route is still great and I’m just waiting to be able to quit my job to have months to travel. My first trip will be months and months in the Americas – and many of the stops you are introducing will be high on my list.
We were so glad we got such a great taste test of South America on our cruise. We added many places to our list of places we want to re-visit. One day we will go back.
I would love to do a shorter version in the west covering Lima and Dantiago de Chile. Also a shorter version in the east to I nclude Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.
We enjoyed seeing a wide variety of sights in South America. Some were great to see and be done. Others are on our list for a return visit.