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 scenic off-road expedition in the Fuegian wilderness to see the Carbajal Valley and Mount Olivia.
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 Farm 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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