Crystal Wealth Newsroom
To South America…. and beyond!
South America is a large continent (flying from one end to the other takes about six hours), so to maximise our time we focused on the south and also incorporated a couple of cruises – which led to a decision to incorporate Antarctica into the trip.
We had timed our vacation well because cruising to Antarctica has to be done between December and February.
We opted to do a cruise, rather than an expedition, because it was about half the price and we were also concerned about the weather around the Horn, across the Drake Passage and in Antarctica. As it happened, we needn’t have worried about the weather. We had remarkably smooth seas, but that is not at all typical.
We actually ended up doing back-to-back cruises on Celebrity Eclipse.
The first started from Buenos Aires and went south to Antarctica, with stops at Ushuaia, Falkland Islands (don’t mention the Argentinians), Puerto Madryn (northern Patagonia) and Montevideo.
We cruised around Cape Horn and had two days cruising in Antarctica, which was fabulous.
We did not feel any particular need to get off the ship, perhaps somewhat self-justifying our decision to do a cruise and not an expedition.
Penguins and whales are the main animal attractions in Antarctica, with the penguins hitching a ride on the numerous icebergs. The scenery is incredible (Alaska on steroids).
We also did get up close and personal with a variety of penguins, seals and other wildlife on both the Falklands and Puerto Madryn.
The second cruise again started from Buenos Aires and took us north to just north of Rio de Janeiro and back again. We made four stops along the way, including a day trip to Sao Paulo (12 million people and not worth the visit). We had two days in Rio, which is geographically spectacular and a must-see.
Buenos Aires is also a must. The highlight for us was the tour of the Italian-inspired Opera House and the hop-on-hop-off bus is a great way to see the city.
Before the first cruise, we travelled about 1.5 hours by plane to visit Iguazu Falls, which is also definitely worth a visit. The Falls are on the intersection of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, and you ideally need to visit the Falls from both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides on two separate days. As you may imagine, it is quite a lot of walking. We went to Iguazu the day after we arrived in South America, which was a mistake in what was 35-degree heat.
On the way home, we had a few days in Santiago, which is a mix of old and the very modern. It is very safe and well worth a visit.