South America offers travellers a range of cruise destinations. From the glitter of Rio and Buenos Aires to the penguins and whales of the Straits of Magellan, to the Amazon (see South American Rivers), to the intriguing colonial history and South America is a destination of opposites, and one of the most exciting destinations in the world.
There are three main types of South America Cruises. (Note that while most Antarctic cruise depart from South America ports – particularly from Ushuaia – information on Antarctica is listed separately).
1. Amazon River Cruises – see South American Rivers
2 Specialty cruises
From the captivating Chilean Fjords to the impressive Panama Canal, with a chance to visit the enchanting Galápagos Islands mixed in for good measure; South America cruises with Fred. Olsen have everything covered. Take a full cruise departing from the UK, or a fly-cruise sector, so you can experience this stunning destination in full.
South America traditionally consists of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, South Georgian and the South Sandwich Islands, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Take an overland tour to the impressive site of Machu Picchu; savour a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit the magnificent Iguazu Falls; or, perhaps tap your feet and sway to the beat of the Brazilian Samba music.
Immerse yourself in the unique cultures of vibrant, world-renowned cities including Rio de Janeiro, where you can relax on Copacabana Beach or head to the peak of the Corcovado Mountain to see the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue up close; Callao – a gateway to the beautiful Peruvian capital, Lima; Uruguay’s eclectic capital, Montevideo; and Buenos Aires, for Belle Époque architecture, the Tango and the Casa Rosada.
Cruises that visit South America between September and March.
There are some cruise lines that sail round Cape Horn this is the southern summer and in general cruise ships that do these South American itineraries return to the Northern Hemisphere for the northern summer cruise season.
Specialty cruises operate year round
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Equator runs through Ecuador and northern Brazil so much of the continent is tropical. The dry season is from October to June which is when cruises to the Amazon tend to operate. Cruises from Rio on the east coast also run in this period.
Cruises that go round Cape Horn experience a much larger change in weather and temperature. Santiago and Buenos Aires are Mediterranean in climate and enjoy warm summers with mild winters. However, cruises that go round the Horn can experience much colder temperatures even in the height of summer. Guests on these cruises should have some winter clothing available for the days when the ship rounds the horn.