54 Night Cruise sailing from Buenos Aires to Southampton aboard Bolette.
A host of highlights are packed into this epic expedition. You’ll cruise through incredible waterways and visit a string of stunning cities in Central and South America; then top it all off with some soothing sunshine in the Caribbean.
Beginning this amazing adventure in Argentina, you’ll embark your smaller ship in Buenos Aires – the cosmopolitan capital and home of the sultry Tango – before sailing south in search of Patagonia’s contrasting treasures. Puerto Madryn provides a glimpse of Northeastern Patagonia’s arid frontiers, while at Ushuaia you’ll discover a tranquil wonderland of snow-capped peaks and atmospheric waterways that are home to mesmerising marine fauna such as penguins, sea lions and seals. Cruising by imposing Cape Horn and four days of Chilean Fjord exploration will be an undoubted highlight; you’ll capture awe-inspiring panoramas of ever-changing mountain scenery, and navigate waterways alive with drifting glaciers and amazing wildlife. Your time in Chile includes visits to charming Punta Arenas; Puerto Chacabuco, gateway to spellbinding Lower Patagonia and the Andes; vivacious Valparaiso; and Arica too. Meanwhile, during three days in Peru, you’ve a chance to visit ancient Machu Picchu – one of the New Seven Wonders of the World – on an overland tour from Paracas.
Continuing onwards to Central America, you’ll get to witness one of the world’s greatest engineering feats in action as you cruise through the locks and lakes on the remarkable Panama Canal. In Costa Rica, enjoy a day to explore historic Puerto Limón, before it’s on to the culture-rich Colombian city of Cartagena de Indias. Away from the mainland, the Mexican island of Cozumel promises Mayan history, ancient ruins and marine life-rich lagoons, while a visit to Cuba is an undoubted highlight. Make the most of an overnight stay in Havana to learn the rumba, mambo and cha cha indulge with authentic Cuban rum and cigars, and see the city in an iconic classic American car. Your time in the Americas will then conclude in the Caribbean, stopping in the Bahamas and Bermuda to sample paradise amongst beautiful beaches, warm crystal-clear waters and laid-back cities alive with colourful culture. When you finally head for home, you’ll cross the Atlantic – one of the great ocean cruise experiences – and stop at São Miguel in the verdant Azores, and add the Spanish style and culture of La Coruña to the end of your journey too.
Highlights of this cruise:
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Stretched out along the Rio de la Plata, the nation’s capital, Buenos Aires, is a rich mix of European splendour and Latino passion. Its centre, Plaza de Mayo, is lined with impressive 19th century buildings including Casa Rosada, the iconic, balconied presidential palace. It’s also the location of the Pirámide de Mayo, built to celebrate Argentina's independence in 1810.
French and Italian-style palaces grace the Avenida de Mayo, while other attractions include the Teatro Colón opera house, and the modern MALBA museum, which exhibits Latin American art. The city’s complexity is exemplified by the diverse architecture, unique urban landscape and boulevards lined with cafes, shops and galleries.
The food scene is increasingly dynamic, and satisfying the craving for one of the region's famously-juicy steaks is easy given Parrillas (steakhouses) sit on virtually every corner. A late-night cone of the local caramel ice-cream is a popular favourite, and an evening in this energetic city can be finished off with music and dancing in one of the many jazz clubs and tango bars.
Famed for being the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia is located at the tip of Tierra del Fuego, between the snow-capped Andean mountains and the Beagle Channel. The city is a great base for exploring some of the region’s remarkable sites, and a starting point for heading south towards Antarctica.
Ushuaia’s ‘end of the world’ status is popular for adventure-seekers, particularly Tierra del Fuego National Park which lies 11km west of the city. This expansive park is incredibly diverse, with glaciers, forests, beaches and mountains, providing endless opportunities for exploration.
One of the park’s top attractions is its wide range of flora and fauna, thanks to the varied landscapes, including Fuegian foxes, southern river otters, guanacos (closely related to the llama), black-browed albatrosses, woodpeckers and oystercatchers. The park can be reached via car or the ‘End of the World’ Train, an old railway line originally built to transport materials to a nearby prison which reopened as a tourist attraction in 1994. The train passes by the Pico Valley and Macarena Waterfall en route to the park.
Puerto Chacabuco, Chile
Surrounded by ice-clad mountains, Puerto Chacabuco is a busy port, but it was only built in the 1990s when the natural harbour at Puerto Aisen, further up the coast, became unusable. There are local tours available of lower Patagonia and the Andes Mountains, as well as through the Rio Simpson National Reserve. The Aikén del Sur Park is privately owned but can be visited: it is a haven for wildlife, especially of wetland birds.
Arica serves as a vital trade link between Chile, Peru and neighbouring Bolivia. However, this pretty city is much more than just a commercial centre. Away from the busy docks you’ll discover mile-upon-mile of dark-brown beaches ideal for making the most of the year-round warmth. Looking out across the Pacific Ocean, you’re sure to see thrill-seeking surfers challenging themselves against the tide, even as the sun begins to set.
Venturing even further from the coast and into the city itself is just as rewarding, with an abundance of highlights and attractions to discover. The Museo de Sitio Colón 10 is a must-visit to see 32 incredibly well-preserved Chinchorro mummies in situ; while the Gothic-style Catedral de San Marcos is one of Arica’s most iconic structures. Designed by Parisian engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel – before he designed the world-famous Eiffel Tower – and built in his Paris shop in the 1870’s, the cathedral was shipped around the world and assembled where it stands today.
Don’t miss the spectacular views on offer from El Morro, an imposing 110-metre-high rock which overlooks the city and the busy port, too. Here you’ll also find the fascinating Museo Histórico y de Armas, which tells the story of a battle between the Chilean and Peruvian armies that took place atop El Morro in 1880.
Callao is the Peruvian capital's once-grand port area, which has been brought back to life with culture, cuisine and rich history. An important commercial centre since the colonial era, the city retains many fine colonial mansions and elaborate examples of architecture. The Real Felipe fortress is an impressive building built to defend the city from pirates and was central to Peru’s war of independence.
La Punta, the area around the port, was once home to Lima’s aristocracy. It has many stately houses and a wonderful seafront promenade lined with delightful cafés. The Military Museum has many fascinating artefacts, including old weaponry, while the Navy Museum is devoted to the country’s naval heritage.
Visitors can take easy transport links from Callao to explore the Peruvian capital, Lima, and learn about the country's dramatic history, from the Inca Empire to the Spanish conquistadors.
Cozumel, is famed for its Mayan history, coral reefs and scuba diving. Lying off the Yucatan coast, the island has over 40 shrines to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of the moon, the sea and fertility. Many are carved from coral – the island is part of the Great Maya Barrier Reef – and archaeologists regularly find the small clay dolls, which were offerings to the goddess.
The eco-park, Chankanaab, is the number one attraction in Cozumel; a lagoon with underwater caverns, and home to dolphins, manatees, iguanas and sea turtles. The relaxing haven of the National Marine Park boasts stunning beaches and beautiful botanical gardens. The popular diving spot around a section of the Mesoamerican Reef is the location of the amazing submerged sculptures of Museo Subacuático de Arte.
Museo de la Isla de Cozumel, in the small town of San Miguel, has interesting exhibits about the island, its flora and fauna, and the formation of the coral reef. There are also Mayan artefacts and various items from its time as a Spanish colony, including cannons, swords and armour.
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