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14-Day South America Passage

 
 
14-Day South America Passage
Starting from $1,849*

San Antonio (Santiago), Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina


Ship: ms Westerdam


Departure Date :

Oct 30 2020 | Feb 19 2021 | Mar 19 2021

Optional tours are available from most ports for an additional charge.

 

Itinerary

 
Day San Antonio (Santiago), Chile
Departs 05:00 PM
"A day or two of sightseeing is all it takes for visitors to Valparaíso and Santiago to fall in love. They'll find great places to eat, stunning architecture, fascinating museums to visit and myriad things to do in these diverse and extraordinary cities. Color dominates the seaport city of Valparaíso: Brightly painted houses cling intrepidly to steep hillsides along labyrinthine streets that rise from the blue Pacific. The harbor is busy with fishing boats, cargo ships, and naval vessels. Rich in naval and commercial history, Valparaíso suffered from the opening of the Panama Canal, and this decline is still apparent in the ramshackle charm of many structures. Nevertheless, Valparaíso is having a renaissance on all fronts, and its bohemian culture and emphasis on the arts are felt and seen everywhere. For a visitor, the city itself is the main attraction, and a walking tour amply repays the effort: Street art abounds along the route to Pablo Neruda's house, La Sebastiana; the Iglesia de la Matriz; the Naval Museum; and even the funiculars that carry you up the steep hills. In 2003, validating the enduring pride of porteños, as the locals are called, UNESCO designated one-fourth of Valparaíso a World Heritage Site. Stately and monumental Santiago, 120 kilometers (75 miles) inland, is encircled by the Andes. Santiago offers the visitor such important museums and public buildings as the Museo Precolombino and Palacio and Centro Cultural de La Moneda. A walk along Paseo Ahumada to the Plaza de Armas and thence to the old Mercado Central gives a taste of many different facets of the city. "
San Antonio (Santiago), Chile
 
 
Day At Sea

 
 
Day Puerto Montt, Chile
Arrives 08:00 AM Departs 05:00 PM
"Puerto Montt, the capital of the Los Lagos region of Chile, is often called the gateway to the country’s glacial lakes, volcanic landscapes and surrounding national parks. The port is also home to an over-100-year-old German settlement as well as to indigenous communities of Mapuche people. Adventure travelers often base themselves here and in Puerto Varas when planning treks to Chiloé and Patagonia. Even a short visit, however, provides a fascinating look into Chile’s diverse cultures and offers a taste of the country's stunning scenery. From a stroll around Puerto Varas overlooking Lake Llanquihue, one of Chile’s largest lakes, to a meal in the fishing village of Angelmó of the practically still-snapping catch of the day, washed down with a traditional German-style white wine, Puerto Montt is a fascinating introduction to southern Chile and the people who make their home in one of the world's most photogenic landscapes. "
Puerto Montt, Chile
 
 
Day Puerto Chacabuco, Chile
Arrives 11:00 AM Departs 07:00 PM
"The tiny town of Puerto Chacabuco, with just over 1,000 residents, sits at the head of the Aisén Fjord. Even residents will acknowledge that there isn’t much to see in the town itself, which only recently bothered to put up street signs; the largest building is a fish-processing plant. It won’t take much more than a quick stroll to explore the entire municipality. Though this modest port may be lacking in compelling attractions, it is the gateway to some of the most beautiful sights in this part of Chilean Patagonia. Many visitors choose to drive to the provincial capital, Coihaique, or Puerto Aisén, a city that straddles the Aisén River and is less than 20 minutes by car from Puerto Chacabuco. In both you can find options to shop for handicrafts and excellent local restaurants. To experience the natural beauty of the region, head to the Río Simpson National Reserve for stunning vistas, pristine waterfalls and crystal-clear canyon rivers—which are especially famous for their fantastic fly fishing and their enormous brown and rainbow trout. It doesn’t take long to get from Puerto Chacabuco to these nearby sights, so avoid the temptation to stay on board your ship and instead put on your walking shoes and go witness some of the wonders of this part of Chile. "
Puerto Chacabuco, Chile
 
 
Day Chilean Fjords
Cruising Only
"Much like the Norwegian coastline, the west coast of Chile is sliced by dramatic inlets, or fjords, lined with rugged mountains and glacier-covered valleys. This spectacular stretch of coastline starts near the Reloncaví Estuary (roughly halfway down the long spine of Chile) and extends south to the very end of the continent, at Tierra del Fuego. It's a distance of some 1,500 kilometers (930 miles), as the crow flies. Travel here, however, is never in a straight line—instead ships follow meandering paths along the many fjords and channels. The area is known for its desolate beauty and not surprisingly it's home to many of Chile's national parks, including Alerce Andino, Hornopirén and Vicente Pérez Rosales, as well as the Llanquihue National Reserve and the Cochamó Valley. Early Spanish explorers came here in search of the mythical City of the Caesars, whose people were believed to be rich in gold and diamonds. Though the city was never found, the explorers added much to the world's navigational knowledge and at the same time established shipping routes that have been used ever since. Similarly, the riches that travelers to the region today discover are measured not in ounces or carats but in gasps of wonder at the stunning scenery of this windswept, dramatic land and its unusual animal residents. "
Chilean Fjords
 
 
Day Canal Sarmiento
Cruising Only
One of the main channels in Patagonia, the Sarmiento Channel runs in a north-south direction, starting at the Guía Narrows and finishing at the southern edge of Victoria Pass, where it joins the Smyth Channel. The Kawesqar people have inhabited this region for more than 6,000 years, but the channel was named for a more recent arrival: the Spanish explorer Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, who first navigated it between 1579 and 1580. The Chilean mainland lies to the east, and the islands of Esperanza, Vancouver and Piazzi flank the channel to the west. As elsewhere in the Chilean fjord region, the ragged coastline is cut with inlets set among snow-covered mountain ranges. In many places, massive glaciers run down to the sea. All kinds of marine animals, including Magellanic penguins, southern elephant seals, dolphins and orcas, can be seen along these shores.
Canal Sarmiento
 
 
Day Strait of Magellan / Punta Arenas, Chile / Cockburn Channel / Beagle Channel
Cruising / Arrives 06:00 AM Departs 06:00 PM / Cruising / Cruising
The Strait of Magellan is one of the world’s most important natural waterways, linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The strait passes below Chile and above Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica. The strait was named after the man that first navigated the waterway, Ferdinand Magellan, on his famous voyage as the first person to circumnavigate the entire globe.

Punta Arenas, Chile

If Punta Arenas exudes an "edge of the world" air, it's not without reason. This windblown city near Chile's southernmost tip sits on the Strait of Magellan, which itself is positioned squarely between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The city has played—and continues to play—an important role in geographic, political and economic affairs in South America's so-called Southern Cone, which is formed by Chile and neighboring Argentina. Too many travelers rush through Punta Arenas, treating it as a pit stop on their way to the stunningly beautiful landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park and other attractions in Patagonia, but there's plenty in this city and its environs to experience, too. From penguin spotting on Isla Magdalena and kayaking the Strait of Magellan to visiting area farms and then indulging in surf-and-turf specialties (here meaning fresh seafood and asado, or Chilean barbecue) at local restaurants, Punta Arenas is worth a stopover all its own.

Cockburn Channel

"As you near the southern tip of South America, traveling along the Chilean or Pacific coast, you'll know that you're approaching the Cockburn (pronounced ""CO-burn"") Channel when you see the twin rocks that guard its entrance. The channel flows between the Brecknock Peninsula (the westernmost edge of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego) and a number of islands, including Clarence Island with its irregular coastline of dramatic sounds that reach deep into its interior. The channel is part of the route that connects the Strait of Magellan to the Beagle Channel, while along both sides of the waterway is one of the crown jewels of Chile’s network of parks: Alberto de Agostini National Park."

Beagle Channel

Running through the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, the Beagle Channel is a scenic and wonderfully calm strait that has become a hugely popular cruise destination. Named in 1830 after a charting voyage by the HMS Beagle—the ship that later became famous for carrying English naturalist Charles Darwin on his five-year journey of discovery—the channel is one of a trio of navigable passages around the tip of South America. Some 240 kilometers long (almost 150 miles), the channel extends from Nueva Island in the east to Darwin Sound and Cook Bay in the west. Its western end lies within Chile, and its eastern end forms a segment of the border between Chile and Argentina. By far the largest sight along the channel is the town of Ushuaia in Argentina, which has much to offer the day-tripper or overnight visitor. Other highlights of a cruise include a slew of natural sights, from views of snow-covered glaciers to wildlife spotting at Isla de los Lobos (also called Sea Lion Island) and Isla de los Pájaros (Bird Island).
Strait of Magellan / Punta Arenas, Chile / Cockburn Channel / Beagle Channel
 
 
Day Daylight cruising Glacier Alley / Ushuaia, Argentina
Cruising / Arrives 12:00 PM Departs 08:00 PM
"As alleys go, this one is mighty long. Glacier Alley—or, as it’s more elegantly known, Avenue of the Glaciers—stretches along a good portion of the celebrated 240-kilometer-long (150-mile-long) Beagle Channel in the vast territory of Tierra del Fuego. Argentina’s Ushuaia and Chile’s Puerto Williams, both common starting points for travelers exploring Glacier Alley, are two of the world’s southernmost towns. As you travel into the Beagle Channel, the vital waterway that allowed ships to avoid the hellish fury of the waters around Cape Horn, you follow the route that the famous HMS Beagle took with a young and then-unknown geologist and naturalist on board, Charles Darwin. While fighting the harsh elements, and with no creature comforts like the ones enjoyed today, those early sailors were at least treated to one stunning glacier after another, each flowing down from massive mountain ranges and peaks such as the snowcapped one named for Darwin himself. Even if your journey is shrouded in foggy mist, you can’t miss the cracking sound of the blue ice as it tumbles into the channel or the rush of ice-melt waterfalls. Along with all these natural wonders, a visit to Glacier Alley comes with opportunities to see penguin rookeries, humpback whales and seals."

Ushuaia, Argentina

"Dramatic, fantastical, otherworldly—this is the end of the world, for real. Positioned at the southernmost tip of Argentina, this memorable port town is cradled between the pristine—and towering—Martial Mountains and accessed by the picturesque Beagle Channel (which was named for Darwin’s famed vessel). Ushuaia is the capital of the Tierra del Fuego region, which is best described as a spectacular collection of superlative natural wonders. It’s a veritable kaleidoscope of glittering glaciers, snowcapped mountains, dense forests, sparkling lakes and windswept plains spread across an archipelago of rugged islands. The town itself is a maze of streets lined with low-slung buildings that all seem to meet at its heart, the port. Founded in 1884, the far-flung spot welcomed missionaries, gold prospectors and naval officers before becoming known primarily as a penal colony. After its closure under the infamous Argentine leader Juan Perón, the large jail was reconfigured to house one of the city’s most popular museums. Other current in-town attractions include a maritime museum and a museum dedicated to the region’s natural history, as well as restaurants preparing the marquee offering—local king crab.
Daylight cruising Glacier Alley / Ushuaia, Argentina
 
 
Day Scenic Cruising Cape Horn
Cruising Only
"It may be the most notorious ocean passage in the world, and for centuries it evoked dread in the hearts of sailors. But those who survived a trip around Cape Horn, where the Atlantic and Pacific slosh violently into each other, had bragging rights for life. Along this passage, the Tierra del Fuego, or ""land of fire,"" where Chile and Argentina converge at the bottom of the world, got its name from early sailors who saw the fires of the people who lived here burning on shore. For some 8,000 years, until as recently as the end of the 19th century, this was the home of the Yaghan and other indigenous groups. Magellan and Drake left their mark and names here, as did Darwin, who sailed through here on the HMS Beagle. The great clipper ships of '49er lore later fought their way through fierce waves carrying gold between California and the East Coast in that era before the Panama Canal. Just as Richard Henry Dana, Jr., described in his masterful Two Years Before the Mast, published in 1840, a journey today around the Cape at the very bottom of the Tierra is shaped by capricious weather, as powerful winds and shallow waters can produce waves that reach as high as 30 meters (100 feet). "
Scenic Cruising Cape Horn
 
 
Day Stanley/Falkland Is/Islas Malvinas
Arrives 08:00 AM Departs 06:00 PM
The world's southernmost capital, Stanley is located in the Falklands archipelago, which consists of two main islands, East and West Falkland, along with smaller islands nearby. Stanley is proud of its British heritage, evidenced everywhere from its red telephone boxes to its pubs. The Falklands were first claimed by the English in 1765; over the centuries the Crown has had to abandon, reclaim and defend these far-flung islands from invading nations—including an Argentine foray in 1982. During the early years of their colonization, the Falklands were used as a base for ships hunting sperm whales for oil, followed by those hunting seals for fur. Today in this remote British territory, fishing and tourism are what drive the economy.
Stanley/Falkland Is/Islas Malvinas
 
 
Day At Sea

 
 
Day At Sea

 
 
Day Montevideo, Uruguay
Arrives 08:00 AM Departs 06:00 PM
"Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, often gets overshadowed by her larger, flashier sister across the Río de la Plata, Buenos Aires. While Montevideo may not have quite the bustle of Argentina’s capital, it shares that city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere and, of course, excellent steak houses. Its smaller size is also an advantage: There is a relaxed feel to this more low-key counterpart to BA. Montevideo has a surprising mix of neighborhoods. The Ciudad Vieja, with its grid of streets on a peninsula separating the Río de la Plata from the harbor, is the colonial heart. Long neglected, it has recently undergone a renaissance—restaurants, bars and clubs are opening in historic buildings that have been meticulously restored. Montevideo’s downtown is a treasure trove of Art Deco buildings, while the newer eastern suburbs may evoke Miami for visitors. Gleaming skyscrapers and open-air cafés overlook beaches that run for miles."
Montevideo, Uruguay
 
 
Day Buenos Aires, Argentina
--
"In the early 20th century, Buenos Aires, Argentina, gained immense wealth when it began shipping its pampas-raised beef around the world. It quickly entered the club of great world cities, and a slew of attractions and architectural jewels soon arose. Since that time, the capital has experienced huge swings in economic and political fortune. But Buenos Aires continues to fascinate and entertain sightseeing visitors, both for its chaotic energy and for its sheer urban beauty. Thankfully, the Belle Époque grandeur and enormous tracts of greenery remain. Any list of things to do in Buenos Aires would begin with its many walkable neighborhoods; Palermo especially stands out, thanks to creative residents who have pushed the restaurant scene well beyond beef. Porteños—as the locals are called—may be of Spanish, Italian, Jewish or Middle Eastern descent; that mix of cultures is reflected in the city's dialect, foods and pastimes. Looking beyond the city's sights, Buenos Aires is known as the birthplace of tango, and while the music and dance never quite went away, today tango is making a resurgence. Fans come here from around the world to take part in or watch the milongas (dance events). Argentines are world leaders in polo as well, and as the sport captures the interest of more and more travelers, hunky players like Nacho are gaining global celebrity. "
Buenos Aires, Argentina
 
 
Day Buenos Aires, Argentina
Arrives 08:00 AM
"In the early 20th century, Buenos Aires, Argentina, gained immense wealth when it began shipping its pampas-raised beef around the world. It quickly entered the club of great world cities, and a slew of attractions and architectural jewels soon arose. Since that time, the capital has experienced huge swings in economic and political fortune. But Buenos Aires continues to fascinate and entertain sightseeing visitors, both for its chaotic energy and for its sheer urban beauty. Thankfully, the Belle Époque grandeur and enormous tracts of greenery remain. Any list of things to do in Buenos Aires would begin with its many walkable neighborhoods; Palermo especially stands out, thanks to creative residents who have pushed the restaurant scene well beyond beef. Porteños—as the locals are called—may be of Spanish, Italian, Jewish or Middle Eastern descent; that mix of cultures is reflected in the city's dialect, foods and pastimes. Looking beyond the city's sights, Buenos Aires is known as the birthplace of tango, and while the music and dance never quite went away, today tango is making a resurgence. Fans come here from around the world to take part in or watch the milongas (dance events). Argentines are world leaders in polo as well, and as the sport captures the interest of more and more travelers, hunky players like Nacho are gaining global celebrity. "
Buenos Aires, Argentina