Route to Rio: Exploring the Americas

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Commencing on August 5 2016, the Rio Summer Olympics will be watched by millions across the globe as a record number of countries and athletes battle it out for a place on the coveted Olympic podium.

This year’s event will see 185 individual nations converge on the Brazilian capital of Rio De Janeiro to compete in over 300 separate events — from rugby sevens to track & field — bringing with them over 10,000 athletes keen to be crowned champion in front of a world stage. While Rio is the host city for this year’s event, the action will take place in other cities across Brazil too, including Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Manaus and Brazil’s federal capital, Brasilia — wonderfully showcasing the beauty and vibrancy of this majestic country.

If you’re looking to follow in the footsteps of this year’s Olympians — albeit, by much more serene means — have you considered cruising to the Americas via a perfectly appointed ocean liner?

Here at Cruise1st Australia, we offer hundreds of exciting cruises to South America, the majority of which are inclusive of flights and transfers — so you can travel in luxury across the Pacific and explore this vibrant continent at your leisure.

To convince you that South America could well be the perfect place for your next cruise break, here we explore the wonderful far-flung destinations you can visit en-route to Brazil — from Chile to Argentina.

Peru

Start your South American cruise odyssey in Peru, an exotic and limitlessly varied country on the northwest coast of the South American continent. Dissected by the stunning Andes mountain range, Peru boasts exotic rainforests and arid deserts, giving it a geographical aspect that’s quite unlike any country on earth.

Book a South American cruise break travelling to Peru, and you’ll make dock in Lima — the country’s capital city, and one of the only destinations in the country regularly visited by international cruise liners. With a population of 8 million, Lima is Peru’s biggest and most populous city, fusing thousands of years of history with the fun-filled vibrancy of contemporary Peruvian culture.

Upon docking in Lima’s expansive harbour, venture forth into the city’s historic centre, where a raft of exquisite Baroque, Rococo and Renaissance architecture awaits. Much of the city is protected by UNESCO on account of its historic significance and stunning beauty — making it a great place to sit and enjoy a glass of that most thirst-quenching of Peruvian beverages, the Pisco Sour.

 Must Sees in Peru

Machu Pichu in Peru is a breathtaking place in the Andes

 Before leaving Peru and venturing south to countries like Chile, you must book an excursion to Machu Picchu, the iconic 15th century Inca citadel which perches high in the Andes Mountains. Trips from Lima to Machu Picchu depart regularly, and it’s well worth the journey by coach if you want to cast your eye on this once-in-a-lifetime visitor attraction.

 Chile

Travelling south along South America’s brooding Pacific coastline, you’ll come upon arguably the continent’s most beautiful, tranquil and uninhabited country, Chile. With its epic 4,300km coastline and 750,000km2 area, Chile is one of South America’s biggest countries, yet is only home to some eighteen million people, making it one of the world’s most scarcely populated countries.

This paltry population means much of Chile remains untouched by urbanisation, giving the country a dramatic scenic backdrop that’s simply impalpable. From the waterless stretches of the Atacama Desert to the labyrinth of inlets, canals and fjords that grace its southern tail, Chile affords unbounded natural beauty — so don’t forget the camera.

Choose to cruise to Chile, and your journey will bring you to the country’s illustrious capital city, Santiago. Founded in 1541, Santiago is the country’s largest and most populated urban centre. The city is located in Chile’s central valley, and is flanked on all sides by the Andes Mountains, which can be seen from most neighbourhoods within the city. Though not coastal, Santiago is a popular destination for cruise travel on account of its rich culture and thriving restaurant and theatre scene.

Must Sees in Chile

chilean fjords are a hidden gem of south america

As well as Santiago and a handful of other ports on Chile’s vast Pacific coastline, most ships visiting the country will call at the Chilean Fjords. Arguably the most beautiful region in all of Latin America, the Chilean Fjords are a series of channels and lakes interspersed with snow-capped peaks and glaciers, offering spellbinding vistas you’ll simply never forget.

 Argentina

After negotiating Cape Horn at the very base of South America, the next port of call on your South American cruise odyssey is Argentina. Like Chile, Argentina boasts a vast coastline covering some 4,989km between Buenos Aires and Rio Grande, as well as a landlocked northern territory bordering Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile.

And it’s this sheer size and geographical variation which gives Argentina its evocative blend of coast and country. From the Andes Mountains to the Pampas grasslands, and every glacial lake and sun-drenched plaza in between, Argentina is a land of immense contrast — lending itself perfectly to a stimulating cruise itinerary.

Travelling north towards the country’s capital, Buenos Aires, you’ll stop off in several destinations en-route, including Santa Cruz, Puerto Madryn and Bahía Blanca. Each of these ports unlocks a roster of stimulating excursions and trips, including the Los Glaciares National Park, Quebrada de Humahuaca and Teatre Colón.

Upon reaching the country’s capital city, Buenos Aires, you’ll be bowled over by the cosmopolitan vibrancy of the place. Affectionately nicknamed the ‘Paris of South America’, the centre of Buenos Aires has a distinct European flavour, with boulevards lined with stately 16th-century buildings and ample retail opportunities spilling forth from the Plaza de Mayo.

Must Sees in Argentina

iguazu falls in argentina, one of the country's most beautiful landscapes

Buenos Aires might be the last place it’s possible to visit by sea in Argentina, but trips to the country’s beautiful northern territory are available from the capital. Of the daytrip destinations offered from Buenos Aires, we’d recommend booking an excursion to the Iguazu Falls — one of Argentina’s most majestic beauty spots. Often cited amongst the world’s most visceral natural wonders, Iguazu is a series of powerful falls stretching for some 3km, separating Argentina from its neighbour, Brazil.

 Brazil

After traversing the monumental coastline of Argentina, you’ve at last made it to Brazil, where the real fun can begin. With its seemingly yearlong carnival atmosphere, Brazil has cultivated a sense of fun and vibrancy unmatched by any other country in South America — making it a dream destination for those who like their weather hot and their welcomes warm.

Trumping both Argentina and Chile with its 7,491km coastline, Brazil is South America’s largest state, and borders every country on the continent except Chile and Ecuador. Indeed, Brazil is so big it covers nearly 50% of South America, and is the fifth largest country on the planet by surface area.

The perfect candidate for the summer Olympics, then — but how does Brazil fair as a cruise destination? Well, thanks to its abundance of stunning beaches, scenic beauty spots, rich heritage and selection of world-celebrated destinations including Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil should be at the very top of your cruise break wish list.

Must Sees in Brazil

copacabana is probably the most famous and emblematic beach in brazil

Whether you’re travelling to Brazil for the Olympic games or not, the country boasts endless must-sees, so it can be hard to see everything you’d like in a single trip. Given that all cruises to Brazil make port in Rio, make sure to schedule in visits to some of the city’s most famous sites, including Christ the Redeemer, Copacabana Beach, Sugarloaf Mountain, Tijuca Forest and of course, the Maracana Stadium which will play host to the Olympic Opening Ceremony on August 5.

Does a South American cruise sound like your idea of the perfect trip? Then click here to view our complete range of cheap cruises to the Americas, or call our team today on 1300 857 345.

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About Author

Alyssa Beit

Alyssa lives in Sydney, NSW. Born on the 14th October and is a Social and Human Service Assistant at Cruise 1st Australia. She is in her early 40’s and loves tranquility on luxury cruises.

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