South American cruises can encompass a range of experiences, so there’s no single way to describe them. For example you could cruise to a city like Buenos Aires or Havana, where the cruise itself is a relaxing, enjoyable part of the trip. Or you could embark on a ten-week cruise around the whole of South America, rounding Cape Horn, going through the Panama Canal and viewing and visiting a host of countries’ coastlines and cities, in which case the cruise is the trip for the most part.
So what is it about this part of the world that is so enticing? Well to start with, it runs the whole habitable range of latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere. From 12 degrees North, it stretches southwards past the Equator all the way to 56 degrees South, a distance of 7,500 km. Over an area of 18 million square kilometres, there’s almost every type of ecosystem Earth has to offer – tropical rainforests, mountain ranges, deserts, icy wilderness, flat plains and powerful rivers.
But the continent’s natural geography is just part of the story – there are also the cultural histories that have shaped the land. The indigenous civilizations left incredible architecture and art, and their descendants still form the majority in several modern nations. But the sudden, brutal conquest by Europeans in the 15th and 16th centuries changed everything, bringing new languages, religions, technologies and borders to the continent. That’s why when some people think of South America, they’ll conjure up Machu Picchu, Nazca and Intihuatana, while others will think of tango, Pelé, steaks and Copacabana. In truth it is all this and more, and there’s no better way to experience it than on a magnificent, all-encompassing cruise.
What countries are in South America?
Technically, there are twelve countries in South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. But there’s also French Guiana and the Falkland Islands, which are overseas territories of France and the UK respectively.
Central America is part of the North American continent, and contains Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Mexico lies between Central America and the USA, but isn’t considered part of Central America.
However, all the countries in Central and South America, as well as Mexico, have certain cultural ties, most notably Christianity (mainly Roman Catholicism) and Iberian languages – they all speak Spanish, except Brazil, where Portuguese is the official tongue, a relic of its colonial history.
A Cruise to South America
We’ve touched on the culture and the geography, and we know that people flock to the continent in their millions every year. But why would you specifically want a cruising holiday there? That’s pretty easy to answer.
Cruising is a holiday within a holiday. Flying might be a quick way to get from A to B, but the flight itself is a means to an end. Cruising the great distances from the UK to South America takes days or weeks, and that’s the perfect time to relax, watch many a sunset, have drinks and unbelievable food on deck, and be entertained by singers, comedians and cabaret acts.
Sometimes, the cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, like the 78-night cruise around South America, which reaches Antarctica in the South and stops off at Bermuda, Havana, Guayaquil, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Tenerife and several other ports. You can only begin to imagine the sights, sounds and tastes you’ll experience and the friends you’ll make along the way.
Other times, a Caribbean Cruise can include some stop-offs in South America. On the Latin American Civilisations cruise, you fly to Cuba and spend a fortnight hopping from port to port in Cuba, Mexico, Panama and Colombia before flying back home. You’ll learn so much about ancient and modern life in this balmy part of the world, and have a thousand souvenirs to take home with you.
A cruise to South America is the complete package
So there you have it. If you’re certain South America is your destination of choice, but can’t decide how to get there, or if you’re looking for where to take your next cruise adventure, we hope this article helps you to pick a phenomenal travel combination. We’ll leave it to you to decide which of the many voyages that touch South America would best satisfy your wanderlust, but we can guarantee that you’re going to love the journey just as much as the destination.