Journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean via the southernmost tip of South America. Your first stop is Montevideo, Uruguay. Spend the day exploring this charming, cosmopolitan city of parks and colonial architecture, or pay a visit to a local vineyard and sample its wines. While in Ushuaia, Argentina, witness the spectacular beauty of Tierra del Fuego’s lakes, lush forests, soaring mountains and flora and fauna by train, via all-terrain vehicle or on horseback. All this followed by glacier cruising and wildlife watching along the Beagle Channel. And when your cruise concludes in Santiago, Chile, make time to enjoy the country’s scenic Central Valley as well as the stunning Andes, with their world-class vineyards and ski resorts.
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Some people call it the ‘Paris of South America’ and it’s not hard to see why. Buenos Aires is a romantic and elegant city of wide boulevards, grand houses, lively cafés and tempting stores and boutiques. At night, the city takes on a more seductive tone with great restaurants serving up prime Argentine steaks and the rhythms of tango in dozens of dance halls.
The towering hill of El Cerro guards the entrance to Montevideo, which as well as being Uruguay’s capital is a lovely resort. Explore the charming streets and fine 18th and 19th-century colonial architecture of the old town, take a stroll along the sweeping waterfront with its parks and beaches and visit the fabulous Estevez Palace.
Known as the ‘Galapagos of the East Coast, Puerto Madryn is home to an incredible array of unusual wildlife and at the Peninsula Valdes reserve you can see sea lions, elephant seals, Magellan penguins and other seabirds in their natural habitat. And in town, don’t be surprised to see Welsh street names – the port was founded by settlers from Wales in the 19th century.
A little bit of England in the South Atlantic, the Falkland Islands are home to fewer than 3,000 people and the main town, Stanley, is the smallest and most remote capital in the world. A self-guided maritime history trail recalls the days when great sailing ships called here on their voyages round Cape Horn, and there are tours of the battlefields fought over in the 1982 conflict.
Ushuaia is the southernmost town in the world and the jumping off point for Antarctic expeditions. Surrounded by forests, snowcapped mountains, rivers and waterfalls, it stands on the edge of the Tierra del Fuego National Park, home to some of the most incredible wildlife in the world.
Punta Arenas stands on the Strait of Magellan, named after the explorer who came this way in 1520. You can see his statue in the town and legend has it that if you rub the foot of the statue, good luck will come your way. Before the opening of the Panama Canal, the port was busy with cargo ships rounding Cape Horn, but today things are a little more leisurely.
This little port town is set on a narrow, scenic fjord in the middle of the some of Chile’s most spectacular coastal scenery. Deep fjords slice deftly into the base of the snowcapped Andes and massive glaciers make their leisurely progress through ancient valleys, creating a paradise for wildlife.
Puerto Montt is a small provincial city right at the heart of Chile’s beautiful Lake District. You’ll take lots of photos as you tour the wonderful scenery with blue and green lakes, river rapids and waterfalls standing against a backdrop of snowcapped volcanic peaks. In town, be sure to check out the handicraft markets selling locally made goodies like sweaters and baskets.
Cerro Polanco Funicular offers great views of the harbour and surrounding hills. Relax on the beach at Via Del Mar. Set at the foot of the Andes, Santiago is Chile’s oldest city and also its capital.
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