Wildlife & adventure on South America & Antarctica cruises

There's only word that sums up South America & Antarctica - adventure. Whether it's exploring some of the 1.4 billion acres of Amazon rainforest, or swimming with pink dolphins in the winding river, walking with some of the oldest creatures on Earth on the Galapagos Islands, or chilling with the penguins on Elephant Island there is so much for explorers here. The Amazon rainforest helps stabilise our global climate as well as providing a home for some of the most diverse creatures on Earth; exploring this wilderness really will leave you spellbound. If you're thinking of cruising to South America cruises, then an itinerary with Antarctica featured is a must. This isolated continent is extremely hard to reach, and a cruise is probably the easiest way to visit it. There are no land mammals in this icy country, so the best place to spot the seaside wildlife is from the ocean - penguins, seals and killer whales (orcas) all call Earth's southernmost continent home. Read more information about this isolated Continent and start planning your next cruise holiday.

There are so many itineraries and ports of call to choose from, below is a list of the key ones to help you pick your once-in-a-lifetime cruise. If you've already made your mind up then head straight to our offers now, and then give us a call to book your South America & Antarctica cruise today.

  • From the Amazon to the Sahara

    From the Amazon to the Sahara

    Hurtigruten, MS Fram, 29th Mar 17, 17 nights, sailing from Manaus


    Cruise Only from £CALLpp
    Fly + Cruise from £CALLpp
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  • South America from Rio de Janerio

    South America from Rio de Janerio

    Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Sun, 31st Mar 17, 10 nights, sailing from Rio de Janeiro


    Cruise Only from £562pp
    Fly + Cruise from £2061pp
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  • Brazil

    Brazil

    MSC Cruises, MSC Preziosa, 31st Mar 17, 3 nights, sailing from Santos, Brazil


    Cruise Only from £CALLpp
    Fly + Cruise from £CALLpp
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  • Baltra, Galapagos, Ecuador to Baltra, Galapagos

    Baltra, Galapagos, Ecuador to Baltra, Galapagos

    Silversea, Silver Galapagos, 1st Apr 17, 7 nights, sailing from Baltra, Galapagos Islands


    Cruise Only from £CALLpp
    Fly + Cruise from £CALLpp
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  • Galapagos Southern Loop

    Galapagos Southern Loop

    Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Xperience, 1st Apr 17, 7 nights, sailing from Baltra, Galapagos Islands


    Cruise Only from £3693pp
    Fly + Cruise from £CALLpp
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  • Galapagos Outer Loop

    Galapagos Outer Loop

    Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Xpedition, 2nd Apr 17, 7 nights, sailing from Baltra, Galapagos Islands


    Cruise Only from £3563pp
    Fly + Cruise from £4853pp
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Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

The first stop when arriving in Brazil's most famous city is Copacabana Beach. This popular beach has beautiful waters, beautiful sand and is packed full of beautiful people. As well as catching some sun there's also great eateries nearby, whether you're after some authentic Brazilian cuisine or something with an international flavour. Head to Grumari Beach for a quieter experience; this isolated beach has no kiosks, hotels or restaurants in sight so you can marvel at its cleanliness and natural beauty. Next, board the train to Corcovado Mountain in Tijuca National Park and visit one of the most iconic landmarks in the world - the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Tijuca National Park is also a great rainforest to explore, covering 8,300 acres it is the largest urban rainforest on the planet. Hike, hand-glide or climb Corcovado Mountain, the highest peak in the park, for breathtaking panoramic views of the city below. Experience Latin America by night in the neighbourhood of Lapa, a short cab ride away from Rio de Janeiro. Here, you will find live music venues, tapas and delicious refreshing cocktails to end your stay in this captivating city.

Antarctica

This isolated continent takes around two days to get to from South America (depending on your departure port). It's the coldest, windiest place on Earth so do bear in mind your itinerary could be changed if weather conditions are too treacherous. Why visit the White Continent at all? Antarctica is all about scenery and wildlife, this untouched landscape is covered with snow-capped mountains, icebergs and dramatic rock formations. Key highlights include Deception Island, formed from a volcanic eruption this island is home to many penguins; Lemaire Channel, nicknamed Kodak Gap, this waterway is 2km long and home to humpback whales; Elephant Island, where explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's crew lived for four months and Paradise Harbour where glistening glaciers and penguins dominate the picturesque landscape.

Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Shop 'til you drop in the fashionable capital of Argentina. If you're after trendy boutiques and art galleries head to La Boca neighbourhood to experience a vibrant part of Buenos Aires. As well as shops, La Boca has great cafes and restaurants, so grab an espresso in the plaza and watch the world go by. If you're after a bit of Argentine history then take the trip to Plaza del Mayo, a popular tourist hotspot since Argentina declared independence from Spanish colonial rule on 25 May 1810. Famous buildings here include the Casa Rosada (or Pink House), the Presidential HQ, which is better known as the place Evita spoke to the poor labour class from the balcony, and Pirá de Mayo (May Pyramid), Argentina's oldest monument. End your day in Buenos Aires at the port of Puerto Madero, this neighbourhood is lit up at night and is home to some of the best tango clubs in the city.

Lima (Peru)

Lima is one of the few places on Earth that has a golf course in the middle of its financial district and it also houses one of the world's largest fountain parks. If you're a food lover then Lima is definitely worth a visit, Limeños are obsessed with food and Peruvian ingredients are slowly reaching the international market. Take a trip to Surquillo district where you'll find nothing but fresh ingredients (chillies, limes and fish to name a few) and the national drink, Pisco Sour, a grape brandy beverage. Lima is also home to some stunning architecture, including Government Palace, Cathedral of Lima, Church of San Francisco and Pucllana Temple. Despite being built on a desert Lima is known as the 'Garden City' in Peru. Head to El Malecón and experience a six-mile stretch of gardens and parks perched on the cliff edges next to the Pacific Ocean. For entertainment, bars and restaurants, and a rather unusual setting, head to Larcomar (in the Miraflores district) this part of Lima is nearly invisible from a distance as it is built into the cliffside.

Santos (Brazil)

This city in Brazil may not be visited as much as Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo, but it has a lot to offer. It's famous for two things: coffee and the legendary Brazilian football player, Pele. Brazil is the world's largest supplier of coffee, so make sure you make the trip to the museum, Coffee Exchange, where farmers once haggled with barons over the price of crops. Vendors will also give you a free sample to take away. Another great draw to this city is its beaches. Santos' 400,000 citizens enjoy over 300 days of sunshine every year, and its pristine beaches make for a relaxing afternoon. Make the trip up Monte Serrat on a funicular (type of cable car) and take in the beautiful panoramic views of Santos from the peak.

Ilha Grande (Brazil)

This special island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro (around 100 miles) is known as the 'Caribbean of Brazil'. There are around 350 different islands in the region, with over 100 beaches and 56 waterfalls. The reason Ilha Grande is so special and worth a visit is because it is home to the Atlantic rainforest - only 5% of this rainforest remains and it hosts one of the richest ecosystems on the planet. There are plenty of activites to get involved in on Ilha Grande including diving, snorkelling, kayaking and sailing.

Robinson Crusoe Island (Chile)

This volcanic island is also known as Juan Fernandez Island and was first discovered by the Portuguese sailor of the same name in 1575. It's more famous name comes from Daniel Defoe's story of a famous Scottish sailor who was stranded on the island for four years; Robinson Crusoe was first published in April 1719. Wildlife and sport are the two main points of interest on this Chilean gem, so keep an eye out for fur seals and hummingbirds. Sporting activities on offer include horse riding, fishing and hiking while other key attractions such as caves, the Juan Fernandez National Park and the Santa Barbara Fortress are well worth a visit. The island is located around 400 miles off the coast of Chile, and it can get rather cold, the best time to visit is between November and April.

Stanley (Falkland Islands)

These British-owned islands off the coast of Argentina (around 300 miles) have a population of around 2,500 islanders and Stanley is the main town. Stanley's community is extremely close-knit and friendly and the locals love nothing more than a drink with a tourist. If Stanley is on your itinerary it is worth noting that many cruise ships fail entirely to dock in the harbour due to high winds. The area in fact had a high number of ship wrecks in the 19th century and when the tide is out around 20 hulls are still visible today. If you do have the time then a penguin excursion is a must, the Falklands are home to Gentoo, King and Magellanic penguins.

Cartagena (Colombia)

Cartagena is a UNESCO World Heritage site situated on the northern coast of Colombia. This historic Spanish colonial city features architecture you'd expect to find in Spain - from pastel-coloured buildings to bustling open squares. Food and drink is, however, influenced by the Caribbean - fresh fruits and seafood can be purchased from markets and the view out to the Caribbean Sea will transport your imagination to one of the nearby islands. Cartagena is largely untouched, it still has 16th century walls surrounding the city and cobbled streets and balconies making it a truely romantic setting. Why not add to the romance and take a horse and carriage ride as night falls? Other great activities include water sports in the crystal Caribbean waters - kayaking, wind-surfing and water-skiing are among the sports on offer.

Gardner Bay (Galapagos Islands)

A cruise to these inspirational islands really is breathtaking. Travel in the footsteps of the great Charles Darwin and spot many of the creatures that led him to write the Theory of Evolution. Wildlife and nature are the key aspects of this port of call; from stingrays, seals, sea lions, sea turtles, mockingbirds and finches to lava lizards and Galápagos giant tortoises, the list is endless. Gardner Bay itself is situated on Espanola Island, if you fancy a wander along the beautiful white sandy beaches or a paddle in the ocean then be prepared to share the area with Galápagos sea lions. These stunning mammals dominate this area of the island and you can even take a swim with them.

Valparaiso (Chile)

The largely forgotten port of Valparaiso is situated around 69 miles north of Santiago. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 and it's dominated by winding roads up hillsides; stunning vistas; and funiculars (a form of cable car) climbing up the steepest of hills. Spot the colourful buildings around every corner, from the blue of the Naval Command Building to the neighbourhood of Cerro Concepción bright-coloured paint coats iron facades and to get there you have to take the city's oldest funicular. Tours operating throughout the city include hiking tours into the countryside, a city tour bus ride, harbour excursion and, if you have the time, a trip to Chile's capital of Santiago.

Punta del Este (Uruguay)

This south eastern city of Uruguay is known as the St Tropez of Latin America, thanks to its casinos, swanky nightclubs, beautiful beaches and 5* resorts. Spend the day lazing on one of the many sandy, white beaches, or try your hand at surfing some of the mega waves of the Atlantic. Summer time (peak month is February) sees the city's population jump from 7,500 to 160,000. Boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs litter Punta del Este and you won't be lost for things to do, day or night. If you're after a bit of culture then seek out the Catedral de San Fernando, built in 1895 it is one of Uruguay's most spectacular churches and took over 90 years to complete. Seafood is always the dish of the day in this portside city; head to the harbour and try the freshest of shellfish, or charter a boat for the day and see what you can catch for yourself.

Ushuaia (Argentina)

This southern city in Argentina sits on the shore of the Beagle Channel, the gateway to Antarctica. Sightseeing around this Ushuaia is easy because of its size, take a wander down Coastal Avenue and have your picture taken next to the End of the World sign. Pick up souvenirs from local craftsmen who make and sell items made of wood, silver, wool, leather and ceramics. Other key highlights include Paseo Centenario, offering panoramic views of the ocean, The End of the World Museum and Tierra del Fuego National Park. Of course wildlife is ever present in these parts and penguins and seal colonies are easy to spot. Finally, end your visit to Ushuaia with a traditional Argentine grill - steak houses serve up this dish across the city.

Frequently asked questions


Why choose a cruise to this part of the world?

If you're a nature-lover then this part of the world is a must for you. The diversity from warm Rio to cool Antarctica means you can experience a number of different animals, vegetation types and cultures. It's the best way to see this part of the world as you can cover so many ports, and a trip to the home of the South Pole really would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Best time to sail?

Antarctica cruises only run throughout the continent's summer - December to February. Do take note that because of the unpredictable weather your itinerary could be changed at the last minute. Ships sailing in South American waters have similar seasons, however because you're closer to the Equator the date range is slightly longer running from November to May.

Where will my cruise begin?

Cruises including Antarctica as a port of call typically begin in Argentina either Buenos Aires or Ushuaia. Generally these cruises start from Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Santiago, Miami or Fort Lauderdale. What this does mean is you need to consider booking a flight with your cruise. Call CruiseDeals now to find out more and book your fly/cruise trip.

Cruise lines sailing to South America?

A number of our key partners sail to this region including Royal Caribbean, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Hurtigruten and Oceania Cruises.

How do I book my cruise?

We like making things easier for you, so all you have to do is give our UK-based contact centre a ring on 08001072323 and our cruise experts will be happy answer any queries you have and book your cruise.