Silversea South America Cruise Valparaiso to Buenos Aires
With over two weeks of wonderful cruising, this Silversea South America journey through the Chilean fjords, Argentina, the Falklands and Uruguay is nothing short of spectacular. Visit Ushuaia, the city at the end of the world, dance a Tango in Buenos Aires during your overnight and marvel at the spectacular beauty of Patagonia’s jaw dropping glaciers as you drift by.
DAY ONE VALPARAISO, CHILE
Valparaíso’s dramatic topography—45 cerros, or hills, overlooking the ocean—requires the use of winding pathways and wooden ascensores (funiculars) to get up many of the grades. The slopes are covered by candy-color houses—there are almost no apartments in the city—most of which have exteriors of corrugated metal peeled from shipping containers decades ago. Valparaíso has served as Santiago’s port for centuries. Before the Panama Canal opened, Valparaíso was the busiest port in South America. Harsh realities—changing trade routes, industrial decline—have diminished its importance, but it remains Chile’s principal port.
DAY TWO DAY AT SEA
DAY THREE PUERTO MONTT, CHILE
For most of its history, windy Puerto Montt was the end of the line for just about everyone traveling in the Lake District. Now the Carretera Austral carries on southward, but for all intents and purposes Puerto Montt remains the region’s last significant outpost, a provincial city that is the hub of local fishing, textile, and tourist activity. Today the city center is quickly sprouting malls, condos, and office towers—it’s the fastest-growing city in Chile—but away from downtown, Puerto Montt consists mainly of low clapboard houses perched above its bay, the Seno de Reloncaví. If it’s a sunny day, head east to Playa Pelluco or one of the city’s other beaches.
DAY FOUR PUERTO CHACABUCO, CHILE
The drive from Coyhaique to the town of Puerto Aisén and its port, Chacabuco, is beautiful. The mist hangs low over farmland, adding a dripping somnolence to the scenery. Dozens of waterfalls and rivers wend their way through mountain formations. Yellow poplars surround charming rustic lodges, and sheep and cattle graze on mossy, vibrant fields. The picture of serenity terminates at the sea, where the nondescript town of Puerto Aisén and its port Chacabuco, Coyhaique’s link to the ocean, sits, a conduit to further beauty.
DAY FIVE LAGUNA SAN RAFAEL, CHILE
Some 150 nautical miles south of Puerto Chacabuco lies Laguna San Rafael National Park. Getting here is in itself a wonderful experience as the ship cruises through waterways, fjords and estuaries that offer stunning scenery. Within the park is the tallest peak in the Southern Andes, Mount San Valentín at 13,310 feet. Fields of ice extend over this mountain and the surrounding hills and from it 19 glaciers are born. However, the most famous attraction is the Mount San Valentín glacier. Here large blocks of ice can be seen calving off the glacier and crashing into the lake with a thunderous roar. Truly an amazing sight!
DAY SIX CRUISING THE CHILEAN FJORDS
DAY SEVEN CRUISING THE CHILEAN FJORDS
DAY EIGHT PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE
Impenetrable forests, impassable mountains, and endless fields of ice define Chilean Patagonia, and meant that the region went largely unexplored until the beginning of the 20th century. Located in the southernmost part of the country, this area is still sparsely inhabited, though you will find a few populated places—like the colorful provincial city of Punta Arenas, which looks like it’s about to be swept into the Strait of Magellan. Some unique wildlife, particularly colonies of elephant seals and penguins, call this breathtaking topography home.
DAY NINE CRUISE BEAGLE CHANNEL & GLACIER AVENUE, CHILE
DAY TEN USHUAIA, ARGENTINA
At 55 degrees latitude south, Ushuaia (pronounced oo-swy-ah; the Argentines don’t pronounce the “h”) is closer to the South Pole than to Argentina’s northern border with Bolivia. It is the capital and tourism base for Tierra del Fuego, the island at the southernmost tip of Argentina. Although its stark physical beauty is striking, Tierra del Fuego’s historical allure is based more on its mythical past than on rugged reality. The island was inhabited for 6,000 years by Yámana, Haush, Selk’nam, and Alakaluf Indians.
DAY ELEVEN DAY AT SEA
DAY TWELVE STANLEY, FALKLAND ISLANDS (MALVINAS)
Tiny Stanley, capital of the Falklands, seems in many ways like a British village fallen out of the sky. Many homes are painted in bright colours, adding visual appeal to this distant outpost. Not far offshore, the wreck of the Lady Elizabeth, is one of the many vessels remaining as a silent testimonial to the region’s frequent harsh weather conditions.
The islands, also known by their Spanish name of Islas Malvinas, are home to arguably more tuxedo-clad inhabitants of the penguin variety than human residents. Various species, such as Gentoo, Magellanic and the more elusive King penguins, either live here permanently or use the Falklands as a stopover on their migration route.
DAY THIRTEEN DAY AT SEA
DAY FOURTEEN DAY AT SEA
DAY FIFTEEN MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY
Uruguay’s only real metropolis has its share of glitzy shopping avenues and modern office buildings. But few visitors come here specifically in search of urban pleasures. This city of 1½ million doesn’t have the whirlwind vibe of Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires, but it’s a fine old city with sumptuous, if worn, colonial architecture, and a massive coastal promenade that—as it passes fine beaches, restaurants, and numerous parks—recalls the sunny sophistications of the Mediterranean. In fact, if you’ve been to Buenos Aires, Montevideo may strike you as a smaller, more manageable, less expensive incarnation of Argentina’s capital.
DAY SIXTEEN PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY
Part Hamptons, part Cote d’Azur, part South Beach (with a dash of Vegas tossed in for good measure), Punta del Este is a flashy destination. “Punta”—five minutes here and you’ll shorten the name just as everyone else does—and the handful of surrounding beachfront communities are, famously, jet-set resorts—places where lounging on golden sand and browsing designer boutiques constitute the day’s most demanding activities. The resort takes its name from the “east point” marking the division of the Río de la Plata on the west from the Atlantic Ocean to the east. It also lends its name to the broader region encompassing the nearby communities of Punta Ballena and La Barra de Maldonado.
DAY SEVENTEEN BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
Incredible food, fresh young designers, and a thriving cultural scene—all these Buenos Aires has. Yet less tangible things are at the heart of the city’s sizzle—for one, the spirit of its inhabitants. Here a flirtatious glance can be as passionate as a tango; a heated sports discussion as important as a world-class soccer match. It’s this zest for life that’s making Buenos Aires one of Latin America’s hottest destinations. Of course, the devalued peso is a draw, too. Equally attractive, if you’re trying to escape the financial doom and gloom abroad, is the locals’ unfazed attitude to the financial crisis—they’ve weathered so many here that this one is barely news.
DAY EIGHTEEN BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA