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Cruise through South America: 3 ports to visit

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Cruising to South America is a magical experience that should be on every self-proclaimed traveler’s bucket-list. Each country, city, and port offers something special and unique, whether it is an exploration of ancient ruins, an eco-tour to view the finest natural beauty in the world, or a culinary excursion. Let’s take a look at the 3 cruise ports you shouldn't leave off your South American itinerary.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Nicknamed “The Marvelous City,” Rio de Janeiro is a cruise port that absolutely has to be a part of your cruise itinerary to South America. Why cruise to Rio de Janeiro? You’re likely to enjoy gorgeous tropical weather when you’re at port, as well as incredible historical and natural sites. In addition, after the sun sets you can experience the legendary nightlife of the city. (Read more about Rio's famous cachaça cocktails).

Photo - Germania Rodriguez

Cruise Excursion Picks:

It goes without saying that you should check out the religious landmark Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer statue), and Sugarloaf Mountain (which offers a breathtaking view of the entire city). Two other excursions I suggest? Jardim Botanico is a serene, 340-acre Amazonian site full of vibrant and unique flowers and plants. Or, get rowdy at a football match at Estadio Maracana, which is the biggest in South America!

Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile

Another cruise port you just shouldn’t go without on your South American cruise itinerary is Santiago. There’s Chilean treasures and cuisine, exciting and unique personalities, and plenty of cruise excursions. While at port in Valparaiso, you can view (and possibly purchase) the rare Lapis Lazuli stone, or bring home a warm Alpaca sweater. This UNESCO Heritage Site (yes, the whole city) offers a bevy of artists and poets that will awaken your mind and soul. In addition, there’s some unbelievable architecture in the Plaza de Armas and Constitution Square that’s not to be missed!

Cruise Excursion Picks:

There are volumes of exciting things to do while at port. Something special that really gives you a taste of the region is a winery, horse show, and farm tour in the Coast Range (Casablanca Valley). These kinds of culture immersion cruise excursions always leave lasting memories. Or, take the Cerro Polanco Funicular (a famous cable car) and catch some gorgeous views of the city and hills around it.

Photo - Hector Garcia

Lima, Peru

If you’re cruising to South America for discovery and exploration, you must include a stop at Lima, Peru. Mountain peaks, Machu Picchu, and a long lost history of the Incas beckon from the Peruvian landscape. View the beautiful influences of Spanish explorers and Renaissance architecture in the city center, among the religious and historic sites. Lima will inspire and delight you.

Cruise Excursion Picks:

Tour the city. You must see the incredible Plaza Mayor, the Cathedral and the Presidential Palace. In addition, be sure to visit the historic Casa Aliaga. Of course, the most important cruise excursion from Lima is Machu Picchu, which will require several days and a flight to Cusco in the Andes. Head to the mountaintop and explore the historic city and ruins.

Photo - Lorena Flores Agüero

This article was written by guest contributor Austin Gambino from the Cruise Web Team. If you’d like to view some South America cruise deals, check out this page over at The Cruise Web.

SA Expeditions offers land excursions for port calls, as well as Amazon River tours and Galapagos cruises.

Thanks to Jorge Brazil for the title image of this blog.

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