Best Destinations for Small Ship South America Cruising
Thinking of exploring the vibrantly colourful and historically rich continent of South America? Well, there are many ways for you to ensure a fantastic experience in doing so.
Some you might like to try are those small ship South American cruises which many find more satisfying because:
- Boutique vessels offer a more intimate cruise experience than larger cruise liners with hundreds of people
- Because of their smaller size, they can navigate into different and often more remote and adventurous areas of South America
- Small Ship cruises in South America tend to be more expedition style in nature, focusing on a range of daily excursions and activities to explore the surrounds whilst allowing you to socialise with other tourists in a group style setting
- There are different small ship cruises to cater for different budgets, from more affordable to luxury style offering dining and amenities to match
Travellers inclined to go on a small ship cruise, to travel in South America will be most interested to discover the area and destination these small ships will explore and how long it will take. Luckily most small ship cruises offer long (8 days) and short(4-5) day itineraries for you to choose from.
So what are the best destinations in South America to travel in a smaller cruise ship? Below are some of the best South American cruise destinations based on their scenery and attractions.
Cruise the Galapagos Islands
This group of islands in Ecuador has been described as paradise for science nuts with their swimming iguanas, flightless birds, weird flora and fauna, tortoises, and seals. As an archipelago, the area is perfect for cruising and this is surely the most popular way to ensure that you explore this region. Galapagos Cruises vary in length according to the vessel from 4 to 14 days and programs try to included two landings per day so that you can hike on land and observe the animals in their habitat and appreciate the varied geography of different islands. All registered cruises include Galapagos National Park accredited guides who will be able explain the distinct evolutionary traits of the flora and fauna and most include snorkelling activities, whilst a few specialise in deeper diving.
Amazon Cruise – Peru
The Amazon basin out of Peru is incredibly biodiverse with the Pacaya Samiria reserve home to an incredible range of plant and animal species. Out of the gateway town of Iquitos you have the option of two incredible luxury cruises to choose from. The Delfin and Aqua Expedition vessels both explore this region in style, with ample cabins, amazing on board areas to relax in, a range of activities including jungle treks, piranha fishing, visiting local communities and dining menus that feature Amazonian and world leading Peruvian cuisine. Choose from 4, 5 or 8 day cruise programs exploring different parts of this tributary of the grand Amazon river.
At the southernmost part of Chile and Argentina lies the region often considered, the ends of the earth, Patagonia. A scenic natural wonderland brimming with picturesque national parks, mountain valleys, glaciers and fjords, Patagonia is a scenic cruising paradise but also an area steeped in history of explorers from centuries ago. Vessels in the Australis range of cruising offer unparalelled and interactive voyages through these waters, including soft adventure activities such as landings, hikes and zodiac rides. Departing from Ushuaia in Argentina or Punta Arenas in Chile, you can even sail through Cape Horn in the point to point journey.
Amazon River – Ecuador
Considering that the Amazon is larger in land mass than Australia, the rainforest covers more than one country in South America. And fortunately for cruise lovers, there is more than one way to explore more than one region of the Amazon. Ecuador is a preferred Amazon choice for many birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts and is also home to two distinct small ship cruise options as well. The Anakonda Amazon Cruise is a luxury boutique river cruise with 18 suites, observation deck and outdoor Jacuzzi that travels along the Napo river in the heart of the Ecuadorian rainforest within the Yasuni National Park.
For those with smaller purse strings, the Manatee Explorer offers a similar activity centric program with jungle walks, educational talks with modest cabins and with a more affordable price range. A great alternative to cruise along the tributary of the Amazon River.
Want to know more about travelling in South America? Check out our special Go To Guide featuring a brief summary of 32 of the most popular destinations.