Airfares are surprisingly expensive in South America. There are no low-cost carriers and distances are vast. So we chose a cruise around Cape Horn to see more than we could afford to do by air. It was also a two-week break from self-organized schlepping. And it worked. We are leaving the ship in Buenos Aires refreshed and renewed, anxious to get back on the road again.
As an added bonus, Doug, Dennis & Bill, three good friends from home (pictured here), flew down to Santiago and joined us on the cruise.
Cruising is a very relaxing, low-stress vacation. Walking a few miles around the deck on sea days or walking a few miles in a port-of-call is the most strenuous activity. Given the lack of internet connections, we also took some time off from blogging.
During the cruise, which lasted two weeks, the days were filled with meeting new and interesting fellow travelers from all over the world, eating at least three times a day, watching political news from home (are they serious? Donald Trump?), and enjoying some great live shows. Oh, and Scrabble on most days.
Cruising can sometimes feel like empty-calorie traveling. Pampered and effortless. But again, that was a nice break.
Here are some of the photos from our two-week cruise from Valparaiso Chile around Cape Horn to Buenos Aires Argentina.
Valparaiso, Chile – After five days in Santiago, it was a couple hours by metro and bus to get to the port city of Valparaiso. The cost was very modest, especially compared with the fares paid by passengers who purchased ground transportation arranged by the cruise ship company.
Puerto Montt, Chile -After a wonderful first full-day at sea, we docked in Puerto Montt. We hired a taxi to take us to nearby cities of Puerto Varas and Frutillar Bajo, two towns on the shores of Lago Llanquihue. Both towns, and the surrounding area, are populated by German people, and the architecture and culture reflect a strong German influence. The driver’s limited English let me (Brian) practice my limited Spanish. Given that it was late summer down here, we stopped by the side of the road to pick and eat wild apples and blackberries.
(If you click on the photo montages below, a slideshow should pop up).
Puerto Chacabuco, Chile – A quiet little town. Rather than an excursion into the hills, we took a walk around the sleepy little town and then back to the ship. We lucked out on the weather during the entire cruise.
Cruising down the Chilean Fjords – While cruising down the coast of Chile, rather than being in the open Pacific, our ship navigated through protected inside passages. We saw several large glaciers, including one with a gushing waterfall. Glaciers in South America, who knew? Well, anyone with a knowledge of basic geography probably, but we were pleasantly and blissfully surprised.
Punta Arenas, Chile – Another long walking day. Into town, to the top of the hill for a great vista and visiting the town square.
Ushuaia, Argentina – Took a tour to a national park, allowing us time to hike among the beech trees and visit the southern-most post office in the southern-most city in the world.
Port Stanley, Falklands Islands/Islas Malvina – Argentina is still pretty sore about the British illegally occupying their islands since 1833. Both Argentina and the Falklands feature a number of monuments to the 900 plus soldiers who died in their short war in 1982 over this archipelago of islands with some 3,000 English-speaking inhabitants. Visiting the island was like being transported to a small village in the south of England.
And we were treated to a spectacular sunset aboard ship after leaving the islands.
Montevideo, Uruguay – A beautiful city, a rainy day, and most of the shops in the city were closed down due to a taxi strike.
Buenos Aires, Argentina– We disembarked in beautiful Buenos Aires.