Travelers looking to see more of the South American ports beyond a tour that lasts only a few hours can embark on an overland journey or extended shore excursion that goes to places unreached by cruise ships.
Guests in the mood for excitement and adventure will find a perfect shore excursion within South America’s wide array of overland and extended tours. Animal lovers can spend a night alligator-spotting in the Amazon jungle or observing the Adelie penguins in Antarctica. History buffs will love exploring Cuzco and famous Machu Picchu, while shutterbugs will want their camera ready for Iguazu Falls. Whatever you prefer, Holland America Line makes an extended tour an easy option by taking care of every detail.
What are you waiting for? Check out these exciting adventures in South America.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: “Iguazu Falls: Natural Wonder of the World”
Head to the airport at Buenos Aires and board a plane en route to one of nature’s most impressive achievements – Iguazu Falls. This spectacular display of 250 giant cascades twice the height of Niagara Falls plunges over hard granite to a gorge 260 feet below. You will hear the thunderous roar of crashing water and see the magic of a rainbow-colored mist that rises from the cliffs. The Iguazu Falls: Natural Wonder of the World shore excursion is approximately 12 hours long and will have you back to the ship by evening. However, you also have the option of taking the Iguazu Falls Overland Adventure that last two days. In the latter, you will see the falls on the Argentine side and take an ecological train ride to the “Garganta del Diablo,” or Devil’s Throat.
Guest Fossy wrote a review about her experience taking the Iguazu Falls tour in March 2014:
An amazing day. It was hot and humid and a fair bit of walking, but that was all on the flat. The falls were spectacular and well worth the effort and the travel time. Our dinner venue had a fabulous view of the falls. — Guest Fossy
Callao, Peru: “Cuzco and Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Overland Adventure”
If your ship is heading to Callao (Lima), Peru, you have two exciting options for overland adventures. The first is a two-night tour of Cuzco and Machu Picchu. You will fly to Cuzco from Lima and head to the Coricancha Temple of the Sun, built by the Inca Pachacutec from 1438 to 1572. The Spaniards later built the Convent of Santo Domingo over the top of it. You will also have a chance to admire the splendid cathedral in the Plaza de Armas then head to a local restaurant for dinner, ancestral music and folk dancing.
The following day you will take a train along the Urubamba River to the Aguas Calientes Station then ride to Machu Picchu — the Lost City of the Incas where you will immerse yourself in the timeless history and intangible magic of this wondrous citadel. On the third day you will fly back to Lima and set out on a sightseeing drive through Lima’s historic center, also known as the City of the Kings and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will then return to the ship at Callao. This tour can also be taken from Salverry, Peru.
Guest Luckyduck had this say about the shore excursion:
If you get anywhere on the Pacific side of South America, this is a must do. The tour guides were top rate and handled all questions we had and were extremely knowledgeable. The hotel in Cuzco had oxygen available if needed. I didn’t need it and had no problem with the altitude, although others may. The meals were outstanding with a good sampling of Peruvian cuisine. This trip also included tours in Lima with a museum stop with Inca artifacts. — Guest Luckyduck
The second option is a three-night Galapagos Islands Overland Adventure. Guests fly to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and enjoy the afternoon at leisure. The following day fly to the Galapagos Islands and step onto a small ferry that crosses the Channel of Itabaca to Santa Cruz Island. Enjoy seeing the agriculture and wild landscape of the island as well as seeing the famous Galapagos land tortoises in their natural environment. You can also enjoy the Lava Tunnels, formed by the lava floods of the volcanoes, that stretch from the highlands down to sea level.
On Day 3 guests participate in one of three different itineraries, selected by Galapagos National Park:
Itinerary 1: Board a yacht for a day in paradise — beautiful white beaches, clear water and plenty of gorgeous wildlife to observe. Enjoy breakfast while watching the sunrise at sea and spot dolphins in the water. You will hike to the summit at Isla Bartolome for impressive views of the surrounding islands. At the beach you will have the opportunity to snorkel, swim with Galapagos penguins, sea turtles and a great variety of colorful fish.
Itinerary 2: Board a yacht to North Seymour Island and Bachas Beach. Enjoy seeing the cliffs of the beach and observing the seagulls, sea lions and marine iguanas. You will have a freshly cooked lunch aboard the yacht then head to Bachas Beach to hike to a flamingo pond and do some swimming and snorkeling.
Itinerary 3: Step aboard a yacht for a day on Plazas South Island where the turquoise water perfectly complements the white sandy beaches and the black lava rocks on the coast. Hike among basking sea lions and blue-footed boobies. The view from the highest point over the ocean and the powerful waves breaking at the cliffs is one you will never forget. You will continue to Punta Carrion where you will have lunch at the boat and have the opportunity to snorkel and swim in the beautiful waters.
The following day fly back to Guayaquil and transfer to Manta to re-board the ship. This tour is also available during calls at Manta, Ecuador.
Manaus, Brazil: “Amazon Ecopark: A Night in the Jungle”
Make yourself at home in the heart of the Amazon jungle with the Amazon Ecopark: A Night in the Jungle shore excursion. Several streams of clear water run through the Amazon Ecopark Jungle Lodge, and more than six miles of jungle trails enable you to explore and observe the orchids, giant trees, creaks and uncatalogued species. Your meals will consist of local products prepared by the chef on-location, including meats, fish, vegetables and plenty of tropical fruits. You will also have the opportunity to visit the home of some local residents to learn about the traditions of jungle life, and after dinner you will go alligator spotting!
The following day take a tour to learn about jungle survival techniques and Amazonian flora and fauna. Then head to Monkey Jungle, a rehabilitation center for primates where you will observe and photograph the animals during feeding time!
Punta Arenas, Chile: “Antarctica Landing”
The Antarctica Landing excursion is designed for adventurous guests. The expedition begins with a transfer to Carlos Ibanez del Campo Airport in Punta Arenas where you will board your ten-seat aircraft and head over the Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego Island, Beagle Channel and Cape Horn, learning about the people that live in Antarctica, its history, geography, wildlife and politics. The plane will land at Frei Base at below-freezing temperatures and begin an exploration of Antarctica. The exploration focuses on the wildlife that migrates to the region, and also heads to Ardley Island where Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adelie penguins breed. Only 20 people are allowed on the island at once!
If you’re looking to take one of these amazing tours, here are a few cruises that call at the ports:
Zaandam will overnight at Callao Oct. 22, call at Punta Arenas Nov. 2 and overnight at Buenos Aires Nov. 9 as part of the 36-day Inca Discover & South America itinerary departing Vancouver, B.C., Canada, Oct. 5, and 32-day Inca Discovery & South America itinerary departing San Diego, Calif., Oct. 9.
Prinsendam’s 37-day Grand South America & Antarctica Voyage departing Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Jan. 3, 2015, will overnight at Callao January 13 and 14.
Maasdam’s 49-day Amazon & Carnaval Explorer itinerary departing Fort Lauderdale January 23, 2015, will overnight at Manaus March 1.
Whatever adventure you prefer, there is a Holland America Line ship to take you there. For more options and departures, check the Holland America Line website.
What overland tour would you like to do? Tell us in the comments below.