GRAND SOUTH AMERICA & ANTARCTICA CRUISES
Imagine exploring the Amazonian jungle, a world teeming with life. Thrilling to the stark beauty of Antarctica. Discovering the pleasures of tango and grilled Argentine steaks. Comparing Malbecs in a Chilean winery. And relaxing during leisurely sea days on your choice of South American adventures.
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Buenos Aires, Argentina
In the early 20th century, Buenos Aires, Argentina, gained immense wealth when it began shipping its pampas-raised beef around the world. It quickly entered the club of great world cities, and a slew of attractions and architectural jewels soon arose. Since that time, the capital has experienced huge swings in economic and political fortune. But Buenos Aires continues to fascinate and entertain sightseeing visitors, both for its chaotic energy and for its sheer urban beauty. Thankfully, the Belle Époque grandeur and enormous tracts of greenery remain. Any list of things to do in Buenos Aires would begin with its many walkable neighborhoods.
If ever a city were a model for boom and bust, it would be Manaus. Like in America’s Old West, great fortunes were amassed in no time here and vanished just as quickly during the late-19th-century boom years of rubber production. These days, Manaus is busy again: A swank new soccer stadium was added for the 2014 World Cup, and a spectacular cable-stayed bridge opened in 2011 across the Rio Negro. The Ponta Negra suburb has modern high-rises, beaches that rival those on the sea and buzzing restaurants that serve Amazonian specialties like pirarucu fish and acai berries.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Some cities need no introduction, and even fewer cities live up to their reputation the way Rio de Janeiro does, in both the best sense—how visitors experience sheer exhilaration being there—and the harsh reality of its social and economic strains. It’s all about stopping at corner juice bars to enjoy fresh tropical drinks named for fruit you’ve never even heard of, and people-watching along the Copacabana and Ipanema boardwalks. You might take the plunge into Maracaña Stadium to watch a crazy match between crosstown rivals Flamengo and Fluminense or jump on a bike to discover some of Rio’s far-flung and vastly diverse districts.
Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile
Color dominates the seaport city of Valparaíso: Brightly painted houses cling intrepidly to steep hillsides that rise from the Pacific. The city is having a renaissance, and its bohemian culture and emphasis on the arts are felt and seen everywhere. In 2003, UNESCO designated one-fourth of Valparaíso a World Heritage Site.
Stately and monumental Santiago, 120 kilometers (75 miles) inland, offers the visitor such important museums and public buildings as the Museo Precolombino and Palacio and Centro Cultural de La Moneda. A walk along Paseo Ahumada to the Plaza de Armas and the old Mercado Central gives a taste of many different facets of the city.
Dramatic, fantastical, otherworldly—this is the end of the world, for real. Positioned at the southernmost tip of Argentina, this memorable port town is cradled between the pristine—and towering—Martial Mountains and accessed by the picturesque Beagle Channel (which was named for Darwin’s famed vessel). Ushuaia, a maze of streets lined with low-slung buildings, is the capital of the Tierra del Fuego region, which is best described as a spectacular collection of superlative natural wonders. It’s a veritable kaleidoscope of glittering glaciers, snowcapped mountains, dense forests, sparkling lakes and windswept plains spread across an archipelago of rugged islands.