Cruise around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. Yes, check mark on the bucket list. Our cruise was with Celebrity and I see they currently offer a very similar trip for next January / February / March, post COVID 19. The previous year when we were in the Galapagos we met folks who were traveling around southern South America by plane. They strongly advised not to do that – too much time in airports and too many flight delays. Cruising is an excellent alternative and you get to dress up too! Spring for a balcony and I suggest being on the starboard if you are going east to west, for better views of glaciers. The majority of the passengers were South Americans, and one of the first announcements was that dinner and the shows were being pushed back a couple of hours to fit the cadence of a South American day. Worked for us. What a great group to travel with.
We flew Air Canada direct from Toronto to our starting point Buenos Aires (stop in Santiago however no off boarding), and returned direct from Santiago. These flights are long haul at over 10 hours, however no time zone differences more than 2 hours, so no jet lag.
Here is some notes and pictures about the first half of our trip from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cathy and I spent a couple of days in Buenos Aires and that is not nearly enough time. This is an elegant, vibrant and colorful city and we just scratched the surface.
Montivideo and Punta des Este, Uraguay
The public art defined these places for us, as well as the wide flat sand beaches. The folks in Montivideo told us to beware of pick pockets, all of whom are apparently from Argentina and Paraguay. This was funny because in Buenos Aires, they told us to beware of pick pockets, all of whom are from Uraguay and Paraguay. We never got to Paraguay, however I can imagine where their pick pockets originated.
Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Cathy and I decided to take a guided hike along the beach, up the seashore cliffs and to a sheep ranch. What an adventure – the temperature shot up to 100 degrees F, fellow hikers where dropping with heat stroke, and several folks went for help to the estancia. Cathy and I stayed with the sick and watched the vultures circle overhead. Once we were rescued, we rehydrated on beer and the estancia’s private stock of Malbec (its a tough life). I also befriended an alpaca who became very affectionate and then spit on me. So much for being trusting.
Ushuaia is on the southern tip of Argentina. This is the jumping off point for the expedition ships heading to Antarctica. It was a prison colony when the town was only accessible by boat. The story told us was that if prisoners escaped, that they were begging to return in a few days because this place is so isolated, cold and wet. We were lucky as our temperatures were around 60 degrees, and the winds and the seas were calm. On a previous trip, our ship kept heading south due to the rough seas for which Cape Horn is infamous, and finally braved a turn broadside to the waves that caused the boat to keel 25 degrees. That left everyone ‘green’. And the cruise was aborted and the ship returned to Buenos Aires.