South America is a huge place that can offer a rich variety of experiences for the adventurous. As the fourth largest continent in the world, South America encompasses geography ranging from the tropical to sub-Arctic, and so a huge diversity of terrain, flora and fauna are potentially waiting to be explored. One of the best ways to get a taste of many of the most enticing Latin American countries is through cruising. Thanks to the increasing number of cruise deals now offered by operators like Thomas Cook, this option is more accessible than ever. Here are some brief outlines of two the most popular routes now on offer through the cruise deals provided by the major players in Latin America, which take in the contrasting climates of the continent.
Cape Horn has for centuries presented a maritime challenge, and before the advent of modern naval technology was a byword for danger. These days, with the sophisticated navigation equipment fitted to large cruise ships, round-the-Horn cruise deals offer a chance to see the magnificent fjord like channels, inlets and straights of southern Chile without risking life and limb. These cruises regularly take in the ports of Puerto Madryn in Patagonia, Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, Ushuaia in the far south of Argentina, and the Chilean port of Puerto Montt. Ushuaia is often described as the southernmost city in the world, and is the capital of the Argentinean province of Tierra del Fuego. Round the Horn cruises present an opportunity to experience some breathtaking natural beauty, but can understandably get a bit chilly!
By contrast, Amazon River cruises will require no thermally insulated clothing, and provide an introduction to the largest river system and most extensive ecosystem in the world. Indeed, the main challenge for the average European passenger will be keeping cool, as the frequently high humidity can really accentuate the effect of the not inconsiderable temperatures to be found pretty much year round. Amazon River cruise ships can vary quite considerably in size. Those venturing far upriver are relatively small when compared to their ocean going cousins, partly due to the need for a shallow draught. Large ocean going ships can also make it many miles inland, thanks to the massive scale of the Amazon anywhere near the coast. Most Amazonian cruises are focussed on Brazilian ports such as Parintins, Santarem, Recife, and Alter do Chao.
Cruising in June will offer the chance to visit the Boi Bumbá folklore festival in Parintins, after a stop off at the popular tourist destination of Santarem. Recife is a port on the Atlantic Ocean, and is known as the Brazilian Venice, thanks to the fifty or so bridges that link between the many rivers and islands on which the city in built.
Latin American cruises can allow exploration of territory from Brazil to Antarctica, and so can provide something of interest for practically everyone.