SA-05 South America cruise – Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Falkland Islands (UK), Chile and Peru
Date of travel: Nov 9, 2005 – Jan 4, 2006
In the morning on Nov 9 I drive in a rented car from Vista to Los Angeles airport. In the afternoon I fly with Varig Airlines from LAX more than 11 hours to Sao Paulo in BRAZIL. where early in the morning on Nov 10. Another plane takes me to Manaus on Rio Negro where early in the afternoon. There I board the ship Minerva II. for 8 weeks cruise around the South American continent.
On Nov 11 morning there is a sightseeing of Manaus. It is my third visit of this city. We see the Opera House and the market place designed by Gustav Eiffel. There is a boat ride to jungle and to the confluence of Rio Negro and the Amazon River in the afternoon. In the evening Minerva II. leaves Manaus for 1000 miles (1600 km) journey to the estuary of the Amazon River. Before we reach it, the ship stops at Parintins to see a beautiful Indian show. On Nov 13 there is another stop at Santarem. Here I take a trip to jungle. On Nov 15 at the estuary of the Amazon River we visit city of Belem.
Then Minerva II. follows the coast of Brazil on the Atlantic Ocean to anchor in the city of Fortaleza on Nov 17. After another day on the ocean we stop at Recife on Nov 19. Here we visit the city of Olinda in the morning and Recife in the afternoon. On Nov 21 we anchor in the city Salvador de Bahia which was 200 years the capital of Brazil. The city is divided in the lower and upper part connected by elevators. This is followed by another day on the ocean. On Nov 23 we reach Rio de Janeiro. From several trips I am choosing one to Petropolis outside Rio. There is an imperial palace built in the middle of 19 century in Petropolis. The following day I take a sightseeing of Rio to visit Sugar Loaf, Corcovado with the statue of Christ the Redeemer, Botanical Gardens founded 1809 and the famous beach Copacabana. After another day on the ocean we land in Paranagua on Nov 26. From there we do a day trip to city of Curitiba with most of its population from central, east and southern Europe.
Leaving Brazil Minerva II. takes two days to come to Montevideo URUGUAY. early in the morning on Nov 29. In the past Uruguay served as a buffer between Portuguese Brazil and Spanish Argentina. A day is devoted to sightseeing of Montevideo. It is a pleasant city.
Overnight to Buenos Aires in ARGENTINA.. During the morning sightseeing tour of the city we see Casa Rozada (office of the president) and the Cathedral on Plaza de Mayo, the bohemian Boca district and the well to do Recoleta with the cemetery with the tomb of Evita Peron. In the afternoon I go to Tigre Delta. It is a delta on the Parana River. We have a boat ride here. It is a beautiful place. Day after we have a trip west of Buenos Aires to an estansia in an Argentinean pampa. The estancia is a family ranch where they breed horses, cows and sheep. Local gauchos (cowboys) show us tricks on horses.
Overnight back to Montevideo in URUGUAY. where Dec 3. This time I take a bus tour 120 km west of the capital to Colonia del Sacramento (Unesco Heritage Site). This town still enclosed in walls was founded by Portuguese in 1680. Following two days Minerva II. braves the Atlantic Ocean. There are interesting lectures given on the ship.
Early in the morning on Dec 6 our ship lands back in ARGENTINA. at Patagonian town Puerto Madryn. While some people go to visit Welsh miners, I take a trip to the Valdez Peninsula a favorite place for National Geographic and BBC to film nature programs.
After a day on the ocean we spend Dec 8 and 9 on FALKLANDS ISLANDS.. It is my second visit here. There is the usual sightseeing tour of the main island and I also take a trip visiting places of battles in the Argentinean-British war in 1982. The British governor of the islands joined us for dinner on our ship and had an interesting lecture about the politics and economy of the islands.
Then another day on Atlantic. In the evening that day we sail past the Argentinean Staten Island where Julius Verne put plot of his novel “The Light at the Edge of the World.” In the morning of Dec 11 Minerva II. dropped its anchor in the Beagle Channel at the southernmost city of the world, Ushuaia. We are again in ARGENTINA.. Here we do a trip through “Tierra del Fuego National Park.”
Next day, Dec 12, Minerva II. sails to Cape Horn which belongs to CHILE.. We circumnavigate the little island with the Cape. From Dec 14 to Dec 16 we spend in Chilean city Punta Arenas, which is the southernmost city on the American Continent (Ushuaia is on the island Tierra del Fuego). During 3 days in this city I take a trip to Otway Bay to see the Magellan Penguins, rheas and other animals, I take the sightseeing trip of the city and I go 100 km north of Punta Arenas to an estancia in Patagonia, where a Chilean cowboy is called “huaso.” We also see some 25 Andean condors nesting on a rocky outcropping. Last day I visit a nature reserve on the Island of Magdalena in the Strait of Magellan.
On Dec 17 and 18 Minerva II. sails through the Chilean Fjordland with number of glaciers. On Dec 19 we anchor at Chacabuco harbor at the northern side of this Fjordland. From here I am taking a trip to the capital of Chilean Patagonia, Coyhaique. To get to it we have to overcome the Andes, which are lower here. Next day Minerva II. stops in the town Castro in the Chiloe Archipelago. The following day there is a stop at Puerto Montt. From here there is a tour to the Osorno Volcano. We also see quite a number or waterfalls. In the morning on Dec 23 our ship lands in the city of Valparaiso for 2 days stay. The first day I take a daytrip under the La Campana Mountain which Charles Darwin climbed in 1834. Our trip is led by a botanist from the Kew Gardens in London. The following day there is sightseeing of Valparaiso and of the resort town Vina del Mar. After several days on the Pacific Ocean Minerva II. reaches city of Iquique in the north of Chile on Dec 27. I join a trip to the used to be nitrate mines. It is in the region of Atacama Desert, which is the driest desert in the world. Back in Iquique there is a sightseeing of the city. The following day our ship anchors in the northernmost city of Chile, Arica. In the morning there is a trip to a valley with geoglyphs of old civilizations in Atacama Desert and in the afternoon a sightseeing of Arica.
On Dec 29 is our first landing in PERU.. It is in Matarani harbor from where we have a daytrip to the second largest city of Peru, Arequipa. It is inland some 2400 meters above the sea level and it has about a million inhabitants. Our visit of Arequipa is a holiday for local people. Who can, he shows in the main square, Plaza de Armas. For the city it is economically important day. There are many historical monuments both pre-Columbian and post-Columbian here. The following day we are on the Pacific and on Dec 31 we land in place called General San Martin. Here we board small planes for 12 people and fly above the Nazca Plain to take pictures of the large geoglyphs and lines on the ground. They are thought to have been made between 900 BC and 600 AD.
At noon Jan 1 our ship comes to Callao. It is a harbor for the Peru capital, Lima. While Minerva II. will continue its cruising, I am leaving the ship on Jan 2. The first day there is a sightseeing tour of the city, which was founded by Pizarro in 1535, the same year he with about 150 solders destroyed the Inca Empire. The most important in Lima is the Plaza Mayor with the important buildings including the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, City Hall and others. Then we drive to two well to do districts with beautiful villas and two pyramids from pre-Columbian times. Later I take a taxi to Plaza Mayor to visit places which were not visited during the sightseeing tour from the ship. The last day we have a trip to Pachacamac near the coast which was used by the pre-Columbian cultures.
In the evening some of us are taken a flight to Toronto, Canada. Then I fly to Los Angeles and from there in a rented car home to Vista where in the evening 4.1.
Travel office: Swan Hellenic – a British Travel Company which rents Minerva II.
Who took part: I took 3 section of this cruise. Between Manaus and Buenos Aires there were almost 700 passengers (the ship was practically full), between Buenos Aires and Punta Arenas there were around 550 passengers and between Punta Arenas and Lima there were about 600 passengers. The ship Minerva II. had 32 thousand tons.