South America is a land of utmost beauty, and offers destinations that nowhere else in the world can compare to. With so many places to see, everywhere you turn in this region presents a new adventure. From the bright city of Rio, to the snowy mountains of Chile, South America is a place of extreme diversity. For ideas on what there is to see, here are our favourite shore excursions.
1. The Amazon River, Brazil
The Amazon River is on many 'to-see' lists, and this is largely due to the fact that it remains shrouded in mystery, and seems an obscure place that is a million miles away from the Western world. To be able to explore this incredible part of the globe from the comfort of a cruise ship is a truly fantastic opportunity. Passengers can simply journey along the river, taking in all the stunning flora and fauna along the way. With over a thousand species of birds, and over 40,000 different plants, cruisers will undoubtedly be witness to an astonishing array of wildlife.
2. Monkey Watch, Colon, Panama
This excursion is definitely one of our favourites. and allows you to experience an exciting and fun trip where you can get up close to the fantastic wildlife that Panama has to offer. After a short boat ride through the heart of the amazing Panama Canal, you will slow down and enter the labyrinth of the jungle-filled islands of Lake Gutun. You will have the chance to see many different kinds of monkeys, as well as sloth, crocodiles, and turtles. Led by a trained guide you will learn all about the animals and plant life of these remarkable jungles.
3. Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is widely considered to be one of the top 10 places to visit in the world, and definitely deserves a place in our Top 10 South America excursions. If you are due to stop in Peru during your cruise, you will certainly want to visit this world-renowned Inca site, that is one of the most pictured attractions in the world. Exploring giant walls, terraces, and a whole lost city that stands 2,430 metres above sea level, you will want to take a camera for this adventure. This excursion is a once in a lifetime experience that will leave you with everlasting memories.
4. Kayak with Sea Lions, Puerto Madryn, Argentina
After a short safety briefing and lesson on how to handle your kayak, you can take advantage of this amazing opportunity of paddling towards the Punta Loma Nature Reserve, which is home to over 600 sea lions and several species of bird - including oystercatchers and rock cormorants. Wildlife aside, this unique vantage point also plays host to stunning views of rocky cliffs and pebbled beaches.
5. Rio City Tour, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is one of the most recognisable cities in the world, and if your cruise stops here you will definitely want to take a city tour to ensure you see as much as you can. There will be a range of different city tours available to you, so choose the one that suits you the most, from a morning or afternoon, to a full day adventure.
We recommend a tour that includes the Flamengo Park cable car, as this is an amazing experience. The cable car takes you to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, where you can marvel at the outstanding views of mountains and beaches on the horizon. Another big highlight is of course the Christ the Redeemer statue - the iconic symbol of Brazil.
6. Embera Indian Village Experience, Panama
Long after Spanish colonisation, the Embera Tribe are one of few who have maintained their ancient traditions. A visit to Embera Indian Village will leave you with an understanding of the customs and lifestyle of the tribe, as they welcome you to their world of native culture and ancient rituals, including a ceremonial dance presentation just for you. If you're looking for an authentic souvenir from your South American holiday, be sure to take a look at the detailed handmade crafts.
7. Machalilla National Park, Manta, Ecuador
As your tour starts, you will have the opportunity to explore the Agua Blanca Museum, for some of the oldest found artefacts in South America. Machalilla National Park itself has an abundance of beaches, forests, oceans, offshore islands, and is home to the only coral formation found on the Ecuadorian mainland coast. Enjoy your day walking around and learning about the history of this fascinating place, as well as catching sights of various wild animals. If you're lucky enough to spot them, the ocean regions of the park are a breeding ground for the humpback whale. When you have finished walking you can even enjoy some relaxation time on the beach - perfect!
8. Easter Island, Chile
This Chilean island lies in what is classed as Polynesia, and is equal distance from South America and Tahiti. It is known all over the world for the fascinating and domineering monoliths known as Moai - or simply the Easter Island Heads. Scientists have been studying the statues since they were found by Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen back in 1722, and believe they date back to around 1200 AD. Take a cruise to this stunning part of the world, and be absorbed by this interesting and unique history.
9. Tierra del Fuego National Park, Ushuaia, Argentina
In Argentina, journey to the world’s southernmost city and come home knowing that you couldn’t have travelled further south unless you took a trip to Antarctica. A wildlife cruise on a catamaran will take you into the Beagle Channel, close up to the nesting grounds of many regional birds and seals for some excellent photo opportunities.
Offering postcard-perfect scenes, Tierra del Fuego National Park is an oasis of pristine lakes, snow-capped mountains, ancient forests, and wildflower meadows. There are hiking trails of all levels, and if you visit when the lake isn’t frozen, you can also kayak.
10. Iguassu Falls, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Embark on a land and sea adventure during which you can fly to Iguassu Falls, an astounding natural wonder of the Southern Hemisphere. Taller than Niagara Falls, and set in a horseshoe shape over the Iguassu River, this is one of the most spectacular sights you will ever see. An extraordinary amount of water thunders down these falls in this tropical, almost surreal location.
Discover our wide selection of South American cruises.