With 2,653-miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, the South American nation of Chile is simply made for cruising. Nestled between the coast and the peaks of the Andes, blessed with diverse and stunning natural beauty, several scenic ports along the lengthy coastline give a warm welcome to cruise ships.
Several cruise lines offer voyages to Chile, which are generally 14 days or longer. Many itineraries sail around the southern tip of South America to call on Argentina, Uruguay, the Falkland Islands or Brazil, too.
In Chile, popular ports include:
Santiago. Valparaiso, the port for Santiago, and has its own attractions; funiculars travel up and down the steep hills dotted with colorful homes and colonial architecture. Still, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit Santiago and its historic center, beautiful parks and spectacular views of the snow-capped Andes in the East and sparkling Pacific waves in the west. In the shops, look for jewelry made with brilliant blue lapis lazuli, Alpaca woolen sweaters, and wooden crafts created by indigenous Mapuche people. Or, take an excursion to the beautiful San Antonio Valley to visit one of the boutique wineries known for their spicy red and delicate white varietals.
Puerto Montt. This fast-growing city was settled by German immigrants, and you’ll see a Bavarian influence in the local architecture and cuisine. This is the capital of the Lake District, a spectacular area of sparkling lakes, rushing rivers, and impressive fjords. A variety of excursions can take you to see these and other natural wonders, including the magnificently brooding Osorno volcano.
Punta Arenas. The port is often cool and blustery but you’ll want to disembark to see the sculpted cypress trees and ornate mausoleums of the City Cemetery. Drive up La Cruz Hill for panoramic views of the city and the Strait of Magellan, or visit adorable penguins at one of the nearby reserves. Some cruise lines offer day excursions to scenic Torres del Paine National Park, or even to Antarctica.
You may also have the option of making a pre- or post-cruise visit to Patagonia, a region of unspoiled beauty that’s shared by Chile and Argentina.
November to March – the South American summer – is the best time to go, so talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert soon.
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