Shore Excursions in Central & South America
By Viator, February 2015
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
Puerto Quetzal is the gateway to the Guatemalan city of Antigua, known for its Spanish Baroque architecture. The easiest way to get to Antigua, 50 miles (80 km) north, is to book a shore excursion with port pickup. The language is Spanish, and the currency is the quetzal (named after the national bird).
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Puntarenas lies on the Gulf of Nicoya on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, in the northern half of the country. Some ships dock right in Puntarenas, while others pull into Puerto Caldera, a 20-minute taxi ride from town. Experience one of Costa Rica’s famed activities – ziplining through the treetops – on a shore excursion, or take to the water on a kayaking or rafting tour. The language of Costa Rica is Spanish, and the currency is the colon.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s second-largest city and is known, of course, for its outrageous Carnival celebrations. Ships dock at Pier Maua, which is walking distance from the central business district. Take a shore excursion to visit Corcovado Mountain and Christ Redeemer Statue, or head to Copacabana or Ipanema for a taste of Rio’s famous beach scene (thong bikini optional). Brazil’s official language is Portuguese, and the currency is the real.
The language of Argentina is Spanish, and the currency is the peso.
Argentina’s capital and largest city is a colorful metropolis of graceful European-style architecture, fiery foods like chorizo and tango performances in the streets. Ships dock half a mile (less than 1 km) from the city center. Shore excursions can take you out of the city on day trips to a gaucho ranch or the Tigre Delta. Stay in town to visit sites like Recoleta Cemetery and explore neighborhoods like La Boca.
On the central coast of Argentina, Puerto Madryn is the gateway to the nearby Valdes Peninsula and its outdoor delights. Ships dock about 4 miles (6.5 km) from the center of town. Take a shore excursion to dive with sea lions or visit a penguin colony, or visit the Welsh colonial settlements.
Known as the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia is the hub of Argentinean Patagonia and offers a myriad of outdoorsy activities, from shore excursions to Tierra del Fuego National Park to cruises around the Beagle Channel. Ships dock at the Port of Ushuaia, in the heart of town.
Chile’s official language is Spanish, and the currency is the peso.
Located in Chile’s Lake District, Puerto Montt is a small town with big natural scenery, surrounded by water, mountains and national parks. Take a shore excursion to Petrohué Falls, enjoy a cruise on Todos los Santos Lake, or explore the area’s old German settlements. Ships anchor in the bay and tender you to shore.
Chilean Patagonia awaits you when you pull into Punta Arenas. Penguins are the big attraction here, and a cruise to Otway Sound will give you a chance to see them up in their natural habitat. The town is easily walkable, so check out the statue of explorer Ferdinand Magellan and browse the shops of Avenida Bories. Cruisers are tendered to shore from the ships.
Chile’s capital and largest city is Santiago, which sits inland, about 70 miles (115 km) from the port at Valparaiso, where cruise ships dock. A city tour shore excursion with port pickup is an easy way to make the drive and see top city sights, like Casa Colorada, San Francisco Church and Plaza de Armas. Or, stay in Valparaiso to soak up its relaxed, seaside atmosphere.
The language in Uruguay is Spanish, and the currency is the Uruguayan peso.
Uruguay’s capital and largest city Montevideo lies on the country’s southern coast, just across the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires. Ships dock at the Puerto de Montevideo on the city’s southern edge; taxi is the easiest way into town if your ship doesn’t offer a shuttle. A private sightseeing shore excursion with wine tasting will give you the deluxe treatment, or explore on your own, checking out Plaza Independencia and the Ciudad Viejo (Old City).
Punta del Este
Punta del Este sits on Uruguay’s southeastern tip, on the Atlantic coast. It’s a stylish coastal town that attracts an upscale international crowd, and the beaches are the main attractions. Take a wine tour shore excursion to see what lies beyond the city, or explore attractions like the Uriburu Museum of Contemporary Art. Ships dock in the port in town or anchor in the bay and tender passengers to shore.
Tours & Tickets
Rio de Janeiro Shore Excursion: Corcovado Mountain, Christ Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain Day Tour
Combine two of Rio's most popular tours on a full-day shore excursion packed with breathtaking views. Int he morning, you'll enjoy a panoramic city tour and ... Read more
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)
While at port in Rio, experience year-round Carnival at a Plataforma Show in Leblon. You’ll be mesmerized by professional drummers and costumed samba dancers ... Read more
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 3-5 hours