written by
Joe Boone

Fascination is the single best word I can think of to describe how I looked at the continent of South America when I was a child! Sheer and utter fascination to be exact. And how could it not be? Giant Galapagos tortoises just waiting to be ridden (obviously they can’t and shouldn’t be), 500-pound anacondas as long as a school bus, loud and colorful macaws that are monogamous till the end, and treacherous rivers teaming with piranhas and electric eels – what kid in his right mind wouldn’t be fascinated by all that?? 

As my days of childhood passed and I became more enlightened, my fascination with South America only grew as I was introduced to its many natural wonders. Even today, in my adulthood, I am still fascinated by the hundreds of different ethnic groups inhabiting South America, and the two places that still resonate most with me are Argentina and Brazil.? 

Buenos Aires, home of the sexy and energetic tango, is Argentina’s capital and largest city. With three million residents, its population more than triples when adding in its entire metro outreach. A vibrant city full of lovely green parks, plazas, and wide boulevards, Buenos Aires is often referred to as “the Paris of South America.” Its rich multi-cultural lifestyle and its preserved eclectic European architecture, including the hundreds of mausoleums found in its Recoleta Cemetery, and its ever-popular city square, Plaza de Mayo, add to its European charm and flare.?

Head due north of Buenos Aires some 800 miles and you will come to Iguazu Falls. Located on the border with Brazil and considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Iguazu River flows into 275 waterfalls spanning a total of 2.5 miles. The continuous roar of the falls is deafening, and a huge rainbow rises out of the mist reaching up from the bottom.? 

At the lower end of Argentina lies Patagonia, one of the most uninhabited, awe-inspiring regions of the world. The Southern Cone region between Chile and Argentina is overwhelming from north to south and east to west. Here one will find cascading clear rivers, labyrinthine fjords, and turquoise lakes with glaciated mountains, countless valleys, and deciduous and coniferous forests in between. Stealing the limelight, Patagonia’s famed 19-mile-long Perito Moreno Glacier produces a cyclic phenomenon of forward and backward movement that creates spectacular icefalls from its front walls. Truly a sight to behold, it’s perhaps best seen on board one of the smaller tour group boats, offering an up-close experience that’s hard to replicate.? 

When visiting Brazil, it is insistent that one include Rio De Janeiro in their travel itinerary. Easily one of the most photogenic cities in the world, Rio is known for its natural beauty and colorful nightlife, as much as it is for its annual Carnival, the?samba, and nearly 100-foot-tall?Christ the Redeemer?statue. Standing high above the city, it overlooks the world’s largest natural bay, the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, and the colossal granite mountains surrounding its shores. For beach lovers, Rio’s Copacabana Beach and its sun-worshipping crowd are world-renowned, and just off the coast, the island of Ilya Grande offers lush, undeveloped beaches for that romantic interlude.? 

Brazil is dominated geographically by the Amazon Rainforest and its Amazon River basin. While there are many ways to experience the Amazon, a great way to really get to know it is to join a small river cruise with local guides that will take you to remote villages for a better understanding of the Amazon way of life.? 

While the best ways to get up and personal with the people, culture, and natural surroundings of Argentina and Brazil are by solo travel or small tour groups, many award-winning cruise lines offer a number of cruise packages as diverse as the continent itself. Most all include onshore excursions to many of the major attractions and you can live the life of luxury while you complete your journey. Whichever way you choose, contacting a travel professional will ensure that you maximize your time doing what you set out to do in the first place – explore, experience, and enjoy.? 

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