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Silversea Cruise in South America

Notes on our South America cruise on board Silver Cloud 
Valparaiso to Fort Laderdale Feb 6-26,2013
Valparaiso
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Valparaiso is colorful and charming and a wonderful place to rest up from your long overnight flight to Santiago-11 hours from New York. Brightly painted houses climb the 45 hills and are decorated with even more colorful murals. It is also close to many
vineyards which make a great stop on your way from the  Santiago  airport.

Coqimbo, chile
The drive inland from Coqimbo, Chile into the Elqui Valley is totally breathtaking. The Andean desert mountainscapes give way to the fertile
vineyards which produce Chile's national drink, Pisco. 

Arica, Chile
Arica, Chile is in the amazing Atacama desert which stretches 600 miles along the coast of Peru and Chile. Awesome landscapes with no sign of animal or plant life stretch on forever. This is the driest place on earth. The mountains and the undulating colors are simply breathtaking.


Matarani, Peru

Arequipa, the "white city" is about a 2-hour drive from the port of Matarani, but the drive is totally spectacular. As you finally approach
Arequipa, the huge snow-capped Andean volcanoes come into view. In the town, the Plaza de Armas with the huge cathedral taking up one whole
side is most impressive. The stunning Santa Catarina Monastery, gives us some insight into how the wealthy daughters of the aristocracy spent
their time as nuns - along with their personal servants! This ia a beautiful colonial town well worth a stopover.

Pisco, Peru
A short drive from the port took us to Pisco Airport where we boarded our 12-passenger plane for the exciting flight over the Nazca lines. The low flying plane gave us amazing views of the landscape then the pilots pointed out each figure and they performed acrobat maneuvers so that
passengers on each side of the plane got a good view. A once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Lima, Peru
Ship offers a complimentary shuttle to the JW Marriott in Miraflores - great location 45 minutes from port. Traffic in Lima is horrendous.
Voyager Club excursion in colonial Lima with lunch Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores.
Visited the Barranco district the following day (by taxi from the Miraflores shuttle stop). Lovely colorful colonial area well worth a few
hours.
Salaverry, Peru
Nearby Trujillo is a lovely colonial city and the ship offers a complimentary shuttle ino town.
We elected to visit the Chan Chan archeological site from the Chimu empire built approximately 1100 A.D. This enormous UNESCO World Heritage
site represents the largest clay city in pre-Hispanic America.

Manta, Ecuador
The large, calm harbor at Manta, Ecuador  is filled with fishing vessels of every size from the one-man skiffs to giant cargo-ship sized tuna processing ships equipped with helicopters. This, after all, is the tuna capital of the world. Your can of Sunkist probably originated right here. A 30-minute ride on a "chivas bus" complete with a brass band on top, takes us to nearby Montecristi, the epicenter for making Panama hats. The ride was loads of fun with people waving and dogs chasing us along the whole route! Long, Pleasant, sandy  beaches emanate from both sides of the port but the town of Manta itself is unremarkable.

Panama Canal
Awoke at dawn to see all the ships great and small lined up in the Pacific awaiting their turn to enter the locks at Miraflores. Amazing to see the system of tying up to the "mules" actually highly powerful engines which tow the ship through the locks. Our ship had two at the front and two at the back following alongside on the tracks. On through the cut and into huge Lake Gatun. Three more locks and we are back at sea level on our way to the Atlantic. All along the way we see evidence of the huge expansion that is underway.
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
Opted for a 2-hour drive into the mountains to visit a working hacienda. Marvelous choice, so well done. Very busy port for bananas and
pineapple....Chiquita and Dole containers piled up for miles!

Sea days were occupied with cooking demonstrations by the chef, galley tour, wine tasting, team trivia competitions, bridge, putting, water
polo, lectures on the ports of call and South American history, culture, flora and fauna as well as resting up from all our excursions.


Not once during our stay in Chile, Peru, Ecuador or Costa Rica did we have a need for local currency. We used US dollars throughout (legal
tender in Ecuador and Panama).
I should add that with Santiago 2hours ahead of EST, Lima on EST, Costa Rica on CST and then back to EST, jet lag was non existent. The weather was perfection every day! 70's to 80's with no humidity until we hit the Gulf of Mexico on the last sea day. Hardly a cloud (even always
cloudy Lima was sunny) and not a drop of rain for 3 weeks! South America is definitely the place to be in February!

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