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The lush Amazon River and the densely forested Costa Verde, or Green Coast, take center stage on this expansive South American expedition into the hearts of Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Visiting three nations and experiencing 23 included features and Cultural Discoveries, you'll uncover breathtaking natural worlds, vibrant cultural capitals, and intimate ports on the Deluxe, 5-star Ocean Explorer, built to navigate the rivers and maneuver to coastal ports that larger ships can't reach — and designed to deliver a new class of luxury.
From the wilds of the Amazon to the sophistication of Buenos Aires, our carefully curated expedition will immerse you in the beauty, history, and culture of this remarkable region. Cruise the Amazon, inaccessible to larger ships, and visit its fascinating gateway city of Manaus, the capital of the biggest state in Brazil: Amazonas. Witness the remarkably preserved colonial treasures of Salvador, the UNESCO-listed towns of Paraty and Ilha Grande, and Colonia del Sacramento. And revel in dance performances of capoeira, samba, and tango.
Plus, marvel at the iconic landmarks and cultural gems that reveal the soul of these spectacular nations. In Rio de Janeiro, come face to face with Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain and visit Ipanema Beach. In Montevideo, admire European and art deco architecture and stunning parks and gardens. In Buenos Aires, head out into the pampas to peer inside the thrilling world of polo.
The brand-new Ocean Explorer is your home for this revelatory expedition. Savor gourmet cuisine in our elegant restaurant. Sip your cocktail on the sun deck as the Amazon Rainforest and the Costa Verde drift by, your included binoculars in hand. And we’ll keep you entertained and enlightened with a roster of curated performances, lectures by notable experts, and the services of our onboard Concierge.
Fly to Manaus, Brazil
Spend today flying to the city of Manaus, arriving around midnight. Or, depart earlier for a thrilling pre-trip extension in the Amazon jungle.
Discover Manaus, gateway to the Amazon
Ease into your day this morning after your long journey. You might find that Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, has a fascinating contradictory feel. It is a city in the middle of a jungle, and despite its size, it is only accessible in a practical sense by boat or plane. And though seafaring vessels dock here, the ocean is 900 miles away. It’s all part of the intrigue of the Amazon.
After lunch on your own, get acquainted with the largest city in the state of Amazonas during an included tour featuring the Teatro Amazonas. This stunning pink vision— opened in 1896 at the height of the rubber barons’ prosperity — was built with European bricks, French glass, and Italian marble. Conclude your tour with a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.
Browse the Municipal Market and embark Ocean Explorer
If you’re in the market for exotic fruits, Amazon herbal medicines, and local handicrafts, you’ll love rubbing elbows with the people of Manaus during a visit to the Mercado Adolpho Lisboa. Fashioned after the Les Halles market of Paris in 1882, it is the city’s oldest market and a scintillating way to immerse yourself in the Amazonian culture. Produce from the surrounding countryside and fish from the river are delivered every morning. Cross the street to see how all these goods arrived — aboard the armada of fishing boats and cargo boats bobbing on the Amazon’s waters.
After time to absorb the market, and an included lunch, you’ll continue to embark the Ocean Explorer. Take time to settle in, perhaps savoring a drink on deck while watching Amazonas and its capital Manaus fade away, before your Amazon expedition. In the dining room tonight, savor a special Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
Get to know Parintins and Boca dos Botos
Continue taking in the Amazon’s splendor as we visit Parintins. Located just west of Santarém, this town is renowned for its Brazilian folkloric festival, the Festival de Parintins, or Parintins Folklore Festival, second only to Carnival. Today, you’ll explore this municipality, which is known for its rich biodiversity. Due to its central location in the Amazonas, during low tide you’ll discover its riverside beaches along the Uaicurapá River and the Amazon.
Starting outside the port, you’ll get to know this incredible province, including Caprichoso Boi, Liberty Square, and Bumbódromo — where the annual festival is held. With the possibility of riding locally-decorated tricycles, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with locals. After visiting the cathedral and cruising along the shore, you’ll get to see Boca dos Botos, weather permitting. Hop on a zodiac boat for an afternoon cruise, where you'll see more local flora and fauna.
Set out for piranha fishing and a Santarém nature cruise
Arrive this morning at the confluence of the Amazon and Tapajós Rivers, where the city of Santarém rises on the banks. The people of this small market town rely on boats to get around; the 60 miles of white-sand beaches on the river have earned it the nickname “the Amazonian Caribbean.”
Spend the morning on a spectacular nature cruise, viewing this rare natural phenomenon along the river and learning how locals fish for the notorious piranha. Head downriver on a small local boat to witness the Meeting of the Waters, where the Amazon and the Tapajós converge. Each waterway has its own distinct color and they run side by side, one deep blue and one milky brown, for several miles.
You’ll arrive soon thereafter at Lake Maica, one of the Amazon’s natural outlets and home to abundant wildlife. Your captain will cut the motor here so you can cast a line into the water, aiming to catch and release voracious piranha. If you’re not in the mood to fish, sit back and take in the plentiful flora and fauna of the Amazon.
Cruise the Amazon River and Brazilian Coast
Lose yourself to the rhythm of the Amazon River as you follow its course to the Atlantic. Consider that you’re drifting along waters that have flowed and gathered here from as far away as Peru and Bolivia. Its watershed covers 40% of the South American continent; the waterways that have spilled into the river continue to nourish the world’s largest rainforest. By the time it reaches the ocean, the Amazon River fans out into an estuary that, by some accounts, stretches some 200 miles along the coast.
Relax on board as you sail the Brazilian coast. Take a dip in the swimming pool as the forest drifts past, get a workout in the gym, or watch the river expand into the wide Atlantic Ocean from the observation lounge. At mealtime, savor incredible culinary creations prepared by your onboard chefs. In the evening, head up to the Observation Deck for some of the most magnificent stargazing you’re ever likely to experience.
Over these three relaxing days, our onboard naturalists will keep you informed and enlightened about Amazonian wonders during fascinating discussions.
Discover Fortaleza's countless cultural treasures
Around midday, you’ll arrive in Fortaleza, capital of the Brazilian state of Ceará. Despite its size, there’s a light and airy quality to this culture-rich city dotted by soft-sand urban beaches and stately colonial-era buildings.
Tap into the city’s distinct musical rhythms during an included tour that features the neoclassical Metropolitan Cathedral, which is adorned with stunning stained-glass windows. Also discover the José de Alencar Theater, named for the region’s beloved poet; a drive along the palm-fringed beach past the sophisticated residences of Aldeota; and a stop at the Espigão de Pedras bridge.
You’ll also stop to peruse the countless cultural treasures at the Central Market, a lively emporium of Fortaleza’s handmade lace, embroidery, hammocks, and various crafts. If you wish, there will be time to take a short stroll from the ship into downtown afterward.
Cruise coastal Brazil
Cruise the easternmost coast of Brazil, treating yourself to even more of the ship’s amenities. Take advantage of this time to read a book from our library or enjoy a soothing massage at the spa. The time is yours!
During your time at sea, onboard lecturers will captivate you with talks about Brazilian culture and history and our chefs will continue to wow you with their culinary expertise.
Marvel at Salvador's colonial architecture
Dock in Salvador de Bahia — Brazil’s first capital and unparalleled colonial town — this morning. Its colorful Renaissance city plan and outstanding new-world monuments earned it a prestigious place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your city tour passes Brazil’s famed lighthouse, the Farol da Barra. In the Pelourinho district (the Old Town), walk along charming cobbled lanes from the Municipal Square to Terreiro de Jesus Square and view the splendid baroque cathedral, once the home of the largest Jesuit seminary outside Rome. Gaze upon its ornate interior, then visit Largo do Pelourinho Square and the San Francisco Church.
Conclude your tour with a capoeira demonstration, a lively dance rooted in a tradition of the Afro-Brazilian martial arts. There will be time to browse the paintings, pottery, beads, and handicrafts at the local market.
Later this afternoon, enjoy another fascinating lecture on board.
Relax amidst the Brazilian sea for a day
Once again, the Ocean Explorer’s amenities are yours to indulge in as you continue southward along Brazil’s coast. If you haven’t yet treated yourself to the spa, this is your time! And you’re sure to find the Observation Lounge the ideal spot for reflection as you ply the waters of the Atlantic.
During today’s onboard lecture, learn more about Brazil’s prolific culture and history.
Visit Vitória’s mountaintop convent
Explore one of Brazil’s oldest cities – and one of the nation’s best state capitals to live. Vitória is set on Honey Island in Vitória Bay at the picturesque foot of sloping hills. Your included tour takes you to the mainland over the Third Bridge to Vila Velha, where the 16th-century Penha Convent has long stood as a symbol of faith from atop its high mountain perch. A shuttle takes you halfway up, and you can choose to walk the remaining 365 steps, or to enjoy the breathtaking 360° views from this vantage point.
After a photo stop at a couple of the city’s urban beaches, pause at the Cooperativa da Paneleiras de Goiabeiras to see firsthand how local artisans bring shape to clay pots used to make moqueca, a stew made with fish, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and cilantro, a mouthwatering famous dish in Brazil that was born in Espírito Santo. En route back to the ship, admire Vitória’s blend of old and new architecture downtown. Back on board, attend another enlightening lecture from one of our experts.
Delight in Armação dos Búzios’s beaches
Enjoy a preview of Rio de Janeiro today when you call on Armação de Búzios, the buzzing resort town favored by the glamorous jetsetters of the capital. French actress Brigitte Bardot made Búzios famous when she visited in 1964 and transformed the little fishing village into the St. Tropez of South America. Ever since, Búzios is the place for members of high society to be seen. More than 23 beaches grace this peninsular region. On an included tour by open-air trolley, you’ll see many of them, including the wild and scenic Brava Beach, the pink sands of Forno Beach, and the unique rock formations of Point Lagoinha — known as the Brazilian Himalayas. There’ll be time to linger and to swim if you wish, after which you may browse the posh shops downtown.
This afternoon, you can spend more time on the water when you take our shipboard paddleboards or kayaks out to explore.
Learn what cultural and historic treasures wait for you in Rio during today’s onboard lecture. Tonight, thrill to the beat of a lively samba show when local entertainers join you on board!
Explore the cidade maravilhosa!
See Rio’s iconic sites up close today. Ascend to the spectacular Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain. The 124-foot soapstone figure has an arm span of 98 feet. Then visit the Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro and admire its modernist design inspired by Mayan pyramids. Head from the sacred to the footloose when you next visit Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches, celebrated in song and frequented by the city’s carefree partygoers. Enjoy lunch at a Rio institution — Confeitaria Colombo. The old-style café — set in a cavernous ballroom crowned with a stunning stained-glass ceiling — has been serving delicious meals and decadent desserts to cariocas for 120 years.
This afternoon, enjoy some leisure time on board, perhaps admiring the spectacular vistas of Rio — Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountains and the sweeping Guanabara Bay. You’ll sail through this magnificent canvas as you depart this evening.
Land in Ilha Grande, an island penitentiary turned lush paradise
Arrive this morning on the lush shores of Ilha Grande, or Big Island, the largest of a breathtaking archipelago of 360 islands dotting the Bay of Kings and a new UNESCO World Heritage Site (together with Paraty). Once home to a prison and leprosarium, today this largely unspoiled paradise — free of vehicles and other signs of civilization — is ringed by sand beaches and blanketed in Atlantic forest and palms. You’ll join your guide for a walk into Abrão Village, stopping at the San Sebastian church. Then, follow the footpaths into the woodlands of the state park, hearing tales of the island’s buccaneer days and its once-prosperous coffee and sugar barons. Keep your eyes and ears open for howler monkeys, sloths, and countless birds. There’ll be time for a refreshing swim at Praia Preta in the natural pools of an aqueduct.
After lunch, learn what cultural and historic treasures await during an onboard lecture. Enjoy the afternoon poolside or pampering yourself with a spa treatment. Dinner tonight is on board, featuring a festive Brazilian show.
Explore the colonial treasures of UNESCO-listed Paraty
Step back in time today when you explore Paraty, a remarkably preserved Portuguese colonial town and a new UNESCO World Heritage Site along Brazil’s lush, green coastal corridor. Once a port for the export of gold to the Old World, Paraty enjoys a stunning setting surrounded by tropical islands and soaring mountains. Your walking tour along narrow cobbled lanes leads you into its heart. Admire original 18th-century architectural gems, including the 1722 Church of the Santa Rita de Cássia and the colonial mansion that hosts the House of Culture, which provides a fascinating chronicle of the town’s role in Brazil’s past. Pause to peruse charming boutiques and art galleries as you explore, perhaps meeting some artists in residence.
As you sail on to your next destination after lunch on board, gain more insight into Brazil’s fertile coast during a lecture from one of our onboard experts.
Discover the vibrant urban center of Santos
Today, enjoy a glimpse of one of Brazil’s major urban centers. Built on the prosperity of the coffee industry, today Santos is home to the largest beachfront garden in the world. A city tour reveals its cosmopolitan air and rich history. Visit the Coffee Museum, located in a former palace. Stop by the Museum of the Santos Football Club, proud to have called Pelé its star player for 18 years. And explore the Aquário Municipal de Santos, Brazil’s oldest aquarium.
Another onboard lecture today uncovers more of the region’s fascinating history and rich culture.
Embrace Camboriú’s natural and cultural splendors
One of Brazil’s most popular resort towns welcomes you today. Locals come to Camboriú for the beaches, the lively culture, and the vistas of steep slopes draping down to the sea. To get a bird’s-eye view of it all, you’ll embark on an ecological tour and board the city’s famous teleférico, or cable car, to the Atlantic Forest Station. Take a walk into these magnificent hilltop woods with an interpretive guide, with ample opportunities to take in stunning panoramas. Your cable car continues to Praia das Laranjeiras. Feel free to bring your suit along; there are changing rooms here if you’d like to go for a swim.
More Brazilian history and culture stimulates your mind and your curiosity during an onboard lecture this afternoon. This evening, enjoy another divine meal prepared by your chef.
Enjoy a day at sea along the Brazilian coast
The indulgent amenities of the Ocean Explorer are yours as you continue your expedition along Brazil’s Costa Verde, or Green Coast. Perhaps you’ll treat yourself to the spa. And you’re sure to find the observation lounge the ideal spot for reflection and looking for seabirds as you ply the waters of the Atlantic. You’ll turn your attention again to Brazil’s colorful culture and history during an onboard lecture today.
Soak in Rio Grande’s rich art culture
Dock this morning in one of Brazil’s most important maritime port cities. Host to what some believe is the longest uninterrupted beach in world, the Praia do Cassino, at about 160 miles long. Founded by the Portuguese in 1737; this gorgeous city is often overlooked by cruise lines.
On your walking tour, admire some of its elegant historic buildings, including the neoclassical Alfandega Customs House and the Baroque Cathedral São Pedro. At the Museum of Sacred Art in the Chapel of San Francisco, view a collection left by the Jesuits, the area’s first European settlers. At the Praça Tamandaré, admire some of the city’s beloved public sculptures. A stop at the Oceanographic Museum rounds out your enriching tour.
This afternoon, enjoy another fascinating lecture on board.
Treat yourself to more of your ship’s amenities as you cruise Brazil’s lush coast. Take advantage of this time to read a book from our library or enjoy a soothing massage at the spa. The time is yours! As you approach Uruguay, our onboard lecturer continues to astonish you and our chefs will continue to amaze you with their culinary expertise.
Witness the opulent lifestyles of Punta del Este
Often compared to Miami and Cannes for its resort style and well-heeled visitors, Punta del Este is the jewel of Uruguay at the wide mouth of the Río de la Plata. Head into this posh resort town and set out on a scenic panoramic tour through tony residential neighborhoods and past stunning beaches. Stop to visit Casapueblo, the self-built curvilinear home and studio of the late artist Carlos Páez Vilaró perched on a cliffside overlooking the Atlantic. A picturesque coastal road leads you back to the pier.
After your Punta del Este explorations, learn about more cultural treasures of Uruguay during an onboard lecture.
Uncover the international spirit of Montevideo
Around breakfast time, arrive in Montevideo, consistently ranked at the top of “quality of life” lists among Latin American cities. Get acquainted with the vibrant and sophisticated cultural capital on a far-reaching city tour that takes in the major monuments, parks, and gardens. At Independence Square, begin a walking tour that features the cathedral, City Hall, the Government House, and the renowned Solis Theater. Then, drive along the celebrated Avenida 18 de Julio, stopping to view the Legislative Palace, built with 52 types of local marble and 12 different kinds of wood. Continue to El Prado, an elegant neighborhood of sprawling botanical gardens and colonial mansions. At the Plaza Virgilio, enjoy sweeping views of the city.
Spend the remainder of the day exploring on your own. Perhaps you’ll walk to Plaza Cagancha and make a stop at Mercado de los Artesanos, the Craftsmen Market, to pick out a souvenir amid the swirl of local art and handcrafted goods. Alternatively, your onboard Concierge may help you set up a tour catered to your interests. This evening, be delighted by a dance show on board!
Discover UNESCO-listed Colonia del Sacramento
Visit the oldest city in Uruguay today, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Colonia del Sacramento, spread on a small peninsula on the Río de la Plata. A rich Spanish and Portuguese past whispers from its remarkably preserved colonial buildings. As you stroll its cobbled streets, stop to view the Matriz Church; the Calle de los Suspiros, or Street of Sighs, named for its breathtaking historic authenticity; the Puerta del Campo city gate; and the Plaza Mayor 25 de Mayo.
A final captivating talk on board ship rounds out our lecture series.
Encounter Buenos Aires: Latin America with European flair
Wake up early for your last sunrise on board and enjoy the scenery and downtown skyline as we enter Buenos Aires, the sultry capital of Argentina.
Here, you'll disembark the Ocean Explorer — we hope you enjoyed your expedition on Vantage's first small ship oceangoing expedition vessel! This richly cosmopolitan city feels a lot like Europe — graced with splendid architecture and a hint of glamour. But its spirit is distinctly Argentine. A city tour reveals its most magnificent sites. Visit the Plaza de Mayo, the Casa Rosada, La Boca — a neighborhood full of colorfully painted homes — and the neoclassical Catedral Metropolitana, the church home of Pope Francis. After lunch at a traditional restaurant, you’ll check into your hotel and have the afternoon and evening free to pursue your own interests.
Discover polo in the Argentinean Pampas
Today you will be introduced to Argentina’s rich polo culture. The country is known for its champion polo players, and you’ll learn about the sport’s rich history and tradition during an excursion to an estancia (ranch) in the Argentinean Pampas, the vast lowland plains. At a renowned polo ranch, you’ll learn about the sport and horses, and witness some impressive horsemanship during a private exhibition of two chukkers. Thus inspired, you’ll saddle up and ride with some professional players. You’ll also enjoy a delicious barbecue lunch. Back in Buenos Aires, the balance of the day and evening is at leisure. Tonight, get a last taste of Argentina during a special dinner featuring a sultry tango performance!
Explore Buenos Aires on your own and return home
Flights from Buenos Aires typically depart late in the evening, so you’ve got another day to take in the wonders of the city.
Later, transfer to the airport for your overnight flight home or extend your trip to Santiago, Chile’s sophisticated capital.
You’re already coming this far . . . Why not add another dimension to your South American experience by visiting the iconic wine country of Chile? You’ll be based in Santiago, enjoying sightseeing in the exciting capital and nearby Valparaíso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, see the beautiful Andean countryside as you explore the Casablanca and Santa Rita wineries, enjoying tastings of some of Chiles’ classic vintages.
Please note: Ocean cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew.
Important: Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.