With its vast coastline and variety of fascinating port cities, it’s no wonder that Argentina is becoming an increasingly popular country to visit as part of a cruise. But whether you’re new to this style of travel or an old hat at touring the oceans by ship, it can be a daunting challenge selecting the Argentina cruise best suited to you.
So, to stop you feeling all at sea when planning your next vacation in Argentina, make sure you consider the following five things.
Things to consider before selecting your Argentina cruise:
The cruise itinerary and proportion of time spent at sea
Itineraries may include docking at South America’s liveliest capital, Buenos Aires or sailing through the glimmering waters of the Beagle Channel in the far south of the country, so be sure to do your homework about where exactly you’ll be visiting.
Remember that the number of days spent on dry land can vary. If you’re concerned about your sea legs, make sure your cruise includes on-shore excursions each day. When cruising in South Argentina, this can take the form of learning about Patagonian history in the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia or even boarding a smaller Zodiac boat for a day trip to an island teeming with Magellanic penguins.
The size of the ship
While some large cruise ships do sail the Argentine seas and generally have a good selection of onboard entertainment and facilities, the bigger the vessel, the more limited the chances to explore the remote, inaccessible parts of the country’s vast coastline. In the very south of Argentina, smaller, exploration cruise ships are the only way of making the most of the region.
Because of this, those looking to venture where few tourists have been before will find smaller ships more suited to them. These craft offer a more personalized experience, with fewer passengers and a higher staff to guest ratio, as well as the opportunity to dock at tiny, otherwise unreachable harbors and on remote stretches of uninhabited land.
Smaller ships are also more likely to include unrestricted ocean views from each and every cabin – something worth considering, particularly in the south of the country where the most stunning parts of coastline are to be found.
Identifying the types of on-shore excursions you would like to take is another key consideration of an Argentina cruise. Firstly, check what is and is not included in your itinerary and what additional costs you may need to pay as a result. It’s also important that you book additional excursions well enough in advance to secure your place.
Depending upon the style of cruise, you can expect a range of activities, from days spent docked at cities, to on land excursions including short treks through spectacular national parks. As a result, it’s important to carefully read the recommended packing lists to ensure that your clothing is suitable for the conditions of different activities and the weather that you can expect to experience.
When to go
Given that Argentina is a huge country, it should come as no surprise that weather conditions vary considerably depending on the region you are visiting. This can very much dictate when cruises depart. For example, Patagonia and the southernmost stretches of the country are only accessible during the Austral summer, between September and April. On the other hand, Buenos Aires and the northern parts of the country are very hot and crowded during this period, making spring and autumn better seasons for visiting.
Be aware that the further south you visit on an Argentina cruise, the more changeable the weather; expect fluctuations of temperature between 41°F (5°C) and 59°F (15°C) and conditions ranging from sunshine to rain and even the occasional snowfall.
Cost and added extras
When booking your cruise in Argentina, it’s important to confirm exactly what is included in the initial price and whether you will be required to pay additional costs for activities or food during the cruise.
Finally, some of the best cruises in Argentina include onboard staff with expertise in the geography and flora and fauna of the region being visited. The quality of lectures can vary significantly between companies, so it’s important you find out the standard that you should expect before selecting your cruise.