South America aboard Celebrity Infinity

Good morning from Buenos Aires, Argentina!  We departed Phoenix yesterday, and after a short layover in Dallas, have arrived in the capital of Argentina about 14 hours later.  We’ll be spending 2 nights at the Fierro Hotel in the trendy Palermo district before boarding the Celebrity Infinity for a 12-night sailing around Cape Horn! Most flights from North America arrive Buenos Aires in the early morning, and by around 10AM we’ve claimed our luggage, found our driver and made our way to the hotel.  Of course, rooms are not yet available but the hotel is happy to serve us a great breakfast and let us enjoy the small outdoor patio as we wait.

Fierro Hotel ,Palermo district, Buenos Aires, Argentina

At noon, our guide and driver return to show us the highlights of Buenos Aires including Plaza de Mayo, the political center of Argentina and Puerto Madero where repurposed warehouses are becoming chic restaurants and bars.  To finish, we visit the posh Recoleta neighborhood, including the famous cemetery featuring thousands of mausoleums from Argentina’s most iconic and celebrated figures, including Eva Peron!

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos, Aires, Argentina

After traveling through our neighborhood a few times, we realize there are all kinds of wonderful bars and restaurants that we’d like to visit.  Consulting our tour guide, we decide to have dinner at Aldos Restaurant, just about a block away from the hotel.  Aldos is basically an Italian Steakhouse, with a massive wine menu.  Our meals were great as was the service and the comfortable outdoor seating.

Aldos Restaurant, Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Without established plans for our second day in the city, we opt to return to the Puerto Madero area to explore further. On the map, this looks to be fairly quick and easy subway ride.  The ride was fine, but we spent a lot of time looking for a transit card.  Evidently these cards, which are the only valid passes for mass transit in Buenos Aires, are not sold by the transit agencies at all, and rather found at small street vendors and merchants.  Finally, after inquiring at several places, we found someone with a transit card, AND it had funds already loaded on it.  We enjoyed our afternoon at the Puerto Madero Waterfront, and returned in the evening for Dinner and a Tango show at the nearby Faena Hotel.

Women’s Bridge, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Montevideo, Uruguay

Finally onboard the Celebrity Infinity  we’ve sailed from Buenos Aires at 7PM.  We’re headed to Montevideo, just over 100 miles across Río de la Plata, the muddy river that separates this part of Argentina and Uruguay.   This river is the widest in the world, with a width of 140 miles where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean.  In Montevideo, we join the ship’s excursion “Flavors and History: Market, Waterfront and Brewery”.  This was a fairly standard coach tour with limited walking for photos.  However the Brewery stop was educational and included a tasting of several of their unique beers.

Matute Cervecería, Montevideo, Uruguay

Punta del Este, Uruguay

From Montevideo, it’s another short sail (about 70 miles) over to Punta del Este, the southern most point in mainline Uruguay.  We’re anchored in a bay north of old town, making it an easy walk across the peninsula to “Los Dedos de Punta del Este”, the Fingers of Punta del Este.  After taking photos along with LOTS of other tourists here, we make our way back to the ship for an early departure at 4PM.

Los Dedos de Punta del Este

Puerto Madryn, Argentina

After a relaxing day at sea, we’ve arrived to Puerto Madryn, back in Argentina.  With no planned excursions, we take advantage of good WiFi service for a few hours of work catch-up.  Just as we’re about to leave the room around noon, we hear cheering from the pier and nearby balconies. A whale is curiously exploring the pier and ship to the excitement of passengers and crew alike.

Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Celebrity Infinity in Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Cruising Cape Horn, Chile

After another day at sea, we’ve arrived at Cape Horn, literally the end of the world. We’ve gone from nearly 100 degrees in Buenos Aires to a cool, windy 50 degrees with heavy seas and overcast skies here at the southern most land point in South America.  This is the clash of two seas, the Pacific and the Atlantic, that produce some of the worse conditions that mariners face.  Fortunately, we’ll only experience a few hours of this – as we round the horn we’ll enter fiords that will shelter the rest of our journey back to the north along the coast of Chile.

Cape Horn, Chile

Ushuaia, Argentina

Leaving the rough seas at Cape Horn, we’ve entered the Beagle Channel, named after the famous HMS Beagle, the ship that transported Charles Darwin to the Galapagos Islands and beyond.  Around 7AM the next morning we’re tied up on the pier in Ushuaia, Argentina.  From the steamy heat of Buenos Aires, we’re now surrounded by show capped peaks all around.  It’s beautiful!

Ushuaia, Argentina

We’ve booked the “Ushuaia Walking Tour with Chocolate Tasting” tour here and are anxious to take a look around town. Our guide Germán was great fun as he described town highlights on our 2 hour walking tour. At the end, expecting to end the tour in a chocolate shop, we are pleased to find ourselves in a wonderful bistro bar, offering specialty chocolate, delicious hand-crafted beer and other snacks. We’d highly recommend this Viator tour!

Cemetery in Ushuaia, Argentina

Chocolate and Beer Tasting in Ushuaia, Argentina

Puerto Montt, Chile

On day 9 we’re scheduled to visit Punta Arenas.  However, with high winds forecast in the area, the ship’s Captain opts to skip this tender port and instead continue north towards Puerto Montt.  As it turns out, this is an excellent decision.  The port of Punta Arenas was closed due to gale force winds, which would have meant we couldn’t have operated tenders and might have left passenger and crew trapped ashore.  Instead, we’ve arrived in Puerto Montt, Chile.  Without planned excursions, we tender ashore and explore the area.  We had a fun day ashore, did some shopping, found a great pub for lunch and returned to the ship for an 8PM departure.

Celebrity Infinity in Puerto Montt, Chile

Valparaiso, Chile

After one more day at sea, we’ve arrived in Valparaiso, the port city for Santiago.  We’re on a ship’s excursion that will take us to Santiago, explore the city, have lunch and drop us at the airport.  We fly home tonight.  The Celebrity Infinity, a Millennium class ship, is due for a refurbishment, but the crew makes up for the ship’s age and this itinerary is amazing.  We’d highly recommend it!

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