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Navagation direction around South America


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My husband who is a naval buff says from Santiago to Buenos Aires (west to east) should be the smoother of the two...following wind. I'm sure lots of people will chime in on this. We have booked a South America trip this winter in that direction. As you've probably read on these boards, your weather probably has more to do with luck than anything else. We're looking forward to the trip and I think we're in for a fabulous experience no matter what!

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We sailed from Rio to Valpariso and the weather around Cape Horn was smooth, smoother than from Buenos Aires to the Falklands. It was cold on deck but a sunny day. Weather in the Falklands was windy, sunny and cool on shore but we were able to tender in with no problems. Great trip.

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In the old sailing ships, the east to west passage was most difficult due to tides, currents and prevailing winds. I don't think it makes much difference with a modern cruise ship. The weather is so variable (all times of year) on this route, you just have to take your chances.


We went in November west to east, and have VERY rough seas (some of the worst I have ever experienced) off the southern Chile coast our first 2 days out. After that it calmed down. We had only gentle swells and rain around Cape Horn, and lucked out with sun and calm in the Falklands. The previous year during that same time of year our ship (Ryndam) had a wave that broke OVER the Crow's Nest bar and broke out a lot of windows (this is deck 11 on this ship) between Cape Horn and the Falklands...so you never know.


Santiago and Valparisio were mild and lovely in November...generally in the 70s like Southern California. Be prepared for COLD in the southern parts of this cruise though. We could not believe the people who only brought bathing suits and shorts because they were going to South America! We had down coats, mittens, stocking caps and scarves for any time we were out on deck south of Puerto Monte and until we left the Falklands. Stargazing at night definitely required this (there was ice on the deck). Ushuaia was very cold and windy, although sunny and beautiful. Once we got to Buenos Aires we packed all the cold weather clothes and got out the warm weather ones. It was in the 90s and humid in Rio.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I do recall that there were some glaciers between Punta Arenas and Ushuaia (closer to Ushuaia) that we viewed in the very early morning hours when it was nearly dark still (sailing from west to east). Sailing east to west, you would view them in the evening after leaving Ushuaia, and, with the long days down there, would be able to see them much more clearly.

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