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Weather Changes On South America Cruise


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My wife and I will be going on a South America cruise in mid-January from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires. We are trying to figuroue out what type of outdoor clothing to bring. During this time of year, would it be warm enough in Valparaiso and Bueon Aires to wear short sleeve tops and shorts? As we go around Cape Horn what will the weather be like? Will we need light jackets for the deck or something warmer?


Any thoughts would be most appreciated.




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I have been wondering about the same thing. Our December cruise on Oceania begins and ends as yours does, but it also go to Antacrtica for 3 days. I am expecting temperatures in the 80s at the beginning and end of the cruise and maybe as low as the 30s in Antarctica. I don't know about the rest of the time. Certainly makes packing light more of a chore.

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Be prepared to lug a LOT of clothes. Not only are the SA cruises fairly lengthy, they are very diverse weatherwise. You will need WARM clothes around Cape Horn, in Ushuaia, and Punta Arenas, especially if you are going to see the penguins. It is also very windy. We went in Feb. 2002 and when we went to Magdalena Island to see the penguins, we wore hats, gloves, and our leather jackets, as well as lightweight fleece underneath. It also snowed as we were going around Cape Horn. Not pleasant to be on deck in light jackets. We felt very sorry for people who believed that it was summer in SA and only took light jackets. They were miserable going to see the penguins. Think March 15, Midwest, and you have an idea of the temperature and weather.


We, too, are going to Antarctica in January. We have been told to prepare for snow, rain, sleet and HIGH temperatures in the low 30's.

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We did a SA/Antarctica cruise last December/Jan. In Santiago it was in the 80s-the next day in Valpo, in the 70s-same for Puerto Montt. It started cooling off and in Puerto Chacabuco, it was in the 60s. Puenta Arenas probably low 60s and high 50s---the ferry ride to Magdelena Island was "brisk" to say the least-we wore turtlenecks, fleece zip-up sweatshirts and good windbreakers with hoods, and gloves-we needed all of them! We were in Ushuaia on Christmas day-temps in the 50s-same for rounding Cape Horn but he had calm seas and broken skies. In Antarctic waters the temps were in the low to mid-30s but we had sunny skies. In the Falklands, temps were back in the 50s. Two days later, heading to Buenos Aires we were back in the 70s and by the time we arrived and from then on through Montevideo and Rio, we were in the 80s. Truly, the cruise is a packing challenge-layering is the only way to go. My DW had earmuffs and I also had a headband/ear warmer and we used them in Antarctica. Hope this helps! It was a cruise of a lifetime!

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I did the back to back cruises from Valparaiso to BA, and then from BA to Rio and back. We really saw the weather gamut. From Valparaiso to BA, I only wore shorts to exercise in, long pants the rest of the time. Also wore a lot of long sleeved T shirts. I took a goretex jacket with a foldaway hood, a fleece vest, a knit headband and knit gloves, and wore it all, singly or in combination. Coldest day was in Punta Arenas, must have been in the high 30s or so with a bitter wind. Celebrity set up a free hot chocolate stand at the tender line to keep us warm. Then, in Brazil, it was shorts and short sleeved T shirts the hole time. Packing was a challenge, but for outerwear, do consider the goretex/fleece combo. It rained a fair bit and the goretex kept me dry and dried quickly itself.

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We did Valparisio to Rio in late November/early December. We had lovely weather in the 70s in Valparisio, then wet, cold and rain through the Chilian glaciers.


We lucked out with sun and 70s again in Puerto Montt and through the first part of the Straits, but had rain and wind in Puenta Arenas (in the 40s). Ushuaia was clear and sunny, but very windy...I would guess with the wind chill down into the low 30s. We had rain around the Cape. When we went out on deck to go star gazing the night before, there was ice all over the deck...kind of dangerous. We took down jackets, stocking caps and gloves, and were glad we did.


We were again lucky in the Falklands and had a clear day (Thanksgiving) and little wind. I wore a t-shirt that day. Once we got to Buenos Aires it was in the 80s. We packed all our cold weather gear, and then wore shorts the rest of the trip. Rio was in the 90s with 100% humidity. Packing was a challenge between the 17 days and all the different weather. Thank goodness we had a ship with a self-service laundry so we didn't have to pack quite as much.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I went east to west round the Horn in mid March 2000, which was the end of summer there. We had a fantastic cruise, so calm and sunny that the captain was able to get into fiords that weren't on the itinerary. We were lucky. During the transfer from hotel we met the passengers returning. They reported a wild ride!


I was very grateful for advice to take layers. In the Falklands, I had on hiking boots, wool socks, polypropylene underwear top and bottom, hiking pants, fleece top, gore-tex hooded jacket, fleece head band, and mitts. I was NOT too warm! The wind comes directly from Antarctica. It is cold. The hike to see the penguins is about 30 minutes and the ground was muddy. I used my hiking boots on several excursions.


I felt sorry for those who didn't pack for the cold winds. They always seemed to be trying to find shelter from the wind, instead of being able to enjoy the adventure.


It IS a challenge to pack for tropic and arctic. I packed a small bottle of Fleecy detergent and washed polyprop. and socks in the cabin and hung them up in the shower as I brought only the one pair. I admired one couple who had the hiking pants that zip off into shorts. However, I didn't miss the shorts. As for formal nights, this was the Marco Polo and most passengers wore 'Sunday best' for formal dinner. I don't remember tuxes or evening gowns. In Santiago and Buenos Aries, women covered their shoulders, men wore sport jackets to churches. I needed sunscreen and sunglasses every day but one. It's the wind chill factor that cools, not the ambient air temp and of course, even if there is no wind, the ship's movement causes chilling.


It's very different cruise trip; more like an expedition than the Caribbean cruises that emphasize the pool side activities. In fact, the pool was empty for 8 of the 12 days. I guess there might be a pool or hot tub in the spa area, so pack a bathing suit if you like that.


Enjoy the adventure!

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