Wanderlust Home and Pet Care
South American Cruise
January 4: Buenos Aires - End of the Line We have to wait on board the ship 1 1/2 hours for the stevedores to put out our the luggage that matches our color coded tags. Then we wait 2 1/2 hours in the taxi line. Four cruise ships are in town on the same day - ugh. South America has had some lovely places or at least places that stir the imagination. I’m very glad we took the cruise. Now I know where I want to go back and spend more time.
January 3: Montevideo Uruguay The old town of Montevideo is next door to the port. It is a nice walk to the city center. The locals must loves their dogs, we see them everywhere. I will look forward to taking the ferry back to Uruguay.
January 1, 2013: Puerto Madryn, Argentina. A prosperous and happy New Year to all. The town was very quiet after the festivities last night. We walked along the beach enjoying the sun and sand. We then sat on the promenade to update this web site but couldn’t get a signal so went into a hotel and were successful.
December 31: Happy New Year’s Eve The balloon drop will happen at midnight. I hope I can stay up that late.
December 30: Stanley Falkland Islands We decided to hit the internet cafe right away, hoping the rain and wind would subside. It was not to be - in fact the weather became worse. We have only the one picture of the Island taken from the tender shelter.
December 29: Cape Horn We were so very lucky. We had beautiful weather, sun, not much wind, and fairly calm waters while cruising around Cape Horn. I was prepared for very rough weather which is typical where the Pacific meets the Atlantic ocean. We were about one mile away from the cape so I was able to get a picture of the Albatross monument - the furthest south piece of land in South America. Six hundred miles further south is Antarctica.
December 28: Ushuaia Argentina We are outside on the top deck to take pictures of the Darwin Glacier Range also known as Glacier Alley first thing this morning. There were 6 glaciers. All were retreating except for the Italian Glacier. It reminds me of our Alaska cruise. We have to wait for the incoming tide before we can dock at Ushuaia which was 2:30 PM. Luckily the sun doesn’t set until 10:30 PM. We were 12 people today for my tour of the Hidden Lakes situated up in the Andes and the Tierra del Fuego National Park just outside the city limits. On our way to the lakes we pass the ski area where the Olympic skiers come to practice in September and October. The ski area will host the 2015 World Cup. There were plenty of sled dogs for a winter ride. The area is very lush with a beech tree forests. However, the beaver that was introduced for it’s fur, is very quickly killing the forest as there isn’t any predator to feed on the beavers. The Park has many hiking trails with a river cutting it’s way out to the Beagle channel. The Pan-American highway ends here in the park. We had a great tour guide and the scenery made for a wonderful day. For tours to Ushuaia contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 27: Punta Arenas I had a total of 9 people for the tour to Otway Sound and the Penguin Colony. It was a long and dusty road out to the Sound. Lots of tour buses were there so we fought the people and the wind. I can honestly say I never have to see another penguin. The Cape of Good Hope penguins look just like the South American penguins. The tour was only for 1/2 a day. It became a little longer tour when our van wouldn’t start. We were put on a bus with deaf people. We made a stop in town but I went back to the ship with a bad cold and Gary went to find an Internet cafe.
December 26: Amalia Glacier The view this morning made me homesick for home. Mountains with snow at their peaks. The closer we cruised to the glacier the colder the air became. I hope Gary’s pictures can pick up the brilliant blue color that make a glacier so special. Chile is home to many glaciers but this is the only one we see on this voyage.
December 25: Merry Christmas Santa visited the children ages 17 and under. Each child received a gift. Good thing someone remember to give the ship’s GPS position to Santa.
December 24: Puerto Montt One of the couples was very late to arrive at the designated meeting place - I’m was getting worried. We were in the first tender so everything turned out ok. Hooray! The guide, Hanna, was there at 7:40 AM waiting for us. Another Hooray - we get an early start. Our first stop was the Petrohue River Falls. This part of Chile has received a lot of rain so the river was a raging torrent. The wind started howling and the rain was coming at us sideways. Second stop was the Green Lagoon - not worth a stop - oh well. We drove part way up the Volcano Orsono. There was a small volcano vent we checked out. The visibility from the volcano was poor with the cloud cover. We visited one of the old German built Lutheran churches. Many Germans immigrated to Chile in the mid 1800’s. The architecture of the area definitely has been influenced by the Germans. Puerto Varas (City of Roses) was a very cute town situated on Lake Llanquihue (4th largest lake in South America). We shared a wonderful meat and veggie baked empanada. Next door to the restaurant was the grocery store. Many of the locals were buying items for Christmas Dinner. We bought 3 Chilean wines and a bottle of Pisco.
December 23: I leave instructions for the 7 couples that will join us on tomorrow’s tour to meet at 6:45 AM in order to get our tender tickets to get off the ship as early as possible. The Princess “Elite” passengers aren’t thrilled about having to get up early for a 9 AM tour but I stand firm - be there or get left behind.
December 22: Valparaiso Chile Our tour today is only Gary and me. Juan Carlos Gonzalez Salinas takes us on a walking tour of the city. The residential areas are built on the sides of the 45 hills that surround the port. The city was a very busy port until the Panama Canal was built. The wealthy and the merchants moved away leaving the city deserted. This saved the wonderful old Victorian architecture from being destroyed. The city is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many of the homes have metal sidings. This material was used to protect cargo from the elements during the long sailing voyages. Juan Carlos then takes us to Vina del Mar. A new resort city that has been built in the last 10 years. The beaches are beautiful
December 21: Coquimbo Chile I arranged three tours with South Excursions.
Six couples from the ship signed up for my tour in Coquimbo. Claudio is our guide. We drove to the Elqui Valley located near the Atacama desert. The weather was hot and dry, good for growing the grapes for Pisco which is a very popular brandy. We visited the Capel pisco distillery. We had a tour and a taste. Pisco is great with lemon juice and a little sugar to make pisco sour. The largest town in the region is Vicuna which was a nice little town. Lunch was in the market area of La Serena. The market was very busy and the tourists are buying their souvenirs. Our last stop was a defunct light house with a great view of the beach.
December 18: The ship remained in port last night. This was very exciting for the crew as they could spend the evening in Lima. Gary & I walked around the Indian market across from the ship more to stretch our legs than to shop.
December 17: Lima Peru We arrive in Lima at 1 PM. The port is very large and supply and container ships are constantly being loaded. Because of this we aren’t allowed to walk very far. We have also been warned not to take a taxi from the port as they will be disreputable. Therefore the ship provided shuttles to Miraflores about an hour away for those passengers not on a Princess tour. We spend the afternoon on the internet at the Marriott Hotel. The next several ports we will be on my pre-arranged tours so I needed to get my Christmas cards emailed.
December 16: While at sea, the Bridge drew our attention to a pod of dolphin. This sight was amazing as there were at least 50 dolphin rushing to catch their lunch. The fish were trying to fly away from their hungry predators. Soon the birds wanted their part of the action. It was a flurry of activity. I wished I had a movie camera.
December 15: Manta Ecuador We are out early to wait for the private tour I arranged.
While we are waiting, the huge fishing ship next to us is unloading the catch of Tuna. It will be sold to the large tuna processing factories. The ship worked until 6 PM unloading the fish. The harbor has many fishing vessels for commercial purposes. Manta is the tuna capital of the world. Manta has earned that title. Our guides take us to fish market. This is the largest fish market I have ever seen. It spills out onto the beach. Fish is inexpensive. 2 1/2 pounds of shrimp costs $3. Next door they are building fishing boats. The boats are in different stages of completion which was good to see. We then drive out of town to the city of Piscoaza where the Cerro Jaboncillo archeological site is located. The Manteno people inhabited the area from 1700 B.C. To 900 A.D. The site has many building with only the foundations remaining which are elevated above of the surrounding ground and a ramp leading up to the front entrance. Archeologists have been working on this site for 2 years. There is another site south of Manta which has been excavated for 25 years but there are questions the scientist are still unable to answer. Pottery shards lie all over the ground. Relics from the site were sold back in the late 1800’s. Those relics including some of the original thrones will be returned to the Ecuador government and put into a museum at this site sometime in the future.
December 14: It is formal night tonight. Since we do not have appropriate attire we are relegated to the buffet. However, the ship was serving afternoon tea! What a great substitute. They had petit sandwiches and lots of sweets with a scone or two thrown in. Actually I only had one scone with whipped cream naturally. With everything I had I may not need to go to the buffet. Gary on the other hand...
December 13: Puntarenas Costa Rica We dock early so we are at the Internet cafe before it gets crowded. We then walk the many stalls of gifts located along the beach. The wood items are beautiful. I see placemats made from different colors of rectangular pieces of wood I would enjoy having. Maybe next time. At the end of the row of stalls is a restaurant. We stop for a beer. It is very hot and humid but the locals don’t seem to mind. I, however, am sweating just sitting. We walk towards the town’s cathedral with a small park surrounding the church. As we move along we come across a unisex hair salon. I find out with my limited Spanish that a hair cut is $10 US. What a deal. It is a little short but it always grows out. It looks and feels so much better. Gary goes to the excursions deck to get our money back for the tour to nowhere. We have been put on hold until the manager gets back from today’s excursions.
December 12: San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua The day was a disaster. We arrived at the port around noon time. The port could only allow one tender to unload at a time. Each tender holds 102 passengers. The ship holds 2000 passengers. First major mistake. We used Princess for the tour. Second major mistake. We gathered in the theater for our tour to be called. We sat there 1 1/2 hours before being called. Now it’s 2:15 PM. We have to wait on the tender for the tenders before us to unload. The bus leaves the port at 3:15 PM. The description of the tour did not indicate a drive of 2 hours to get to the volcano. The official sunset time for Nicaragua was 5:22 PM. Needless to say we could barely see anything. The tour company knew we would get to the volcano at dusk. Why didn’t they offer to take us to another sightseeing location where we could spend some quality time seeing something. Third major mistake. We were suppose to got to a scenic overlook - RIGHT! The ship called and said come right back. We are the last our to get back to the boat at 8:15 PM. But wait! There are many passengers waiting to tender to the boat. We finally get back to the ship about 9 PM. My first time in Nicaragua and I saw nothing.
December 11: Puerto Quetzal Guatemala We have been here before and Antigua is 90 minutes away so we are at the port’s Internet cafe. I could only get one picture uploaded during our 30 minutes on the Internet. I will need to create a picture file that has medium quality instead of maximum quality. After we left the Internet cafe we walked through the colorful gift stalls. Guatemala is known for it’s textiles. If I had room in the suitcase, I would have purchased a table cloth. We then came upon a fashion show highlighting the local attire wore in the various regions of Guatemala. They are so colorful and the women were beautiful. It is suppose to hit 92 degrees today and the humidity is high. We cool down with a couple of beers and then head back to the boat for lunch.
December 10: I have had to start an exercise program. I get up and walk the promenade deck and then head to the exercise room to do my stretches. It’s just too much food. I only have the entrée at lunch and dinner and only a cookie at lunch.
December 9: The ship has Movies Under The Stars. We watched Men in Black 3 starting at 7 PM They even had popcorn to eat as we sat on the lounges. Ugh, the seats we select are still wet from swimmers. With so much humidity in the air, the cushions don’t dry very quickly. I feel like I’ve peed in my pants!
December 8: Cabo San Lucas Mexico Cabo’s skyline has changed since we last visited. They have a big ugly theater in town, more hotels/condos and stores. However, the men are still there selling fishing trips, boats to El Arco and the area tours. We walk around the harbor and then we spend some time at the Internet cafe. My pictures are taking for ever to upload!!!
December 6: First Day at Sea. The weather is dull and cool so we stay inside. We have an 11 am Meet and Greet appointment for Cruise Critic members. I introduce myself to the group so the people who have signed up for my tours can recognize me. I skip lunch, still full from breakfast, and head to my Swedish massage with Carla. She finds lots of knots. Then to bed for a short nap. We have to have dinner at the buffet as it is dress up night. Not a problem. Back to the room to watch our copy of Total Recall. I enjoyed it and will need to watch it again as it was very fast paced. We catch the Comedian’s show and then to the night club but Gary isn’t full of booze so no dancing for me. Maybe tomorrow night and we’ll secretly bring our own scotch.