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Kicking off our Viking South American Cruise

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

The city of Valparaiso, Chile as we sail away

We will be on the Viking Jupiter for the next 18 days sailing from Santiago, Chile south through the Chilean Fjords, around the horn of South America, over to the Falkland Islands, then back to the country of Argentina and sailing north to Montevideo, Uruguay and finally Bueno Aires, Argentina. We’ll then head inland to Iguazu Falls for a couple of days.

There are vineyards throughout this region of Chile

I’ll give you a little history of the areas we are traveling through in a future blog, but here I wanted to give you a picture of our first day on ship in Valparaiso, Chile (the port city for Santiago).

We first headed to the nearby town of Casablanca (no, not THAT Casablanca) for some morning winetasting. This region of Chile is well known for its great wines. The region is sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Andes mountains on the east producing the perfect climate of wines. We visited the vineyards & the winery with the giant vats, saw bottling lines and finally ending up in the cast rooms for some winetasting. See the pictures for more information.

Carol gets to know one of the local residents

We then headed out to a Chilean horse ranch for a taste of the rural Chilean lifestyle. Here we got to know the animals, see the local dancing and some very good horsemanship. Then, of course, we needed to be fed – it had been a couple of hours since breakfast after all. So, we sat down to some salad, roast beef with the fixings and dessert of flambe.

We have one more stop for the day, but on the way to that stop we pass a catholic Lo Vasquez Shrine. Hundreds of thousands in Chile will visit this shrine in December on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, taking part in one of the most well-attended pilgrimages in the country. Our Immaculate Lady of Lo Vasquez, known in Spanish as “Nuestra Se√±ora Purísima,” is a devotion that dates back to 1850 here in Valparaiso, Chile. In December the shrine draws almost 1 million faithful to central Chile. People come from different parts of the country in a pilgrimage that will conclude Chile’s month of Mary. Many make the fifty some mile pilgrimage walk from Santiago taking four or five days to travel to the shrine.

One of only two sculptures removed from Easter Island. The other is in the London museum

Next stop was the Falco Museum, which was all about Easter Island, considered one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites since 1995. The preferred local name is Rapa Nui and these islands have been part of the Chilean territory since 1888. Easter Island is arguably the most isolated place on earth, being that is 2,200 miles away from Chile. Although there are direct flights from Santiago, the journey takes nearly five hours. The population on the island is bilingual, speaking Spanish and Rapa Nui, and numbers only a couple of thousand people – although many more visit each year.

Finally, we headed back to the ship for the evening. Dinner for us was a seafood buffet and then we enjoyed a great show – a very talented marimba player with the band on board.

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