(12-night)12/07/2016 - 12/19/2016, Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires on the Oceania Marina
(Oceania Fares and Itinerary webpage : linked here )

To enter Brazil, US Travelers must have Visas, which cost $160. (FAQ & TraVisa, HOW-TO: apply visa at Boston Brazilian Consulate)
(Argentina's $160 Reciprocity Fee for US Citizens was suspended on 3/24/2016, and then REVOKED on 8/23/2016. See article links Here and here. )
For Brazilian visa help at Oceania's Visa Center: http://oceania.visacentral.com/

1. FREE excursions cannot be OE (Oceania Exclusive) or OC (Oceania Choice); and have to be less than $200/pp
2. You'll get 25% off if booking at least 6 excursions from O, including the 4 frees ones.
3. Shipboard credit can be used toward paying for gratuities, $16 x12 = $192/pp
4. Air credit is $1000/pp, air deviation fee is $175/pp

Oceania Cruises
8300 NW 33rd Street, Suite 308
Miami, FL 33122
Tel: 800-531-5619; (Customer care):800-531-5658

Day Port Arrive Depart
Dec 6
Leaving Boston on 03:20p AA flight    
  Leaving Boston today, with a change of air plane in Miami to a LATAM flight, arriving Rio airport at 08:55a the next morning.
The contact info for Oceania's port agent in Rio is:
ISS Marine Services
Rua Consulheiro Saraiva
Rio de Janeiro 20.091-030
email:issrio@iss-shipping.com; (phone)+55 21 3622 5756
Dec 7
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Embark 1PM  
Currency:Brazilian Real

Official Language: Portuguese

Brazil's national capital city is Brasilia, in the country's center-western region. It was founded on April 21, 1960, to serve as the new national capital. Earlier capitals were Salvador (1549–1763), and Rio de Janeiro (1763–1960).

A city of southeast Brazil on Guanabara Bay, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. The city's name, Portuguese for "River of January," reflects the fact that the first European explorers to visit the bay, in January 1502, believed it was the mouth of a river.
It was named by mistake: there’s no river there. The explorer Gaspar de Lemos set sail from Portugal in 1501 and arrived at a huge bay in Brazil the following January. Thinking the bay was the mouth of a river he named it after the month.

The city of Rio de Janeiro, or simply Rio, is the 2nd largest city in Brazil. Founded in 1565 by the Portuguese.  The city highlights include:
- Beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema,
- the Christ The Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue: located in the Corcovado Hill, (Corcovado means hunchback) , 2200 ft above sea level. There may be long queues to go up.
- Maracanã stadium: the largest football stadium in South America and once the largest on Earth
- Sugar Loaf Mountains (Pão de Açúcar, one taller, the other shorter.
Pão=loaf, as in loaf of bread; Açúcar=sugar): Going atop is a definite must-do. Several vantage points offer magnificent views. The cable car ticket is R$35. Buses and subway buses bring you to the base station.
- Selarón staircase (Escadaria Selarón) - famous stairs covered in tiles https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escadaria_Selarón
- Rocinha favela - a large shanty town, avoid all favela!! (favela = slum)

Arrival (International Airport): GIG, http://www.aeroportogaleao.net/en
Galeão - Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport (IATA: GIG, ICAO: SBGL) still better known by its old name Galeão International Airport, and is situated 20 km (12 mi) north of the city centre. Read the wikitravel page on how to get from airport to downtown and how much the taxi fares should be. Radio taxis are usually blue, green, or white. If you want to avoid being ripped off, which is most likely after arrival at the airport, then it may be worthwhile taking a Radio taxi.

Port Info: http://www.whatsinport.com/Rio-de-Janeiro.htm
- The port of Rio de Janeiro comprises the Terminal of Manguinhos, the Mauá Wharf, Wharf of Are Cristovão, Wharf of Gamboa and Wharf of the Cashew.
Píer Mauá serves the cruise ships.
- Píer Mauá: http://www.piermaua.rio/en/ , located in CENTRO close to downtown, is about 12 miles from GIG airport, and is a 20-min taxi ride to Copacabana.
- According to TravelWeekly.com, http://www.travelweekly.com/Cruise/Ports-of-Call/Rio-de-Janeiro/Ships , "Ships dock at the Píer Mauá astride the old downtown at Avenida Rodrigues Alves 10, which meets the beginning of (the north end of) Avenida Rio Branco in Centro"

- In the cruise terminal there is a TI counter where you may book tours or ask to call a taxi. There will also be two jewelers, Stern as well as Amsterdam Sauer, each offers free ride to their Ipanema premises. Going through the Stern's exhibit on how gemstones are mined, cut and set is fairly interesting. Ditto for the Amsterdam Sauer exhibit. You may leave these stores whenever you want if shopping is of no interest to you. You will still get a free ride back to the ship when you want to go back. You can walk around Ipanema for a while to get a flavor of that area and then get a free ride back to the ship.
- after checking in at the ship at 1pm, have lunch and unpack and relax on the ship, or may go to downtown for a sightseeing walk, or take a taxi to Copacabana beach.
- To fill a few hours, follow Frommer's self-guided walking tour of Centro: http://www.frommers.com/images/destinations/maps/jpg-2006/591512-mp0601wtscentro.jpg
- Viator has a 4-hr afternoon walking tour at USD$56.99/pp starting at 1:00pm. (Won't work for us either today or tomorrow.) http://www.viator.com/tours/Rio-de-Janeiro/Rio-de-Janeiro-Half-Day-Walking-Tour/d712-2484_07.
- book a tour at the TI counter in the cruise terminal. Or get a free ride from one of the jewelers to its shop in Ipanema and back.

Dec 8
Rio de Janeiro   8pm

O Excursions:

  1. The Best Of Rio (RIO-002) - 7.5 hours, $279 including lunch, not part of FREE excursion.
    - cable car to Sugarloaf mountain. Tujica Forest. At Cosme Velho, board the cog railway for the ride up to Corcovado. (To reach the top of the 120-foot-high statue, you will take an elevator and an escalator). Then enjoy a traditional Brazilian Churrascaria lunch.
  2. Highlights Of Rio (RIO-001) - 4 hours, $169. 8:30am ~ 12:30pm
    - board a funicular called TREM in Portuguese (it is similar to an electric tram) to the base of the Christ The Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue, located on the top of the Corcovado Hill, (Corcovado means hunchback). Emperor Dom Pedro II opened the railway in October 1884. They were replaced with electric trains in 1910. The 2.5 mile railway itself offers fine views. To reach the base of the 120-foot-high statue, you will take an elevator and an escalator. Continue to Tijuca Forest which comprises an area of 47 square miles. This dense tropical forest was largely cut down in the 19th century to accommodate coffee plantations. A project of reforestation was initiated in the late 1800s with the planting of more than 100,000 trees. Today the park is a favorite spot to get away from the city's hustle and bustle.
  3. Sugar Loaf & Copacabana (RIO-005) - 4 hours, $169. 9am ~ 1pm
    - cable car to the summit of SugarLoaf Mountain. (First, a cable car 650 ft. to the top of Urca Hill. Then another cable car to the 1,200 ft. summit of Sugar Loaf.) Then coach to Copacabana. Did not say if you'll have time to get off the bus to walk on the beach.
  4. Sights & Sounds Of Rio (RIO-012) - 3 hrs, $75 , but starting at 10am (10am ~ 1pm)
    Depart from the pier for a carefree driving tour of Rio de Janeiro,
    - Municipal Theater for ballet and classical music performances, whose design resembles that of the Paris Opera House.
    - the new Cathedral, a conical-shaped building inspired by a Maya pyramid in Mexico.
    - Other architectural landmark including the Museum of Modern Art and the soaring World War II monument that towers over Flamengo Park.
    - gaze upon several of the most famous beaches, such as Copacabana and Leblon, which is actually an extension of the iconic Ipanema.
    - stopping at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon for refreshments
Other Options
1. Viator has a full-day tour to both of the peaks for USD$159/pp including lunch. A Full-Day-Complete-Tour for $145, and a half-day tour to the Corcovado mountain for $75:
http://www.viator.com/tours/Rio-de-Janeiro/Corcovado-Mountain-and-Christ-Redeemer-Statue-Half-Day-Tour/d712-2484_05. Pick up is at downtown hotels.

2. Tours By Locals : https://www.toursbylocals.com/Rio-De-Janeiro-Tours?gclid=CISKqM-Suc0CFY4lgQodSD8CxA USD$690 for up to 10 people, food and admissions are extra.

3. Rio Cultural Tours : http://www.rioculturalsecrets.com/

4. Inside the terminal there is a large booth selling tours to all the popular sights and seemed well organized

Dec 9
Búzios, Brazil Anchor Port 8am 6 p.m.
Shopping! Armação dos Búzios (often shortened to just Búzios, which means 海螺) is a Brazilian resort set on an ocean peninsula to the east of Rio de Janeiro. It's known as an upscale vacation destination with numerous beaches.
- Thanks to Brigitte Bardot's vacationed here in the 1960s. Her visit was so influential that
Búzios soon became known as the St.-Tropez of Brazil. (NOTE: Buzios is still a fishing village, and is very small scale when compared to Punta del Este in Uruguay.)
- The most vibrant area of
Búzios is its main thoroughfare, cobblestoned Rua das Pedras, which follows the shoreline. One may clothes-shopping in the boutiques, browsing the art galleries, having your photo taken at the Bardot statue, or enjoying a snack in one of the seaside cafés. Seafood is abundant, especially dishes featuring fresh-caught shrimps.

According to Búzios Online http://www.buziosonline.com.br/home/english/index.cfm : Originally settled by European pirates and slave traders, this happy mixture of many bloods prospered and became a picturesque fishing village, famous for its unique combination of rustic charm, architectural harmony, incredible beauty and sophisticated boutiques and restaurants frequented by discerning visitors who come from all over the world to savor its magic.

Tender Pier info: http://www.southamericaportreviews.com/BuziosBrazil.htm
- Ships anchor in the bay in front of
Búzios. A 10-min tender ride into the Porto Centro wharf. Buzios' city center is located just 2 blocks south of the tender pier.
- Once you exit the pier, turn right along the ocean, that is Rua das Pedras Shopping Street, the main thoroughfare. If you walk straight ahead from the tender pier, you will soon be at Placa Santos Dumont square. The Bridget Bardot statue is 10-min walk to the left, away from the city center.
Búzios must be the Brazilian Bikini capital of the world. There are seemingly hundreds of bathing suit and beachwear stores, clothing boutiques. (How about shop for Brazilian Melissa sandal or Havaianas slim flip flop?)
- you may hop on a trolley which is not part of Oceania's trolley.

O's excursions:
Búzios Highlights (BUZ-003)- 2 hr, $85: pause at several beautiful beaches then to Rua das Pedras for free time and then back.
2. Beaches Of
Búzios BY Trolley (BUZ-002)- 2 hr, $129. Trolley meet you at the tender pier. The primary difference between this tour and BUZ-003 is the mode of transportation. As you travel along the coast, you will pass an amazing stretch of golden sand beaches, each highlighting the reasons why Búzios is becoming a sought-after destination. The Trolley tour includes 5 photo stops and a drive through the downtown area.
3. Beach & Swim BY Schooner (BUZ-001) - 2.5 hr, $129. A leisurely cruise in the green waters of
Búzios, including stops for swimming, snorkeling and beachcombing.

DIY walk along the shore to Rua das Pedras to do some shopping and browsing. Continue walking down the length of
Rua das Pedras. Take a trolley ride if one is available and if it looks fun.

Dec 10
Parati, Brazil  Anchor Port 8 a.m. 6 p.m.
  Parati is a historical town with Portuguese colonial architecture.
First settled by the Portuguese in 1667, Paraty (also spelled Parati) is a costal town backed by mountains on Brazil's Costa Verde, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Its Portuguese colonial center has cobbled streets and 17th- and 18th-century buildings dating to its time as a port, during the Brazilian Gold Rush. Among its architectural landmarks is the waterfront Capela de Santa Rita, a whitewashed church built in 1722.

Paraty grew in the 18th century as a strategically important port for exporting the gold mined in Minas Gerais. When shipments in nearby Rio began to attract the attention and ambition of pirates and privateers from rival European powers, the Portuguese began using Paraty as their safe port for getting their gold to Lisbon. Together with Ouro Preto, the town was part of the Royal Road (Caminho Real or Caminho do Ouro, Gold Road), a route used to export gold in colonial times.
- Because of Parati’s strategic importance along the gold route and its spectacular colonial architecture, UNESCO deemed the entire city a World Heritage Site.
- It was also an obligatory sleep-over stop for travelers between Rio and São Paulo until the late 1800s, when the inner road was opened.

Paraty is crowded and lively throughout the summer, brimming with Brazilian and European vacationers and good music. The town’s cosmopolitan flavor is further enhanced by the large number of artists, writers and chefs, both Brazilian and foreign, who have settled here and opened shops, galleries and restaurants in recent years.

Port Info: http://www.whatsinport.com/Parati.htm
- The tender will take 30-min. The walk into the old town, past the old church, is 5-min. See the historical old town. The cobble stoned streets are very pretty with restored colonial homes turned into small shops, restaurants, and artists studios.

- The cobble stone street is designed so that at high tide the water comes into the street and cleans them.
- Casa da Cultura is a culture center.
- Buses to the beautiful village and beaches at Trindade (Trinity, 三位一體) leaves from the Bus Station. Buy tickets on board, approximate R$3 to Trindade.

Get around:
- The historic town is compact and can be covered on foot; cars, save for taxis picking up or dropping passengers, are not allowed into the historic city center.
- Beware of the Taxi's as they are very expensive (between R$25-30 for a 1.5km drive) and are not metered, therefore negotiate a price before jumping in one.

O Excursion:
1. Historical & Cultural Parati (PTI-003)- 2 hrs, $99. Walking from the pier to the historical center. You'll observe that houses could only be built in a certain way, the streets followed a simple grid pattern, and even the cobblestones were arranged in channels to drain water from storms and elevated tides from full moons.
Among the finest landmarks are the Church of the Santa Rita de Cassia, which was built in 1722, and the House of Culture, a museum housed in a beautiful colonial mansion. You will also see plenty of other colonial homes, appealing boutiques and tasteful galleries featuring work from local artists. After approximately two hours of walking, you may either remain in town to further explore on your own, or return to the pier with your guide.

1. DIY - walk to the historical center. Visit churches, museum, galleries and shops.
2. Book a 2-hr walking tour with a local guide named Harry, starting at 10am for $30/pp, minimum 2 person, max 8. See http://www.paratyexplorer.com/paraty-city-tour.html
3. Viator has a 2-hr walking tour for USD $106/pp: http://www.viator.com/tours/Paraty/Paraty-City-Sightseeing-Tour/d5426-2484PARCITY
4. ToursByLocals: https://www.toursbylocals.com/Paraty-Tours?gclid=CLHs8Prkvs0CFdRZhgodU5gAwg

Dec 11
Ilha Grande, Brazil  Anchor Port 8a.m. 6 p.m.
  ILHA is a Portuguese word meaning island, isle. (Pronounced as I-LA, 伊拉)

Ilha Grande is a beautiful Brazilian island founded by the Portuguese.
- There are no roads and no private cars on the island.
- ILHA Grande has an infamous past as an entry point for African slaves. Later, the island supported a leper colony and a political prison.

Vila do Abraao, other than this little village, Ilha Grande is totally deserted and completely car free, which means the only way to access the beaches is by walking through the jungle or by taking a boat round the coast.

SEE : There are beautiful beaches, some considered to be among the nicest of Brazil.
DO : beaches: Lopes Mendes - a 3-km stretch of dazzling-white sand lapped by emerald waters, is the most beautiful beach on Ilha Grande. It is often cited as the most beautiful beach in Brazil.

Port Info: http://www.whatsinport.com/Ilha-Grande.htm
- the tender pier is right at the center of Vila do Abraao village. The water front area is very bustling, lined with a TI, many restaurants, boutique shops, souvenir shops, local boat tours and bike tours companies. The tourists' commercialism is as bustling as
Búzios, which we visited the day before yesterday.

Available O Excursions:
(1) 4-hr Schooner & Snorkeling Adventure (IGB-002) to the Blue Lagoon. $99
(2) 3-hr Historical & Cultural Walking Tour (IGB-001). $69 : Ilha Grande State Park (a guide will discuss the park’s flora and fauna), San Sebastian church, Black Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand that is black because it contains so much dark quartz; stroll along the shore of Preta Beach before following a trail to Ilha Grande’s old aqueduct, a beautiful structure partially covered with tropical vines. (Flora and fauna in a state park is not our cup of tea, so won't consider this tour. Also, don't want to go into woods. )

Options : DIY - walk off the pier and do some walking/sightseeing on own.

Dec 12
Sao Paulo (Santos), Brazil 8am 6pm
  (According to Frances, Santos is a down-at-the-heels port city, faded glory from the era of the coffee magnates. Santos *is* shabby but there are some beautiful buildings now used for government services.)

Santos, the gateway to the Brazilian capital of Sao Paolo, has long been nicknamed "the coffee port." Though no coffee (except for a few show trees) actually grows in Santos, the city is synonymous with the bean and ties its history to the growth of Brazil's coffee trade (military officer Francisco de Melo Palheta brought the first coffee plant to Brazil in 1727). Santos is the busiest port in Latin America, shipping 25 percent of the country's exports.

The drive from Santos to Sao Paulo is about 75-min. Excursions could get delayed due to traffic or mountain fog, so may be it is good to take the O excursion. The city of Sao Paulo is located on a plateau, 2,200 feet above sea level, which is reached by crossing the Serra do Mar mountain pass. The alpine-like, winding road offers stunning scenery.

São Paulo, the city, is the capital of the state of São Paulo, Brazil's most populous and wealthiest state, and is the nation's main financial hub. It exerts strong international influence in commerce, finance, arts and entertainment. The name of the city honors Saint Paul of Tarsus. The city's metropolitan area of Greater São Paulo ranks as the most populous in Brazil and the eleventh most populous on Earth.

Port Info: http://www.whatsinport.com/Santos.htm
Taxi's are about the only option to get from/to port. Check with your cruise line if they provide shuttles.
Sightseening options: 3 choices,
1. Santos - has a historic city center but it is not large. A Coffee Museum, and home to the famous football club Santos FC, where Pelé has played.
2. Guarujá - beautiful beaches, a modern town with upscale shops and restaurants.
3. Sao Paulo - It is South America largest city and impresses by its size, but there is little to see as far as tourism is concerned. If there is a major attraction to this city, it is the excellent quality of its world-class restaurants and the variety of cultural activities on display.

Oceania excursion:
The Best Of Sao Paulo (SSZ-002)- 8 hours, $249. 8:30am ~ 4:30pm including lunch
While with some moderate walking, this tour is mainly a panoramic coach tour of the city's main points of interest.
- 75-min drive each way from Santos port to Sao Paulo city. The tour includes an authentic churrascaria, Brazilian barbecue, with a large selection of barbecued meats, salads, desserts, mineral water and coffee.
- The city is located on a plateau, 2,200 feet above sea level, which is reached by crossing the Serra do Mar mountain pass. The alpine-like, winding road offers stunning scenery.
- After reaching the plateau, you will drive to some of the city's landmarks, which includes a stop at the Ipiranga Monument on São Paulo's outskirts, erected in commemoration of Brazil's independence. You will also visit the Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo, (an important art museum, pinacoteca=gallery, museum) a well-preserved architectural monument from the beginning of the 20th century with classical marble columns mingling with brick walls.
- Your tour continues with a sightseeing drive through the downtown area for panoramic views and historic sites, including the Municipal Theater, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Patio do Colegio, where the Jesuitas founded the city in 1554. Next, experience an authentic churrascaria, Brazilian barbecue, with a large selection of barbecued meats, salads, desserts, mineral water and coffee.
- Following lunch, you will continue with your sightseeing drive through São Paulo's main thoroughfare, Paulista Avenue, located in Ibirapuera Park. The park features such attractions as the Pioneer's Monument, the Obelisk and the Legislative Assembly building. From here, you will begin your return journey to Santos and the ship.

Guaruja Beach Transfer (SSZ-004)- 5 hours, $75. 9:30am
- you will have approximately 3 hours to do in Guaruja as you please.

Highlights Of Santos (SSZ-001) - 4 hours, $129. 9:00am, or 1:30pm
- Visit the Coffee Museum, which assert the importance of coffee to Brazil's economy, and presents the storied history of coffee production in a most fascinating way. This former palace was inaugurated in 1922 to celebrate 100 years of Brazilian independence. Wall paintings recall the history of Santos from its early times to the present.
- visit the Museum of the Santos Football Club.
- Botanical Gardens: Stroll among giant subtropical and tropical trees and stop to see the aviary with its macaws, toucans and parrots. The garden's main attraction is the Orchidarium (蘭花飼養) with more than 100 specimens of these exotic blooms.
- along Gonzaga beach, the curving stretch of white sand that is bordered by hotels and condominiums, appearing much like a resort on the French Riviera.

Other Options:
Tours by Locals will do a 6-hr round-trip Santos port to Sao Paulo, $450 for 4 PAX.

Dec 13
Porto Belo, Brazil Anchor Port 9 a.m. 6 p.m.
  The name, Porto Belo in Portuguese means "Beautiful port".

Perched on a lovely peninsula in southern Brazil, Porto Belo is revered for its beaches, most especially Bombas and Bombinhas, which share a beautiful emerald-green bay. In fact, the area is called the "Emerald Coast."

Porto Belo, in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, was a small fishing village (with most of its inhabitants Portuguese descendants from the Azores Islands) until just a few decades ago when its fabulous beaches became the focal point for Brazilians on holiday. The town of Porto Belo itself is quaint, but the surrounding beach communities are really the focus of a visit to Porto Belo.

Port Info: http://www.whatsinport.com/Porto-Belo.htm and http://www.southamericaportreviews.com/PortoBeloBrazil.htm . See the harbor and beach map at: http://www.royalcaribbean.com/content/en_US/pdf/shopping_guides/PortoBeloRC_ENG.pdf

Porto Belo is a tender port. Your ship will anchor outside of Porto Belo and tender into Porto Belo's yacht harbor.
- There is limited shopping right by the tender wharf and there is a free shuttle (5-minutes ride) to downtown Porto Belo for more shops and stores. The bus will drop you at the main square in Porto Belo, which is full of small shops and vendors selling various crafts and other items. (However, when we arrived, there was no offering of such shuttles.) HINT: If Buzios is also on your itinerary, save your shopping time for Buzios.
- Also, the main beach communities of Bombas and Bombinas offer abundant shopping opportunities. However, Porto Belo's shopping is not the focus of a visit here.

Bombas Beach, 3 miles to the east of Porto Belo, is the closest beach to town and may be crowded. It is the beach that the cruise lines use for their beach break shore excursion and while a very nice beach, may be noisy and crowded. There are complete beach services here including restaurants, bars and beach activities.

Bombinhas Beach is located past Bombas Beach and offers a little more solitude, but still quite crowded. Bombinhas Beach is lined with restaurants, bars, shops and boutiques and the main street (1 block inland) offers even more shopping opportunities. Taxi cost BRL 50 (or USD$15) one way from the tender pier, we decided to save the $30 r/t fare and stayed near the tender pier of Porto Belo.

The Porto Belo Tour Bus (sightseeing bus): hourly, buses are in red color.
The Porto Belo (sightseeing) Tour Bus that departs the marina where the tender wharf is located. The tour takes about 1 hour and you will see everything that there is to see in Porto Belo including its local beaches, stores, sights and such. Those that took it found it enjoyable.
[However, when we arrived, the TI told us that the bus schedule is not convenient for cruise ship visitors like us, and that we should take a taxi instead, so we never found out what the schedule of the sightseeing bus were.]
1) DIY: 1-hr Sightseeing bus tour, browse downtown square, walk to Bombas beach and Bombinhas beach.

Dec 14
Cruising the Atlantic Ocean    
Dec 15
Rio Grande, Brazil 8 a.m. 4 p.m.
  Rio = River.
A lovely old Portuguese city (established in 1737), see its gracious squares and beautiful churches.

Rio Grande (lit. "Large River") is one of the oldest cities in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul (Great Southern River). It is also the former state capital from 1835 to 1845. It is the most important port city in the state and has one of the most important maritime ports in Brazil.

The city built up its wealth over the course of its long history of strong industrial movements. Today it is still one of the richest cities in Rio Grande do Sul, mainly because of its port, the second busiest in Brazil, and its refinery, which processes Ipiranga petroleum.

Port Info: http://www.whatsinport.com/Rio-Grande.htm , and http://www.portoriogrande.com.br/site/sobre_porto_localizacao.php and also searched the landmark by name, then found location map on tripadvisor. See my customized Google map for the locations of the following landmarks:
- The city has a bustling waterfront and a very nice main square.
- Alfandega, the Customs House - The building of the former customs of Rio Grande is the most beautiful and vast existing building in neoclassical architecture in the city. It was built in 1804 at the behest of Emperor Dom Pedro II to manage the public revenue of this province.
Free admission.
- Catedral Sao Pedro - constructed in Baroque style and erected by the Portuguese in 1775, is the oldest church in the state.
- Praça Tamandaré - https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pra%C3%A7a_Tamandar%C3%A9 is the largest square in the interior of Rio Grande do Sul. The park-like square is also home to several Sculptures of the river-Grandino artist Erico Gobbi (1925-2009)

- The Oceanographic Museum (free admission) has interesting exhibits of one of the most extensive marine life collections from South Atlantic waters. (B
ut the exhibits are only in Portuguese, and a small exhibition too.)
- Basic hours for most stores and businesses are from 9am to 6pm, with an extended lunch hour from around noon to 2pm.

O only has one excursion at this port:
Sights Of Rio Grande (RGR-001) - 3hr, $99. Begin with a scenic drive through the downtown area of Rio Grande, past the heart of the city, where the majority of the most elegant and historical buildings are located. Your first stop is a visit to Alfandega, the Customs House, a neo-classic style building built by the Emperor Dom Peter II in 1879. Stroll to the oldest Cathedral of the State, Catedral Sao Pedro, constructed in Baroque style and erected by the Portuguese in 1775, is the oldest church in the state. Continue to the Museum of Sacred Art at the Chapel of the St. Francisco, which holds several important pieces, some from the legacy left by the Jesuits and some from private collection acquired by the Government. Next, your guide will take you to the Praca Tamandare, where you will view several art sculptures. Then visit the Oceanographic Museum (free admission) and view its collection of rare and unusual species of invertebrates(無脊椎動物), fish and mollusks(軟體動物). However, it is easy to do the same itinerary on our own.

1. Take the Oceania's excursion for $99. Because if we book 6 excursions or more, we'll receive 25% off from the a la carte prices. Therefore if excursion #6 were inexpensive to begin with, then with 25% off applied to both #5 and #6, excursion #6 ends up almost free, or costs very little money.
2. If DIY - From port to Praça Tamandaré is about 3.1km, and 8 min on taxi. We can taxi to downtown Alfandega, and then walk a short distance from there to see other downtown landmarks. Then take a taxi to the Oceanographic Museum. When done, taxi back to the port.

Dec 16
Punta Del Este, Uruguay Anchor Port 8 a.m. 6 p.m.
Currency:Uruguayan peso
1USD=27.94 UYU

Official Language: Spanish


(Punta Del Este and Montevideo are covered in both Fodor's ARGENTINA guidebook, and Fodor's BUENOS AIRES guidebook, as side trips from Buenos Aires."

Punta Del Este (Point of the East) is a tony resort town. Enjoy this beautiful, chic beach resort, its marinas and interesting shops. See amazing works by Dali, Chagall and Miro at the Ralli Museum.

The elite Punta del Este is known for its beaches, surfing, beautiful people and an ardent night scene. It is expensive, usually about 50% more expensive than other areas of Uruguay, if not more. There are many travel sights, including the amazing restaurants. It's been called the Monaco of South America. or St. Tropez of South America, or just the French Riviera of South America.

The bulk of Punta del Este is on a peninsula jutting into the ocean. The perimeter of this peninsula can easily be traversed by foot. The resort takes its name from the "east point" marking the division of the Rio de la Plata on the west from the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Beaches on the Atlantic Ocean side are winding and not safe to swim alone.

The first Europeans to set foot in what is now Punta del Este were the Spanish at the beginning of the 16th century. However, the colonization of the area actually began around Maldonado at the end of the 18th century due to Portuguese expansionism.


  1. Port - with the fish market and a lighthouse.
  2. Museo Ralli - a large collection of contemporary Latin American surreal art. Located in a lovely Spanish-style building in the fashionable Beverly Hills neighborhood. Salvador Dali has several sculptures in one of the two sculpture gardens.
  3. Casa-Pueblo - a beautiful resort-museum near Punta del Este. It was created by the late Uruguayan artist Carlos Paez-Vilaró, a sprawling white complex perched on a bluff above the ocean and houses many of the artist's most definitive works.
  4. Gorlero Avenue - 10-block long major shopping area, about 10-min walk from the pier.
  5. Seaside mansions of the rich ad famous
  6. Beaches -Famous beaches includes: "La playa de los Dedos" ("The finger beach"), which is near the main street in Punta del Este, close to a surf spot, and it has a giant hand emerging from the sand. In La Barra the Bikini Beach is famous because of the models and famous people that go there.
Port Info:
This is a tender port. To get from the pier to street level requires negotiating a flight of steps. The town center is about a 10-block walk from the pier area. Taxis may be available in limited numbers.

O Excursions:
  1. Punta Del Este & Casa Pueblo (PDP-002) - 4 hr, $149. Discover beautiful beaches, residential areas and a wonderful museum during this scenic orientation tour of Punta del Este.
    - Drive along Peninsula Coast Road to the Atlantic Ocean beaches of Ingleses, Emir and Brava.
    - Continue along the residential areas such as Cantegril, San Rafael, Parque del Golf and Beverly Hills.
    - make a stop to visit Ralli Museum: this private museum displays the paintings and sculptures of Latin American artists, including some sculptures by Salvador Dali.
    - hanging bridges of Barra de Maldonado (Google to see its picture)
    - to Punta Ballena to visit the famous Casa Pueblo,
    - free time for window-shopping may be available in the downtown area at Gorlero Avenue.
  2. Art & Culture Of Punta Del Este (PDP-005) - 6 hr, $149. 9:00am ~ 3:00pm
    Explore the cultural side of Punta del Este through a tour of its finest museums and most architecturally rich neighborhoods. (Lunch on your own)
    - drive through Punta del Este, see Playa Mansa (playa=beach) curves around the calmer bay side, and Playa Brava fronts the ocean.
    - visit Ralli Museum of Contemporary Art
    - stop at Gorlero Avenue, the city's main thoroughfare and most exquisite shopping district, for approximately 90 minutes.
    - to Punta Ballena to visit the famous Casa Pueblo,
Other Options:
1) 4hr city tour with a local guide: http://www.topprivatetours.com/#!punta-del-este-city-tour/c3ta USD$103/pp if 2PAX, USD$93/pp if 4PAX
Dec 17
Montevideo, Uruguay 8 a.m. 6:30 pm
  Montevideo is the capital (and the largest city) of Uruguay. It is located about 2-hr's drive west of Punta Del Este. Uruguay's official name is the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. Montevideo was founded as a military stronghold by the Spanish in the early 18th century. Uruguay won its independence between 1811 and 1828, following a four-way struggle between Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Brazil. It remained subject to foreign influence and intervention throughout the 19th century. Modern Uruguay is a democratic constitutional republic.

Uruguay is ranked first in Latin America in democracy, peace, lack of corruption, and is first in South America when it comes to press freedom, size of the middle class and prosperity. Uruguay is an important global exporter of combed wool, rice, soybeans, frozen beef, malt 麥芽 and milk.

Montevideo is relatively a small capital (yet is the nation's only major city) , has very efficient public transportation system so getting around is not difficult at all. Feel free to ask people which bus route you need to take to get to your destination as it can be the most effective and cheap option (UYU $28 as of 2016). If you choose to ride a bus, upon boarding you will pay either the driver or the assistant who sits on the right-hand side of the bus (door-side) a few seats from the entrance. There is a small device that will dispense your receipt, make sure you hold on to it for the duration of your ride.

1) A VLOG of Montevideo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfpMIsbP9q0 (16-min)
2) Virtual Tourist (photos with captions): https://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/South_America/Uruguay/Departamento_de_Montevideo/Montevideo-1624243/TravelGuide-Montevideo.htm
3) NYTimes 36 hours in Montevideo (with a detailed city map): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/travel/36-hours-in-montevideo-uruguay.html?_r=0

Taxis are plentiful and reasonable. A ten-minute cab ride costs about UYU100. Taxis are metered and upon the end of your ride you are shown a chart depicting distance and cost (though on some vehicles this chart will be on the window between you and the driver). Fare for Sundays and late at night is slightly higher. Tipping is not expected, but you might round up to an even number.

Drink Mate tea, — Pronounced "MAH-tay", an herb tea containing a lot of caffeine and similar stimulants. Most locals in Montevideo prefer to drink their mate without sugar, called a mate amargo ("bitter mate,")

Port Info: http://www.whatsinport.com/Montevideo.htm
- Cruise ships dock at the Port of Montevideo, just west of Ciudad Vieja. It is about a 5-minute taxi ride to the center of town. You can find a guide & driver just on the dock and hire them there.
- Metered taxis are usually available at the pier. Drivers frequently charge cruise passengers a flat rate from the pier to popular destinations. Taxis in Uruguay are safe and fairly affordable. Costing about $2 USD per km. All taxis in Uruguay use meters and have fixed costs.
- The old town and central plaza are a short walk from the pier (1 mile) Interesting shops, especially for antiques, along the way.
- Caution: Do not wear expensive jewelry or carry large amounts of cash ashore with you. Be aware of purse-snatchers in the downtown area.
- Mercado de Puerto (Port Market) : a covered market full of restaurants and shops selling handicrafts. The main market is open every day during lunch hours. Try an open fire asado (barbecue). A street fair open weekends and afternoons where you can sample Uruguayan dishes. It is within walking distance of the pier; maps are available at the pier.
- Avenida 18 de Julio (July 18th) is Montevideo's main street with restaurants and shops.
- Plaza de Independecia: The square at the end of 18 de Julio Ave., with the latter being the main commercial artery of the city. This is the heart of Monevideo.
- Palacio Salvo: Next to Plaza Independencia. Once South America's highest building, the Palacio Salvo still dominates Montevideo's skyline.
- Ciudad Vieja: Montevideo's Old Town. (Narrow streets, so you may opt to skip.) Enter through the portal called Puerta de la Ciudadela at one end of Plaza de Independencia. However, the eastern part of the old town is a nice place to wander, but the western section is very run down and deserted (best to avoid), aside from the area around the Mercado del Puerto.

O Excursion:

  1. City Sights & Juanico Winery (MVD-002)- 7 hr, $199,  8:30am~ 3:30pm, including a buffet lunch of traditional Uruguayan foods at the winery, accompanied by an outstanding selection of award-winning Uruguayan wines.
    A scenic drive through downtown Montevideo en route to Juanicó - The Site of Wine in Uruguay. The advantageous soil and climate of Juanicó combined making this an excellent location for viticulture. Originally started with 50,000 plants, over a century later Juanicó has become Uruguay's largest winery. Wines produced here include classic varieties such as, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Tannat, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Reisling, .... and Viognier. The stone buildings of these historical premises date back to the 1840s and although remodeled, still possess the original style of that era. Your tour through the magnificent vineyards and winery will showcase how the co-existence of state-of-the-art technology and time-honored traditions, can successfully blend together to create an outstanding and unique wine product that has garnered many international awards.
  2. Montevideo City Sights, Steam Train & Wine Tasting (MVD-004)- 5 hrs, $199. Do this only if the excursion above is full.
  3. Colonia Del Sacramento (MVD-005) - 8.5 hr, $199. it's a 2 ½ hour drive to Colonia del Sacramento which rests along the Rio de la Plata (River of Silver), directly across from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The oldest city in Uruguay, it was founded by the Portuguese in 1680, during a time when Spain and Portugal were in the midst of confrontations. For over a hundred years, both empires fought to control the city until finally, the Treaty of Saint Ildefonso awarded it to Spain. As you walk through this historical old city that was named as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, you will discover that the past still lives in its cobblestone streets, stone walls and amazing architecture.

Other Options:
1) 4hr city tour with a local guide: http://www.topprivatetours.com/#!montevideo-city-tour/c24n1 USD$127/pp if 2PAX, USD$74/pp if 4PAX

Dec 18
Buenos Aires, Argentina 8 a.m.  
Currency: Argentine Peso
1USD=15.58 ARS

Official Language: Spanish

Watch out for the "black water" scam (or Mustard, or ketchup, dropped onto your clothing), besides the pickpocket.

Have you read about the "blue" rate of exchange and safety rules for Buenos Aires?
- "Blue rate" : http://www.discoverbuenosaires.com/blue-rate . check DollarBlue rate at http://www.preciodolarblue.com.ar/ about 15 ARS to 1 USD. The preferred denomination is crisp green $100 bills, with no mark.

Port Info: http://www.whatsinport.com/Buenos-Aires.htm
- Cruise ships Terminal Benito Quinquela Martín (a bit north-east of the Estacion Retiro) opened recently is located about a ½ mile from the city center. If your ship is moored at one of the outlying docks at the port, a complimentary shuttle bus will deliver you to your ship.
- Taxis are readily available and very reasonable. Taxis throughout the city are metered, in pesos, but US currency is accepted. However, at the port, radio taxis are available with pre-set prices to the various neighborhoods in the city.
- You will also find complimentary shopping shuttle buses at the port. They will shuttle you back and forth to the different shopping areas. It's free and saves negotiating fares with "touts". You can always take a cab where the shuttle has dropped you off.
- Microcentro at the Avenue Florida is the commercial center of town.
- The streets around the port area are not safe to traverse on your own

O Excursion:
1. Highlights Of Buenos Aires (BUE-001) - 4 hrs, $99. 09:00am ~ 1:00pm
    Get acquainted with Buenos Aires during this tour, which highlights the city's major neighborhoods and attractions. Among the points of interest you will see are:
- Plaza de Mayo, or May Square, surrounded by the Presidential Office, the old Colonial Town Hall and the Cathedral.
- You will also drive through the charming streets of San Telmo and down the colorful roads of La Boca, famous for its multi-colored tin houses.
- Later, drive through elegant Barrio Norte on your way to the Recoleta Cemetery, an amazing aboveground cemetery lined with mausoleums and statues and Eva Peron's resting place.
- Finally, drive through Palermo and its magnificent mansions and parks before returning to pier.

2. Highlights Of Buenos Aires With The Evita Museum (BUE-002)- 4.5 hrs, $99. 8:30am ~ 1:00pm.
- Begin with a scenic drive to Plaza de Mayo, or May Square, which is surrounded by the Presidential Office, the old Colonial Town Hall and the Cathedral.
- You will also drive through the charming streets of San Telmo and down the colorful roads of La Boca, famous for its multi-colored tin houses.
- Later, enjoy a drive through elegant Barrio Norte on your way to the Recoleta Cemetery, an amazing aboveground cemetery lined with mausoleums and statues and Eva Peron's resting place.
- Continue to the new Evita Museum, which opened its doors on the 50th anniversary of her death. Take an historical glimpse into her life as well as the social reality and international implications of her short life.
- Finally, drive through Palermo and its magnificent mansions and parks before returning to the ship.
- Spend this free Sunday afternoon in San Telmo, because San Telmo is very bustling on Sundays for people watching, street tango, and cafes

3. Gaucho Fiesta (BUE-004) - 7 hrs, $159. 9:30am ~ 4:30pm
- The ranch used is likely to be the "Estancia Santa Susana" (estancia=ranch, Gaucho=cowboy). Read its TripAdvisor review here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g3347717-d1723200-Reviews-Estancia_Santa_Susana-Los_Cardales_Province_of_Buenos_Aires_Central_Argentina.html . They can host up to 400 guests at a time. Its fun to get out of the city, but a lot of waiting around with nothing to do.)
- Begin with a scenic drive into the famous Pampas of Argentina, home of the Gauchos. Upon arrival at the Estancia, you will be welcomed with typical empanadas. Stroll around on the farm, take a horse or carriage ride, or watch the Gauchos preparing your barbecue, called asado al asador. At noon, sit down together and feast on a meal of the Gauchos. After lunch, the Gauchos will play traditional music and show how they dance in the Pampa. To conclude the day, the Gauchos will mount up and begin their display of horsemanship. Their skills seem almost unbelievable, but these men do almost literally live in the saddle.

Dec 19
Buenos Aires, Argentina (post trip DIY) Disembark 8:00am  
  Disembark at 8am. Check in at the hotel in Buenos Aires, leave bags, then meet our guide at the hotel lobby at 10am for a tour of the city.

A poster on Fodor's Argentina board, mlgb, said the taxi mafia at the port charges USD$25 minimum to the city. "Arriving by cruise ship you can pay the official taxis at the port with USD. They do charge very high prices as it's a monopoly (they start at $25 unless you can talk them down which isn't easy especially if you are with big luggage. So, you will be able to get to your hotel without ARS." However, another poster said that you may walk out of the port gate to hail regular-priced taxi.

Tipping -- A 10% tip is expected at cafes and restaurants. Give at least $1 to bellboys and porters, 5% to hairdressers, and leftover change to taxi drivers.
Water -- In Buenos Aires, the water is perfectly safe to drink. But if you are traveling to more remote regions of Argentina, it's best to stick with bottled water for drinking.
Electricity in Argentina runs on 220 volts. Note that most laptops operate on both 110 and 220 volts. Luxury hotels usually have transformers and adapters available.
TO-DO list:

  • Dinner (or lunch) at FERVOR: http://www.yelp.com/biz/fervor-buenos-aires
  • See an inexpensive Tango dinner/show at Cafe Tortoni at 8pm; or Gala Tango at 10pm (show only, without dinner, for USD$120pp)
  • Look into performance schedule at Opera Colon

(9/4/2016) Booked a private Buenos Aires past to present historical tour with guide Pedro Werberg (from the company: www.AmigodeBuenosAires.com), for 5-7 hours. Meet @10am at our hotel.
Contact: (international) +54911-5523-7255, (local, cell) 155-523-7255
Email: info@amigodebuenosaires.com, clickonenglish55@gmail.com
Web: www.amigodebuenosaires.com
Review of Pedro Werberg with a photo of him, http://www.batips.com/tango/pedro-werberg-reveals-buenos-aires-hidden-treasures/

The tour covers:
1- Recoleta area and the cemetery.
2- Palermo
3- The pink palace or government building. Pope Francis church--city center--
4- Touristy but colorful La Boca ( birth place of tango )
5- San Telmo.

Dec 20
Buenos Aires, Argentina (post trip DIY)    

Sightseeing on own.
Visit museums, tour inside the opera house, go inside the cathedral if we did not go the day before, walk the Florida street (Calle Florida), go inside Galerías Pacífico as well as visit its food court.

Tango Show - 8pm show at Cafe Tortoni http://www.cafetortoni.com.ar/en/

Dec 21
Buenos Aires. Leaving on Delta flight @09:15pm    
  Sightseeing on own.
Leave EZE airport in the evening for a flight back to Boston. (Delta #110, 09:15p to Atlanta GA, then arriving Boston the next morning at 09:58a on 12/22/2016)

Two airports. Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarni, Ezeiza, services most international flights, and
Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, Aeroparque, services domestic and regional flights.

Ezeiza is 35km (22mi) south of downtown. Aeroparque is only 8km (5mi) north of downtown. Deluxe buses make the journey to both airports for a higher fare than local buses, but often include hotel drop-offs. However, taxi is the easiest to go from Centro to airport. Book online with TAXI EZEIZA and the fare advertized was ARS$480, about USD$36.