South America is a continent of contrasts, one that has long enchanted travellers by virtue of its natural and cultural wonders. Cruises follow in the footsteps of Drake and Magellan around one of the most captivating regions of the world.

Ever since its heyday in the 1950s, Rio de Janeiro has conjured up images of hedonism. Indeed the ‘cidade maravilhosa’ manages to bring out the party animal in even the most staid of souls. Another aspect of Brazil can be witnessed in the Amazon which is edged out by the Nile as the world’s longest river, but by any other measure has no equal.

In Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America, make time to see Casa Rosada – the Argentinean president’s pink mansion that was the centrepiece of the film Evita. In the colourful La Boca neighbourhood tango rhythms fill the bohemian cafés.

Throughout the Latin continent a new discovery beckons – natural and man-made wonders are juxtaposed with small indigenous villages and vibrant colonial cities. Voyages along the Pacific coast are brimful of natural beauty where the towering Chilean Andes meet the sea in jungle-clad cliffs. At Tierra del Fuego the Straits of Magellan is a natural sea channel that links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.