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South America Cruise on the Silver Whisper

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Puro Caballo Ranch and Santiago
Puro Caballo Ranch near Santiago, Chile

A trip to a Chilean ranch is not complete without a Chilean rodeo, the country's national sport.

Puro Caballo Ranch (c) Linda Garrison

Puro Caballo Ranch

After our tour of the Vina Mar Winery near Valparaiso, the bus stopped at the Puro Caballo Ranch so we could experience a Chilean rodeo. The property was quite lovely, and we all sipped Pisco sours and nibbled on delicious empanadas while watching two couples dance traditional Chilean dances. Next, we sat on bales of hay along the edge of an outdoor arena to watch three talented riders put their gorgeous Chilean horses to work, demonstrating the different steps they can do, plus their ability to walk sideways. These horses were much smaller than the Peruvian Paso horses I had seen near Lima, but they danced with one of the women dancers just like they had in Peru. These horses were also less stocky than the gaucho ponies of Argentina.

Lunch was in a nice restaurant on the property. After the large empanada and Pisco sour, it was way too much food, so mom and I split a plate. Soon it was time to leave the ranch and ride the bus to Santiago.

Santiago

The ride from the ranch to Santiago was about an hour, but the time passed quickly. Soon we reached the huge city. It was a little odd having been in so many small towns and cities the previous two weeks. The bus rode along the main street, passing by the Presidential Palace, the Plaza del Armas, and several other historical areas. Since it was only five days before Christmas, the downtown streets were filled with holiday shoppers.

The bus took us to the top of San Cristobal Hill, which provided great panoramic views of Santiago. Our guide pointed out South America's tallest building and the road to the winter ski resorts on the other side of the city. It's always interesting to me to get an overhead view of a city, but it was more fun to ride the Santiago funicular up the hill than a bus.

All too soon it was time to go to the airport for our 10-hour flight back to Atlanta. The South America cruise on the Silver Whisper was as special as I hoped it would be. The Silver Whisper was launched in 2001, but the ship has been well-maintained and upgraded as necessary. This luxury cruise line really knows how to spoil its guests. The itinerary was well-planned, and although I hated to miss the Falklands, I understand the ship's safety comes first. Those who love days at sea, natural beauty, wildlife, and sailing past snow-capped mountains and craggy islands will especially appreciate this voyage.

South America Ports of Call on the Silver Whisper

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.

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