Day by day itinerary
Panorama of Dakar, Senegal
Dakar, set at the tip of the Cape Vert peninsula, is West Africa’s westernmost point and the capital of French-speaking Senegal. Although it was not founded until 1857, it is West Africa’s oldest European city and one of the most westernised. The opening of the Dakar-St Louis railway in 1885 put the town on the map; it subsequently became a French naval base and in 1904, the capital of Afrique Occidentale Française. It bears the legacy of Africa’s French colonial past, especially so in the downtown Plateau area, where the architecture is redolent of southern France. Every inch a modern city, Dakar is a frenetic buzz of activity, which can be startling. Perhaps sample the popular mint tea and try your hand at bartering in the colourful craft markets for traditional embroidery, woodcarvings, metalwork and costume jewellery.
Start your Expedition Cruise in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, located in the south of Santiago Island. You can explore its old centre overlooking the ocean and its historical buildings with transom windows. In the old quarter, you can also learn about the diversity of the archipelago’s cultural origins in the Ethnographic Museum. To finish your day, head to the harbour to visit the Diogo Gomes statue, paying homage to the man who discovered the archipelago in 1460.
Porto Novo, the second largest city on Santo Antão, is located in the dry southeast of the island. A dusty wind blows constantly here. You can explore the main street with its former mansions, a little church, markets that have local fish, grogue and fresh goat cheese for sale, shops and-of course-the harbour. At the back of the town is the 2,000m-high Topo de Coroa, which is a fairly easy climb and has magnificent 360-degree views. Around the town, family-owned farms grow fruit and vegetables which are sold at regular markets in the town. There are some old churches from the Portuguese era, as well as a couple of elegant squares with pleasant bars and cafés, from which to watch the world go by.
The volcanic island of Fogo is probably the highest landmark of the archipelago. Ideal for hiking, Pico de Fogo has an immense caldera surrounding the active crater and traces of recent and old lava flows all around. Again, along the coast there’s plenty of options too: from the charming Mosteiros to the stylish colonial houses of the historic town of São Filipe, there’s a choice for everyone.
Modern waterfront buildings and paradise beach in Natal, Brazil
According to Salvador's adopted son Jorge Amado, "In Salvador, magic becomes part of the every-day." From the shimmering golden light of sunset over the Baía do Todos os Santos, to the rhythmic beats that race along the streets, Salvador, while no longer Brazil's capital, remains one of its most captivating cities. A large dose of its exoticism comes down to its African heritage—at least 70% of its 2,675,000 population is classified as Afro-Brazilian—and how it has blended into Brazil's different strands, from the native Indians to the Christian colonizers. Salvadorans may tell you that you can visit a different church every day of the year, which is almost true—the city has about 300. Churches whose interiors are covered with gold leaf were financed by the riches of the Portuguese colonial era, when slaves masked their traditional religious beliefs under a thin Catholic veneer. And partly thanks to modern-day acceptance of those beliefs, Salvador has become the fount of Candomblé, a religion based on personal dialogue with the orixás, a family of African deities closely linked to nature and the Catholic saints. The influence of Salvador's African heritage on Brazilian music has also turned the city into one of the musical capitals of Brazil, resulting in a myriad of venues to enjoy live music across the city, along with international acclaim for exponents like Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, and Daniela Mercury. Salvador's economy today is focused on telecommunications and tourism. The still-prevalent African culture draws many tourists—this is the best place in Brazil to hear African music, learn or watch African dance, and see capoeira, a martial art developed by slaves. In the district of Pelourinho, many colorful 18th- and 19th-century houses remain, part of the reason why this is the center of the tourist trade. Salvador sprawls across a peninsula surrounded by the Baía de Todos os Santos on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. The city has about 50 km (31 miles) of coastline. The original city, referred to as the Centro Histórica (Historical Center), is divided into the Cidade Alta (Upper City), also called Pelourinho, and Cidade Baixa (Lower City). The Cidade Baixa is a commercial area—known as Comércio—that runs along the port and is the site of Salvador's indoor market, Mercado Modelo. You can move between the upper and lower cities on foot, via the landmark Elevador Lacerda, behind the market, or on the Plano Inclinado, a funicular lift, which connects Rua Guindaste dos Padres on Comércio with the alley behind Cathedral Basílica. From the Cidade Histórica you can travel north along the bay to the hilltop Igreja de Nosso Senhor do Bonfim. You can also head south to the point, guarded by the Forte Santo Antônio da Barra, where the bay waters meet those of the Atlantic. This area on Salvador's southern tip is home to the trendy neighborhoods of Barra, Ondina, and Rio Vermelho, with many museums, theaters, shops, and restaurants. Beaches along the Atlantic coast and north of Forte Santo Antônio da Barra are among the city's cleanest. Many are illuminated at night and have bars and restaurants that stay open late.
Welcome to the Cidade Maravilhosa, or the Marvelous City, as Rio is known in Brazil. Synonymous with the girl from Ipanema, the dramatic views from Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain, and fabulously flamboyant Carnival celebrations, Rio is a city of stunning architecture, abundant museums, and marvelous food. Rio is also home to 23 beaches, an almost continuous 73-km (45-mile) ribbon of sand.As you leave the airport and head to Rio's beautiful Zona Sul (the touristic South Zone), you'll drive for about 40 minutes on a highway from where you'll begin to get a sense of the dramatic contrast between beautiful landscape and devastating poverty. In this teeming metropolis of 12 million people (6.2 million of whom live in Rio proper), the very rich and the very poor live in uneasy proximity. You'll drive past seemingly endless cinder-block favela, but by the time you reach Copacabana's breezy, sunny Avenida Atlântica—flanked on one side by white beach and azure sea and on the other by condominiums and hotels—your heart will leap with expectation as you begin to recognize the postcard-famous sights. Now you're truly in Rio, where cariocas (Rio residents) and tourists live life to its fullest.Enthusiasm is contagious in Rio. Prepare to have your senses engaged and your inhibitions untied. Rio seduces with a host of images: the joyous bustle of vendors at Sunday's Feira Hippie (Hippie Fair); the tipsy babble at sidewalk cafés as patrons sip their last glass of icy beer under the stars; the blanket of lights beneath the Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain); the bikers, joggers, strollers, and power walkers who parade along the beach each morning. Borrow the carioca spirit for your stay; you may find yourself reluctant to give it back.
Often likened to the Hamptons or St-Tropez, Punta del Este is a flashy destination where parties run nonstop in peak season. But it is also a destination that draws a range of beachgoers to its shores, from summering families to the celebrity jet-set. There's a bustling city on the beach downtown, as well as quiet countryside populated solely with upscale ranches called chacras or estancias, and creative, buzzing hamlets like La Barra and José Ignacio. Though it's pricey and at times a logistical challenge to get around, everyone finds something about Punta to love.The resort takes its name from the "east point" marking the division of the Río de la Plata on the west from the Atlantic Ocean to the east. It also lends its name to the broader region encompassing the nearby communities of Punta Ballena and La Barra de Maldonado. These days even José Ignacio, some 20 miles away, is grouped in. It's usually a given that Argentina’s upper class spends at least part of the summer in Punta, soaking in the ample rays.
Glamorous and gritty, Buenos Aires is two cities in one. What makes Argentina's capital so fascinating is its dual heritage—part European, part Latin American. Plaza de Mayo resembles a grand square in Madrid, and the ornate Teatro Colón would not be out of place in Vienna. But you’ll know you’re in South America by the leather shoes for sale on cobbled streets and impromptu parades of triumphant soccer fans. Limited-production wines, juicy steaks, and ice cream in countless flavors are among the old-world imports the city has perfected.
Silver Wind, the sister ship to Silver Cloud, embarked on its first voyage in 1995 and has recently been through a complete refurbishment, cementing its 6-star credentials.