Moving to South America. By boat.

When I made my decision to leave Europe in 2015 and to move around the world, I knew it would be hard to decide where to begin this journey. My mind was going back and forth between Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. There are beautiful and interesting places everywhere.

Looking at maps and photos and reading about places didn’t reduce the list of options (it rather expanded it), so I decided on a different strategy: I would subscribe to several newsletters with offers of cheap flights until I saw something that was such an extremely good deal that I would feel stupid if I didn’t book it.

Then I went for the one deal which was not a flight, but a cruise. Because I would have felt stupid not taking it. In October and November, cruise lines are pulling out their boats from the Mediterranean and shipping them to America, where they work in the winter. This means that the cruise ships cross the Atlantic for a week. Apparently, this is not very popular with tourists or business travelers. Otherwise, you couldn’t book such a crossing for 150 €.

cruise to BrazilFor me, the idea of being on the Atlantic for a whole week is very enticing. One week on the open sea, no islands, no ports, just some other ships, maybe some whales and some terrible storms. No internet and enough time to read. Wonderful! So I booked a cruise from Gran Canaria to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil for November 2015. It will take eight days to get to America, more than it would have taken the Titanic to cross the ocean.

Once in Brazil, I will of course move around South America, Central America and the Caribbean over the coming years, staying in each country for a few months, like always exploring the nature and old cities, learning about the history and reporting on current events. Hopefully, I will also learn Spanish.

So if you are in Latin America and have a place to stay, want to go hiking or want me to write about your town or area, let me know. I’ll be happy about any invitation, except from the Colonia Dignidad in Chile.


But first, I have to survive the stormy passage across the treacherous Atlantic Ocean.

Wasser_über_Deck_und_Luken_WNA(Between now and November 2015, I will be in Eastern Europe, mainly in Romania, Moldova, Transnistria and Ukraine. – Hier gibt es diese Ankündigung auf Deutsch.)

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Brazil, Spain, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to Moving to South America. By boat.

  1. Kate says:

    Good Luck and I hope you have a great journey. :-) Sounds wonderful.

  2. Jim says:

    Good luck with the Atlantic crossing. It is wonderful to have enough income to do all that travel. What about Colonia Dignidad in Chile? And, of course, will the ships stop over in Cabo Verde?

    • My income is quite low, actually. That’s why I was waiting for a cheap offer. This cruise is available for 150 €.

      Colonia Dignidad was a German commune in Chile where children were molested, opponents of the Pinochet dictatorship were tortured and Nazis could find refuge.

      The itinerary (see picture above) doesn’t list any stop.

  3. Jim says:

    P.S. Next time you should visit Socotra.

  4. Fabio Werlang says:

    Spanish in Brazil is useless. When in Brazil, try to go further South and visit the city of Curitiba and the former German colonies of Blumenau, Pomerode, Dreizenlinden (Treze Tílias) in Santa Catarina and Feliz, São José do Hortênsio, Nova Petrópolis and Gramado in Rio Grande do Sul.

    • I know that Portuguese is spoken in Brazil, but realistically I can only learn one language and overall Spanish will be more useful in Latin America.

      Thank you very much for your recommendations! These are exactly the type of historically interesting places that I want to visit.

  5. Oh wow – hope your cruise is smoother than the photo! Regardless…you just got your a bargain!

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  7. kari says:

    Sounds like a good trip. Would it be possible to have the website for booking such a cruise, I’m interested in these kind of trips might make one in the upcoming future.

    • Sure! I booked the trip with Pullmantur: I heard that other cruise lines also offer Atlantic crossings for not much money in fall, but I didn’t find anything as cheap as the one mentioned above (although I still need to get a flight to Gran Canaria, from where the boat sets sail).

  8. Shannon says:

    Oh wow! You did it! You booked the cruise! That is an AMAZING deal!! I am very excited to read all about your new adventures on this side of the world and especially hope to read about the quiet crossing!

  9. angyi14 says:

    Wow ! Wishing you an adventures travel! Are you planning on visiting North America also? We ll be in Marosvàsarhely few day in July if you are going to be around.

  10. Stanito says:

    Colonia Dignidad is a very particular place, Chileans hold very sad memories of it but history fans find it very interesting.

  11. I’ve got to give it to you, it’s a much better plan than sitting in a crowded airplane for half a day.
    Hope we’re still on for the hiking trip in Romania!

    • Yes, of course! I just came back this week and I’ll still be in Targu Mures until the end of June. Whenever you have time, I would be very happy to join you!

    • Waiting for the weather to get better so we don’t have to walk in snow. It will most probably happen sometimes at the end of May – start of June. :)

    • Your winter break is as long as that of the Transfagarasan. :-)

    • Haha! :))
      Actually, I have some scheduling conflicts, I just came home from Amsterdam, have to write my dissertation in 5 weeks (while also working), then going for another 8-day trip to the Balkans in May, and on the 1st of June I have to hand in my final dissertation. So actually, the dissertation is to blame :). I would really love it if we could go at the beginning of May (when the weather will be sunny but not that hot), but can’t promise anything..

    • Now I feel less busy in comparison. :-)
      Good luck with the dissertation!

  12. Andreea says:

    the plan sounds awesome, have a great journey! :)

    one tip for learning Spanish: maybe start watching some soap operas :P or you can always use apps like Duolingo to get you going.

    • I prefer Duolingo over Desperate Housewives. :-) But maybe I can watch James Bond films in Spanish…

    • ZaCook says:

      Mi nombre es Bond, James Bond! sounds better than it does in English! I really envy you for all your traveling and for making people envy you! Good luck in your new adventure and smooth sailing! :)

    • Thank you! But I don’t want to make people envious, I want to motivate them.

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  14. elessar43 says:

    Sounds exciting! I’m going to South America in a couple of days but have entertained the idea of doing the trip by boat. Would you have a link to a site of the firm you’re traveling with? cheers

  15. Paul says:


    I too have booked this same trip across the Atlantic. I found your post while trying to search for reviews of the crossing, how busy it may be, weather etc. I will be travelling solo, who wouldn’t at €150 full board, and aim to spend a few days in Salvador before going to Peru to visit Machu Pichu.

  16. Hi……………..
    Thanks for sharing nice blog post To make your experience entertaining and memorable, Spanish learning is highly necessary. Find the best school that will be providing efficiently designed Spanish courses in Latin America.

    • Oh, I know. I am not only planning to learn Spanish, but I am looking forward to it!
      After all, I plan to stay in Latin America for a few years.

      However, I am usually more the self-study type of guy. I feel that one of the most important parameters in language learning is the time I invest. No school or teacher can give me more time, I need to find that by myself.

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  18. Gaeleigh T. says:

    Seems like a good idea. Until the motion sickness sets in….

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  21. Laureene Reeves Ndagire says:

    quite a number of people taking this cruise ship. I plan to go via South Africa in October and have similar plans to you, actually I am more or less plan less at the moment but I have an idea
    we can meet once you get in in November?

    • Do you mean there is a boat from Gran Canaria or around there to South Africa and then from South Africa to Brazil? That’s an even better trip, particularly if there is some time to spend in South Africa.

    • Laureene Reeves Ndagire says:

      There is a boat from Gran Canaria. I just happen to be going to South Africa but haven’t looked into the possibility of boats from there to Brazil. :-)

    • Because many people have asked for the company that goes to Brazil, feel free to post the link to the company that sells tickets for the boat to South Africa.

    • Laureene Reeves Ndagire says:

      Mate, I don’t know which company does. I am flying …

  22. Cecília says:

    Dear Andreas,
    I hope you get a nice travell (but you really should take that flight tickets – MAN!! – heheh :) ) I get sick in boat..8 days?? tststs
    Well, i live in Salvador (luck you), i am CSufer (luck you again ) and i am a lawer (ups! ;)) I think your journey really interesting. Keeping writing.
    Greetings from Salvador,
    Good Luck

    • Wow, what a cool coincidence! Finally, the internet turns out to be useful.
      I am very curious about the boat trip. I have never been on a boat for more than a few hours. Twice I crossed the English Channel, and twice it was very stormy. I didn’t get physically sick, but I was scared. Well, I will see. That’s part of the adventure. :-)

  23. Samuel says:

    if you come to Chile, try to visit Chiloé, the biggest island in south of Chile, people there are friendly and that land is just magical, and you can find places where they prepare their typical meal called “curanto al hoyo”, basically they prepare their seafood under ground and it’s quiet good if you like seafood. if you go there the best is to rent a car, because distances are long.
    Also you can see whales from certain places (from december to january or something like that, I think).
    Near Chiloé there’s a german influenced city called “Puerto Varas”, located besides the lake “Llanquihue” (the biggest lake in Chile) and “Osorno” volcano, there you’ll find “todos los santos” lake, “saltos del petrohue”, a magnificent natural place where rapids passes and a great view to Osorno volcano.
    in the other corner there’s Frutillar, known by their home made kuchen.

    Also I’d suggest you to visit Pucón, a small city in south of Chile located between the big Villarrica volcano (still alive, but climbing is forbidden due to recent volcano activities) and the lake Villarrica. Also you can find a very good national park called “Huerquehue”, where in the top of the mountains you can find a lake with the typical tree over there, called “araucaria”, a sacred tree of “mapuches”, I was there a few weeks ago and was just amazing.

    I hope this is usefull, at least to wake up your curiosity for Chile hahaa

    Cheers! and good trip!

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  35. Bartha Gergely says:

    Did you get brazilian visa when going there/being there?

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