South America Living

Best Places to Sail in South America

Discovering the Americas as admiral Christopher Colombus did (1492 first trip) is not a possibility but if you are a sailing enthusiast there are many lovely places in South America to spend time out on the water. Beautiful places… and you don’t have to have your own boat!

Replica of La Pinta - One of the Ships Used by Christopher Colombua

Replica of La Pinta – One of the Ships Used by Christopher Colombua

If you do have your own rig, marinas are at your disposal in every country, except of course land-locked Bolivia.

Here are a few Top Places to Sail in South America. Below is a list of resources (books, websites) for independent sailors (with their own boat!) looking for more detailed information.

San Blas Islands – throw Panama and Colombia into the mix as you will be departing from either country to visit the incredible San Blas Islands with its 378 islands and cays. Many of the islands are uninhabited, a place to go for serenity and solitude.

Patagonia – no warm waters here but much of interest. Debating between cruising in Argentina or cruising in Chile? Head to Patagonia where you can easily do both! The channel islands are a highlight, with crusises available from Puerto Montt, Chile. You can read about this adventure by clicking here.

Galapagos Islands – you simply cannot talk about best places to sail in South America without mentioning this water wonderland. It is the best place in South America for independent travelers to travel to with the intention of hopping on a boat for a day, fortnight or multi-day adventure. For a list of sailboats and organized trips, click here.

Resources for Planning a Sailing Trip to South America


Cruising the Coast of Brazil – “Covers the complete Atlantic coast of Brazil giving directions into ports and anchorages. Also includes brief sections on money, health, weather, charts and navigation aids.” Source: The Nautical Mind.

Admiralty Sailing Directions: South America Pilot Volume I – “A comprehensive resource more geared to larger commercial vessels but provides valuable and detailed information regarding currents, tides, and harbours” – source: Alberta Crewed.


Alberta Crewed – Sailing South America – description of a journey (places to stay, cruising guides used) on a trip starting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, following the coasts of Uruguay and Brazil to the Caribbean.

South America Vacation – article on “a complete circumnavigation of the South American continent”, where to go, etc.

Beth & Devan in Chile – best route and timing to get to Chile, best way to round South America (Beagle Channel, Magellan, or Drake).

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