We went to Chile in February 2020, right before the pandemic. We were on a cruise from Argentina around Cape Horn to Santiago. Our first Chilean port was Punta Arenas, where it was in the 40s, bright and sunny with no wind, which we were assured never happens. We visited the Magallanes National Reserve, where we did a brisk 3.3-mile forest hike uphill to a scenic viewpoint. Our second port was Puerto Montt, and this ship excursion didn’t go quite as well. It was a 4-mile rainforest hike in Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, and it poured rain the entire time. A few hours in, we encountered a river where one shouldn’t be, then the guides rerouted us through tall grass and difficult terrain. As we were making our way through the grass, the woman in front of us fell and broke her wrist. It turned into quite an ordeal, with poor communication and lots of confusion, but ultimately we made it back to the ship.

The last stop was Santiago, which turned into another adventure as the world shut down due to Covid. Hours before our arrival, the government of Chile decided to close their port. Despite three days of circling and negotiating, they refused to allow us to disembark so we could fly home. Instead, we had to sail from Chile to San Diego. We had 16 straight sea days, and never got to set foot in Santiago.