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Ancient Worlds and Natural Wonders

15 days with Silversea   Rating: Deluxe

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Day 1 — Callao, Peru
Embark Silver Explorer and depart on your exciting 14-day Silversea Expedition — Ancient Worlds and Natural Wonders. This evening, after settling in and participating in a mandatory safety drill, we will be setting sail and your Expedition Leader will introduce important members of the crew and the Expedition Team. Tonight we invite you to familiarise yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travellers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.

Day 2 — Isla Guañape, Peru
Have a leisurely breakfast and attend one of the lectures about Peru and the Humboldt Current before we arrive at our destination for the afternoon.
Located off the coast of La Libertad, Peru, two islands, North and South Guañape, along with several small islets constitute a biological reserve for seabirds. In 2009, the National Wildlife Refuge System of Peru officially protected the islands. The rugged, rocky, and dry island group is uninhabited by people, but is home not only to large colonies of South American sea lions, but to hundreds of thousands of seabirds. These include Peruvian Pelicans, Inca Terns, Blue-footed Boobies and Humboldt Penguins. In our Zodiacs we will cruise along the island and adjacent islets to get a better view of the birds and the buildings and walls set up to collect guano.

Day 3 — Salaverry, Peru
This morning we will visit Trujillo, to see its colonial Main Plaza and historical houses, before heading to the main religious centre of the Mochica culture east of the town. The archaeological complex includes the Temple of the Sun –one of the largest adobe structures in the world- and the Temple of the Moon, covered with beautiful Moche designs.
We will next visit a private hacienda for sparkling wine and appetizers, witnessing a performance of Peruvian Paso horses -an unrivalled opportunity to immerse ourselves in genuine Peruvian culture spanning centuries.

Day 4 — Cruise & Explore Isla Lobos de Tierra, Peru
Today, Silver Explorer will be off Isla Lobos de Tierra and Lobos de Afuera — steep and rocky islands that protrude more than 200 feet from the surface of the deep blue Pacific. An abundant array of marine mammals and seabirds surround these two islands and offer us a splendid opportunity to explore with our Zodiacs. Sea lions bask on the beach and hundreds of Blue-footed Boobies can be viewed ashore as well, while Peruvian Pelicans pass overhead. If the weather permits, we will attempt to make a landing on the island.
In the afternoon attend a lecture about Ecuador and its natural history preparing you for Machala and Isla de la Plata.

Day 5 — Machala, Ecuador
Machala, with a population of approximately 250,000 inhabitants, is called the “Capital of the Banana” as the ‘World Fair of the Banana’ is held there during the third week of September. Fortunately for us, there is more to Machala than just bananas: opposite Machala is Santa Clara. Whales and dolphins can sometimes be seen in Santa Clara’s vicinity, although most sightings occur later in the year.

Several National Sanctuaries or Ecological Reserves can be found near Machala and you have three options: you can either visit the Buenaventura cloud forest reserve with its staggering amount of hummingbirds and a known lek of the rare Long-wattled Umbrellabird, or visit the Arenillas Reserve, a “dry forest”. If you like extremes, the Puyango Petrified Forest might be more to your liking: it is one of the largest petrified forests in the world –located within a lush tropical forest.

Since Machala is also known for several typical dishes, mostly seafood -from raw marinated shrimp to shrimp soup and fried shrimp; and from fried bananas to fish soup, all excursions will have some sample of local refreshments.

Day 6 — Isla de la Plata, Ecuador
Exploration and discovery await us as we anchor off the coast of the uninhabited and unspoilt Isla de la Plata. The island’s name was derived from the legend of Sir Francis Drake’s buried silver treasure. The island was privately owned until 1979, when it was declared part of Ecuador’s Machalilla National Park. Best known for its fauna, which is amazingly similar to that of the Galapagos Islands, Isla de la Plata is a delightful place for birding, photography and long nature walks.

As we approach the island, Blue-footed Boobies circle overhead. Together with our local natural history guides, we will go ashore and enjoy various walks, watching for herons, pelicans, gulls, and Magnificent Frigatebirds, Blue-footed, Red-footed, and Nazca Boobies. Potential songbirds on the island include Collared Warbling-Finch, Short-tailed Woodstar, and Gray-and-white Tyrannulet. A special treat would be the Waved Albatross, an endemic to Isla de la Plata and Española, Galapagos.

Although just south of the equator, the influences of the colder Humboldt Current bring nutrient-rich water as far north as Isla de la Plata. If conditions permit, we might also offer some snorkelling.

Day 7 — At Sea
Attend informative lectures that will prepare you for the upcoming ports-of-call in Colombia.
Apart from lectures there might also be a workshop or seminar, you can relax on the Sun Deck, have a cigar in the Connoisseurs Corner or partake in Team Trivia, testing your knowledge about the area we are passing through.

Day 8 — Utria National Park, Colombia
Silver Explorer’s first stop in Colombia will be at Nuqui Harbour. Our explorations of the Colombian Pacific coast starts with a visit to Utria National Natural Park. From coral reefs and mangroves to the marine environment, tropical rainforest and rocky beaches where sea turtles come to lay their eggs, few places in the world encompass the diversity of Utría’s ecosystems. The Expedition Team will offer a choice of trail hikes to explore the park’s numerous highlights. During our walk, we hope to see some of Utría’s great variety of animal life, which includes deer, wild pigs, anteaters, black howler and spider monkeys, wild cats (such as jaguar, puma and ocelot), sloths, and some rodent species.
As for flora, the park has several species of timber trees, notably the area’s beloved Cohiba tree and the Oquendo tree, which is used in the creation of local art and handicrafts.

Day 9 — Bahia Solano, Colombia
We arrive quite early in Bahia Solano, where we will anchor offshore and be brought to land by local tender or Zodiac. Bahía Solano is located in splendid isolation; connected to the outside world by a single, small local airport. Tucked inside a beautiful bay, the small Columbian town is lined by the Pacific Ocean on one side and thick, impenetrable jungle on the other. The majority of the 10,000 residents work in local industries, which are predominantly fishing, agriculture and eco-tourism.

If you select the Bahia Solano Town Tour with your own local guide, the tour begins at the local secondary school, where you will be welcomed by the children who will guide you through their school. Afterwards, take a relaxed walk through the community, wandering the streets with their array of different shops and businesses, visiting the main church, the primary school and library, before visiting the small fishing port where there will be a small display of the locally caught fish, which are flown out daily to the main cities of Colombia. The tour ends on the “malecón” or seafront with the opportunity to see an artisans’ market where handicrafts will be available for sale.

Day 10 — At Sea
Today Silver Explorer will sail from South America to Central America, crossing slightly south of the Gulf of Panama. As we intend to visit iconic national parks and ecosystems, attend lectures that will tell you more about the many aspects of Costa Rica’s nature.

Day 11 — Puerto Quepos, Costa Rica
We go ashore by Zodiac to the small port town of Quepos. Quepos is less than 4.5 miles (7 km) from Costa Rica’s most popular gem, Manuel Antonio National Park -one of the most stunning and bio-diverse areas of the world. Spread out over 683 hectares it is filled with diverse wildlife, has both primary and secondary forests, boasts a stunning shoreline ideal for bird-watching or swimming, and is home to a number of endemic species of plants and animals including iguanas, sloths, and squirrel monkeys. Together with our Costa Rican naturalist guides we will hike through the exotic, bio-diverse tropical rainforests.

Alternatively, enjoy a cruise through the mangroves, an important ecosystem packed with hundreds of species of marine and land animals, aboard a sturdy vessel designed for this type of cruising. Your guides and captain navigate around shifting sandbanks to reveal the animals, insects and plants that lie hidden from the untrained eye. We will pass through wide lagoons where many species of seabirds can be observed, and round narrow passages, hoping for a chance to encounter white-collared capuchin monkeys.

If cruising on a river is more to your liking, choose the Savegre River, considered one of Central America’s most beautiful rivers, for a two-hour class I & II amazing river floating activity. During the bus ride to El Silencio, from where the river part starts, and the river floating you will have spectacular scenery and can see cormorants, egrets, herons, and White Ibises.

Day 12 — Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica
Today we have the opportunity to visit Santuario Silvestre de Osa – the only wildlife sanctuary and rescue centre in Golfo Dulce that devotes all of its efforts to the care and rehabilitation of rainforest animals. The sanctuary is home to a wide variety of orphaned and injured animals including: howler monkeys, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, scarlet macaws, toucans, parrots and two-toed sloths. We will enjoy the sanctuary grounds in the company of the park’s creators and wardens as they share their wealth of knowledge on local natural history and show us some of these animals. We will also visit Casa Orquideas, a beautiful garden that contains many tropical plants and a medicinal garden.

If you prefer to watch for dolphins and other marine life, choose to go on a catamaran. The country’s best spot to watch large groups of dolphins, sea turtles and manta rays is in the waters off the Osa Peninsula. Marlins and sailfish can sometimes be seen chasing large schools of tuna, while six different species of turtles might glide by. If time permits there will be the opportunity to swim in the placid waters of Punta Encato.

For those wanting a little more activity, a nature walk in the National Wildlife Refuge of Golfito is on offer. Golfito is surrounded by a spectacular primary rainforest with more than 125 species of trees, 31 species of orchids, and 300 species of birds. Bird species that can be spotted during the hikes include toucans and tanagers, while all four Costa Rican monkey species also call Golfito National Wildlife Refuge home.

Day 13 — Isla Coiba, Panama
This morning we take our manoeuvrable Zodiacs and hope to land at this remote part of Panama for a hike through the rainforest. The island is part of the Coiba National Park –a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our onboard naturalists will point out the local flora and search for signs of wildlife. The jungles of Coiba are home to mantled howler monkeys, Coiba Island agoutis, and white-tailed deer, Crested Eagles, Brown-backed Doves and Scarlet Macaws. There are 97 bird species, 20 of them endemic, including the Coiba Spinetail.

Just offshore from this nature preserve, a rocky headland provides an ideal spot for snorkelling. Join the onboard Marine Biologist and learn to identify damsel fish, jacks, and surgeon fish, trumpet fish, parrot fish, trigger fish and whitetip reef sharks. Hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and olive ridley sea turtles frequent Coiba’s waters too. Take this opportunity to relax on the beach and enjoy true Silversea hospitality as your butlers serve fresh fruit skewers and a variety of cocktails.

During the afternoon attend a lecture about Panama and the Darien Jungle’s special nature.

Day 14 — Darien Jungle, Panama
This morning Silver Explorer will anchor in the Darien Jungle’s Bay of San Miguel. We will explore this pristine, remote and seldom visited area by Zodiac or local canoe, navigating up the tidal Mogue River. The Darien Jungle has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and is recognised as one of the world’s top ten birding sites –apart from being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We hope to see the colourful Crimson-collared Tanager, Green and Chestnut-fronted Macaws, Rufous-tailed and Snow-bellied Hummingbirds, as well as tapir and black-headed spider monkeys, vultures, and the endangered Great Curassow.

At the conclusion of our river adventure, we will be welcomed at the remote Embera Village. The Darien Jungle is rarely visited by outsiders (fewer than 1,000 tourists visit each year), and the Embera are one of several indigenous groups that live in relative isolation.

We will go ashore to melodic rhythms of traditional tribal music and the local women and children in brightly coloured will lead us to their village and introduce us to their way of life. We will visit authentic tribal dwellings and the Embera will perform native dances and demonstrate basket weaving and carving techniques. There will be the opportunity to purchase souvenirs, including beautiful handcrafted baskets and carvings.

Special Request: When preparing for your “Ancient Worlds and Natural Wonders” Expedition, we encourage you to purchase and pack a donation of school supplies. Much-needed items include pens, pencils, writing pads, reading material, and new or second-hand clothes for children ages 1 to 12 years old. The village is also always in need of prescription reading glasses, over-the-counter medicine and medical equipment. Donations will be collected on board by the Expedition Team and distributed to the local villagers during our visit as part of our cultural exchange.

Day 15 — Panama City, Panama
After breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.

All This Included
Four new destinations are waiting to be uncovered and explored on this brand new voyage. Puerto Quepos, ideal for the varied fauna, 109 mammal and 184 bird species in the Manuel Antonio National Park, Golfo Dulce – Costa Rica’s “sweet gulf” , – Panama’s paradise island and Panama City – South America’s cultural hub and cosmopolitan capital of cool.
  • Highly qualified expedition team with experts in their field (marine biologists, ornithologists, historians and more)
  • Excursions and activities, including explorations by Zodiac®
  • Complimentary expedition gear: backpack and water bottle on every voyage, parka for polar expeditions
  • Personalised service with a butler for all suites and the highest crew to guest ratio in the industry
  • Fine dining even in the most remote places of the planet
  •  Comfortable amenities with the largest expedition suites at sea
  • Inclusive room-service, select wines, spirits and soft drinks throughout the ship
  • Free WIFI* throughout the ship (* One hour free WIFI per day for all guests. Unlimited free WIFI for guests sailing on select suite categories)
  • Onboard Gratuities
  • Exclusive partnership with The Royal Geographical Society

Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Explorer
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and ice conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.