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From Incan Mysteries to Lush Costa Rica

12 days with Hurtigruten   Rating: First Class

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DAY 1 UNESCO Site and Ancient History
Location : Lima
Lima's history predates the colonial presence in Peru. North of Lima, visit the city of Caral, considered the most ancient city in the Americas. South of Lima is the historic complex of Pachacamac. Lima is where Spanish conquistadores established the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1542 and began building significant churches, monasteries and mansions with beautiful balconies in the city. The arrival of modernity didn’t transform Lima’s historic center, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Join one of our excursions to see museums with great works of art, archaeological sites, beaches, and the boardwalk, and experience the exquisite cuisine that gives Peru’s capital its unique personality. Explore the city on your own before spending the night in a hotel.
DAY 2 UNESCO Site and Ancient History
Location : Lima/Cusco
In the morning you are transferred to your flight from Lima to Cusco. Enjoy lunch before visiting one of the most amazing Incan constructions in the area, the Sacsayhuamán fortress. Sacsayhuamán means `satisfied falcon´. The falcon guarded the capital of the empire since it is possible to overlook Cusco from the hill where this fortress was built. The construction lasted for more than seven decades and required the work of 20,000 men, to transport materials, build the foundation, and to carve and set the stones.. It was constructed without mortar, like many other Incan structures. Yet the enormous stones fit so tightly that not even a thin blade of grass can slide between them. The craftsmanship is a stunning example of the Inca’s sophisticated construction techniques and architectural skills. In the afternoon we continue to Hacienda Urubamba in the Sacred Valley for dinner and an overnight stay.
DAY 3 The Highlights of the Incan Empire
Location : Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu
After breakfast you’re in for another day of highlights. First is the visit to Ollantaytambo. This Incan town shares its name with the formidable stone structure that climbs the massive cliff that looms over the town. The fortress was the valley’s main defence against the Antis, a collective term for the many varied ethnic groups living in the Antisuyu, the eastern part of the Incan Empire. It was the site of the Incas’ greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest. Constructed of rose-colored granite, this huge installation was once a thriving complex of baths, temples, and military barracks. Next, we’ll head to the nearby train station to board the deluxe Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. A savory brunch will be served as we enjoy the spectacular views. Overlooking the raging Urubamba River and discovered in a hidden tangle of vines and trees atop the mountain, the city of Machu Picchu will forever hold the secret of its rise and fall – the Incas left no written records. Explore the city's ruins, feel its pulse, and visualize the lives of the priests, craftsmen, and servants who inhabited this incredible place. Excavations at the site have revealed skeletons, artifacts, and wool clothing, but no gold. The same precision of assembled stones exists here as it does in other Incan sites. After spending time exploring the ruins, you can enjoy tea at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge before we continue back to Hacienda Urubamba for another nice evening and overnight stay here.
DAY 4 Center of the Incan Empire
Location : Cusco/Lima
After breakfast we head to Cusco, once the center of the Incan Empire. Here you can see the splendid Baroque-style Cusco Cathedral, built in the mid-1500s on the foundation of an Incan palace. Many of the stones used in its construction were looted from the nearby Sacsayhuamán fortress. We continue to Coricancha to admire the lovely Dominican Convent of Santo Domingo that was built on the foundations of the Temple of the Sun, the most important temple in the Incan Empire. The curved, mortarless masonry wall at the west end of the church is considered to be one of the greatest existing examples of Incan stonework. Then we will transfer you to the airport where you fly to back to Lima. In Lima, MS Fram is ready to continue this expedition at sea.
DAY 5 A Great Day for Wildlife Spotting
Location : At Sea
Spend some time on deck as we navigate north along the coast of Peru, taking in the ocean air and looking out for wildlife. Join our expedition team for interesting presentations and talks. We will be sailing with the nutrient-rich Humboldt Current that flows north along the west coast of South America from the southern tip of Chile to northern Peru. Watch for playful dolphins, birdlife, and wildlife.
DAY 6 See Where the Worshippers of the Moon Thrived
Location : Trujillo
If you like colonial architecture and design, the city of Trujillo will be a great place to spend the day. Trujillo sits on the edge of the Andean foothills and has a beautiful setting among the vast greenery and hills. Like most Peruvian cities, the central square, the Plaza de Armas, is surrounded by the cathedral and city hall. Numerous colonial mansions have been preserved in the old city and are open to visitors. The fronts of most of these houses have distinctive wrought-iron grillwork and are painted in pastel colors. You can also join our excursions to visit the remarkable pre-Incan archaeological sites found in the area. Close to Trujillo you find the center of the ancient Chimú civilization (700–1400 A.D.). These tribes founded their capital by the banks of the Moche River and called it ‘Chan Chan’ (sun-sun). It is a remarkable place that was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1986. Other Chimú sites can be found in the surrounding desert, among them the immense and suitably impressive Moche Huacas del Sol y de la Luna (Temples of the Sun and Moon), which date back 1500 years.
DAY 7 Pool with a View
Location : At Sea
MS Roald Amundsen is equipped with a pool and two Jacuzzis on the top deck. Why not enjoy the view while soaking in the water? Or enjoy the view from a comfortable spot at the Explorer bar if you prefer to stay dry? The onboard lectures continue as well, so there are several ways to enjoy this day at sea.
DAY 8 Visit the Home of Panama Hats
Location : Manta, Ecuador
Manta is a bustling and prosperous port town, graced with high-rises and beaches. Nearby, colorful fishing villages and an unusual tropical dry forest make Manta an attractive tourist destination and the starting point for exciting day trips. We recommend the trip to Montecristi, where real Panama hats are made. These traditional brimmed straw hats are hand woven, and it can take several months to make the finest examples. A ’superfino’ Panama hat can, according to popular legend, hold water, and when rolled for storage, pass through a wedding ring.
DAY 9 Crossing the Equator
Location : At Sea
By now, you might have figured out how to best enjoy your days. Perhaps you have found the time to finish a book you brought with you, or perhaps looking through and sorting the pictures you have taken is your preferred activity. As we cross the equator you can look forward to a special Equator ‘baptism’ ritual.
DAY 10 A Breathtaking and Unique Island
Location : Isla de la Coiba, Panama
Coiba National Park is one of Panama's natural treasures, and one of the country’s largest islands. Due to its rich coral reefs and biodiversity, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Coiba offers secluded white-sand beaches and great options for snorkelling, wildlife-watching, and hiking. It is also worth noting that the island contains the abandoned remains of a former penal colony that was once established here.
DAY 11 Adventure Day!
Location : Golfito, Costa Rica
Enjoy a day of great adventures and plenty of opportunities for exploration. Located on a small gulf surrounded by densely forested hills, Golfito is home to wonderful views and adventures. Go ashore and visit this tranquil town, and relax while enjoying great beaches for surfing and swimming. The nearby national park of Piedras Blancas offers fine walking tours through a rainforest and the chance to see waterfalls, monkeys, bats, and exotic birds.   
DAY 12 The End of the Expedition
Location : Puntarenas, Costa Rica
As we arrive in Puntarenas, the adventure has come to its end. Before you fly home, you might spend some extra time enjoying the brilliant sunsets, fresh seafood, charming architecture, and the oceanfront boardwalk of this Costa Rican city.
All This Included
Sail on our newest expedition ship, MS Roald Amundsen, and experience the perfect mix of Incan mysteries and ruins and South American culture and heritage with tranquil days at sea. Starting on land with the highlights of the Incan civilization, we continue by sea from Peru to explore the South American coast and travel to lush and tropical Costa Rica.
  • Hurtigruten expedition in the cabin category of your choice on a full-board basis (daily buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, and set or buffet dinner)
  • One overnight hotel stay, including breakfast, in Lima, and two overnight hotel stays at Hacienda Urubamba, including breakfast, before the voyage  
  • 3-course set lunch and dinner on days 2 and 3, and a box lunch on day 4
  • Economy-class flights between Lima and Cusco  
  • All transfers including train ride to Machu Picchu and
    entrance fees as described and including English-speaking guide
  • Wind- and water-resistant jacket 
  • Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Learn about ancient civilizations and explore fascinating ruins
  • Enjoy a combination of sea and land adventure
  • Discover a mix of natural and cultural wonders, tropical beaches, and cities 
  • Visit fascinating sites such as Machu Picchu, the Incan town of Ollantaytambo, and the Sacsayhuamán fortress
Lima: To be determined
Sacred Valley: Hacienda Urubamba
Cruising: Category RJ cabin onboard ms Roald Amundsen
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Not Included: International flights, travel Insurance, luggage handling, optional excursions and gratuities.
  • All planned landings are subject to weather conditions.
  • All itineraries are subject to change.
  • 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.