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Lands of the Humboldt Current

11 days with Silversea   Rating: Deluxe

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Day 1 — Valparaiso, Chile
Embark the Silver Explorer and depart on your exciting Silversea Expedition — “Lands of the Humboldt Current”. Before Silver Explorer leaves the harbour a mandatory safety drill will be conducted. During a special sail away party look back at the spectacular setting of Valparaiso –the “Pearl of the Pacific”- and its historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Later you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and this evening you can enjoy the delights of shrimp in a specially prepared menu in The Restaurant.

Day 2 — Coquimbo, Chile
Today you have two choices: a morning visit to the colonial-style city of La Serena or a longer visit to the Limarí Valley.
For the morning excursion we first drive south to La Herradura Bay and its 1.2 mile long beach before heading north and the beach resort of La Serena, Chile’s second-oldest city. The coastal avenue leads to a famous landmark of the region, a lighthouse built in the mid-20th century. Driving along the Francisco de Aguirre Boulevard –named after the second founder of the city- and its many reproductions of ancient statues, we will reach the Main Plaza and the Recova Market. Set in a picturesque patio, this market has the famous blue semi-precious lapis lazuli, pottery and ceramics with Diaguita design, as well as alpaca wool articles on offer.
The other excursion will take us into the Limarí Valley, slightly further south. Known for its pictographs and petroglyphs of the El Molle culture, we will visit the Enchanted Valley in the vicinity of the town of Ovalle. The Elqui and Limarí Valleys are rich and fertile transversal valleys running across the coastal mountains, leading to their importance as agricultural areas. Grapes are grown in impressive vineyards for export and for wine and we will visit the Tabalí winery. Starting in the early 1990s, already in its first year of production Tabalí obtained 24 medals. This vineyard is well known for its unique coupages and blends of wine stocks such as Viognier, Sangiovese and Carmenere. A guided tour of the winery will be given, followed by a tasting of its most representative wines.
We will then continue to a local restaurant for a typical Chilean lunch of empanadas and an asado (a BBQ), before returning to the pier.

Day 3 — Isla Pan de Azucar, Chile
During the morning attend a lecture or a seminar and let our chefs talk about and prepare some delicious Chilean seafood.
This afternoon we explore the rugged shores of Isla Pan de Azucar (or Sugarloaf Island) by Zodiac. The island is home to thousands of Humboldt Penguins. During our Zodiac cruise along the perimeter of Isla Pan de Azucar, we also hope to encounter Kelp Gulls, Turkey Vultures, Blackish Oystercatchers, and Peruvian Boobies, pelicans, sea lions and the reclusive South American marine otter.

Days 4-5 — Antofagasta, Chile
On our first day in Antofagasta we will explore the city during the morning. Antofagasta is a refined blend of traditional Chilean town and British colonial city. We will see the Huanchaca Ruins and during a walking tour will visit the Plaza Colón and the Regional Museum with its overview of the saltpetre industry and how it affected the region. The final destination will be La Portada, an enormous rock caressed by the sea and sand until a giant arch formed, before heading back to Silver Explorer for lunch.
In the afternoon we intend to offer walks and hikes in the National Reserve La Chimba, to see how plants and animals have adopted to life in the coastal desert and mountains.

During our second day we will venture inland to see remains of Chile’s mining and saltpetre activities of the early 20th century. Driving east we will reach the ghost town or oficina of “Chacabuco”. Although the town existed for a period of less than 15 years, it had been designed for 5,000 miners and had its own theatre. The town became quite famous and was declared a Historic Monument in 1971, only to be used as a concentration camp two years later. Some of the buildings like the former theatre have been restored with the help of the German Embassy and a saltpetre museum has been added. Another stop will be made at the former railroad junction of Baquedano, where the old railroad station has been declared a Historic Monument and several of the old locomotives, wagons, the building to overhaul the engines and a small museum can be seen.

Optional overland excursion to visit the Atacama Desert — one of the driest places on earth.
Depart early for the five-hour ride to the charming adobe village of San Pedro de Atacama. Once we reach San Pedro we will have a look at the small church –a Historic Monument- and continue to the hotel grounds where we will have lunch. During the afternoon we will visit the archaeological site of Tulor. This former village complex has dates going back to the fourth century BC and circular walls and vaults are a typical architectural feature. Afterwards we will be heading to Valle de la Luna. In this unique lunar landscape we will see numerous rock formations jutting out of the sand, eroded by wind into incredible shapes. At a lookout, we will enjoy a special cheese and wine tasting.
Back at our hotel we will have dinner with live Andean music.
On our second day in the Atacama Desert we will visit the 740 km² “Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos” in the extensive Atacama Salt Flat -with 3,000 km² the third-largest salt flat in the world. During our drive to Chaxa lagoon we might see Puna Plovers, Yellow-billed Teals, Andean Avocets and Chilean and Andean Flamingos. The Andean Flamingos that migrate between Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina use this area as one of their most important breeding grounds. Returning to the hotel, we will have lunch before we start our drive back to Antofagasta. A photo stop will be made at the Tropic of Capricorn crossing. The excursion will end in time to have dinner aboard Silver Explorer.

Day 6 — At Sea
Gather in The Theatre to hear fascinating tales of adventure or to learn about the region’s wildlife and remarkable nature.
Due to the presence of the very nutrient-rich Humboldt Current, the waters along the Chilean coast are incredibly rich in fish life. Today our chefs might introduce you to the world of “ceviche” in all its forms.

Day 7 — Arica, Chile
An early morning departure is necessary for our journey to explore the region’s unique Altiplano scenery. We will see important archaeological sites along the way before the landscape suddenly opens up and the wide valley of Putre can be seen beneath massive, snow-capped peaks. Upon our arrival in Putre, we will enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. Later we will stroll through town together, visiting the church and watching a performance of Andean folklore in the main plaza.
Alternatively, enjoy a visit to the Lauca National Park. This is a challenging excursion, taking you to an altitude of 4,500 metres. From the pier we will drive to the Copaquilla Pukara, a pre-Incan defensive settlement. Continuing on, we will be driving past Putre to reach Chungará Lake and to admire the mountains reflected in the lake. During one hour at the lake we will look for the many local bird species, among them the Chilean Flamingo. During the stay at the lake a box lunch will be served. On the return we will stop at the abandoned pre-Hispanic village of Parinacota, a National Monument.

The half day excursions will permit you to either visit the Archaeological Museum and to see the main highlights of the downtown area and having a view from the iconic promontory El Morro or to visit the local market, choosing fresh produce with the help of a local chef, visit a farm and learn about the famous Azapa olives and taste the special appetizers prepared by the local chef with the products you selected at the market.
Other half day tours will feature local foods selected by you at the market and prepared by local chefs while visiting some emblematic natural highlights in the vicinity of Arica.

Day 8 — Matarani, Peru
This morning we will drive to Arequipa, “The White City”. Join our experts for a walking tour of the UNESCO Historical Centre including the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral, followed by a guided visit of Santuarios Andinos, home to the Sarita and Juanita mummies. Found close to the summit of a nearby mountain, they were likely a sacrifice to an Incan god.

We will then head over to the Dominican Santa Catalina Monastery -one of the most important and impressive religious monuments in Peru. The complex is huge and fascinating; it is almost a city within the city. We will undertake a guided tour of this impressive monastery.

Later the refectory of the monastery will be especially reserved for our group while we enjoy a three-course lunch accompanied by live music featuring Andean folk songs.

This evening our chefs will feature regional fare, and especially potatoes and other tubers. Peru has more than 1000 varieties of potatoes…

Day 9 — At Sea
A leisurely day at sea is yours to enjoy. Participate in discussions and onboard activities led by the Expedition Team. Then relax in one of the lounges with that book you’ve been meaning to read and meet up with new friends for cocktails. Before turning in for the night, take a stroll on deck to take in the solitude of the vast sea and sky.

Day 10 — Paracas, and Ballestas Islands, Peru
Nazca Lines Overflight
During a special Silversea Expedition complimentary excursion to see the famous Nazca Lines from the air, the Nazca Desert will reveal a series of famous geoglyphs stretching for miles along the Pacific coast.

Dating back to an era between 200BC and 700AD, these mysterious figures and geometric patterns are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lines show an understanding of sophisticated mathematics and surveying techniques.
After this special experience of over-flying the Nazca Lines, we will head to the beautiful Hotel Paracas, where we will enjoy a very comprehensive and interesting Pisco Tasting. In a shaded area and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a Pisco expert will present 5 different types of Pisco. Apart from learning about Pisco you will obviously get to taste Peru’s (and Chile’s) national drink and counterbalance the drinks with some local appetizers.
If you do not want to see the Nazca Lines, then explore the Ballestas Islands -one of this region’s most beautiful natural attractions. Sea lions, cormorants, Blue-footed Boobies, terns, pelicans and Humboldt Penguins can all be expected around the Ballestas Islands. Because of Peruvian regulations this excursion can only be done in local boats and landings are not allowed.

Day 11 — Callao, Peru
Silver Explorer will arrive in Callao in the morning. Following breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.

All This Included
Explore some of the world’s most spectacular scenery and discover the very best of South America. Archaeological Incan remains, Pisco Sour tastings plus local boat excursions to "Peru's Galapagos" to spot cormorants, Blue-footed Boobies, terns, pelicans and Humboldt Penguins make this voyage exceptional. An optional overnight overland experience to the Atacama Desert makes it unforgettable.
  • 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
For Silversea terms and conditions, please click here.

* 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.