From Ancient Incan Kingdoms to the Costa Rican Rainforest
13 days with Hurtigruten Rating:
DAY 1 UNESCO Site and Ancient History
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
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 Inca 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
After breakfast we head to Cusco, once the center of the Inca 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 Inca 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 Gain Insight While at Sea
Location: At Sea
Spend some time on deck as we navigate further north along the coast of Peru and the Pacific coast. Breathe the fresh ocean air and scan for wildlife. Join our lecture team for interesting presentations to learn more about the west coast of South America, its nature, history and geography. Oceanography, climate change and environmental issues are also frequent topics of our lectures.
DAY 6 Explore an Ancient Kingdom, Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon.
The small port of Salaverry is the starting point for the excursion to the ancient Chimu kingdom (700–1400 A.D.). The Chimu founded their capital by the banks of the Moche River and called it Chan Chan (“sun-sun”), which covers an area of eight square miles. It was built using clay, mud, pebbles, straw and cane, creating the largest mud brick citadel of the Americas from pre-Hispanic times. It is a remarkable place, listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1986. Also discover Trujillo, a city that retains much of its colonial charm and has a splendid backdrop of the vast green and brown of the Andean foothills. There is also an excursion going to the main religious center of the Moche culture, built in the 5th century A.D. Admire the Temple of the Sun, the largest adobe structure in the world, and the Temple of the Moon, covered with beautiful and vibrant Moche designs.
DAY 7 Sailing North
Location: At Sea
While we make our way further north towards Ecuador, take your time to relax on the open decks or gain more insight with our lectures. During the day there might also be other gatherings with the expedition team or photography workshops.
DAY 8 Colorful Birds and Fish on the Silver Island
Location: Isla del la Plata
Isla de la Plata is a part of Parque National Machalilla, and is Ecuador’s only coastal national park. The island is known as Ecuador’s other Galapagos because of its abundance of marine birdlife. Isla de la Plata translates to Silver Island, and is the home to blue-footed boobies, nesting waved albatrosses, and frigate birds among others. The island is great for hikers and has plenty of bird watching trails. You can also explore the colorful life under water by snorkelling amongst large schools of fish, or take a refreshing dip in the blue ocean.
DAY 9 Crossing the Equator
Location: At Sea
After the days you have had at sea so far, you have probably found the perfect way to spend this time. Find the time to finish one of the books you brought with you, look through and sort the pictures you have taken, or maybe simply relaxing on deck is your favorite “activity”. We will cross the Equator, and a remarkable celebration; the” Equator baptism” is waiting for you.
DAY 10 A Deep-sea Fishing Paradise
Location: Puerto Piña
Puerto Piña is a small coastal community located near the border of Colombia, largely populated by Afro-Colonial and indigenous Emberá people. Piñas Bay is Panama’s most incredible fishing spot, more than 200 deep-sea fishing world records have been set here, more than anywhere else on Earth. The area is also naturally beautiful with fascinating culture, so even non-fishers will find it a pleasant place to visit. The diversity of species in this area is astounding. There are roosterfish, swordfish, billfish, tuna, dorado, snapper, snook, dolphinfish, wahoo, barracuda, and blue, black and striped marlin. Most of the records set here have been for marlin and Pacific sailfish. Other marine species in Piñas Bay include dolphins, sharks, rays, and humpback whales. The Panamanian government protects the bay and does not allow commercial fishing ships to enter into it. There is a small white-sand beach here, Playa Blanca, where you can relax and sunbathe. The offshore waters have coral reefs that are good for snorkeling or kayaking and the trails in the jungle are great for hiking.
DAY 11 Connecting Two Oceans
Location: Panama Canal
We enter the Panama Canal close to Balboa. Experience the thrill of canal transit and the intricacy of the lock's system first-hand, as MS Fram is lifted over 85 feet above sea level from one body of water to the next. The Panama Canal is one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken. It had an enormous impact on shipping between the two oceans, replacing the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn.
DAY 12 UNESCO Site and Biosphere Reserve
Location: Bocal del Toro
Bocas del Toro, (“mouth of the bull”), is a pristine region, and home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, La Amistad International Park and Isla Bastimentos, Panama's first National Marine Park and Biosphere Reserve. Consisting of 9 islands and hundreds of smaller islets you can visit Bocas town with its colorful Caribbean vibe and atmosphere, before venturing into the expanse of Bastemintos National Park. Snorkel, dive and kayak among mangroves and coral reefs, or hike through the rainforest in search of wildlife.
DAY 13 Home of the “Pura Vida” Lifestyle
Location: Puerto Limon
Puerto Limón in Costa Rica is a compelling destination for adventurous explorers. The city itself has some fascinating architecture and colorful open-air marketplaces. The main market in the center of town is the place to go to buy everything from wooden carved items to traditional souvenirs. Cashew nuts are big in this city, so be sure to try the cashew wine, which is a specialty here. While the city is rather laid back during the day, at night Puerto Limon has quite an active social scene. The nightlife hops, with a number of bars and restaurants found all over the city. This is where your expedition comes to an end. Stay on to enjoy Costa Rica or fly home.
All This Included
This expedition gives you a unique opportunity to explore fascinating archaeological sites and the mysteries of lost cultures. We visit magnificent Machu Picchu, the Sacsayhuamán fortress, and the ancient Chimú kingdom´s pyramids and shrines. Finally, we sail through the Panama Canal before ending our journey in beautiful Costa Rica.
Lima: To be determined
Sacred Valley: Hacienda Urubamba
Cruising: Category I cabin onboard ms Fram
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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.