Ecuador, Peru and Chile - Incan Highlights and Galápagos Islands (Itinerary 2)
13 days with Hurtigruten Rating:
DAY 1 UNESCO Site and Ancient History
Location : Quito, Ecuador
Once you have made your way to Quito, take in the well-preserved heritage of the city, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city is beautifully situated in an Andean valley at an elevation of 9,350 feet, making it the second-highest capital city in the world.
Enjoy an overnight at a centrally-located hotel in Quito.
DAY 2 Explore Fascinating Quito
Location : Quito
After breakfast, we drive north to the Equator and visit the Inti Ñan Museum.
Afterwards, we ascend the Teleférico – one of Quito’s most popular attractions, offering spectacular and easily accessible views of the city. The ride lasts only 10 minutes but takes you to an altitude of 13,300 ft. At the top, the lookout offers the visitor incredible views of Quito, the surrounding valleys and snow-covered volcanoes (along with coffee, snacks, and oxygen for the short of breath). Bring a sweater or light jacket - it can get chilly up there!
Return to the city to enjoy lunch in Quito´s charming Colonial Quarter.
The afternoon's sightseeing is a good example why Ecuador's capital earned the honor as UNESCO´s first World Heritage site. Dinner will be served at the hotel before your overnight stay.
DAY 3 Glorious Galápagos
Location : Quito to Galápagos Islands (Baltra Island/Santa Cruz Island)
Breakfast at hotel, then transfer to Quito Airport for the flight to the Galápagos Islands (via Guayaquil).
Upon arrival at Baltra's airport, we will meet the local representative and board a bus for the short transfer to Itabaca Channel, which separates Baltra Island from Santa Cruz Island. Here, we board a small ferry that crosses the azure waters of the channel to Santa Cruz, a journey that takes about five minutes.
On the other side, we travel through a rural agricultural area surrounded by wild landscapes and many different species of flora and fauna. We may well spot the finches that are famous for being the basis of Darwin's theory of evolution.
See the famous Galápagos land tortoises in their natural environment and learn how private ranches help protect these special creatures and their habitat. Tortoises of all different ages and sizes gather here: small young tortoises with shining carapaces, and older individuals with weathered and worn shells. Lunch will be served in the highlands.
The well-known Lava Tunnels are another amazing experience. Formed by lava flows from the volcanoes, they range from the highlands down to the sea. Join an amazing half-hour hike through one of the tunnels to where it gets too small to pass. A naturalist guide will share in detail the story of the origin of these fascinating tunnels.
Afterwards, we continue to our hotel in the town of Puerto Ayora. Once settled, we walk to the nearby Charles Darwin Research Station, which hosts educational museums on both the history and development of the Galápagos Islands, and protection of their natural heritage. Native giant land tortoises can also be observed. Many different tortoise species exist in the Galápagos and the station is the only place where most of the species reside at one site.
The afternoon is at your leisure to explore small yet picturesque Puerto Ayora and its many shops with local arts and crafts. We later enjoy dinner at the hotel´s cozy restaurant.
DAY 4-5 Galápagos Island Hopping
Location : Galápagos Islands
Breakfast at hotel. We have two full days to tour one of the nearby, uninhabited islands by boat.
Please note that only one of the four islands listed below will be visited per day:
Bartolomé Island, famous for Pinnacle Rock and Galápagos penguins; or South Plaza Island, home to a colony of land iguanas; or Santa Fe Island, known for having the islands' most sea beautiful coves; or North Seymour Island, considered a microcosm of the entire archipelago.
The visits are regulated by the Galápagos National Park and we are notified of permission 30 days prior to the visit. Regardless of the islands we visit, lunch is served on board the vessel during the tour.
Later, we have dinner at the hotel and overnight.
DAY 6 Location : Baltra Island / Lima
Breakfast at hotel. We then transfer to Baltra airport for the flight to mainland Ecuador. En route to the airport, we stop at “The Twins” or “Los Gemelos” - two impressive volcanic depressions in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.
A box lunch is served on the flight from Baltra Island to Lima (via Guayaquil). At Lima airport, we meet our local representative who transfers you to your hotel in the city.
Dinner and overnight.
DAY 7 Lima – UNESCO World Heritage Highlights
Location : Lima/Callao, Peru
After breakfast and checkout at the hotel, we join a “Half Day Lima Highlights Tour”, including a visit to the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Highlights of the tour include Casa Aliaga an almost 500-year old mansion built for one of Pizarro’s lieutenants, and the Santo Domingo Convent, the best-preserved religious buildings in all of Lima. The tour finishes at the quayside for embarkation on MS Fram, which stands ready to continue our expedition at sea.
DAY 8 The Mysterious Nazca Lines
Location : Puerto General San Martin, Peru
Puerto General San Martin is the gateway to the famous and mysterious Nazca Lines and geoglyphs. These striations were etched into the ground between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D., and are considered among archaeology's greatest enigmas because of their quantity, nature, size and continuity. The geoglyphs are several kilometres long and illustrate living creatures, stylized plants and imaginary beings, as well as geometric figures. Join us to experience these marvellous creations of the ancient world.
DAY 9-10 At your leisure
Location : At sea
Days at sea mean you can join the Expedition Team's interesting lectures, learn the basics of expedition photography, and spend time out on deck enjoying the fresh salt air as you scout for wildlife. Of course, there’s also plenty time to chat with fellow explorers, or just find a quiet corner to enjoy the serenity of a day at sea.
DAY 11 The Northern Pearl
Location : Antofagasta, Chile
Known as one of the oldest and prettiest cities in northern Chile, Antofagasta is nicknamed “The Pearl of the North”. It is a city of remarkable contrasts, where you can experience the driest desert and the bluest sea.
Join one of our optional excursions to see La Portada Natural Monument, a peculiar rocky arch formation at sea, or visit one of the small fishing towns nearby.
You may also or explore sunny, warm beaches, or the Antofagasta´s historic sites at your own pace.
DAY 12 Serenity at Sea
Location : At sea
Enjoy another peaceful day at sea as we make our way south to Valparaíso, and the Expedition Team continues their lecture program.
DAY 13 The “Jewel of the Pacific”
Location : Valparaíso, Chile
Our expedition ends in the wonderful, colourful and poetic city of Valparaíso. After disembarking MS Fram, take some time to stroll the UNESCO-listed Historic Quarter, or ride a funicular to one of many hilltops for a citywide panorama.
All This Included
Visit one of the world´s most remarkable destinations: the Galápagos Islands – home to an astonishing variety of native species, and sail the west coast of South America to see fascinating archaeological sites and lost cultures. Join us to discover cultural treasures like the mysterious Nazca Lines, and explore the city of Antofagasta in northern Chile.
Quito: To be determined
Santa Cruz Island: Red Mangrove Hotel
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.