Costa Rica and Peru - Incan Mysteries and Machu Picchu (Itinerary 2)
14 days with Hurtigruten Rating:
DAY 1 Better Things Ahead
Location : San José, Costa Rica
We arrive in the Costa Rican capital, San José, and transfer to our hotel in the city center. San José's moniker – “towards better things” – aptly coins the spirit of our upcoming adventure. Stroll the streets and discover the neo-classical grandeur of this unique Central American metropolis. As Lonely Planet writes, “give this city a chance and you might be pleasantly surprised”. Get a good night's sleep because we start the journey of a lifetime the next day.
DAY 2 Caribbean Side of Costa Rica
Location : Puerto Limón
After breakfast we head east towards the Caribbean coast to visit the tropical rain forests of Tortuguero National Park. A boat ride along the Tortuguero Canals completes a lovely day of sightseeing before we transfer to MS Fram at nearby Puerto Limón for embarkation.
Puerto Limón is the largest city on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast and one of the oldest cities on the continent. The port was established in 1502 when Christopher Columbus landed here during his exploration of the New World.
DAY 3 Island Style
Location : Bocas del Toro
We begin our continent-crossing journey along the Caribbean coast of Panama, setting our course first for Bocas del Toro, an archipelago of nine main islands, 52 cays, and thousands of islets.
Colorful and brimming with Caribbean-style clapboard houses, Bocas del Toro is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site and Panama's first National Marine Park. It is also one of Panama's most visited eco-tourism destinations. Considered the “Galápagos of the Caribbean”, Bocas del Toro is also one of the most biologically diverse places on earth.
DAY 4 Connecting Two Oceans
Location : Panama Canal
We leave the Caribbean and enter the Panama Canal near the city of Colón. Experience the thrill of canal transit and the intricacy of the locks system firsthand, as MS Fram is lifted more than 85 feet above sea level, from one body of water to the next. We enter the Pacific Ocean near the town of Balboa.
DAY 5 Marvellous Marine Life
Location : Puerto Piña
We arrive midday at Puerto Piña, a small coastal community near the border with Colombia. The village lies beside the Bahía Piña, a narrow bay between two promontories that are frequented by humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins. Bahía Piña, in the province of Darien, attracts deep-sea fishermen from around the world. Numerous fishing world records have been broken here, more than anywhere else on earth. A diversity of marine species inhabit Bahía Piña, including sharks, dolphins, rays, and humpback whales. Rich in natural beauty, the area is ideal for hiking along trails in the jungle, kayaking, relaxing on the beach and swimming.
DAY 6 Over the Bounding Main
Location : At sea
Enjoy a relaxing day at sea. Listen in as our experienced lecturers share their extensive knowledge, or spend time on deck fully enjoying the serenity of a day at sea.
DAY 7 The Other Galápagos
Location : Isla de la Plata
In the afternoon, we arrive at Isla de la Plata, part of Machalilla National Park, Ecuador’s only coastal national park. The island is known as Ecuador’s other Galápagos 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 fantastic for hikers and features many bird watching trails. It also offers great opportunities to swim and snorkel.
DAY 8 Serenity at Sea
Location : At sea
Our Expedition Team continues its lecture program, sharing their extensive knowledge and experience, as well as summarizing the voyage so far and letting you know about plans for the exciting days ahead. Our onboard Expedition Photographer will also be available to help you with the basics of expedition photography.
DAY 9 Temple of the Sun and Moon
Location : Salaverry, Peru
The small port of Salaverry, Peru, near the city of Trujillo, is the starting point for the excursion to the ancient Chimu kingdom (700-1400 A.D.), which built its capital by the banks of the Moche River. The ancient city of Chan Chan ("Sun Sun"), in Trujillo, covers an area of 12 square miles and was constructed with clay, mud, pebbles, straw and cane.
Considered the largest mud-brick citadel of the Americas in pre-Hispanic times, it is a remarkable piece of architecture that was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1986.
DAY 10 Another Relaxing Day at Sea
Location : At sea
Kick back and enjoy another full day at sea. Take part in the lecture series presented by the Expedition Team or simply tune into the meditative rhythm of the ocean.
DAY 11 UNESCO Site and Ancient Architecture
Location : Callao/Cusco
We have arrived at the port of Callao and start our day by transferring to a morning flight at nearby Lima to Cusco. Enjoy lunch before experiencing the amazing Inca fortress, Sacsayhuamán. The name translates to "satisfied falcon”, in reference to the mythical bird that was said to have guarded the Incan empire capital. Construction of the site took more than seven decades and demanded the labor of 20,000 men to set foundations, hew the stone, transport materials, and carve and set the stonework.
Like many Incan structures, the fortress was built entirely without mortar, yet the enormous stones fit so perfectly that a single blade of grass will not pass between them. The craftsmanship is a stunning example of the Inca’s sophisticated construction and architectural skills. In the afternoon, we continue to Tambo del Inka Resort in the Sacred Valley for dinner and an overnight stay.
DAY 12 Majestic Machu Picchu
Location : Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu
After breakfast, you’re in for some unforgettable sights. First we visit Ollantaytambo, an Incan town that shares its name with the formidable stone fortress that hugs the massive cliff looming over the community. This stronghold was the valley’s main defence against the rival Antis and the site of the Incas’ greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest. Constructed of rose-colored granite, the huge structure was once a thriving complex of baths, temples and military barracks. Next, we head to the nearby train station and board the deluxe Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. A savory brunch is served as we enjoy spectacular views on the way to Machu Picchu.
At last, we arrive at spectacular Machu Picchu. The legendary hidden city overlooks the raging Urubamba River and was shielded from discovery for centuries by thick tangles of vines and trees. Now one of the great destinations in world travel, the lost city of Machu Picchu still hides the secret of its rise and fall, as 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, artefacts and woollen clothing. The renowned precision of Incan stonework on display here is astounding. After spending an unforgettable day exploring the ruins, you can enjoy tea at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge before we head back to Tambo del Inka Resort for another relaxing evening and overnight stay.
DAY 13 Center of the Incan Empire
Location : Cusco/Lima/Callao
After breakfast, we head back to Cusco, once the center of the Inca Empire. Visit the splendid baroque Cusco Cathedral, built by the Spanish in the mid-1500s on the foundations of an Incan palace. Many of the stones used in its construction were looted from the nearby Sacsayhuaman fortress.
We continue to Koricancha, 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, mortar-less masonry wall at the west end of the church is one of the greatest existing examples of Inca stonework. After another day of exploring, we transfer you to the airport for the flight to Lima, followed by a transfer to your hotel. Enjoy your evening in the capital of Peru, and a good night's sleep.
DAY 14 Lovely Colonial Lima
Location : Lima, Peru
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. The Lima area is steeped in history. To the north is Caral, considered the most ancient city in the Americas, and in the south is the archaeological site of Pachacamac. Lima itself was established by the Spanish conquistadores in 1542, and the ruling Vice Royalty of Peru proceeded to build significant churches, monasteries, and mansions in the town. Today, the Lima´s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
All This Included
Our journey begins in the rain forests of beautiful Costa Rica. We then sail south to beautiful sandy beaches on Panama's Bocos del Toro islands, pass through the iconic Panama Canal, and explore fascinating archaeological sites and mysterious lost cultures in Ecuador and Peru, including Machu Picchu and the treasures of the Chimu civilization.
San José: To be determined
Cruising: Category I cabin onboard ms Fram
Sacred Valley: Tambo del Inka Resort
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