Peru and Chile - Incan Highlights and Machu Picchu (Itinerary 1)
11 days with Hurtigruten Rating:
DAY 1 Colonial and Ancient History
Location : Lima, Peru
Lima's history predates the Spanish colonial presence in Peru. Present-day Lima was founded by the Spanish conquistadores in 1542 and the ruling Vice Royalty of Peru proceeded to build significant churches, monasteries, and mansions. Today, Lima's historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 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, we will transfer to your flight from Lima to Cusco. Enjoy lunch before visiting one of the most amazing Incan constructions in the area, the formidable Sacsayhuamán fortress. Sacsayhuamán means "satisfied falcon”, the mythical creature that guarded the capital of the empire.
The name also makes sense as it was possible to overlook all of Cusco from the hill where the fortress was built. Construction of the site took more than seven decades and required the labour of 20,000 men to set the 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 3 Highlights of the Incan Empire
Location : Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu
After breakfast, you’re in for some unforgettable highlights. First, we visit to Ollantaytambo, an Incan town that shares its name with the formidable stone fortress that clings to a massive cliff looming over the community. This fortification was the valley’s main defence against the rival Antis people and was the site of the Incas’ greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest.
Constructed of rose-colored granite, this huge structure was once a thriving complex of baths, temples and military barracks. Next, head to the nearby train station to 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. This 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 city of Machu Picchu still hides the secret of its rise and fall, as the Incas left behind 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. Inspect the famous precision of Incan stonework on display here. After spending an unforgettable day exploring the ruins, you can enjoy tea at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge before we head back by train to Tambo del Inka Resort for another relaxing evening and overnight stay.
DAY 4 Center of the Incan Empire
Location : Cusco/Lima
After breakfast, we head to Cusco, once the centre of the Inca Empire. Visit the splendid baroque Cusco Cathedral, built 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, demonstratively built atop 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 a full day of exploring, we take you to the airport for your flight to Lima and transfer to Callao, where MS Roald Amundsen is ready to continue the expedition at sea.
DAY 5 Home of the Nazca lines
Location : Pisco, Peru
Early in the morning, we arrive at Puerto General San Martín. This is the gateway to the quiet colonial town of Pisco and its fertile coastal valley with the mysterious Nazca lines and geoglyphs. The lines were scratched onto the surface of the earth between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. They are among archaeology's greatest enigmas because of their quantity, nature, size and continuity.
The geoglyphs are several miles long and illustrate living creatures, stylised plants and imaginary beings, as well as geometric figures. Optimal viewing requires a birds-eye perspective and a scenic flight is one of several optional excursions available on this day. Other options include boat tours to the Ballestas Islands to see endangered humboldt penguins, sea lions, and huge flocks of marine birds, visiting a scenic nature reserve, or exploring the archaeological site of Tambo Colorado.
DAY 6 Sailing South Along the Chilean Coast
Location : At sea
As we sail south, the Expedition Team will start their interesting lecture program. The team members are experienced, modern-day explorers, each with their own relevant area of expertise. They entertain and inform you by sharing their deep knowledge and interesting stories, and welcome you to participate in talks and workshops.
There might be a chance to look behind the scenes and partake in our Guest Expedition Staff program. We also have an on board Expedition Photographer who will show you the basics of expedition photography. MS Roald Amundsenis a truly remarkable expedition vessel. Take advantage of the ship's facilities or simply find yourself the perfect vantage point to take in the endless blue horizon.
DAY 7 Adventure and Archaeology
Location : Arica, Chile
Arica, Chile, is blessed with a warm, sunny climate all year round. We spend a full day here. History, archaeology, and adventure await on shore. Explore the city, walk up to the cliff top, “El Morro”, to get a panoramic view, see the beaches or visit the archaeological sites with some of the world's oldest known mummies in Azapa Valley.
You can also join the Expedition Team and visit the nearby Lauca National Park. This amazing sanctuary is home to breathtaking scenery, including snow-capped volcanoes, sparkling lakes and isolated hot springs. It also shelters pretty highland villages and a huge variety of wildlife. Numerous sites and paths found in this region are associated with the Chilean Inca trail.
DAY 8-9 Treat Yourself
Location : At sea
Another day at sea is yours to enjoy. Take advantage of the onboard facilities and treat yourself to some genuine relaxation. There will be plenty of time to get acquainted with the other explorers on board. We encourage you to frequent the outdoor decks to fully enjoy your experience of being at sea. There will also be a gathering with the Expedition Team to summarize the voyage so far, and present the plan for the following days.
DAY 10 Pisco, Sunsets and Telescopes
Location : Coquimbo and La Serena
La Serena, a seaside town and capital of the Coquimbo region in Elqui province, is one of the oldest cities in Chile. The town overflows with colorful gardens and beautiful churches. In the archaeological museum, you can learn about the ancient Diaguita culture that dwelled in the region before the Incan conquest. We suggest you also visit La Recova, a popular market where you can buy handicrafts and typical products from the region.
La Serena also has a long golden shoreline, perfect for enjoying the sunset. Visit the beautiful rural Elqui Valley to sample Pisco, the national drink of Chile, and see where it’s made. Thanks to exceptionally clear skies, northern Chile is home to the largest concentration of astronomical observatories in the world. In the region around La Serena, you see the telescopes of many international institutions housed in white, futuristic domes looming over the valleys from their hilltop locations.
DAY 11 Poetic Valparaíso
Location : Valparaíso, Chile
Our expedition ends in the colorful and poetic port city of Valparaíso. We recommend a visit to the UNESCO-listed Historic Quarter of Valparaíso before departing on your trip home.
All This Included
Exciting adventures await! Sail on our new explorer ship, MS Roald Amundsen, and experience the perfect combination of culture and heritage with tranquil tropical days at sea. We start on land with highlights of the Inca civilisation, and then continue by sea from Peru exploring the South American coastline en route to colourful Valparaíso, Chile.
Lima: To be determined
Sacred Valley: Hotel Tambo del Inka
Cruising: Cabin onboard ms Roald Amundsen
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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.