Incan Culture and Wildlife Highlights of the Coasts of Chile and Peru
10 days with Hurtigruten Rating:
DAY 1 The “Jewel of the Pacific”
Location: Valparaíso, Chile
This expedition starts in the wonderful, colourful and poetic city of Valparaíso. One of the best ways of seeing this scenic town is through its funiculars. These constructions, which are scattered around the entire natural amphitheater surrounding the city, allow sweeping views of the bay, and highlight the multi hued houses, creating a rainbow of color and light. Stroll Valparaiso´s narrow streets, climb its endless staircases and discover something new at every turn: a beautiful building, a remarkable art gallery or some little gastronomic ‘find’. Don’t forget to explore the port and fishing piers, where you’ll get a real feel for Chile’s quirky seafaring side. Buy or sample freshly caught seafood at the market and enjoy the fishermen’s banter. We also recommend a visit to the UNESCO-listed Historic Quarter before embarking on MS Fram.
DAY 2 Home of the Humboldt Penguin
Location: Isla Chañaral
Sailing north, we arrive at Isla Chañaral. Together with Isla Choros and Isla Damas, these three islands form the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve. There is an impressive variety of fauna on these islands, but their most famous inhabitants are the humboldt penguins, who thrive in the current which gives them their name, and who nest on these islands. There is also an important colony of sea lions, chungungos, magellanic penguins, llacas and bottle-nosed dolphins, seen frequently around Chañaral Island. In the summer season, it is possible to see more occasional visitors around the islands: marine turtles, dolphins, whales, albatrosses and cormorants. There are also a wide variety of birds, like the peruvian diving petrel, red-legged cormorant, and the guanay cormorant, all of which are protected species.
DAY 3-5 Lectures at Sea
Location: At SeaLearn more about South America’s history, ancient civilizations and cultures. The Inca civilization flourished in ancient Peru starting around 1400 B.C. The Inca Empire ranged 2,500 miles from Ecuador to southern Chile. It was the largest empire ever seen in the Americas and the largest in the world at that time, before its destruction at the hands of Spanish conquistadors in 1532. Undaunted by the often harsh Andean environment, the Incas conquered tribes and exploited landscapes in such diverse settings as plains, mountains, deserts, and tropical jungle. Famed for their unique art and architecture, they constructed finely built and imposing buildings wherever they conquered, and their spectacular adaptation of natural landscapes with terracing, highways, and mountaintop settlements continues to impress modern visitors. During these days at sea you can learn even more about the Incas, and other ancient cultures and their fascinating lives from the lectures held on board.
DAY 6 The Nazca Lines, Ballestas Islands, or Tambo Colorado
Location: San Martin, Peru
Puerto General San Martin is the gateway to the famous and mysterious Nazca Lines and geoglyphs. These lines were scratched into the surface between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. They are difficult to see from the ground so they were not widely known until the 1930s when aircrafts spotted them while surveying for water. The figures come in two types: biomorphs and geoglyphs. The biomorphs depict about 70 animal and plant figures, including a spider, hummingbird, monkey, and a 1,000-foot-long pelican. The geoglyphs are geometric shapes that include enormous straight lines, triangles, spirals, circles, and trapezoids. The longest straight line stretches nine miles across the plain. These mysterious lines must be seen from the air, so join the optional excursion to see these impressive and mysterious lines from the sky. Or, you can join us for an excursion to one of this region’s most beautiful natural attractions. The Ballestas Islands are often referred to as ’Peru’s Galapagos’. These volcanic islands are home to a wide array of wildlife and dramatic scenery. Another interesting and educational option is an excursion to Tambo Colorado. This is the only Incan complex composed entirely of adobe and rammed earth. This is one of many Incan administrative centers scattered around the country, yet its adobe buildings are the best-preserved in Peru. The buildings have no roofs remaining, but the walls have niches painted in different colors, such as red (‘colorado’ means red), white, and yellow.
DAY 7 See the Place of the `Satisfied Falcon´
Callao is situated just outside Lima and is a vital route for trade both in and out of Peru. This is where your sea voyage ends – and the land adventure begins. After disembarkation 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 8 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 9 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. The city has an elegance, particularly in the colonial city center. Lima brims with culture and history and has excellent museums as well as fine Spanish churches in the city center, and some distinguished mansions in the wealthy suburbs of Barranco and Miraflores. Enjoy spending the evening here, and discover some of the outstanding restaurants and the city’s lively nightlife before spending the night at a hotel.
DAY 10 Flying Back Home
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before you fly home.
All This Included
Sailing along the west coast of South America gives you a unique opportunity to explore fascinating archaeological sites and the mysteries of lost cultures. Enjoy visits to the Sacsayhuamán fortress, the Incan town of Ollantaytambo, and magnificent Machu Picchu before ending the expedition in Lima.
Cruising: Category I cabin onboard ms Fram
Lima: To be determined
Sacred Valley: Hacienda Urubamba
Terms and Conditions
For Hurtigruten 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.