Vancouver to Lima (Callao)
28 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Vancouver
Departure 8:00 PM
Boasting mountains, sea, culture, art and so much more, many cities claim to have it all, but few can back it up like Vancouver. Famously livable, just visiting this highrise city - surrounded by staggering natural beauty - is a thrill. Offering all of the creature comforts of an ultra-modern, worldly metropolis - even downtown has a hint of mountain-freshness to its air - and part of Vancouver's appeal is how easily you can swap the skyscrapers for whale-filled oceans and mountain-punctured skies. Head up to the Vancouver Lookout Tower for the ultimate 360-degree views of the city glistening, amid the beautiful embrace of the beckoning wilderness beyond. But what to see first? Art lovers might choose the Vancouver Art Gallery or the Contemporary Art Gallery. Nature lovers might rush for the ferry to visit Vancouver Island - where they can encounter grizzly bears, whales and orcas. Culture vultures, on the other hand, will probably head for the sights and sounds of Canada's biggest Chinatown. From steaming dim sum for lunch to Chinese apothecaries offering herbs to soothe any illness, it’s all here thanks to the migrant workers of the 19th century. The one-of-a-kind treasure of Stanley Park brings wild wonder and natural beauty to this cosmopolitan city's doorstep, and the pine-tree clad park offers isolated trails and amazing views. Wander the Seawall that encircles it - a 20-mile coastal path, full of joggers, whizzing skaters and wandering couples. Grab a bike and cycle between Coal Harbour and Kitsilano Beach. You can top up your tan on the shore, as you soak in the glorious views of the mountains and cityscape from the sands.
Day 2 Victoria (British Columbia)
Set on the southern tip of Vancouver Island (although nowhere near Vancouver the city), Victoria (the city) is nowhere near Victoria Island. Confused? Victoria may be Vancouver’s smaller sister in size but what it lacks in bright light big city bustle, is more than made up for by its fantastic foodie scene, historical background and its glorious natural surroundings. What’s more, stop any local and you’ll find a charming population, full of friendliness and pride for their city. Easily walkable, Victoria is full of blooming gardens, coastal paths, engaging museums, and beautifully restored 19th-century architecture. Pods of friendly whales have been known to visit the harbour, attracted by the fertile waters. Three resident pods of Orcas live in the nearby Puget Sound, Gulf and San Juan Islands. Nothing beats the feeling of standing on the viewing deck, binoculars in hand, listening to the eerie communication of the beautiful black and white beasts. Discovered by Captain James Cook in the 18th century, Victoria – and Vancouver Island – had long been home to many indigenous families. The city retains its roots to its First Nation culture, thousands of examples of which can be found in the spectacular collection housed at The Royal BC Museum. People flocked to the area after gold was discovered in 1858, bringing adventurers from as far afield as Australia. This diversity of population was further cemented in the 19th century when thousands of migrant workers were brought in to build the railway.
Day 3 Seattle (Washington)
Even if you think you know Seattle, we guarantee that by your next visit, the city will have changed. Because that is the nature of Seattle, always marching unashamedly towards the future. This is the city that gave us Starbucks, Nirvana and Fraser (plus numerous other celebrities from music legends to retail giants). It’s a city that knows how to surf the next wave with aplomb and grace. It is the city of the future. That is not to say that it doesn’t treat its past with respect. Settled by five pioneer families in 1851, the town quickly grew after the Northern Railway was extended to meet the coast in 1893. The Gold Rush of 1897 sealed the city as one of the great places on the west coast. The history of the city’s 100 Mercer girls – girls that were brought back by pioneer Asa Mercer who deemed the city had shortage of marriageable women – is just one of the quirky facts that makes the Seattle impossible not to love. Seattle is the largest city in the state of Washington, yet there is a village vibe that is uncommon in metropolises. If you truly want to enjoy the unique hybrid of tradition and progression, then take a tour of Pike Place, Seattle’s famous farmer’s market. This was where the term “locavore” was coined, and local producer-customer meetings are not only commonplace, but are encouraged. Go hungry as the huge indoor market is laden with tasty options of food options, from fresh vegetables and fruit from to prepared food that can be eaten whilst enjoying a great view of the bay.
Day 4 Day At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 5 Portland (Oregon)
Portland, Oregon’s largest city is located at the merging of the Williamette and Columbia Rivers. Two groups of indigenous Chinook peoples inhabited this area long before American pioneers started arriving in the 1800’s. Once the Oregon Trail, a 2,170 mile historic east–west, large-wheeled wagon route connecting Oregon to the Missouri River, opened in the 1830’s, large numbers of settlers started arriving. Portland’s original name was "Stumptown" because so many trees had been cut down to allow for development. Two men owned the land - Asa Lovejoy of Boston, Massachusetts and Francis W. Pettygrove of Portland, Maine. They decided to rename it, but disagreed about the new name. They wanted to name it after their respective hometowns, so they settled this disagreement with a coin toss, which Pettygrove won. Today, Portland is ranked the 26th most populous city in the United States, and is especially known for all its bridges, many of which are historic landmarks.
Day 6 Astoria (Oregon)
Located on the Columbia River, near the Pacific Ocean, Astoria is a pretty American West Coast port that is part bohemian, part all-American. At just three hours from Seattle (and six from British Columbia), Astoria enjoys the hipster cool of San Francisco, while maintaining small town appeal. Beachwise think miles of secluded beaches, sand dunes, crashing waves, lighthouses and towering forests. The extremely picturesque port revels in its new found status as being the place for Millennials to put down roots. Thus, organic coffee shops (with ultra-fast Wi-Fi) sit side by side Victorian antique shops that have been in families for generations, giving the whole town a multi-generational, modern feeling. The town itself is quaint – as the oldest Euro-settlement on the north Pacific Coast (it was established in 1811 and named after John Jacob Astor, founder of the American fur industry. It is also the first American settlement west of the Rockies), it has kept a lot of its turn of the century houses which overlook the mighty Columbia River. Lewis and Clark made the port their home during the early 1800s, setting up camp in Fort Clapsot, and despite the duo having to return home the way they came, the area has remained an integral part of their expedition. A replica of the seven-room fort built by members of the expedition in the National Park is a great way of gaining a deeper understanding of the trials that the team endured, with talented rangers and re-enactors on-hand to answer any questions.
Day 7 Day At Sea
Day 8 San Francisco (California)
With its spectacular bay, iconic bridge and contagious energy, the question is more what isn’t there to do in San Francisco rather than what is? It’s the city with a little bit of everything… Hippie havens, digital geniuses, oodles of American history and of course, Alcatraz. There is a hot arts scene, a cool restaurant culture and style, substance and sass in spades. It’s no wonder Tony Bennet left his heart there all those years ago… At just seven miles by seven miles the city might be tiny but it’s impact is huge. This is where the Gold Rush pioneers came, where the hippie movement began, where start-ups went from conception to creation and where tolerance became not a word but a way of life. Add in some heavyweight landmarks such as Fisherman’s Warf, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island and you have an argument that SF (never San Fran) is possibly the best city in America. With its privileged setting on a spectacular bay and myriad of hills, SF is no stranger to natural beauty. In just one day you can hike along coastal paths that goes from Mexico to Oregon along the Pacific Ocean, climb rocky cliffs that stretch up into the enigmatic fog and stroll sandy beaches that are as challenging as they are spectacular. A quick change of scenery takes you downtown to golden age Art Deco palaces, Chinatown’s lantern-strung streets and fantastic city views from the Hamon Observation Tower. Hop on the ferry from Pier 33 to Alcatraz for some modern history, and you too will leave your heart in SF.
Day 9 Day At Sea
Day 10 San Diego (California)
Attention all sun, sea and surf lovers! Welcome to the place that considers those three words the only three little words worth saying. This is where the vibe is cool, the living is easy and weekends are spent worshiping the holy trinity, beachside. The southernmost city in California, San Diego borders Mexico which gives the place a slightly transient feel, although as America’s eighth largest city, it is anything but. Made up of little neighbourhoods, each has their own personality which gives a blended family feel. There’s Mission Beach, Little Italy, the Gaslamp Quarter, Downtown… all in all 17 neighbourhoods range from quirky to cool result in a city which is much more than a sum of its parts. European settlers arrived in the mid-18th century although Iberian explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo claims to have discovered San Diego Bay in 1542, 200 years previously. Regardless of when the Europeans arrived, there is proof that Native Americans populated the land 12,000 years before, and a trip to the San Diego History Centre is both educational and inspirational. The town became part of the United States of America in 1848 (it had been under Mexican rule before that) and since then has carved out a niche for being “America’s finest city”, a moniker that you’ll see everywhere from t-shirts to bumper stickers. If it feels familiar, that’s because it is. Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe filmed Some Like It Hot here and the city’s slightly worn around but ever so glamourous feel has remained.
Days 11-12 Day At Sea
Day 13 Cabo San Lucas (Bahia California Sur)
Found at the tip of Baja California, Cabo San Lucas is where the desert meets the ocean. Although it has received a makeover of modern Americana in recent years, this place is still a world away from everywhere else in Mexico. A trip to Cabo (the San Lucas is optional) will not leave you disappointed. With swaying palm trees, turquoise seas and long ribbons of white sand, this is a resort that ticks every box: great food, great nightlight which equal great times – for some. Others may prefer to scratch the surface just a bit deeper and travel along the peninsula that is known for its dramatic scenery of desert terrain and rugged coastline marked by many unusual formations. The sweeping views of the bay are simply sensational. A quick turn inward takes you to San Jose del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas’ older and more grown up sister. Offering a very much calmer and much more authentic atmosphere, just half an hour along the coast leaves you in its desert terrain, and leaves a very different impression from the lively beachfront bars and cafes of San Lucas. Perhaps one of the most stunning ways to see Cabo though is from the water. With the Arco de Cabo San Lucas featuring highly on many must-see lists, a trip around the bay is a must. The braver among you might also like to indulge their inner adrenalin junkie and swim with whale sharks – a memorable and totally risk-free experience if there ever was one. End your day of sightseeing with a fabulous sunset, a (tequila) sunrise in hand, watching the fishermen come home from their adventures.
Day 14 Puerto Vallarta (Jalisco)
Fusing hippie chic, a start studded past and vibrant adventure, Puerto Vallarta promises a little of everything. The pretty resort town shot to fame in the early 1960s after Richard Burton filmed Tennessee Williams’ Night of the Iguana here. Director John Houston loved the city so much he built a house and welcomed stars of the stage and screen many times until his death in 1987. Puerto Vallarta’s proximity to the Bay of Banderas has given it a more interesting history than many other coastal town of the region, ranging from swashbuckling buccaneers and gold miners to a visit from President Nixon. Despite Puerto Vallarta’s nickname of “Gringo Gulch”, the town is a slice of pure Mexican colour. Stunning aquamarine seas lap pale yellow sands shoreside, while in town you’ll find winding cobbled streets lined with colourful buildings and charismatic boutiques. Enjoy the sensorial delights of the city by sipping a margarita in one of the many quirky bars, and snapping up everything from handicrafts to local artworks (there’s quite a bit of tequila themed goodies on sale too). Don’t forget to light a candle in the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church, a masterpiece of Roman Catholic architecture. The city is surrounded by tropical flowers and dense jungle and is overlooked by Sierra Madre giving Puerto Vallarta a little bit of a mystical feel. Over 350 species of birds call the jungle home, as well as countless other species of animals including iguanas, monkeys, jaguar, armadillos, ocelots and more.
Day 15 Day At Sea
Day 16 Acapulco (Guerrero)
Whether going loco down in Acapulco fills you with dread or delight is up to you. The Mexican city is as famed for its spring breaker as for its splendid beauty. The lively promenade gives travellers a sense of modern Mexico; a creative food scene, excellent shopping and the world’s longest over the water zipline. Venture a little further from the waterfront for a taste of colonial architecture, artwork by Diego Rivera and a chance to snorkel in crystalline waters far from the madding crowd. The city is located on a deep seawater port, around 380 km south of Mexico City. Its history dates back to the 8th century, although it was not until the pre-Hispanic era – around 1520 – that the village began to expand. The Aztecs had ruled the city for a brief period, although lack of military organisation proved no match for the Spanish. Acapulco quickly became the second most important port of Mexico, welcoming ships from Europe on their return from Asia. The port was soon being targeted by buccaneers, thus the San Diego Fort was built in 1616 in an effort to stave off pirate attacks. The original fort was destroyed by an earthquake in 1776 and was rebuilt between 1778 and 1783 – this is the version that is still standing intact today. No one could visit Acapulco without witnessing the dramatic performances of the world-famous cliff divers. Standing poised at the edge of a 35 metre cliff, the divers soar into the crashing surf below. It is true entertainment, both nerve-wracking and impressive at once.
Day 17 Day At Sea
Day 18 Puerto Quetzal
Puerto Quetzal is a relatively recent addition to the Guatemalan coastline. Completed in 1984, the industrial port remains essentially a gateway for the very exciting lowlands. Wander through the craft market and don’t be afraid to snap up some beautifully made hand woven shawls and bags. While Puerto Quetzal offers little in the way of excitement (although its long black beach is a lovely way to unwind), the real magic lies in nearby the Mayan ruins of Tika National Park. Tikal – not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also a 1.5 hour chartered flight away – encompasses 575 km2 of jungle, and is home to thousands of mysterious ruins, including the Pyramid of the Great Jaguar, the Central Plaza, the Palace of the Masks, the Lost World Complex, and Pyramid IV, the tallest of all pre-Columbian structures in the Western Hemisphere. Today the jungle is a protected bio-sphere (due to over-zealous felling) and is home to Toucans, Parrots, wild turkeys, howler monkeys and the occasional jaguar! If getting lost in the misty, tropical jungle of yesteryear does not appeal, then perhaps the postcard prettiness of La Antigua will. Antigua, the old capital of the kingdom of Guatemala (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) is Instagram gold – cobbled streets, lined with brightly coloured colonial buildings, a leafy central square, 16th-century ruins and surrounded volcanoes surrounding it. The city was founded in 1543 and was the seat of economic and religious power in the region for over 200 years.
Day 19 Day At Sea
Day 20 San Juan Del Sur
Located on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, just half an hour from the Costa Rican border lies the pretty fishing village of San Juan del Sur. Considered by some as the “St. Tropez of Nicaragua”, the village certainly has some resemblances. A sleepy little port by day favoured by the local jet-set and curious traveller alike, San Juan del Sur enjoys a laid-back family orientated feel that is closer to southern France than southern America. By night however, San Juan del Sur transforms itself into the hottest of hot-spots. Known principally for its excellent surfing and vibrant nightlife, the town’s charms transcend these more mainstream attributes and it remains an idyllic boutique resort, with bright, colourful houses and remote beaches, offering respite for a community of likeminded cultured travellers. The sunsets here are legendary, so enjoy a Mojito or a local Toña beer, put your feet up and relax.
Day 21 Puntarenas
Puntarenas sits on a spit of land parallel to the coast of Pitahaya. The mud and soil brought down to the ocean by the Barranca River and the action of some of the smaller rivers to the north of Puntarenas have led to a tongue of sand known by 1722 as Puerto de Arenas (Harbor of Sands). Were it not for a very narrow stretch of land known as “La Angostura” the city would be an island. The city of almost 100,000 inhabitants is the capital to the province of the same name, which hugs most of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Connected by road to San Jose, the country’s capital, Puntarenas is used by Costa Rican’s to cross by ferry over to the Nicoya Peninsula which is part of the Puntarenas Province and by cruise ships as a gateway to visit the various national parks in the interior. Puntarenas still is Costa Rica’s most important fishing port, while cargo is handled some 15 kilometers southwest on the mainland at Puerto Caldera, a port created in the 1980s. To cater to visitors, the beach area has been remodeled and the Paseo de los Turistas runs parallel to the beach with many seafood restaurant, cafes and bars.
Day 22 Quepos
Quepos is, by and large, one of Costa Rica’s more developed ports. However, in a country that is known for its miraculous coffee, that does not mean that there is a Starbucks on every corner. Rather that Quepos caters to travellers as much as locals, but has managed to preserve “Tico” authenticity. To say that once small fishing village located 60 km south (as the crow flies) from San Jose is blessed by nature is no exaggeration. Just 7 km from the Manuel Antonio National Park, do not be alarmed if you find yourself chasing electric blue butterflies, extolling the virtues of unmeasurably high waterfalls and competing with your travel partners to see who has seen the most hummingbirds. Because that is what Costa Rica’s nature does to you – turns even the most urban of city dweller into a nature loving evangelist. As one of the world’s top 12 most beautiful national parks, Manuel Antonio is rich in biodiversity and, despite its small size, (just 6. 83 km2 or 3 sq mi) is unparalleled with 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds. Dating from 1653, the small and busy town is charming and worth a visit if you decide to give the park a miss. Depending on your mood, lovely beaches offer plenty of relaxation or activity. Big game fishing is almost a religion here, and catches of the day include marlin, sailfish, snapper, amberjack, wahoo, dorado, yellow fin and big eye tuna, and roosterfish. This naturally translates into some of the best and freshest ceviche you are ever likely to taste.
Days 23-24 Day At Sea
Day 25 Guayaquil
The second major jumping off point for the Galapagos Islands after Quito, this is a little city with a big heart. A sea port first and foremost, the city’s personality has been founded on that, and all the better it is for it too. Almost Caribbean in feeling, the clement climate coupled with the intermingling rhythms floating from the windows and abundance of fresh seafood make this a very tropical destination. Once not even considered by the travel books as a potential destination in its own right, the city has undergone something of a resurgence in the past few years. Proud Guayaquileños will not hestitate to point out the Malecón or the exciting new riverfront promenade, once a no-go area after dark, now happily (and hippily) lined with museums, restaurants, shops, and ongoing entertainment. The new airport and urban transportation network are also lauded to the happy tourists who find themselves here. As the largest and most populous city in Ecuador as well as being the commercial centre, it would only be natural that the city would have some kind of modern architecture, but it is the colourful favelas, or to use their real name guasmos, that cling to the side of the hillside like limpets that really catch your eye. A blend of old and new, the first inhabitants can be traced back to 1948 when the government cleared the area for affordable housing, these shanty towns are witness to the social and political particularities that Guayaquil has faced in the past.
Day 26 Day At Sea
Day 27 Salaverry
Ancient cultures and magical ruins wait to be discovered along Peru’s compelling western coastline. With the Andes rising nearby, and the deep blue Pacific’s waves lapping against its sun-parched shores, this is a unique and inspiring place, where wonders from yesteryear exhibit amazing geometric patterns and stylised artwork. Salaverry welcomes you ashore close to Trujillo, Peru’s second-largest city, set in a land scattered with impressive ruins and archaeological treasures left by ancient civilisations. Sugarcane, pineapple and asparagus grow in the fertile Moche Valley, and this area is sprinkled with immense, impressive ruins from the Moche and Chimu cultures. The sprawling Chan Chan Ruins are all that's left of a mighty, pre-Columbian city, moulded from sand and mud. The city rose between 900 and 1470, and was the capital of the Chimor empire. One of the largest adobe cities in the world - and the biggest of the Americas - it would eventually fall to decline after the Incas conquered it. The temple of Huaca del Dragón is also close by, rising as a small pyramid, embossed with relief patterns of fire-breathing dragons and animals. South of the Moche River the remains of the Huaca del Sol y la Luna temples loom, built to honour the sun, moon and heavens by the Moche civilization. Trujillo itself is splashed with colonial colour and soaring palm trees, and there are plenty of cathedrals and museums to explore. You’ll want to taste traditional Huanchaco ceviche while you’re here, soft prawns or sea bass combined with spicy red chillies and a tangy squeeze of lime.
Day 28 Lima (Callao)
Arrive 8:30 AM
Splashing colour and culture into the arid Peruvian landscape, Lima is a city bedecked with grand colonial splendour. Founded in 1535, this sprawling capital enjoys a breezy oceanfront location and forms one of the world's largest desert cities. A place of sharp contrasts, almost 10 million people are packed into the city, occupying vastly different living conditions. Visit for an unfiltered experience of this richly layered place of ancient history, colonial relics and dazzling flavours. Rising from the misty blanket of the garua - a persistent fog that cloaks Lima during winter - you'll find one of South America's most culturally vibrant cities. The former capital of the Spanish colonists - head to Plaza de Armas to immerse yourself in the heart of the old city. The Basilica Cathedral of Lima watches over Plaza Mayor - listen out for the stomps of boots outside, as the pomp and ceremony of the Changing of the Guards draws crowds to the Government Palace. The history of this area runs much deeper, however, and pre-Colombian cities and temples emerge from the dusty earth nearby. Grand museums showcase unearthed treasures from the extraordinary civilisations who built vast mud adobe cities across Peru's coastline, and incredible settlements in the country's valleys and mountains. The Barranco district is Lima's artsy area, and you can walk from modern art galleries to see the local muse, the Bridge of Sighs. This wooden bridge is an artist's favourite, and one of the city's most romantic spots. Afterwards, sample some of Lima's cuisine, and the zingy flavours of spicy, lime-marinated fish ceviche. So revered in these parts, ceviche even has its own national day on June 28th. Sipping a Pisco Sour is the perfect way to round off your visit to this engrossing, multi-layered city.
All This Included
Crossing borders and travelling deeper is what Silversea does best, and this voyage from North America to south is the perfect example. Taking in as much of the west coast of both continents as we can, leave Canada’s mountains for Seattle’s heritage, Oregon’s landscapes and California’s famous dreamin’. Then it’s time to change cultures: drop down to Central America for a taste of its famed charisma. Peru’s desert and mountain dichotomy is last.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Cloud
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