Galápagos Islands, Ancient History & Highlights of South America

Galápagos Islands, Ancient History & Highlights of South America

Galápagos Islands, Ancient History & Highlights of South America

Galápagos Islands, Ancient History & Highlights of South America

Travel information 14 days
Departures
September 30, 2023
October 4, 2023
October 14, 2023
Price from $ 9,372
$ 8,624
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Explore the incredible wildlife of the Galápagos Islands before an expedition cruise along the scenic west coast of South America. Discover the differences and similarities between modern cities and historic ancient civilizations as you experience charming architecture, beautiful beaches, archeological mysteries, and UNESCO sites across Peru and Chile.

The islands of the giant tortoise

The adventure starts in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, home to the best-preserved UNESCO historic center in the Americas. There, we will visit a museum dedicated to the Earth’s Equator. Then fly to Santa Cruz, in the Galápagos Islands, where enormous endemic tortoises thrive near the Charles Darwin Research Station. Over the next two days, you will travel by boat to explore other islands in the archipelago and discover more of its diverse wildlife.

Life along the Pacific Coast

Take the plane to the Peruvian capital of Lima and enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of the city before boarding your ship, bound for Valparaíso. Our first stop, Paracas, is surrounded by sandy cliffs that shine in shades of brown and red. Next is Arica, where you can take a short hike up El Morro hill to look over the beaches. In Iquique, head into the Atacama Desert to explore the abandoned mining town of Humberstone. Then admire the Neo-Colonial architecture and many stone churches of La Serena

Galápagos Islands, Ancient History & Highlights of South America Galápagos Islands, Ancient History & Highlights of South America
  • Day 1
    Quito

    Delightful UNESCO historic center

    Your expedition cruise starts in Quito, Ecuador’s capital and most populous city. Quito is the second-highest capital city in the world, perched at 9,350 feet above sea level on the eastern side of Pichincha, a volcano in the Andes. It is also the closest capital city to the Equator (thus the name Ecuador, meaning Equator in Spanish). Originally settled by the Quitu tribe in the first millennium, Quito was eventually integrated into the Incan Empire before being settled in 1534 by Spanish conqueror Sebastian de Benalcásar.

    Stroll through the city’s historic center and view splendidly restored period buildings and Colonial-era churches lining the narrow, cobblestone streets. You’ll soon see why Quito’s historic center is described as the largest, least-altered, and best-preserved historic area in all of the Americas. That’s why, in 1978, it was one of the first places in the world to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your adventure begins with a night in a centrally located hotel.

    Day 1
    Quito

    Delightful UNESCO historic center

  • Day 2
    Quito

    Views from the ‘Middle of the World’

    After a nice breakfast, we´ll bring you to the charming colonial quarter for a sightseeing tour of the area. Starting from Plaza San Francisco, we´ll visit the church choir and the patios of the Franciscan order. Then we stroll through the handsome streets to the stunning gold-leaf interior of the Jesuit church of La Compañía.

    No trip to Ecuador is complete without a photo of one foot standing in the northern hemisphere and another in the southern hemisphere. Continue by bus to Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (‘City at the Middle of the World’), located just 8.3 miles north of Quito. This stands to honor the Geodesic Mission that established latitude 0 in the 18th century. Depending on the time, you can visit the surroundings of the small village. You will also have the chance to visit the Intiñan Museum, a space of ecological and scientific discovery that transports visitors back to ancient times. Learn about the worldview, customs, and traditions of ancient cultures.

    Lunch is served at El Crater restaurant, which overlooks Pululahua Volcano.

    In the afternoon, you´ll return to your hotel in Quito.

    Dinner will be served at the hotel, and then you’ll have the evening to spend at your leisure.

    Day 2
    Quito

    Views from the ‘Middle of the World’

  • Day 3
    Quito/Baltra Island/Santa Cruz Island

    Arriving at Santa Cruz Island

    Start the day with breakfast at the hotel before being driven to Quito’s airport for our flight to the Galápagos Islands (via Guayaquil). When we arrive at Baltra’s airport, our local guide will be waiting to transfer you to the Itabaca Channel, where a small ferry awaits you to bring you to the island of Santa Cruz.

    Our travels will take us through a rural agricultural area surrounded by wild landscapes, where we can see many different species of flora and fauna. If you are lucky, you might spot a few of the famous finches that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution based on natural selection. The highlands are one of the best places on the island to observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat. They are easy to spot. They lumber around eating grass and leaves and wallow in the small, muddy rain-formed pools. Younger giant tortoises tend to be smaller with shinier carapaces, while the larger, older giant tortoises proudly don weathered and worn shells—distinguished armor in a long life that can span over 100 years in the wild. Enjoy lunch in the Highlands.

    After settling into your hotel in Puerto Ayora, we’ll walk to the nearby Charles Darwin Research Station. The station hosts educational museums about the history and development of the Galápagos Islands and the different ways of protecting its unique natural heritage. You can also observe the giant land tortoises native to the islands. The station is the only place in the Galápagos where most of the different species reside at one site.

    Spend the afternoon at your leisure and explore the small, picturesque town of Puerto Ayora and its many local handicraft shops. Observe the colorful murals at the churches around town or stroll over to Tortuga Bay to look for marine iguanas, crabs, and white-tip reef sharks among the mangroves. Dinner will be served at the hotel´s restaurant.

    Day 3
    Quito/Baltra Island/Santa Cruz Island

    Arriving at Santa Cruz Island

  • Day 4-5
    Santa Cruz Island

    Galápagos Island–Hopping

    After breakfast, we'll begin to explore the islands that have become synonymous with the theory of evolution and hailed as a natural laboratory for natural selection. The range of wildlife on display in the islands is mind-boggling. The islands are teeming with endemic species and subspecies ranging from the wonderful to the weird and everything in between. On each of our two days here, we’ll visit one island by boat, meaning we’ll see two of the possible six islands. We don’t know which islands we’ll see, as that is at the discretion of the park authorities, who regulate and assign visitors one month beforehand.

    Could it be Bartolomé Island, famous for the dramatic Pinnacle Rock and the rare colony of Galápagos penguins at its base? How about North Seymour Island, with its large populations of hilarious blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and magnificent frigatebirds? Another possibility is Santa Fe Island, known for having the most beautiful coves in the archipelago, with beaches covered in lounging sea lions. Perhaps we’ll head to South Plaza Island, where a growing colony of land iguanas roam among prickly pear cactus trees.

    It’s clear that wherever you set foot to explore, you’re in for a real treat! You’ll go on walks to learn about the island’s geology, human history, and its exceptionally diverse wildlife. After two days, you’ll understand why these islands impressed Darwin so much and why they inspired his world-changing theory of evolution by natural selection.

    Day 4-5
    Santa Cruz Island

    Galápagos Island–Hopping

  • Day 6
    Baltra Island/Lima

    From isolated islands to a connected capital

    After breakfast at the hotel, we will make our way to Baltra airport to fly to Guayaquil. From there, we continue on to Lima, where our local guide will transfer you to your hotel in the city. Dinner will be served at your hotel upon your arrival.

    Day 6
    Baltra Island/Lima

    From isolated islands to a connected capital

  • Day 7
    Callao

    ‘The City of Kings’

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel after a good night’s sleep in this historic city, known originally as ‘The City of Kings’. After check-out, we’ll take a half-day tour of Lima, including a visit to the city’s UNESCO-listed historic center. Some of the tour’s highlights include Plaza San Martin, Plaza Mayor, the Government Palace, and Santo Domingo Convent, the best-preserved colonial building in all of Lima.

    Our visit continues with a stop at the Larco Museum, for an excellent overview of Peru's ancient past. It holds the best private collection of pre-Columbian art in the country.

    We will then enjoy lunch at a typical Peruvian restaurant.

    The tour finishes at the quayside in Callao, where your expedition ship awaits you.

    Once on board, you’ll check-in and run through an important safety drill. Then settle into your cabin and take a look around the ship. Later, you’ll enjoy a special welcome dinner, where you’ll meet the captain, the crew, and the Expedition Team. Together, we’ll raise a glass and toast to the adventures ahead! The day ends with a briefing from the expedition leader and the hotel manager. After, maybe wander over to the Explorer Lounge and Bar for a drink with your new shipmates!

    Day 7
    Callao

    ‘The City of Kings’

  • Day 8
    Paracas, Peru

    Birds and brandy

    Nestled on a bay behind a peninsula, the humble and sleepy resort town of Paracas is surrounded by brown-sugar–colored cliffs and beaches. Known to most as ‘El Chaco’, the town’s main shorefront and boulevard features a wide array of restaurants where you can taste jalea, a mix of fried seafood with salsa criolla (Creole) and yuca root. Another specialty is Peruvian silverside fish, known as pejerry, best washed down with a glass of pisco, a grape brandy produced at several of the region’s distilleries. Be careful though, pisco can pack a punch!

    Opposite Paracas harbor is the mysterious local geoglyph of a candelabra that possibly dates back to 200 B.C. It could be related to the famous Nazca Lines, which you may have an opportunity to visit in the Pisco Valley on an optional excursion. The Nazca Lines could be older than the candelabra, but new geoglyphs are still being discovered. Could these be extra-terrestrial in origin? You decide.

    You may also have an opportunity to take a boat tour to the nearby Ballestas Islands, considered somewhat of a  mini-Galápagos of Peru. The Ballestas Islands support a wide range of wildlife, including Humboldt penguins, turtles, Peruvian boobies, cormorants, pelicans, sea lions, dolphins, Inca terns, and humpback whales. Nearby, you can also find the Paracas National Reserve, whose territory includes a rare combination of desert and marine ecosystems. The Martian-like yellow dunes and red-sand beaches hide more than 100 archaeological sites of the Paracas civilization. Also keep your eyes on the sky for the Andean condor and Chilean flamingo.

    Day 8
    Paracas, Peru

    Birds and brandy

  • Day 9
    At Sea

    Serenity at Sea

    Enjoy the serenity of this day at sea. Relax and admire the scenery from the observation deck or from the lounge.

    Throughout your journey, the Expedition Team will give lectures in the Science Center and share their extensive knowledge of the region. Topics may include periods of pre-Columbian history, the geology of the surrounding mountains and islands, the folklore of the local communities, and much more. Not all of our lectures are indoors, though! If curious seabirds come fly alongside the ship, the Expedition Team might also help you spot and identify them from the deck. Our designated expedition photographer will be available to help you learn the basics of expedition photography, in addition to documenting our journey.

    Day 9
    At Sea

    Serenity at Sea

  • Day 10
    Arica, Chile

    City of Everlasting Spring

    Arica enjoys a constant desert climate, which is atypical for a city by the sea. In fact, it’s even one of the driest cities in the world. This also means that it is bathed in glorious sunshine almost every day of the year, and residents proudly describe Arica as being immersed in a never-ending spring. The beaches are popular with sunbathers and surfers alike. The 15-minute hike to the top of the tall, sandy El Morro cliff is well worth it. Once you find the fluttering Chilean flag on top, you’ll also be rewarded with great views.

    Another hotspot for visitors is San Marcos Cathedral, designed by Gustave Eiffel (of Parisian fame) and inaugurated in 1876. Calles 21 de Mayo and Bolognesi are lively pedestrian areas filled with eateries and artisan stalls, while the El Agro market and food court is full of sights and scents. At the San Miguel de Azapa Archaeological Museum, peruse artifacts from Chinchorro culture and marvel at mummies who are even older than even the ones found in Egypt. Head to the south of the city to trek the more rugged Playa Corazones and explore Cuevas de Anzota (the Caves of Anzota).

    Day 10
    Arica, Chile

    City of Everlasting Spring

  • Day 11
    Iquique, Chile

    Chile’s Premier Beach Resort

    Welcome to a slice of paradise by the Pacific, complete with palm trees and promenades. As one of Chile’s top seaside cities, Iquique is buzzing with activity all year around. Shoppers stream to the duty-free Zofri Mall, while ship and history enthusiasts will love the tour of La Esmeralda, a steam-powered warship used and sunk during the War of the Pacific. You may have the opportunity to visit the nearby abandoned saltpeter mining town of Humberstone in the Atacama Desert. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a slice of history that you can literally walk through.

    Back in Iquique, stroll the La Costenera boardwalk next to Playa Cavancha and admire the city’s skyline on one side and the parasailors and surfers on the other. Baquedano Street showcases 19th-century Georgian architecture and leads to Astoreca Palace. Don’t miss the photo op at the clock tower, located in the town center. You’ll pass an array of chic cafés, where you can indulge in local coffee culture or sip a traditional creamy mango sour. You’ll find Iquique’s Chinatown near the mercado, bringing with it the unique ‘chifa’ cuisine, which marries Peruvian and Chinese flavors. Aside from the wide range of seafood dishes, you’ll definitely want to try chumbeque, a dessert that features a cookie sandwich coated with an anise-flavored syrup.

    Day 11
    Iquique, Chile

    Chile’s Premier Beach Resort

  • Day 12
    At Sea

    Relax on board

    Spend your last full day at sea kicking back and relaxing as your expedition cruise draws to a triumphant close. You could also spend some time in the gym or in the sauna. Whatever you do, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy your leisure time aboard the ship. The Expedition Team will recap highlights of the adventure. Try your hand at the art workshop, where you can create art inspired by the places you have seen and the things you have done on the trip.

    Day 12
    At Sea

    Relax on board

  • Day 13
    La Serena, Chile

    ‘The City of Churches’

    Perched on terraces above the ocean, La Serena is blessed with beautiful sandy beaches all along Avenida del Mar and beyond. You’ll find that Chile’s second-oldest city has a distinct and purposefully crafted Neo-Colonial look and feel to it. Its modern buildings meld with classic architecture, such as the 30 or so carefully restored stone churches, some of which are 350 years old. You’ll notice that the stone churches can be distinguished by their different styles of belfries.

    Aside from wandering the beaches, promenades, and plazas, you can also stroll through manicured public gardens like the Japanese-inspired Jardín del Corazón or shop for handicrafts at Recova Market. Contemplate Pre-Colonial artifacts at the archeological museum or head to the Patio Colonial, near Balmaceda, for relaxed cafés and eateries.

    Day 13
    La Serena, Chile

    ‘The City of Churches’

  • Day 14
    Valparaíso, Chile

    UNESCO’s `Jewel of the Pacific´

    Your voyage ends at Valparaíso. Built on steep hillsides overlooking the ocean, this UNESCO World Heritage Site–listed city is a maze of monuments, churches, historical funicular cable cars, trendy neightborhoods, cobblestone alleys, colorful houses, and charming plazas. Cerros Alegre and Concepción have arguably the best views, while the historic port district has Colonial architecture, bustling mercados, and the maritime and modern art museums. This colorful and unusual city is fascinating, so why not stick around for an extra day or two? You can also join a Post-Program to Easter Island, famous for its mysterious statues of giant heads.

    Day 14
    Valparaíso, Chile

    UNESCO’s `Jewel of the Pacific´

Departures

2023

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
September:
30.
October:
4.
14.

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What's Included

Included in Your Expedition

Galápagos Island land program before the expedition cruise

  • Two nights in Quito, including breakfast and dinner on day 2.
  • Three nights at a hotel in Santa Cruz Island /Galápagos Islands, including full board
  • One night in Lima, including half board
  • Economy flight from Quito to Baltra, and Baltra to Lima (via Guayaquil)
  • All transfers, excursions, and meals are as described in the itinerary, including an English-speaking guide
  • Galápagos Islands National Park entrance fee

Expedition Cruise

  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim (on MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridjtof Nansen)
  • Fine-dining À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm is included for suite guests
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organizes and guides activities, both on board and ashore
  • Range of included activities

Onboard activities

  • Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center, which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
  • The Citizen Science program allows guests to contribute to current scientific research projects
  • The onboard professional photographer will give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • The ship has hot tubs, an infinity pool, a sauna, an outdoor and indoor gym, and an outdoor running track
  • Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations

Landing activities

  • Loan of trekking poles and all equipment needed for the activities
  • Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition photographers help you configure your camera settings

Not Included In Your Expedition

  • International flights
  • Travel protection
  • Baggage handling
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
  • Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area

Notes

  • All planned activities are subject to weather conditions
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change
  • Please ensure you can meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities are expected
  • The Land-Program in the Galápagos Islands involves long stretches of travel. This includes walking over uneven terrain and getting in/out of boats, as well as a climate ranging from cool temperatures at high altitudes to hot, tropical weather.

Ships

MS Roald Amundsen in Antarktis
Photo: Dan Avila

MS Roald Amundsen

Year built 2019
Shipyard Kleven Yards
Passenger capacity 528 (500 in Antarctica)
Gross tonnage 20 889 T
Length 140 m
Beam 23,6 m
Speed 15 knots

In 2019, Hurtigruten added a brand new ship to its fleet: the MS Roald Amundsen. The state of the art vessel features new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology that will reduce fuel consumption and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible.

Read more about MS Roald Amundsen

MS Fridtjof Nansen

Year built 2020
Shipyard Kleven Yards, Norway
Passenger capacity 528 (500 in Antarctica)
Gross tonnage 20,889 T
Length 459 ft
Beam 77.4 ft
Speed 15 knots

MS Fridtjof Nansen is a next-generation expedition ship, just the latest in Hurtigruten’s fleet of custom built ships. She explores some of the most spectacular corners of the globe.

Read more about MS Fridtjof Nansen

MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo

MS Fram

Year built 2007
Year of refurbishment 2022
Shipyard Fincantieri, Italy
Passenger capacity 250 (200 in Antarctica)
Beds 276
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 11,647 T
Length 374 ft
Beam 66.3 ft
Speed 13 knots

The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. The advanced technology on the MS Fram, in the spirit of the famous original, makes her exceptionally well suited for expedition cruises in polar regions.

Read more about MS Fram

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