Diverse Cultures and National Parks of Latin America (Southbound)

Diverse Cultures and National Parks of Latin America (Southbound)

Diverse Cultures and National Parks of Latin America (Southbound)

Diverse Cultures and National Parks of Latin America (Southbound)

Travel information 16 days MS Fridtjof Nansen
Departure
October 12, 2023
Price from $ 8,560
$ 6,848
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

This expedition from Costa Rica to Chile explores five Latin American countries, uncovering ancient pyramids, exceptionally beautiful national reserves, and delicious local delicacies.

Our small ships can take you to places that larger ships can’t sail, opening the door to a wide range of places, from cities to remote islands. At times, due to weather, we may need to change or cancel our plan for that day. For an authentic adventure in this exotic region, this is par for the course.

Visits to paradise in Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador

From Puntarenas, we’ll journey to Quepos and Golfito, two ports that offer access to nearby Costa Rican national parks full of scenic habitats and diverse animal life, including toucans, iguana, sloths, monkeys, and a range of seabirds. We stop at Manta to visit Montecristi, where classic Panama hats were invented and are still handmade to this day. In Puerto Bolivar, we learn about the historical importance of the so-called ‘oro verde’ for the local economy.

Peruvian pyramids and Chilean cities

Our first call in Peru will be at Salaverry, where you can tour the ancient temple and city ruins around Trujillo. Then we head to colonial Lima, a UNESCO capital with sumptuous cuisine on offer. Next, it’s Paracas, where the Ballestas Islands are teeming with biodiversity. Then we see the sun-soaked resort towns of Arica and Iquique, the old colonial town of La Serena, and eventually the UNESCO-listed Valparaíso, where your expedition will come to an end.

Diverse Cultures and National Parks of Latin America (Southbound) Diverse Cultures and National Parks of Latin America (Southbound)
  • Day 1
    Puntarenas, Costa Rica

    Beginning of your exotic expedition

    October 12, 2023

    Your hybrid-electric expedition ship MS Fridtjof Nansen will be waiting to begin your expedition in Puntarenas, a city on a needle-thin strip of land on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. City folks from San José often try to slip away to Puntarenas for the day to bask in the relaxed coastal life and fresh ocean air. While it is still an active fishing port, Puntarenas is mainly a starting point for people heading elsewhere in the region, like to the white-sand beaches of Nicoya Peninsula or the waterfall-rich Tortuga Island.

    Once you board the ship, you’ll pick up your complimentary expedition jacket, settle into your cabin, explore the ship, and attend a mandatory safety drill. After the welcome dinner (featuring a toast by the captain), you’ll meet your Expedition Team, who will run through important health and safety aspects with you.

    Arrive early for an overnight in San José and explore the Tárcoles River and mangrove forest during a boat tour before embarkation. Another option is to join our four-day Pre-Program to the magnificent Volcano Arenal Area to explore Costa Rican flora and fauna and relax in natural volcanic hot springs.

    Day 1
    Puntarenas, Costa Rica

    Beginning of your exotic expedition

  • Day 2
    Quepos, Costa Rica

    A slice of paradise in Costa Rica

    October 13, 2023

    You’ll find that the town of Quepos and its surroundings come packed with plenty of things to see and do. The many boats in the gorgeous Marina Pez Vela serve the big-game fishing industry for which Quepos is known. There are six blocks of restaurants, galleries, and shops around the central plaza, and an ample selection of water sports  along the mile-long Playa Espadilla.

    That said, the main attraction of Quepos is not the town itself, but rather its proximity to Manuel Antonio National Park. This is one of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica, and appears on Forbes’ list of top 12 most beautiful national parks in the world. In this park, you can catch impressive views of mountains, mangroves, lagoons, beaches, and tropical forest. With 350 birds species and 109 species of mammals, there’s a lot to keep an eye out for! By following the breathtaking Perezoso trail, you might spot scarlet macaws, toucans, hawks, four species of monkey, sloths, iguanas, and armadillos.

    • Included Visit to a local farm and typical dances
    Day 2
    Quepos, Costa Rica

    A slice of paradise in Costa Rica

  • Day 3
    Golfito, Costa Rica

    Bananas to Bargains

    October 14, 2023

    The laid-back town of Golfito is sheltered in the gorgeous Golfito Bay, which lies within the larger Golfo Dulce. Enjoy views from the seaside marinas or, better yet, follow the scenic hiking trails up the hill and into the wildlife refuge, ending in at Piedras Blancas National Park. Your exploration of the lush rainforest will bring you up close with picturesque waterfalls. Keep an eye out for toucans, macaws, blue morpho butterflies, anteaters, sloths, mantled howler monkeys, and more. The calm waters around the bay also make it ideal for touring the local mangroves and for joining an optional kayaking excursion to the isolated beaches.

    Once a prime region for banana exports, Golfito has since switched its economy to palm oil plantations and sport fishing. Anglers of all ages stay at boutique resorts and chic eco-lodges around Golfito, and set off on one of the many boats moored there in hopes of catching the iconic Pacific sailfish. Are you a bargain hunter? Check out the town’s duty-free center, which regularly attracts both visitors and locals alike.

    • Included Walking in Golfito
    Day 3
    Golfito, Costa Rica

    Bananas to Bargains

  • Day 4
    At Sea

    Serenity at sea

    October 15, 2023

    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.

    As we cross the Equator, it’s the tradition of Norwegian sailors to hold a ceremony to seek King Neptune’s blessing. If we’re in luck, he may even make an appearance.

    Day 4
    At Sea

    Serenity at sea

  • Day 5
    Manta, Ecuador

    Sea, sand, surf, and… tuna?

    October 16, 2023

    Manta is a bustling and prosperous port city with high-rise buildings, resort hotels, and several casinos. It is well-known for its long stretches of beach whose blessed wind and waves draw surfers, body-boarders, and kitesurfers from across the globe. You can mingle with casual beachgoers at the shops, restaurants, and bars of Malencón Escénico at Playa el Murcielago. You can also head to San Lorenzo for surfer-sweet swells or go to Playa Bonita at Santa Marianita to watch kitesurfers take off from the sea into the sky.

    Aside from tourism, the city’s tuna fishing and canning industry is a successful and key industry here. As is typical for a coastal city, seafood is the specialty on the menu at most restaurants in the area. Try succulent wild-caught shrimp, black clams, octopus, red snappers, and much more. Make a point to try a bowl of the local encebollado broth made with fresh tuna, the pride of Manta. The Museo Municipal Etnográfico Cancebi showcases Ecuadorian art and artifacts from the local pre-Columbian civilization, including ancient fishing tools. You may also have the opportunity to visit the nearby town of Montecristi, famous for handicrafts, and where traditional Panamanian straw hats were first created and still hand woven to this day.

    • Included Manta and Montecristi Highlights
    Day 5
    Manta, Ecuador

    Sea, sand, surf, and… tuna?

  • Day 6
    Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador

    Growing green gold

    October 17, 2023

    Machala’s main claim to fame is Puerto Bolivar, an important Ecuadorian port where coffee, cocoa, shrimp, and bountiful bananas (which the locals call ‘oro verde’, or green gold) leave for export. As part of one of our optional excursions, you may have the opportunity to visit a local banana plantation, or to try and spot hummingbirds, parakeets, and howler monkeys in the Buenaventura Nature Reserve to the south. The nearby Puyango Petrified Forest has one of the largest collections of fossilized trees in the world, thought to be about 100 million years old—as old as the Andes Mountains themselves.

    Feast on fresh seafood at Puerto Bolivar at one of the harbor’s many restaurants, and enjoy views of the natural mangrove swamps of Isla Jambeli. Machala has all the charm you’d expect from a small coastal city. Stroll through quaint plazas filled with friendly locals, and admire unusual monuments dedicated to sorting fish and bananeros. The restaurants here are evolving and have started dabbling in the hip, modern cuisine for which Ecuador and Peru have increasingly become known.

    • Included Machala City Tour
    Day 6
    Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador

    Growing green gold

  • Day 7
    At Sea

    At your leisure

    October 18, 2023

    As we leave Ecuador behind and set sail for Peru, enjoy another day at your leisure aboard the ship. Continue to take advantage of the many onboard facilities and join in on lectures as we prepare you for the final days ahead.

    There’s no better place than the Wellness Center to fully relax during your downtime on board. Feel the knots in your muscles disappear during a massage or pamper yourself with skin-scrubbing treatments. And if the warm weather hasn’t opened up your pores, a session in the sauna is sure to do the trick. You can also slip into your bathing suit and lie back into the bubbles of one of the outdoor hot tubs or bask in a state of zen during a guided meditation class. Whatever you decide to do, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself relaxed and entertained on this day at sea.

    Day 7
    At Sea

    At your leisure

  • Day 8
    Salaverry / Trujillo, Peru

    An archeologist’s dream

    October 19, 2023

    Pummeled by the Pacific’s wind and waves, Salaverry can be a hard port to access. If we are able to land there, though, it’ll be a good starting point to explore Trujillo, Peru’s third-largest city, and the array of archeological sites scattered throughout the region.

    Trujillo sits in a fertile valley oasis irrigated by the Moche River. It boasts a colorful Baroque 17th-century cathedral, 10 colonial churches, and many Neoclassical mansions, not to mention one of the longest mosaic murals in the world at the local university. It’s more likely, however, that your focus will be further back on the past.

    The city of Chan Chan was created by the Chimú Empire, which appeared in the region around 900 A.D. The vast ruins of the complex, measuring almost 8 square miles, include the Tschudi temple-citadel and Huaca Esmeralda. On the other side of Trujillo are you’ll find the Mochican pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. These pre-date Chan Chan by a few hundred years! Huaca del Sol stands out as the largest adobe structure on the continent, while Huaca del Luna is a more detailed specimen, with many of its pastel frescos still visible.

    • Included Onboard Marinera Dance Show
    Day 8
    Salaverry / Trujillo, Peru

    An archeologist’s dream

  • Day 9
    Callao / Lima, Peru

    Food, glorious food

    October 20, 2023

    Set on a strip of desert between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains, we find the capital city of Lima, served by the Callao seaport. Lima is the country’s largest city, and it is a modern, sprawling metropolis where traditions and trends converge in an exciting cocktail of culture and cuisine.

    The UNESCO World Heritage historic center is full of Colonial era architecture, such as Plaza Mayor and the San Francisco Monastery. In contrast, the clay ruins of the Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarca ceremonial pyramids are remnants of the long-lost Incan civilization. There are at least four different museums you can explore for a deeper dive into pre-Columbian archeology. You might enjoy the bright and arty area of Barranco, complete with murals, creative cafés, and two of Lima’s contemporary art museums.

    Many say the ultimate Lima experience revolves around the food. Cuisine from the capital has made a splash the world over. Try it in one of the many internationally recognized and award-winning restaurants found here. One of Peru’s all-time gastronomic greats is ceviche, fresh fish marinated in tangy lime juice and other seasonings. This staple dish can be savored in many locations around the city, from upscale diners in Miraflores to salt-of-the-earth cevicherías at the fishing docks over in Chorrillos.

    • Included Panoramic Tour of Lima
    • Included Beach Clean-up in Callao
    Day 9
    Callao / Lima, Peru

    Food, glorious food

  • Day 10
    Paracas/Pisco, Peru

    Birds and brandy

    October 21, 2023

    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 sauce) 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 tourable 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 can visit in the Pisco Valley. This optional excursion is just a short drive south. The Nazca Lines could be older than the candelabra, but new ones are still being discovered. Could these be extra-terrestrial in origin? You decide.

    You may also have the opportunity to take a boat tour of the nearby Ballestas Islands. 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.

    • Included Ballestas Islands
    Day 10
    Paracas/Pisco, Peru

    Birds and brandy

  • Day 11
    At Sea

    Fresh sea air

    October 22, 2023

    As we sail south toward Chile, continue to enjoy the Expedition Team’s lecture program. On deck, a healthy salt-tinged breeze and magnificent views will invigorate you, as will all the facilities the expedition ship has to offer. These waters are part of the Humboldt Current, a cold-water current that cools the climate in the region and causes the clear blue skies found here. It also sustains the region’s highly productive marine ecosystem, causing large quantities of sardines, anchovies, and mackerel.

    If you’re someone who likes to keep active, there are well-equipped gyms on board, both indoor and outdoor, and each with great views. Swimmers should be excited too—the ship has a heated infinity pool for you to enjoy. If you get tired of the treadmill, move your stride over to the outdoor running track. The scenery and the sea breeze might just inspire you to stretch your run out for a few more miles.

    Day 11
    At Sea

    Fresh sea air

  • Day 12
    Arica, Chile

    ‘City of Everlasting Spring’

    October 23, 2023

    Arica enjoys a constant desert climate, which is atypical for a city by the sea. In fact, it is 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, and 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). You also might have the opportunity to go on an optional excursion to see geoglyphs in Lluta Valley and Lauca National Park.

    • Included Atacama Coastal Walk
    Day 12
    Arica, Chile

    ‘City of Everlasting Spring’

  • Day 13
    Iquique, Chile

    Chile’s Premier Beach Resort

    October 24, 2023

    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 enthusiasts will love the tour of La Esmeralda, a steam-powered warship used and sunk during the War of the Pacific. You might 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 a wide range of seafood dishes, you’ll definitely want to try chumbeque, a local dessert that features a cookie sandwich coated with an anise-flavored syrup.

    • Included Humberstone and Santa Laura
    Day 13
    Iquique, Chile

    Chile’s Premier Beach Resort

  • Day 14
    At Sea

    Relax on board

    October 25, 2023

    A day at sea means the opportunity to attend interesting lectures, learn basic expedition photography, try your hand at an art workshop, and enjoy the fresh sea air out on deck as you watch for wildlife. You can also use microscopes in the Science Center to analyze samples taken during the cruise.

    By this stage of your journey, you can now regard your fellow explorers as friends, after finding so much in common in your interests and passion for nature. Chat with them over a snack at the bistro-style Fredheim restaurant, and share your favorite stories from the expedition so far. The Explorer Bar is also open for drinks—you might even catch the crew and Expedition Team here in the evening for some friendly banter. As night falls, there is nothing as romantic as stargazing on deck with the one you love.

    Day 14
    At Sea

    Relax on board

  • Day 15
    La Serena, Chile

    Neo-Colonial and classy

    October 26, 2023

    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 15
    La Serena, Chile

    Neo-Colonial and classy

  • Day 16
    Valparaíso, Chile

    End of your expedition

    October 27, 2023

    Your expedition ends as we dock 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. Cerro 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 16
    Valparaíso, Chile

    End of your expedition

Departures

2023

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
October:
12.

Available Promotions on This Itinerary:

  • Save up to 20% + $1,000 Air Credit

    Book an expedition cruise aboard the world’s first hybrid electric-powered expedition ship or any of our other ships to destinations, and you’ll save up to 20% as well as receive up to a $1,000 air credit per person!
    See Special Offer
  • Kids Save up to 50%

    Young Explorers Save up to 50% off
    See Special Offer
  • New Season

    Life changing experiences start here. Discover our new itineraries for 2023 and 2024.
    See Special Offer

What's Included

Included in Your Expedition

Expedition Cruise

  • Expedition cruise in the cabin of your choice
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim
  • 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

  • Escorted landings with small boats (RIBs)
  • Loan of boots, 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 meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities are expected
Pool area on MS Fridtjof Nansen
Photo: Oscar Farrera
Your Ship

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

A large boat in a body of water with a mountain in the background
Check prices and availability Request a quote

Here are a few suggestions: