From ancient Inca kingdoms to the Costa Rican rainforest 2018

Lima to San José

Explore fascinating archaeological sites and the mysteries of lost cultures, starting with the splendour of Machu Picchu and the treasures of the Chimu civilisation, before sailing through the Panama Canal and ending our journey in beautiful Costa Rica.

  • Discover the lost world of the Incas
  • Explore some of the most important archaeological sites in South America
  • Experience a transit of the Panama Canal
  • Enjoy beautiful Costa Rica


Discover the highlights of the Inca Empire, the largest kingdom in pre-Columbian America, which left behind spectacular constructions such as the town of Ollantaytambo, the world-famous ruins of Machu Picchu, the impressive Sacsayhuamán fortress and vibrant Cusco, once the Imperial centre. After this exciting land adventure, we board MS Fram to continue the expedition by sea.

In Salaverry, we visit the ruins of the ancient Chimu kingdom, featuring the largest mud brick citadel of the Americas from the pre-Columbian era.

Then, we sail through the Panama Canal and end our expedition in beautiful Costa Rica. The mix of extreme nature, fascinating cities, vibrant South American culture and captivating lectures make this expedition unforgettable.

Price includes:

  • Hurtigruten Expedition in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • 1 overnight in Lima and 2 overnights at Hacienda Urubamba before the voyage including breakfast
  • 3- course set lunch and dinner on day 2, 3 and box lunch on day 4
  • Return economy flight Lima-Cusco-Lima
  • All transfers and train rides as described including English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fees according to program
  • Wind- and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Not included:

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional Excursions and Gratuities

Vaccination required:

On this trip, a vaccine against yellow fever is required. The vaccination must be done at least 10 days before departure. Please bring the vaccination certificate on your voyage as you will need this to enter certain countries.

Related voyages


The itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, so the weather and wind conditions will determine our final schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience, and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

14 March 2018

Departs From Lima
Day 1

UNESCO Site and Ancient History

Location: Lima

Lima and its surrounding area is steeped in history. We visit Caral, considered the most ancient city in the Americas, and to the south of Lima, we explore the archaeological complex of Pachacamac. The city of Lima is the historic Peruvian capital, as Spanish conquistadores established the Viceroyalty of Peru here in 1542, and began building significant churches, monasteries, and mansions. ToDay, Lima´s historic centre is recognized as a World Heritage Site. Join one of our excursions to enjoy the city´s art museums, archaeological sites, beaches, and boardwalk, and savour the exquisite cuisine that gives Peru’s capital its unique personality. Explore the city on your own before spending the night in a hotel.

Day 2

Stunning Ancient Craftsmanship

Location: Lima/Cusco

In the morning, you are transferred to your flight from Lima to Cusco. Enjoy lunch before experiencing the amazing Sacsayhuamán fortress. The name translates as "satisfied falcon” for the mythical bird that was said to have guarded the capital of the empire. Construction of the site lasted more than seven decades and required the work of 20,000 men to set the foundations, hew the stone, transport materials, and carve and set the stones. Like many Incan structures, the fortress was constructed 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 techniques and architectural skills. In the afternoon, we continue to Hacienda Urubamba in the Sacred Valley for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 3

The Splendour of Machu Picchu

Location: Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu

After breakfast, you’re in for some unforgettable highlights. First is the visit to Ollantaytambo, an Incan town that shares its name with the formidable stone structure that climbs the massive cliff looming over town. This fortress was the valley’s main defence against the Antis and was the site of the Incas’ greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest. Constructed of rose-coloured granite, this huge installation 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 savoury brunch will be served as we enjoy the 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 by thick tangles of vines and trees for centuries. 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 no written records behind. Explore the city's ruins, feel its pulse and visualise the lives of the priests, craftsmen, and servants who inhabited this incredible place. Excavations at the site have revealed skeletons, artefacts and woollen clothing among 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 to Hacienda Urubamba for another relaxing evening and overnight stay.

Day 4
Callao, Peru_©Christian Vinces - Shutterstock_Day 8.png
Photo: Christian Vinces / Shutterstock Photo

Centre of the Incan Empire

Location: Cusco/Lima/Callao

After breakfast, we head on 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 that was built on the foundations of 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 another Day of exploring, we will transfer you to the airport to fly to Lima, where MS Fram stands ready to continue this expedition at sea.

Day 5
Salaverry, Peru_©Ruslana Iurchenko - Shutterstock_Day 9.png
Photo: Ruslana Lurchenko / Shutterstock Photo

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Location: Salaverry

The small port of Salaverry is the starting point for the excursion to the ancient Chimu kingdom (700-1400 AD), who founded their capital by the banks of the Moche River. Chan Chan ("sun-sun") covers an area of 20 square km and was built using clay, mud, pebbles, straw and cane. It is considered the largest mud-brick citadel of the Americas in pre-Hispanic times, a remarkable piece of architecture that was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage in 1986.

Day 6
1200x600_At sea_ ©Kyrle Spillane_Shutterstock_day 12.png

At Sea

Location: At Sea

Enjoy a relaxing Day at sea. Our experienced lecturers will share their knowledge in fascinating talks, and we invite you to spend time on board and on deck to fully enjoy the deep relaxation of a Day at sea.

Day 7
Manta, Ecuador_©Fotos593 - Shutterstock_Day 11.png
Photo: Fotos593 / Shutterstock Photo

Home of the Panama Hat

Location: Manta

Manta is a bustling and prosperous port town, graced with high-rises and beaches. We recommend the trip to Montecristi, where real Panama hats are made. These traditional brimmed straw hats are hand-woven, and it takes up to several months to make the finest examples. A "superfino" Panama hat can, according to local legend, hold water, and when rolled for storage, can pass through a wedding ring.

Day 8
1200x600_At sea_ ©Pranodhm_Shutterstock_day 6.png

At Sea

Location: At Sea

Our expedition team will continue the lecture programme to share their knowledge and experience, as well as summarize the voyage so far and let you know about plans for the exciting Days to come. Our onboard expedition photographer will be available to help you with the basics of expedition photography.

Day 9
Fuerte Amador_©Six Drive - Shutterstock_Day 13.png
Photo: Six Drive / Shutterstock Photo

Colourful Gateway

Location: Fuerte Amador

Fuerte Amador is located right at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. The port is only 20 miles away from Panama City, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Central America and home to incredible architectural and ethnic diversity. Join an excursion to discover the historic beauty and lively modernity of Panama City, or take a tour to experience the fascinating Miraflores Locks, or perhaps join a boat trip to a nature reserve to scout for wildlife.

Day 10

Connecting Two Oceans

Location: Panama Canal

We enter the Panama Canal close to Balboa. Experience the thrill of canal transit and the intricacy of the lock's system firsthand, as MS Fram is lifted over 26 metres above sea level, from one body of water to the next.

Day 11
day02_bocal del toro_bocas-del-toro_shutterstock_177669956.jpg

Mouth of the bull

Location: Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro, meaning “mouth of the bull”, is a pristine region and home to Panama’s first national marine park, Bastimentos. Consisting of 9 islands and hundreds of smaller islets, you can visit Bocas town with its colourful Caribbean vibe and atmosphere before venturing into the expanse of Bastemintos National Park. Snorkel, dive and kayak among mangroves and coral reefs or hike through the rainforest in search of wildlife.

Day 12
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica_©Simon Dannhauer - Shutterstock_Day 16.png
Photo: Simon Dannhauer Photo

The Capital of Costa Rica

Location: Puerto Limón/San José

Puerto Limón in Costa Rica is a compelling destination for adventurous explorers. After disembarkation, we transfer you to your hotel in San José, the capital of Costa Rica.

Day 13
San Jose, Puerto Rico_©aceshot1_shutterstock_Day 17.png
Photo: aceshot1 / Shutterstock Photo

End of the Adventure

Location: San José

After a breakfast in your hotel, your South-American expedition comes to an end.

26 March 2018

Location San José
Your Ship Things to See and Do


Challenge your inner explorer and experience everything that South America voyages have to offer with our diverse range of optional excursions.


Explore the exotic nature, culture and wildlife in South America

Extend Your Holiday

Extend your holiday

Complete your holiday with a pre or post extension programme. Choose between excursions of several hours and multi-day tours including hotel accommodation.

Getting you there

Please contact us if you wish to add on return flights and airport transfers to Callao/Lima and Puerto Limon