From the Costa Rican Rainforest to Ancient Incan Kingdoms

Sailing along the west coast of South America gives you a unique opportunity to explore fascinating archaeological sites and the mysteries of lost cultures. Discover the ancient Chimú kingdom’s pyramids and shrines, the Sacsayhuamán fortress, the Incan town of Ollantaytambo, and magnificent Machu Picchu.

  • Sail through the Panama Canal
  • Discover some of the most important and fascinating ancient sites in South America
  • Explore the Chimú kingdom, Sacsayhuamán fortress, the Incan town of Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu
  • Visit a mix of exciting cities, national parks, and beautiful islands
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Cruise Itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and 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 only an indication of what you can experience, and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

November 04, 2018

Departs from Puerto Limón

The Inca Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. On this expedition we sail along the coastline of this ancient realm from Costa Rica to Peru.

Starting in beautiful Costa Rica, we sail south to Bocas del Toro and the Bastimentos National Park. Here you can dive and kayak among mangroves and coral reefs, as well as hike through the rainforest in search of wildlife. Then you are in for a treat as we sail through the Panama Canal! We will also explore the only coastal national park in Ecuador and visit a small coastal community known for excellent fishing.

Lost Cities and a Giant Citadel

Another highlight is the visit to the ancient Chimú kingdom, the largest mud-brick citadel of the Americas from the pre-Columbian era.  You disembark in Lima for even more adventures on land: Explore the most amazing Incan constructions: the Sacsayhuamán fortress, the Incan town of Ollantaytambo, and then the ruins of spectacular Machu Picchu.

Day 1

Home of the ‘Pura Vida’ Lifestyle

Puerto Limón

Puerto Limón in Costa Rica is a compelling destination for adventurous explorers, and where your expedition starts. The city itself has fascinating architecture and colorful open-air markets. The main market in the center of town is the place to go to buy everything from carved wood to traditional souvenirs. Cashew nuts are big in this city, so be sure to try the cashew wine, which is a specialty here, before your embark on MS Fram.

Day 2

UNESCO Site and Biosphere Reserve

Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro (mouth of the bull) is a pristine region, and home to the UNESCO World Heritage site La Amistad International Park and Isla Bastimentos, Panama's first national marine park and biosphere reserve. Consisting of nine islands and hundreds of smaller islets you can visit the town of Bocas, with its colorful 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 3

Connecting Two Oceans

Panama Canal

We enter the Panama Canal. Experience the thrill of canal transit and the intricacy of the lock's system first-hand, as MS Fram is lifted over 85 feet above sea level from one body of water to the other. The Panama Canal is one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken. It had an enormous impact on shipping between the two oceans, replacing the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn. 

Day 4
Bahía Piña is a picturesque bay that attracts visitors for its sea life and surrounding jungle. Photo

A Deep-Sea Fishing Paradise

Puerto Piña

Puerto Piña is a small coastal community located near the border of Colombia, largely populated by Afro-colonial and indigenous Emberá people. Piñas Bay is Panama’s most incredible fishing spot, and more than 200 deep-sea fishing world records have been set here, more than anywhere else on Earth. The area is also naturally beautiful with fascinating culture, so everyone will find it a lovely place to visit. The diversity of species in this area is astounding. There are roosterfish, swordfish, billfish, tuna, dorado, snapper, snook, dolphinfish, wahoo, and barracuda found here, as well as and blue, black, and striped marlin. Most of the records set here have been for marlin and Pacific sailfish. Other marine species in Piñas Bay include dolphins, sharks, rays and humpback whales. The Panamanian government protects the bay and does not allow commercial fishing ships to enter into it. There is a small white-sand beach here, Playa Blanca, where you can relax and sunbathe. The offshore waters have coral reefs that are good for snorkelling or kayaking and the trails in the jungle are great for hiking

Day 5
Enjoy a relaxing day at sea. Photo

Crossing the Equator

At Sea

Enjoy a day at sea. Finish one of the books you brought with you or look through and sort the pictures you have taken so far. Or perhaps simply relaxing on deck is your favorite pastime. On this day we will cross the Equator, and you will experience a remarkable Equator baptism celebration.

Day 6
Machalilla National Park, the "other Galapagos". Photo

Colorful Birds and Fish on the Silver Island

Isla del la Plata

Isla de la Plata is a part of Parque National Machalilla, and is Ecuador’s only coastal national park. The island is known as Ecuador’s ‘other Galapagos’ because of its abundance of marine birdlife. Isla de la Plata means ‘Silver Island’, and is the home to species such as blue-footed boobies, nesting waved albatross, and frigate birds. The island is great for hikers and has plenty of bird watching trails. You can also explore the colorful life under water by snorkelling among large schools of fish, or simply take a refreshing dip in the blue ocean. .

Day 7

Lectures at Sea

At Sea

Learn more about South America’s history, ancient civilizations, and cultures. The Inca Empire flourished in ancient Peru starting around 1400 B.C. and 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 jungles. Known 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, roads, and mountaintop settlements continues to impress modern visitors. During these days at sea you can learn more about the Incas, and other ancient cultures at the lectures presented by the expedition team held on board.

Day 8

Explore an Ancient Kingdom and the Temples of the Sun and the Moon


The small port of Salaverry is the starting point for the excursion to the ancient Chimú kingdom (700–1400 A.D.). The Chimú founded their capital by the banks of the Moche River and called it ‘Chan Chan’ (sun-sun). It covers an area of eight square miles. It was built using clay, mud, pebbles, straw, and cane, creating the largest mud-brick citadel of the Americas in pre-Hispanic times. It is a remarkable place, listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1986. Also discover Trujillo, a city that retains much of its colonial charm and has a splendid backdrop of the vast green and brown of the Andean foothills. There is also an excursion that visits the main religious center of the Moche culture, built in the 5th century A.D. Admire the Temple of the Sun, the largest adobe structure in the world, and the Temple of the Moon, covered with beautiful and vibrant Moche designs.

Day 9
Enjoy a relaxing day on board reflecting on your journey so far, or attending one of our onboard lectures. Photo

Gain Insight While Being at Sea

At Sea

Spend some time on deck as we navigate farther south along the coast of Peru. Breathe the fresh ocean air and look for wildlife. Join our lecture team’s interesting presentations to learn more about the west coast of South America, its nature, history, and geography.

Day 10

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 11

The Highlights of the Incan Empire

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 12

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 13

Flying Back Home


Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before you fly home.

November 16, 2018

Location Lima

Your Voyage Price Includes:

  • Hurtigruten expedition voyage in the cabin category of your choice on a full-board basis  
  • Economy-class flights between Lima and Cusco
  • All transfers, incl. train ride to Machu Picchu and entrance fees as described and English-speaking guide
  • One overnight hotel stay in Lima, including breakfast, and two overnight hotel stays at Hacienda Urubamba, including breakfast, after the voyage
  • 3- course set lunch and dinner on days 10 and 11 and a box lunch on day 12
  • Wind- and water-resistant jacket  
  • Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English-speaking Expedition Team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities
  • Complimentary tea and coffee

Not Included:

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional excursions and gratuities
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