- Day 1 Colón, Panama
- Day 2 Panama Canal
- Day 3 At Sea
- Day 4 Manta, Ecuador
- Day 5 Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador
- Day 6 At Sea
- Day 7 Salaverry, Peru
- Day 8 Callao / Lima, Peru
- Day 9 Paracas, Peru
- Day 10 At Sea
- Day 11 Arica, Chile
- Day 12 Iquique, Chile
- Day 13 At Sea
- Day 14 La Serena, Chile
- Day 15 Valparaíso, Chile
The city of Colón lies by the entrance to the Panama Canal on the Atlantic coast. Here, you you’ll find high-quality hotels, a casino, hot springs, a thriving handicraft scene, and great restaurants featuring local delicacies. If you want to really explore the city or join a Pre-Program where you’ll spend time in a beautiful jungle lodge next to the Chagres River, you should arrange to arrive a couple of days earlier.
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 protocols with you.
We depart Colón early in the morning to start the process entering the Panama Canal. The complex canal network is over a hundred years old, stretching almost 50 miles through natural and man-made waterways. We’ll wait eagerly for our allocated slot to enter the first of a series of huge locks. In a feat of modern engineering, these ingenious locks effectively lift the ship more than 80 feet above sea level. If weather allows, the Expedition Team will be on deck to point out sites of interest around the canal and talk about the history of this ambitious project.
Roughly halfway through the 12-hour transit of the canal, the ship will enter the Gatun Lake section. Created after the nearby Chagres River was damned, it’s one of the largest artificial lakes in the world. In contrast, the surrounding rainforest is virtually untouched by any development. The flora and fauna native to Central America flourish here, undisturbed. If you’re lucky, you may spot a crocodile or alligator ashore. Watch the trees and you may also catch a glimpse of a monkey (and maybe even a sloth or two).
After a few more locks and lakes, the ship will pass under the Bridge of the Americas and emerge in the Pacific Ocean. In one day, you’ll have experienced the culmination of centuries of planning, hard work, and resourcefulness, and cross from one great ocean to another in the process. It’s sure to be an experience you won’t forget.
Spend some of your day at sea taking a relaxing walk on deck. Enjoy the seascapes and keep an eye out for marine wildlife like whales, sea lions, and seabirds. Want to feel closer to the water? Go for a dip in the infinity pool or one of the two outdoor hot tubs (where you can still admire the scenery).
Head to the Science Center and make the most of the Expedition Team’s lectures to learn about what you will experience in the following days. Participate in a Citizen Science project, where you will help contribute to ongoing research around the world. When darkness falls and it’s a starry night, you can also join the Expedition Team on deck for some stargazing.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, head to one of the three restaurants on board for varied and delicious meals. Afterward, grab a seat in the Explorer Lounge & Bar and raise a glass or two with your new-found friends.
We cross the Equator early in the morning. In a traditional ceremony, we’ll seek King Neptune’s blessing on board. If luck is on our side, he might even make an appearance before we reach our first call in Ecuador.
The main attraction of the day will be to Montecristi, located 5 miles inland from the tuna-fishing port city of Manta. It was established in the 16th century by manteños fleeing the frequent pirate raids on the coast. Even though it is located in Ecuador, Montecristi is the actual birthplace of the Panama hat, despite its name. The misnomer originated when President Roosevelt wore one of these hats on a visit to the Panama Canal in 1904, sparking their popularity worldwide. There are plenty of shops selling the genuine article, which local artisans have expertly handwoven from the leaves of the jipijapa tree.
When you’re done hat-hunting, browse the stalls at the town’s pretty plaza, admire the architecture of the church, and look at the varied street art. One prominent mural at the plaza depicts General Eloy Alfaro, two-time Ecuadorian President and a Montecristi native. If time allows, head to the top of the main hill, where there is a museum and a grandiose mausoleum in honor of Alfaro, who was also known as the Viejo Luchador (Old Warrior).
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 an opportunity to visit a local banana plantation, or try and spot hummingbirds, parakeets, and howler monkeys at 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.
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 could 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 fly nearby the ship, the Expedition Team might also help you spot and identify them from the deck. Our designated expedition photographer will also be available to help you learn the basics of expedition photography, in addition to documenting on our journey
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.
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.
Nestled on a bay behind a peninsula, the humble and sleepy resort town of Paracas is surrounded by brown sugar–colored cliffs and lovely 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 tourable distilleries. Be careful though, pisco can pack a punch!
Opposite Paracas harbor is the mysterious local geoglyph of a candelabra, which 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 carvings are still being discovered. Could they be of extra-terrestrial 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 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 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 culture. Also keep your eyes on the sky for the Andean condor and Chilean flamingo.
As we sail north 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, stimulating the growth of huge quantities of sardines, anchovies, and mackerel.
If you like to keep active, both the indoor and outdoor gyms on board are fully equipped for any workout—and both have great views. The ship also 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.
Unusual for a city by the sea, Arica enjoys a constant desert climate and is 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 worth the effort. When you reach the fluttering Chilean flag at the 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 older than even the ones found in Egypt. Head to the south of the city to trek the more rugged Playa Corazones and explore the Cuevas de Anzota (Caves of Anzota). You may also have an opportunity to join an optional excursion to see geoglyphs in Lluta Valley and Lauca National Park.
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 corvette that fought in the War of the Pacific. Our main plan here is a visit to 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 skyline to 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 blend into local coffee culture or sip a traditional creamy mango sour. You’ll find an interesting Chinatown near the mercado, and the neighborhood offers the unique Chifa cuisine, marrying Peruvian and Chinese flavors. More local traditions, not to mention the wide range of seafood dishes, you’ll definitely want to try chumbeque, a layered cookie filled with limón de Pica (a type of small lemon from Pica).
The end of your cruise is drawing near. 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.
Perched on ocean terraces, 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.
Estimated time of arrival is 10:00 AM
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.
Included in Your Expedition
- 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
- 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 organize and guide activities, both on board and ashore
- Range of included activities
- Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
- Use the ship’s Science Center, which features 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 Expedition Team, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations
- Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment needed for the activities
- Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition photographers will help you configure your camera settings before landings
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
- 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
MS Roald Amundsen
|Passenger capacity||530 (500 in Antarctica)|
|Gross tonnage||20 889 T|
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.
MS Fridtjof Nansen
|Shipyard||Kleven Yards, Norway|
|Passenger capacity||530 (500 in Antarctica)|
|Gross tonnage||20 889 T|
|Length||140 m / 459 ft|
|Beam||23.6 m / 77 ft|
MS Fridtjof Nansen is the latest addition to Hurtigruten’s fleet of custom-built ships – and represents the next generation of expedition ships. She will explore some of the most spectacular corners of the globe.
Sailing with MS Fridtjof Nansen or MS Roald Amundsen
- MS Fridtjof Nansen: Life on board and Practical information
- MS Roald Amundsen: Life on board and Practical information
- Meet Our Expedition Team
- Young Explorers’ Program: Bring your kids on board