Set on a strip of desert between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains, you’ll find the Peruvian capital city of Lima. It’s the country’s largest city, and it is a modern, far-flung metropolis where traditions and new trends converge in an exciting cocktail of culture and cuisine. Lima’s original name was Ciudad de los Reyes, or ‘The City of Kings’, and it is well earned. Your adventure begins with a night at a centrally located hotel, but you could also arrange to come a few days early to explore the capital more.
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 restaurants in Miraflores to salt-of-the-earth cevicherías at the fishing docks over in Chorrillos.
In the morning, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your flight from Lima to Juliaca. This city is located on the windy Collao Plateau, over 12,500 feet above sea level. Our local guide will be waiting at the airport and take you on a one-hour guided drive through Juliaca to your hotel in Puno. Along the way, catch glimpses of the Santa Catalina Church in the Plaza de Armas, the Romanesque Franciscan Convent on top of Cerro Santa Bárbara, and the striking White Christ sculpture overlooking the city from Waynaruqi Hill.
Your hotel is in Puno, a city located on the shore of lovely Lake Titicaca. This’ll be your home for the next two days. Enjoy lunch at the hotel before visiting Chucuito and Aramu Muru.
Chucuito was once an important Colonial-era town where the Spanish collected royal taxes before sending them to Lima. Today, its a quiet village. Its attractions include two beautiful 16th-century Colonial churches (Santo Domingo and Nuestra Señora de la Asunción), along with an ancient solar clock in the town square. Grab your camera and head to the lookout point just north of the square for splendid views of the surrounding landscape. You may visit a nearby trout hatchery to see how the region’s specialty of trucha (trout) is raised, and then head outside of town for a horseback ride with a local family. Most visitors are also intrigued by the small archaeological landmark of Inca Uyo The site claims to be what remains of an ancient fertility temple, although experts aren’t all in agreement as to whether that’s true. Either way, the rows upon rows of phallic granite statues (86 in total) is an amusing sight!
Before we head back for dinner and an overnight stay at the hotel, you’ll stop at the mysterious Aramu Muru, an unfinished, T-shaped doorway carved into solid rock. The mystical site has inspired local legends of people disappearing through it, and supposed sights of the doorway opening to tall men carrying glowing balls of light. Could it be a paranormal or extra-terrestrial portal? Some say so, sparking pilgrimages here by those who refer to it by its other name: Puerta de Hayu Marca, the Gate of the Gods.
The time to explore Lake Titicaca by boat is here! This is the birthplace of the sun and the Incas, according to ancient Andean beliefs. Over 900 feet deep and 3,200 square miles across, this is the largest lake in South America. It is 15 times the size of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva and even bigger than Lake Tahoe in the U.S. At 12,500 feet above sea level, it is also the highest navigable body of water in the world. More than 25 rivers stream into this freshwater lake, which is surrounded by mountains and yellow grass reeds. When it is still and clear outside, it is the perfect mirror reflecting the blue skies above.
Our first stop of the day is to the floating islands, built by the Uru people to allow them to move away if they were threatened by their enemies. These incredible islands are entirely handmade, which the Uru weave together from the buoyant totora reeds that grow in the shallows of the lake. Each small island houses between one and ten families and takes months to complete. A small island may last a decade or so, but requires continuous maintenance with new layers. Learn about the other fascinating ways the local community uses the reeds, ranging from huts to boats to toys. Even walking on the soft and springy ground is an unforgettable experience!
Continue by boat to the rural community of Llachón, on the shores of the scenic Capachica Peninsula. Grab your camera and get ready for breathtaking panoramic views. Your included activity here is a guided kayaking tour, and you can admire the peninsula’s sandy beaches and keep your eyes peeled for Lake Titicaca’s 60 species of birds, 14 native fish species, and 18 types of amphibians. Join a guided walk through the village and learn the local agricultural way of life. Admire local handicrafts and share a typical Andean lunch with a local family. A relaxing evening with dinner at the hotel awaits you back in Puno.
After checking out of the hotel, we’ll head to the airport. There’ll be time though to stop along the way at the Sillustani tombs, a pre-Incan cemetery over 12,700 feet above sea level, surrounded by Lake Umayo. The ancient, indigenous Colla people built these above-ground tombs, called chullas. They are tower-like structures up to 40 feet tall that hold entire families of its society’s elite. After exploring the cemetery, we’ll continue to the Juliaca airport for your flight to Lima and your transfer to Callao, where your ship awaits for your adventure at sea.
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 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.
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, 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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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 to Lake Titicaca/Peru before the cruise
- One night in Lima, including breakfast
- Two nights at GHL Puno Hotel, including half board
- Two three-course lunches (set menu) and one packed lunch
- Economy-class flights between Lima and Juliaca
- All transfers and train rides as described in the itinerary, including an English-speaking guide
- Entrance fee as listed in the itinerary
- 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 crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations
- Loan of trekking poles and all equipment needed for the activities
- Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition photographers will help 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
- The Land Program in Peru takes place at high altitudes (Lake Titicaca´s altitude is at 12,500 feet) and may require a certain level of physical fitness. The order of sights visited may vary.
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