Lake Titicaca & National Parks of South America

Lake Titicaca & National Parks of South America

Lake Titicaca & National Parks of South America

Lake Titicaca & National Parks of South America

Travel information 14 days MS Roald Amundsen
Departure
April 13, 2023
Price from $ 8,985
$ 7,649
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Start your expedition at great heights—12,500 feet high to be exact—at the highest navigable lake in the world: Lake Titicaca. Then, head to Lima and on to Callao where our ship is ready to take you to experience coastal cities, islands, and other highlights in Peru, Ecuador, Panama, and Costa Rica.

South America’s largest lake

Your adventure begins with a night in Lima before flying to Juliaca and on to Puno, where your hotel on the shores of Lake Titicaca awaits you. You’ll spend three days exploring this area, including visits to the Colonial town of Chucuito, the mystical Aramu Muru Gate of the Gods, the pre-Incan archeological site of the Sillustani tombs, and the floating islands of the Uru people.

An expedition filled with adventure

Your adventure gets afloat when you return to Lima and then to Callao to embark on hybrid-electric powered MS Roald Amundsen to sail to Puntarenas. From here we head to Salaverry, where hope to land in order to give you the opportunity to take an optional excursion to discover the ruins of the Chimú and Moche Kingdoms. Next is the port of Puerto Bolivar, then on to Puerto López, Ecuador’s only coastal national park. Browse for Panama hats in Montecristi (near Manta) and enjoy the opportunity to indulge in beach life and snorkeling on Cebaco Island. You’ll also explore the lush rainforest in Golfito and have the opportunity to join an optional excursion to beautiful Manuel Antonio National Park in Quepos.

Lake Titicaca & National Parks of South America Lake Titicaca & National Parks of South America
  • Day 1
    Lima, Peru

    ‘The City of Kings’

    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.

    Day 1
    Lima, Peru

    ‘The City of Kings’

  • Day 2
    Lima/Puno, Peru

    Chucuito and the mystical Amaru Muro

    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, or 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 will 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 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 to behold.

    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.

    Day 2
    Lima/Puno, Peru

    Chucuito and the mystical Amaru Muro

  • Day 3
    Puno/Uros/Llachón/Puno

    Uros Floating Islands and Kayaking at Llachón

    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.

    Day 3
    Puno/Uros/Llachón/Puno

    Uros Floating Islands and Kayaking at Llachón

  • Day 4
    Puno/Juliaca/Lima

    From lakeside to seaside

    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 Colla people built these above-ground tombs (called chullas). These tower-like structures can reach nearly 40 feet tall, in order to 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 the MS Roald Amundsen awaits you for your adventure at sea.

    Day 4
    Puno/Juliaca/Lima

    From lakeside to seaside

  • Day 5
    Salaverry / Trujillo, Peru

    An archeologist’s dream

    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 will 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.

    Day 5
    Salaverry / Trujillo, Peru

    An archeologist’s dream

  • Day 6
    At Sea

    At your leisure

    As we leave Peru behind and set sail for Ecuador, enjoy another day at your leisure aboard the ship. Take advantage of the many onboard facilities and join in on lectures as we prepare you for what’s to come.

    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 a skin-scrubbing treatment. 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 on your bathing suit and soak in 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 entertained—and ready and revitalized for your next adventure!

    Day 6
    At Sea

    At your leisure

  • Day 7
    Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador

    Growing green gold

    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 try and spot hummingbirds, parakeets, and howler monkeys in 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, admire unusual monuments dedicated to sorting fish and bananeros, and maybe even meet some friendly locals. The restaurants here are evolving and have started dabbling in the hip, modern cuisine for which Ecuador and Peru have increasingly become known.

    Day 7
    Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador

    Growing green gold

  • Day 8
    Puerto López, Ecuador

    Tropical dry forests and archeological sites

    Machalilla National Park is named for the Machalilla culture that thrived in the region during the second millennium BCE. It is one of the most extensive protected areas on the Ecuadorian coast. Created in 1979, the National Park comprises a continental section covered in dry forest and some picturesque islands, including Isla de la Plata. It is home to rich and diverse wildlife, including more than 270 species and birds and 81 mammals. Machalilla has also been declared an internationally important wetland under the Ramsar Convention, which recognizes its great ecological importance. Archeology is the other highlight of Machalilla. With important sites like Agua Blanca, the park is considered an outdoor museum of pre-Columbian history.

    The National Park headquarters are in Puerto López, a fishing village with a population of around 10,000, located in the southern coast of Manabí province. Founded by local fishermen in 1810, Puerto López is actually a bay open to the Pacific Ocean, with no conventional port facilities. If weather conditions allow, we aim to anchor off the long sandy beach and land using our small boats (RIBs). Once ashore, enjoy an included excursion to the National Park with time to visit the Agua Blanca archeological site. Then you can explore the tropical dry forests of Machalilla.

    Day 8
    Puerto López, Ecuador

    Tropical dry forests and archeological sites

  • Day 9
    Manta, Ecuador

    Sea, sand, surf, and… tuna?

    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 Etnografico 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.

    Day 9
    Manta, Ecuador

    Sea, sand, surf, and… tuna?

  • Day 10
    At Sea

    Serenity at sea

    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. 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.

    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 10
    At Sea

    Serenity at sea

  • Day 11
    Cebaco Island, Panama

    Beaches off the beaten track

    Even though Cebaco is Panama’s third-largest island, much of it is uninhabited, aside from the small village of El Jobo in the north. Cebaco can only be accessed by sea, but no public ferries come here. This remoteness keeps this all-but-forgotten place quiet and its island life traditional, as it is untainted by development and mass tourism.

    Each turn reveals miles of pristine beaches, like the fine white sands and the rows of coconut trees of Playa Grande. There are multiple hiking trails that weave through the lush rainforest, ideal for stopping and enjoying the island’s peace and to look for wildlife. The island’s location on the Gulf of Montijo is part of a nationally protected marine area. The luscious turquoise waters at La Pita beach and Caelata Cayman harbor exceptional coral reefs and colorful fish to see while snorkeling.

    Day 11
    Cebaco Island, Panama

    Beaches off the beaten track

  • Day 12
    Golfito, Costa Rica

    Bananas to Bargains

    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.

    Day 12
    Golfito, Costa Rica

    Bananas to Bargains

  • Day 13
    Quepos, Costa Rica

    A slice of paradise in Costa Rica

    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.

    Day 13
    Quepos, Costa Rica

    A slice of paradise in Costa Rica

  • Day 14
    Puntarenas, Costa Rica

    End of your exotic expedition

    Estimated time of arrival is 6:00 AM

    Your expedition will come to its glorious end 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.

    Depending on how much time you have after we disembark, before you catch your return flight or head to the Post-Program, we suggest trying to fit in taking a pleasant stroll along the palm-tree lined Paseo de los Turistas. You’ll also find restaurants, food stalls, and vendors for any last-minute souvenir shopping. If you feel the need to indulge your sweet tooth, grab a batido (a fruit smoothie) and churchills, the official snack of Puntarenas, which is a combination of fruit, shaved ice, syrup, and ice cream. What’s with that name? It comes from the fact that the local man who invented this concoction was generally believed to be the spitting image of the famous British prime minister.

    Before returning home, why not make the most of your trip and sign up for a Post-Program to the magnificent Arenal Volcano area, where you’ll join activities to see more of Costa Rica’s beautiful flora and fauna. Or join a jungle boat tour (lunch included), followed by a night in the capital city of San José.

    Day 14
    Puntarenas, Costa Rica

    End of your exotic expedition

Departures

2023

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What's Included

Included in Your Expedition

Expedition to Lake Titicaca/Peru before the expedition cruise

  • One night in Lima, including breakfast
  • Two nights at GHL Puno Hotel, including half board
  • Two 3-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

  • 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 in 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, which 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 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

Notes

  • 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 in Antarktis
Photo: Dan Avila
MS Roald Amundsen
Aune Restaurant, MS Roald Amundsen
Photo: Espen Mills
Your Ship

MS Roald Amundsen

Year built 2019
Shipyard Kleven Yards
Passenger capacity 528 (500 in Antarctica)
Gross tonnage 20 889 T
Length 140 m
Beam 23,6 m
Speed 15 knots
MS Roald Amundsen in Antarktis
Photo: Dan Avila

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.

Read more about MS Roald Amundsen

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Photo: Agurtxane Concellon
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