Machu Picchu, Incan History & Highlights of South America

Machu Picchu, Incan History & Highlights of South America

Machu Picchu, Incan History & Highlights of South America

Machu Picchu, Incan History & Highlights of South America

Travel information 11 days
October 6, 2022
October 12, 2022
October 13, 2022
Price from $ 7,012
$ 5,772
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
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Journey to the Sacred Valley and the impressive fortresses around Cusco, along with the ‘Lost City’ of Machu Picchu. Then fly to Lima and board the expedition ship and sail toward Valparaíso. Along the way, visit the rust-colored cliffs of Paracas, Arica’s sun-soaked beaches, an abandoned Atacama Desert mining town near Iquique, and La Serena’s Colonial churches.

Incan History

You adventure begins in Lima, Peru’s energetic capital. Then fly to the former Incan capital of Cusco in the Sacred Valley. Admire sweeping views of the city from the Sacsayhuamán fortress and visit the royal estate at Ollantaytambo, carved into the cliffs above the town. The luxurious Hiram Bingham train will then weave its way through the mountains to bring you to the once-hidden site of Machu Picchu. Wander the ruins here and wonder what caused the ancient city’s mysterious downfall.

Lima to Valpo

After visiting the cathedral and the Convent of Santo Domingo in Cusco, you’ll fly back to Lima and board the expedition ship. We’ll set course for Paracas. Here, you may have an opportunity take optional excursions to the wildlife of the Ballestas Islands or the famous Nazca Lines. Bask in the sunshine and beaches in Arica and visit an old mining town in the Atacama Desert, near Iquique. La Serena is Chile’s second-oldest city and features as many as 30 Colonial churches. The expedition ends in the colorful port city of Valparaíso.

Machu Picchu, Incan History & Highlights of South America Machu Picchu, Incan History & Highlights 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/Cusco/Sacred Valley

    'Navel of the World’

    In the morning, you’ll hop on a flight from Lima to Cusco, the former capital of the Incan Empire whose name means ‘Navel of the World’. The city’s original layout, in the middle of the highland Huatanay River valley, is thought to be in the form of a puma. At the location of the heart of the puma is Plaza de Armas, the site of Colonial architecture, colorful Carnival celebrations, and festive street parades. The puma’s head is Sacsayhuamán, a former fortress and temple complex towering over Cusco on the top of the hill. Sacsayhuamn means ‘Royal Eagle’, a reference to the mythical bird that was believed to guard the Incan Empire. The ruins sit over 12,000 feet above sea level, and a visit there provides great views over the city and the Inca-sacred moutain peaks of Ausangate, Pachatusan, and Cinca, of the Andes. Stroll the fortress’ open esplanade at your own pace and pass by the remains of residences, shrines, towers, tunnels, zigzagged limestone walls, and distinct trapezoidal doorways.

    It’s thought that the site’s construction lasted more than seven decades and required 20,000 men to set the foundations, hew the stones, transport materials, and complete the stonework. On your stroll, notice that the walls and buildings are made entirely without mortar. These enormous stones fit together so perfectly that not even a single blade of grass can fit between them—a testament to the Incan’s sophisticated masonry.

    When it’s time for lunch, we’ll eat at a local restaurant. 

    In the afternoon you’ll return to the Tambo del Inka Resort in the Sacred Valley, where you’ll enjoy dinner and an overnight stay

    Day 2
    Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley

    'Navel of the World’

  • Day 3
    Sacred Valley / Machu Picchu / Scared Valley

    ‘The Lost City of the Incas’

    Eat a good breakfast at the resort, because you’re in for an unforgettable day. We start off in Ollantaytambo, once the royal estate of Pachacuti, the Incan emperor. He conquered the region and built up the town that shares its name, featuring a formidable stone fortress that still towers above the community on a massive cliff. Constructed with rose-colored granite, this huge structure was once a thriving complex of baths, temples, and military barracks. This fortification was the valley’s main defense against their rivals, the Antis people. It was also the site of the Inca’s greatest victory against the Spanish during the Spanish conquest of the Incan Empire, also known as the Conquest of Peru.

    Then we head to the nearby train station and board the deluxe Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. Enjoy a savory brunch while you marvel at the views on the way to this magical and renowned location.

    At last, we arrive at the spectacular Machu Picchu. Built around 1450 and abandoned with Spanish colonization, thick tangles of vines and trees shielded it from the prying eyes of the outside world for centuries. After being ‘found’ by American archeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911, ‘The Lost City of the Incas’ is now widely regarded as one of the ancient wonders of the world.

    Explore the city’s ruins and imagine what life was like here, when priests, craftsmen, and servants roamed these cliffs. Excavations at the site have revealed skeletons, artifacts, and woolen clothing. Now it’s your turn to admire the precise Incan stonework. Even if we have a basic understanding of the site, the Incas left no written records behind about the city’s rise or fall. Thus, Machu Picchu remains one of the most mysterious archeological sites in the world.

    After spending an eventful day at these two sites, we’ll return to the Tambo del Inka Resort by train for a relaxing evening and an overnight stay.

    Day 3
    Sacred Valley / Machu Picchu / Scared Valley

    ‘The Lost City of the Incas’

  • Day 4
    Sacred Valley/Cusco/Lima/Callao

    Center of the Incan Empire

    After breakfast, we’ll explore the splendid Baroque-style Cusco Cathedral, built by the Spaniards in the mid-1500s on the foundation of an Incan palace. Many of the stones used to construct it were looted from the nearby Sacsayhuamán fortress. Then we’ll visit Koricancha, where we’ll admire the Dominican Convent of Santo Domingo, built on the foundation of the Temple of the Sun, the most important temple in the Incan Empire. The curved masonry wall at the west end of the church, built without mortar, is considered to be one of the greatest existing examples of Incan stonework.

    We’ll head to the ship, docked in Callao, ready and waiting to begin the next part of your expedition. Once on board, you’ll check-in and complete an important safety drill. Then settle into your cabin and take a look around the ship. Later, you’ll enjoy have a welcome dinner, where you’ll meet the captain, the crew, and the Expedition Team. Together, we’ll raise a glass and toast to the adventures ahead! The day ends with a health and safety briefing from the Expedition Team. After, perhaps head over to the Explorer Lounge and Bar and meet your fellow shipmates.

    Day 4
    Sacred Valley/Cusco/Lima/Callao

    Center of the Incan Empire

  • Day 5
    Paracas, Peru

    Birds and brandy

    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) 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, 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 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.

    Day 5
    Paracas, Peru

    Birds and brandy

  • Day 6
    At Sea

    Serenity at Sea

    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 may 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 come fly alongside the ship, the Expedition Team might also help you spot and identify them from the deck. Our designated expedition photographer will be available to help you learn the basics of expedition photography, in addition to documenting our journey.

    Day 6
    At Sea

    Serenity at Sea

  • Day 7
    Arica, Chile

    City of Everlasting Spring

    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, 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 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).

    Day 7
    Arica, Chile

    City of Everlasting Spring

  • Day 8
    Iquique, Chile

    Chile’s Premier Beach Resort

    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.

    Day 8
    Iquique, Chile

    Chile’s Premier Beach Resort

  • Day 9
    Relax on board

    Relax on board

    Spend your last full day at sea kicking back and relaxing as your expedition cruise draws to a triumphant close. You could also spend some time in the gym or in the sauna. Whatever you do, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy your leisure time aboard the ship. The Expedition Team will recap highlights of the adventure. Try your hand at the art workshop, where you can create art inspired by the the things you’ve done and then places you’ve seen.

    Day 9
    Relax on board

    Relax on board

  • Day 10
    La Serena, Chile

    ‘The City of Churches’

    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.

    Day 10
    La Serena, Chile

    ‘The City of Churches’

  • Day 11
    Valparaíso, Chile

    UNESCO’s `Jewel of the Pacific´

    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 neighborhoods, 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.

    Day 11
    Valparaíso, Chile

    UNESCO’s `Jewel of the Pacific´



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What's Included

Included in Your Expedition

Expedition to Machu Picchu before the expedition cruise

  • One night in Lima and two nights at Hotel Tambo del Inka, including breakfast
  • 3-course set lunch and dinner on Days 2 and 3, and a packed lunch on Day 4
  • Economy flight from Lima to Cusco, and Cusco to Lima
  • 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 a cabin of your choice
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim (on MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridjtof Nansen)
  • 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

Onboard 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

Landing activities

  • 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 (the city of Cuzco’s altitude is at 11,000 feet) and may require a certain level of physical fitness. The order of sights visited may vary.


MS Roald Amundsen

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

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

MS Fridtjof Nansen

Year built 2020
Shipyard Kleven Yards, Norway
Passenger capacity 528 (500 in Antarctica)
Gross tonnage 20 889 T
Length 140 m / 459 ft
Beam 23.6 m / 77 ft
Speed 15 knots

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.

Read more about MS Fridtjof Nansen

A large boat in a body of water with a mountain in the background
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo

MS Fram

Year built 2007
Year of refurbishment 2022
Shipyard Fincantieri, Italy
Passenger capacity 250 (200 in Antarctica)
Beds 276
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 11,647 T
Length 374 ft
Beam 66.3 ft
Speed 13 knots

The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. The advanced technology on the MS Fram, in the spirit of the famous original, makes her exceptionally well suited for expedition cruises in polar regions.

Read more about MS Fram

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