National Parks of South America & Machu Picchu

National Parks of South America & Machu Picchu

National Parks of South America & Machu Picchu

National Parks of South America & Machu Picchu

Travel information 12 Days MS Fridtjof Nansen
Departure
October 12, 2023
Price from $ 9,341
$ 8,195
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

This southbound expedition from Costa Rica four Latin American countries, uncovering ancient pyramids, exceptionally beautiful national reserves, and delicious local delicacies. Throughout your cruise, you will visit cities in Ecuador and Peru to experience beautiful beaches and UNESCO sites. Then you’ll explore the grandest archeological mystery of them all: mighty Machu Picchu.

Our small ships can take you to places that larger ships can’t sail, opening the door to a wide range of places, from cities to remote islands. At times, due to weather, we may need to change or cancel our plan for that day. For an authentic adventure in this exotic region, this is par for the course.

Visits to paradise in Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador

From Puntarenas, we’ll journey to Quepos and Golfito, two ports that offer access to nearby Costa Rican national parks full of scenic habitats and diverse animal life, including toucans, iguana, sloths, monkeys, and a range of seabirds. We stop at Manta to visit Montecristi, where classic Panama hats were invented and are still handmade to this day. In Puerto Bolivar, we learn about the historical importance of the so-called ‘oro verde’ for the local economy.

Peruvian Pyramids

Our first call in Peru will be at Salaverry, where you can tour the ancient temple and city ruins around Trujillo. Then we head to colonial Lima, the Peruvian capital, from where you’ll take a flight to the Andean highlands.

Inca Secrets and Mysteries

You’ll wander the imposing Ollantaytambo fortress before boarding the Hiram Bingham train to the once-hidden Machu Picchu. Wandering the ruins, develop your own theories about the mountain city’s mysterious rise and fall, whose facts still elude archeologists today. We then travel to Sacsayhuamán fortress, above Cusco, where you’ll behold Incan craftsmanship and architecture at their finest. The adventure comes to an end in the Peruvian capital of Lima, home to a historic center filled with Colonial cathedrals and Baroque buildings.

National Parks of South America & Machu Picchu National Parks of South America & Machu Picchu
  • Day 1
    Puntarenas, Costa Rica

    Beginning of your exotic expedition

    October 12, 2023

    Your hybrid-electric expedition ship MS Fridtjof Nansen will be waiting to begin your expedition 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.

    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 aspects with you.

    Arrive early for an overnight in San José and explore the Tárcoles River and mangrove forest during a boat tour before embarkation. Another option is to join our four-day Pre-Program to the magnificent Volcano Arenal Area to explore Costa Rican flora and fauna and relax in natural volcanic hot springs.

    Day 1
    Puntarenas, Costa Rica

    Beginning of your exotic expedition

  • Day 2
    Quepos, Costa Rica

    A slice of paradise in Costa Rica

    October 13, 2023

    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 2
    Quepos, Costa Rica

    A slice of paradise in Costa Rica

  • Day 3
    Golfito, Costa Rica

    Bananas to Bargains

    October 14, 2023

    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 3
    Golfito, Costa Rica

    Bananas to Bargains

  • Day 4
    At Sea

    Serenity at sea

    October 15, 2023

    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.

    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.

    Day 4
    At Sea

    Serenity at sea

  • Day 5
    Manta, Ecuador

    Sea, sand, surf, and… tuna?

    October 16, 2023

    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 Etnográfico 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 5
    Manta, Ecuador

    Sea, sand, surf, and… tuna?

  • Day 6
    Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador

    Growing green gold

    October 17, 2023

    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 to try and spot hummingbirds, parakeets, and howler monkeys in 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.

    Day 6
    Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador

    Growing green gold

  • Day 7
    At Sea

    At your leisure

    October 18, 2023

    As we leave Ecuador behind and set sail for Peru, 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.

    Day 7
    At Sea

    At your leisure

  • Day 8
    Salaverry / Trujillo, Peru

    An archeologist’s dream

    October 19, 2023

    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.

    Day 8
    Salaverry / Trujillo, Peru

    An archeologist’s dream

  • Day 9
    Callao/Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley

    Voyage to the Sacred Valley

    October 20, 2023

    Day 9
    Callao/Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley

    Voyage to the Sacred Valley

  • Day 10
    Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

    ‘The Lost City of the Incas’

    October 21, 2023

    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 10
    Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

    ‘The Lost City of the Incas’

  • Day 11
    Sacred Valley/Cusco/Lima

    Center of the Incan Empire

    October 22, 2023

    After breakfast, we’ll head back to Cusco to visit the Sacsayhuamán fortress. It’s strategically located on a hill overlooking Cusco. Like many other Incan structures, it was constructed without mortar. The enormous stones can weigh up to 200 tons a piece but still fit together so tightly that not even a thin blade of grass can slide between them. This is a lasting testament to the Inca’s sophisticated construction techniques and architectural skills.

    Next, 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.

    At lunchtime, we’ll eat at a local restaurant before our transfer to the airport for the flight to Lima. Upon arrival in Lima, you’ll meet our local guide and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy the evening at your leisure in Peru’s capital after check-in,. We recommend heading to the bars and restaurants of the trendy Barranco neighborhood, or drop by the illuminated ruins of the ceremonial clay pyramids Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarca.

    Day 11
    Sacred Valley/Cusco/Lima

    Center of the Incan Empire

  • Day 12
    Lima

    ‘The City of Kings’

    October 23, 2023

    Sadly, your expedition officially ends after breakfast at the hotel, where you’ll bid a fond farewell to your fellow explorers. Seeing as you’re already here, we recommend extending your journey a few days to spend extra time in the Peruvian capital, which was known as ‘La Ciudad de los Reyes’ (The City of Kings).

    The historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is full of Colonial-era architecture, such as the Plaza Mayor and 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. You can savor this staple dish in many locations around the city, from up-market diners in Miraflores to salt-of-the-earth cevicherías at the fishing docks over in Chorrillos.

    Day 12
    Lima

    ‘The City of Kings’

Departures

2023

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
October:
12.

Available Promotions on This Itinerary:

  • Save up to 20% + $500 Air Credit

    Book an expedition cruise aboard the world’s first hybrid electric-powered expedition ship or any of our other ships to destinations, and you’ll save up to 20% as well as receive up to a $1,000 air credit per person!
    See Special Offer
  • Kids Save up to 50%

    Young Explorers Save up to 50% off
    See Special Offer
  • New Season

    Life changing experiences start here. Discover our new itineraries for 2023 and 2024.
    See Special Offer

What's Included

Included in Your Expedition

Peru/Machu Picchu Land-Program after the expedition cruise

  • Two nights at Tambo del Inka Resort, including half board
  • One night in Lima, including breakfast
  • Three-course lunch and dinner (set menu) on Days 10 and 11, and a packed lunch on Day 9
  • 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 fees according to 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 help you configure your camera settings

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
Pool area on MS Fridtjof Nansen
Photo: Oscar Farrera
Your Ship

MS Fridtjof Nansen

Year built 2020
Shipyard Kleven Yards, Norway
Passenger capacity 528 (500 in Antarctica)
Gross tonnage 20,889 T
Length 459 ft
Beam 77.4 ft
Speed 15 knots

MS Fridtjof Nansen is a next-generation expedition ship, just the latest in Hurtigruten’s fleet of custom built ships. She explores 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
Check prices and availability Request a quote

Here are a few suggestions: