Diverse Cultures and National Parks of Latin America (Southbound)

Diverse Cultures and National Parks of Latin America (Southbound)

Diverse Cultures and National Parks of Latin America (Southbound)

Diverse Cultures and National Parks of Latin America (Southbound)

Travel information 16 days MS Fridtjof Nansen
Departure
12 October 2023
Price from
5290 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Join this expedition to five Latin American countries southbound from Costa Rica to Chile, uncovering ancient pyramids, exceptionally beautiful national reserves, and delicious local delicacies.  

Our small ships mean we can take you to where larger ships can’t, giving you a mix of places to explore, from cities to remote islands. At times, due to weather, we may need to change or cancel our plan for that day. Rest assured that this is all part of what it is to be on an authentic adventure in this exotic region.  

Paradises in Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador  

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

Peruvian pyramids and Chilean cities 

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, a UNESCO capital with a sumptuous cuisine offer. Next it’s Paracas, where you can visit bio-diverse Ballestas Islands, then the sun-soaked resort towns of Arica and Iquique, the old colonial town of La Serena, and eventually the UNESCO-listed Valparaíso, where your expedition will come to an end.  

Diverse Cultures and National Parks of Latin America (Southbound) Diverse Cultures and National Parks of Latin America (Southbound)
  • Day 1
    Puntarenas, Costa Rica

    Beginning of your exotic expedition

    12 October 2023

    Your hybrid-powered expedition ship MS Fridtjof Nansen awaits you in Puntarenas, a city on a needle-like strip of land on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. City slickers from San José normally nip to Puntarenas for the day to get their fix of relaxed coastal life and fresh ocean air. While it is still an active fishing port, Puntarenas mainly acts as a transit point for people on their way elsewhere in the region, such as to the white-sand beaches of Nicoya Peninsula or the waterfall-rich Tortuga Island.  

    Once on board the ship, you’ll be busy picking up your complimentary expedition jacket, settling into your cabin, exploring the ship and attending a mandatory safety drill. After dinner and a welcome toast by the Captain, you’ll meet your Expedition Team who run through important health and safety aspects with you. 

    Arrange to arrive early for an overnight in San José and explore the Tárcoles River and mangrove forest during a boat tour before embarkation or join our 4-days Pre-Programme to the magnificent Volcano Arenal Area to explore the flora and fauna of Costa Rica, and relax in volcanic natural hot springs. 

    Day 1
    Puntarenas, Costa Rica

    Beginning of your exotic expedition

  • Day 2
    Quepos, Costa Rica

    Costa Rica’s favourite paradise

    13 October 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 pretty Marina Pez Vela cater for big game sport fishing that Quepos is synonymous with. Around the central plaza are six blocks of restaurants, galleries and shops and there is a choice of water sports on the mile-long Playa Espadilla.  

    The big attraction of Quepos though is its proximity to Manuel Antonio National Park. This is one of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica and ranks in the Forbes list of top 12 most beautiful national parks in the world.  The park boasts impressive views of mountains, mangroves, lagoons, beaches, and tropical forest. With 350 species of birds and 109 species of mammals, it is often described as an ‘outdoor zoo’ by visitors. Following the breathtaking Perezoso trail, you can hope to spot scarlet macaws, toucans, hawks, four species of monkey, sloths, iguanas and armadillos.  

    • Included Visit to a local farm and typical dances
    Day 2
    Quepos, Costa Rica

    Costa Rica’s favourite paradise

  • Day 3
    Golfito, Costa Rica

    From Bananas to Bargains

    14 October 2023

    The relaxed town of Golfito sits sheltered in the blissfully beautiful Golfito Bay, which in turn lies within the larger Golfo Dulce. You can enjoy the views from seaside marinas or better yet, take the scenic hiking trails that go up into the wildlife refuge on the hill and beyond to Piedras Blancas National Park. As you explore the lush rainforest, you’ll come across pretty waterfalls and possibly spy toucans, macaws, the blue morpho butterfly, anteaters, sloths, mantled howler monkeys and more. The calm waters around the bay also make it ideal to tour the local mangroves and visit isolated beaches via kayak as part of an optional excursion.  

    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, going out on the many boats during the day in the hopes of catching an iconic Pacific Sailfish. If you’re looking for a bargain, you could check out the town’s duty-free centre that regularly draws both visitors and locals alike on shopping sprees.  

    • Included Walking in Golfito
    Day 3
    Golfito, Costa Rica

    From Bananas to Bargains

  • Day 4
    At Sea

    Serenity at sea

    15 October 2023

    Enjoy the serenity of this day at sea, relaxing and admiring the scenery from the observation deck or over in the lounge.  

    Throughout your journey, the Expedition Team will be running lectures in the Science Center to share their extensive knowledge of the region with you. Topics could include periods of pre-Columbian history, the geology of the surrounding mountains and islands, folklore of local communities, and so on. But not all lectures are confined to indoors. If the ship attracts seabirds who come to fly alongside us, the Expedition Team might also help you spot and identify these feathered followers out on 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?

    16 October 2023

    Manta is a busy and prosperous port city with high-rise buildings, resort hotels, and a couple of casinos. It is well known in the world of water sports for its long stretches of beach that are blessed with the kind of wind and waves that draw surfers, body-boarders and kitesurfers from across the globe. Casual beachgoers normally hang around the shops, restaurants and bars of Malencón Escénico at Playa el Murcielago. You can also head to San Lorenzo for surfer-sweet swells or to Playa Bonita at Santa Marianita to watch kitesurfers take off into sea and sky.  

    Aside from tourism, the city thrives on an industry of tuna fishing and canning, and typically for a coastal city, seafood is the speciality of many restaurants in the area. Expect wild-caught succulent shrimp, black clams, octopus, red snappers and so on. You should make a point to try a bowl of the local encebollado broth made with the fresh tuna Manta is so proud of. The Museo Municipal Etnográfico Cancebi showcases Ecuadorian art and artefacts from local pre-Colombian civilisation, including ancient fishing tools. You might also like to visit the nearby handicraft town of Montecristi where traditional Panamanian straw hats were first created and still hand woven to this day. 

    • Included Manta and Montecristi Highlights
    Day 5
    Manta, Ecuador

    Sea, sand, surf… and tuna?

  • Day 6
    Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador

    Growing green gold

    17 October 2023

    Machala’s main claim to fame is Puerto Bolivar, an important Ecuadorian port for the export of coffee, cocoa, shrimp and bountiful bananas which the locals call oro verde – ‘green gold’. As part of a choice of optional excursions, you can visit a local banana plantation and also try and spot hummingbirds, parakeets and howler monkeys in Buenaventura Nature Reserve to the south. Puyango Petrified Forest is nearby with one of the largest collections of fossilised trees in the world, thought to be about 100 million years-old, as old as the Andes Mountains themselves. 

    At Puerto Bolivar, you can feast on fresh seafood at one of the many harbour restaurants and enjoy views of the natural mangrove swamps of Isla Jambeli opposite. Machala itself has all the charm you’d expect from a small coastal city, including friendly locals, cute plazas and unusual monuments dedicated to sort-fish and bananeros. The restaurants are evolving and beginning to dabble in the hip modern cuisine which Ecuador and Peru are increasingly known for. 

    • Included Machala City Tour
    Day 6
    Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador

    Growing green gold

  • Day 7
    At Sea

    At your leisure

    18 October 2023

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

    To fully relax during your downtime on board, there’s no better place than the Wellness Center. Feel the knots in your muscles disappear during a massage or pamper yourself with a few skin-scrubbing treatments. And if the warm weather hasn’t opened up your pores, a session in the sauna is bound to do the trick. You could also slip into your bathing suit and lie back into the bubbles of the outdoor hot tubs or bask in a state of zen during a guided meditation class. Whatever you decide to do, you’re sure to be stress-free and revitalised for the remaining adventure. 

    Day 7
    At Sea

    At your leisure

  • Day 8
    Salaverry / Trujillo, Peru

    An archaeologist’s dream

    19 October 2023

    Buffeted by the wind and waves of the Pacific, Salaverry can be a hard port to access. If all goes to plan though, it will be a good transit point to explore Trujillo, Peru’s third largest city, as well as an array of archaeological sites scattered throughout the surrounding region.  

    Trujillo sits in a fertile valley oasis irrigated by the Moche River. It boasts a colourful 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. However, it is more than likely that your focus will be elsewhere and on things not so modern.  

    The city of Chan Chan was raised by the Chimu Empire which appeared in the region around 900 AD. The vast ruins of the 20-square kilometre complex include the Tschudi temple-citadel and Huaca Esmeralda. On the other side of Trujillo are the Mochican pyramids of the Sun and the Moon which pre-date Chan Chan by a few hundred years. Huaca del Sol in particular is the largest adobe structure on the continent while Huaca del Luna is more detailed with many of its pastel frescos still visible. 

    • Included Marinera Dance Show On board
    Day 8
    Salaverry / Trujillo, Peru

    An archaeologist’s dream

  • Day 9
    Callao / Lima, Peru

    Food, glorious food

    20 October 2023

    Set on a strip of desert between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains is the capital city of Lima, served by the seaport of Callao. Lima is the largest city in the country, a modern, sprawling metropolis where traditions and trends converge in an exciting cocktail of culture and cuisine.  

    The World Heritage historic centre is full of colonial-era architecture like Plaza Mayor and San Francisco Monastery. On the other hand, the clay ruins of ceremonial pyramids Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarca are reminders of long-lost Inca civilisation. For more pre-Hispanic archaeology, there are at least four separate museums to pick from. Arty types among you will also enjoy the bright and Bohemian area of Barranco, complete with murals, creative cafés and two of Lima’s contemporary art museums.  

    But the ultimate Lima experience has got to be the food. Cuisine emanating from the capital has raised the bar the globe over and there is no shortage of internationally recognised and award-winning restaurants for you to delight in. One of Peru’s all-time gastronomic greats is ceviche, fresh fish marinated in tangy lime juice and other seasonings. The staple dish can be savoured 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.  

    • Included Panoramic Tour of Lima
    • Included Beach Clean Up in Callao
    Day 9
    Callao / Lima, Peru

    Food, glorious food

  • Day 10
    Paracas / Pisco, Peru

    Birds and brandy

    21 October 2023

    Positioned on a bay behind a peninsula, the small and sleepy resort town of Paracas is surrounded by brown-sugar cliffs and beaches. Known to most as El Chaco, the town has an array of restaurants along the main shorefront and boulevard where you can tuck into jalea, a mishmash of fried seafood with salsa criolla and yuca root. Peruvian silverside fish, known as pejerry, is also a local speciality, best washed down with a glass of pisco – grape brandy which is produced at tourable distilleries in the region. Be careful though, pisco can pack quite the punch! 

    Opposite Paracas harbour is a mysterious local geoglyph of a candelabra that possibly dates back to 200 BCE. It could be related to the famous Nazca Lines which you can visit in the Pisco valley a short drive away to the south as part of an optional excursion. The Nazca Lines themselves could be older than the candelabra but new ones are still being discovered, prompting all sorts of theories as to their (extra-terrestrial?) origin. 

    You may also take a boat tour of the nearby Ballestas Islands, which are considered to be the lesser Galápagos Islands. The Ballestas support a range of wildlife, including Humboldt penguins, turtles, Peruvian boobies, cormorants, pelicans, sea lions, dolphins, Inca terns and humpback whales. There’s also Paracas National Reserve nearby, covering a rare combination of desert and marine ecosystems in its territory. The Martian-like yellow dunes and red-sand beaches hide more than 100 archaeological sites of the Paracas culture and grant otherworldly views to birds such as the Andean condor and Chilean flamingo.  

    • Included Ballestas Islands
    Day 10
    Paracas / Pisco, Peru

    Birds and brandy

  • Day 11
    At Sea

    Fresh sea air

    22 October 2023

    As we sail further south toward Chile, continue to enjoy the Expedition Team’s lecture programme, the healthy salt-tinged breeze and views out on deck, and all the facilities the expedition ship has to offer. These waters are also part of the Humboldt Current, a cold-water current that cools the climate in the region and creates clear skies. It also sustains a highly productive marine eco-system in the region, stimulating the growth of sardines, anchovies, and mackerel in huge quantities. 

    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 aren’t left out either and the ship has a heated infinity pool for you to enjoy. If you tire of the treadmill, take your trainers on the outdoor running track. The scenery and the sea breeze will spur you on to do a few miles more. 

    Day 11
    At Sea

    Fresh sea air

  • Day 12
    Arica, Chile

    ‘City of Everlasting Spring’

    23 October 2023

    Unusually for a city by the sea, Arica enjoys a constant desert climate and is classed as 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 like to refer to Arica as enjoying a never-ending spring season. The beaches are popular with sunbathers and surfers alike and the views from the tall, sandy El Morro cliff are well worth the 15-minute hike to the fluttering Chilean flag at the top.  

    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, pedestrianised areas with plenty of eateries and artesanía stalls while El Agro market and food court is full of sights and scents. Over at the local San Miguel de Azapa Archaeological Museum, you can peruse artefacts from the Chinchorro culture and marvel at mummies which are older than even ones found in Egypt. Head to the south of the city to trek the more rugged Playa Corazones and explore the Caves of Anzota. You’ll also have the opportunity to see geolyphs in Lluta Valley and Lauca National Park on an optional excursion. 

    • Included Atacama Coastal Walk
    Day 12
    Arica, Chile

    ‘City of Everlasting Spring’

  • Day 13
    Iquique, Chile

    Chile’s Premier Beach Resort

    24 October 2023

    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 a hive of activity all year around. Shoppers stream to the duty-free Zofri Mall while maritime enthusiasts will be enthralled by a tour of La Esmeralda corvette that hails from 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, a UNESCO site and history you can literally walk through. 

    Back in Iquique, head along the boardwalk of La Costenera next to the sands of Playa Cavancha and admire the scenery of the city skyline on one side and parasailors and surfers on the other. Baquedano Street showcases 19th century Georgian architecture and leads to Astoreca Palace and a photogenic clock tower at the centre of town. You’ll also find many a chic café where you can indulge in local coffee culture or sip on a traditional creamy mango sour. A Chinatown has sprung up around the mercado, marrying Peruvian and Chinese flavours to invent unique chifa cuisine. Aside from a variety of seafood dishes, you’ll definitely want to try chumbeque, a dessert that blends fried thin dough with fruity caramels.  

    • Included Humberstone & Santa Laura
    Day 13
    Iquique, Chile

    Chile’s Premier Beach Resort

  • Day 14
    At Sea

    Relax on board

    25 October 2023

    A day at sea means you can attend interesting lectures, learn basic expedition photography, attend an art workshop, and enjoy the fresh sea air out on deck as you scout for wildlife. You can also use microscopes in the Science Center to analyse samples taken during the cruise.  

    By this stage of your journey, you’ll have made friends with your fellow explorers, finding that you have much in common in terms of your interests and passion for nature. You can spend time chatting with them over a snack at the bistro-like Fredheim, perhaps recalling the best bits of your expedition so far. The Explorer Bar is also open for drinks and you might catch the crew and Expedition Team here in the evening for some friendly banter. As night falls, there are also few things as romantic as stargazing out on deck with your loved one. 

    Day 14
    At Sea

    Relax on board

  • Day 15
    La Serena, Chile

    Neo-colonial and classy

    26 October 2023

    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 purposeful neo-colonial look and feel to it. Modern buildings sit interspersed with classic architecture, such as the 30 or so carefully restored stone churches, some of which are 350 years old. If the churches, while charming, start to look the same to you, a helpful hint is to distinguish them 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 arts and crafts at Recova Market. The archaeological museum houses pre-colonial artefacts while the hidden lane of Patio Colonial near Balmaceda is the place to go for chilled-out cafés and eateries.  

    Day 15
    La Serena, Chile

    Neo-colonial and classy

  • Day 16
    Valparaíso, Chile

    End of your exotic expedition

    27 October 2023

    Your expedition ends as we dock at Valparaíso. Built on steep hillsides overlooking the ocean, the UNESCO-listed city is a maze of monuments, churches, historical funicular lifts, trendy barrios, cobblestone alleys, colourful houses and charming plazas. Cerro Alegre and Concepción have probably the best views while the historic port district boasts colonial architecture, bustling mercados, and the maritime and modern art museums.  

    You’ll likely be fascinated by this colourful and unusual city, so why not arrange to stick around for an extra day or two. From here, you also join a Post-Programme to Easter Island, famous for its mysterious statues of giant heads. 

    Day 16
    Valparaíso, Chile

    End of your exotic expedition

Departures

2023

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

What's included

Included in your voyage

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 
  • À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm 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 use at water refill stations on board 
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore 
  • Range of included activities 

Onboard Activities 

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics 
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes 
  • Citizen Science programme allows guests to assist with live scientific research 
  • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos 
  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, infinity pool, panoramic sauna, outdoor and indoor gyms, and outdoor running track  
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come 

Landing Activities 

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats  
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities 
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket 
  • Expedition Photographers help with your camera settings  

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights  
  • Travel insurance 
  • Luggage 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 make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities expected 
A large boat in a body of water with a mountain in the background
Pool area on MS Fridtjof Nansen
Photo: Oscar Farrera
Science Center
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon
Your ship

MS Fridtjof Nansen

Year built 2020
Shipyard Kleven Yards, Norway
Passenger capacity 528 (500 in Antarctica)
Gross tonnage 20 889 T
Length 140 m
Beam 23,6 m
Speed 15 knots
A large boat in a body of water with a mountain in the background

MS Fridtjof Nansen is the latest addition to Hurtigruten’s fleet of custom built ships – and the next generation expedition ship. She will explore some of the most spectacular corners of the globe.

Read more about MS Fridtjof Nansen

Suite MD on MS Roald Amundsen
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon
Check prices and availability

Explore other destinations: