Diverse Cultures of South America with Lake Titicaca

Diverse Cultures of South America with Lake Titicaca

Diverse Cultures of South America with Lake Titicaca

Diverse Cultures of South America with Lake Titicaca

Travel information 11 days MS Roald Amundsen
9 April 2023
Price from
4267 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Board your ship in Chile’s Valparaíso and sail to see the churches in La Serena and the former mining town of Humberstone near Iquique. Soak up the sun in Arica’s desert climate and maybe try pisco grape brandy in Paracas, Peru. You’ll then fly to Lake Titicaca to visit the hand-made floating islands of the Uru people.

Along the coast of South America

Start your adventure in UNESCO-listed Valparaíso where hybrid-powered MS Roald Amundsen awaits you. Stroll between the many stone churches in La Serena and venture to the deserted mining town of Humberstone in the Atacama from Iquique. In Arica, you can hike El Morro cliff for views over the town while Peru’s Paracas is a good place to try fresh seafood and local pisco grape brandy.

The world’s highest navigable lake

You’ll then say goodbye to the ship and crew and fly to Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America. Located 3,810 metres above sea level and surrounded by mountains, the lake is simply stunning. A boat will take you across the lake to visit the Uru community who live on floating Islands hand-woven from yellow reeds. Meet the locals in the village of Llachón on Capachica peninsula and try your hand at kayaking on the lake. You’ll also explore the colonial-era town of Chucuito, the mysterious site of Aramu Muru, and the pre-Incan tombs of Sillustani.

Diverse Cultures of South America with Lake Titicaca Diverse Cultures of South America with Lake Titicaca
  • Day 1
    Valparaíso, Chile

    Vibrant hilltop city

    Estimated time of departure is 4:00 PM

    Your hybrid-powered expedition ship awaits you in Valparaíso in central Chile. 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. Cerros 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 also have the option to arrive a few days early to explore more of ‘Valpo’ by adding a night in Santiago de Chile followed by a Valparaiso City Tour and transfer to the ship or to join our Pre-Programme to Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world.

    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.

    Day 1
    Valparaíso, Chile

    Vibrant hilltop city

  • Day 2
    La Serena, Chile

    Neo-colonial and classy

    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 2
    La Serena, Chile

    Neo-colonial and classy

  • Day 3
    At Sea

    Relax on board

    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.

    Day 3
    At Sea

    Relax on board

  • Day 4
    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 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.

    Day 4
    Iquique, Chile

    Chile’s Premier Beach Resort

  • Day 5
    Arica, Chile

    ‘City of Everlasting Spring’

    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.

    Day 5
    Arica, Chile

    ‘City of Everlasting Spring’

  • Day 6
    At Sea

    Fresh sea air

    As we sail further north toward Peru, 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 6
    At Sea

    Fresh sea air

  • Day 7
    Paracas, Peru

    Birds and brandy

    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.

    Day 7
    Paracas, Peru

    Birds and brandy

  • Day 8

    Towards Lake Titicaca

    After you disembark in Callao and say your farewells to the ship and its crew, we transfer you to Lima airport for your flight to Juliaca. This city is located on the windy Collao Plateau, 3,825 metres above sea level. You’ll meet our local guide at the airport and set off on a one-hour drive through Juliaca to your hotel.

    Along the way, you might glimpse such sights as Santa Catalina Church in the Plaza de Armas, the Romanesque Franciscan Convent atop Cerro Santa Bárbara, or the White Christ effigy gazing out over the city from Waynaruqi Hill.

    Your hotel in the city of Puno, located right on the shore of lovely Lake Titicaca, will be your home for the next two days. Spend the rest of your day admiring the deep-blue colour of the lake and exploring the area at your leisure.

    Nights can get pretty cold here, so remember to bring a jacket if you plan on an evening walk. Dinner is served at your hotel.

    Day 8

    Towards Lake Titicaca

  • Day 9
    Lake Titicaca (Puno/Uros/Llachón/Puno)

    Uros Floating Islands and Kayaking at Llachón

    It is finally time to explore Lake Titicaca by boat, the birthplace of the sun and the Incas according to ancient Andean belief. Over 280 metres deep and 8,300 square kilometres across, welcome to the largest lake in South America, 15 times the size of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva and even bigger than Lake Tahoe in the US.

    At 3,810 metres above sea level, it is also the highest navigable body of water in the world. Surrounded by mountains and yellow grass reeds, more than 25 rivers stream into the freshwater lake which, when placid, seems to perfectly reflect the blue skies above like one vast mirror.

    Our first stop of the day is the floating islands of the Uru people, built to allow them to move away if threatened by their enemies. These incredible islands are entirely handmade by the Uru, woven together from buoyant totora reeds that grow in the shallows of the lake. Each islet houses between one and ten families and takes months to complete.

    They last a decade or so but must be continuously maintained with new layers. You’ll learn about the other fascinating uses of the reeds by the local community during your visit, ranging from huts, boats, and toys. Even walking on the soft and springy ground will be quite the experience!

    You’ll continue by boat to the rural community of Llachón on the scenic shores of Capachica peninsula. The panoramic views of the lake from here are enough to take your breath away.

    Your included activity here is a guided kayaking tour, admiring the sandy beaches of the peninsula and looking out for Titicaca’s 60 species of bird, 14 native fish species and 18 types of amphibian. You’ll also join a guided walk through the village to learn about the agricultural way of life here.

    Observe arts and crafts and share a typical Andean lunch with one of the local families. Afterwards, we make our way back to Puno for a relaxing evening with dinner at the hotel.

    Day 9
    Lake Titicaca (Puno/Uros/Llachón/Puno)

    Uros Floating Islands and Kayaking at Llachón

  • Day 10

    Chucuito, mystical Amaru Muro and Sillustani

    After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, you get to discover the area on a half-day excursion to Chucuito and Aramu Muru.

    Chucuito was once an important colonial-era town where royal taxes were collected before being transported to Lima. Nowadays, it is a quiet village with two attractive 16th century colonial churches, Santo Domingo and Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, and an ancient solar clock around the town square. To the north of the square is a lookout point that promises splendid views of the surrounding landscape.

    You may visit a nearby trout hatchery to see how the region’s speciality of trucha are grown and enjoy horseback riding with a local family outside of town. Most visitors are also intrigued by the small archaeological landmark of Inca Uyo. The site claims to be the remains of an ancient temple of fertility, although not all experts agree its status is bona fide. Regardless, the row upon row of 86 phallic granite statues is an amusing sight to see and maybe even count!

    We make a 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. Some excitedly speculate it is some kind of paranormal or extra-terrestrial portal, prompting pilgrimages here by those who refer to it by its other name: Puerta de Hayu Marca, the Gate of the Gods.

    Before heading to the airport. There’ll be time though to stop at Sillustani tombs, a pre-Incan cemetery 3,890 metres above sea level, surrounded by Lake Umayo. The tombs or chullas were built above ground by the ancient Colla people, creating tower-like structures as tall as 12 metres to hold the entire families of its society’s elite.

    Before the visit, enjoy a picnic lunch served in Sillustani at the shores of the lake.

    After exploring the cemetery, we continue to Juliaca airport for your flight to Lima where our local guide will transfer you to your hotel. Enjoy the evening at your leisure.

    Day 10

    Chucuito, mystical Amaru Muro and Sillustani

  • Day 11

    ‘The City of Kings’

    Sadly, this is the last day of your expedition and it officially ends after breakfast at the hotel when you’ll say farewell to your fellow explorers. Seeing as you’re already here, we recommend extending your holiday for a few days to spend more time in the Peruvian capital which was known as La Ciudad de los Reyes, or ‘The City of Kings’.

    The UNESCO 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-Columbian 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.

    Day 11

    ‘The City of Kings’



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What's included

Included in your voyage

Expedition Lake Titicaca/Peru after the expedition cruise

  • Two nights at GHL Puno Hotel, including half board
  • One night in Lima, including breakfast
  • Two 3-course set lunch and picnic lunch
  • Return economy flight Lima-Juliaca-Lima
  • All transfers and train rides as described, including English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fee as listed in programme

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

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

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


  • 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
  • The land programme in Peru takes place at high altitudes (the Lake Titicaca´s altitude is around 3,800 metres) and may require a certain level of physical fitness.
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

Science Center
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon
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