Machu Picchu, National Parks & the Panama Canal

Machu Picchu, National Parks & the Panama Canal

Machu Picchu, National Parks & the Panama Canal

Machu Picchu, National Parks & the Panama Canal

Travel information MS Fram
Departure
6 April 2023
Price from
6405 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Let us take you on an adventure that begins in the Peruvian capital of Lima and then goes to the awe-inspiring ruins of Machu Picchu and other famous Inca sites in Cusco. You’ll return to Lima to meet your ship and explore selected highlights along the coasts of Peru, Ecuador and Panama. 

Inca-mysteries 

After a night enjoying the many charms of Lima, you’ll fly to Cusco and visit the fortress of Sacsayhuamán on a hill overlooking the former Inca capital. You’ll also go to another impressive fortress at Ollantaytambo before boarding the Belmond Hiram Bingham train that takes you up to ‘The Lost City’ of Machu Picchu. There’ll be time to to see more of Cusco including its cathedral and convent, built on top of an Incan palace and temple. 

Peruvian sites, Ecuadorian paradises and the legendary Panama Canal 

You will board the ship in Lima, and start our expedition along the coast of Peru calling at Salaverry to tour the ancient temple and city ruins around Trujillo. We’ll stop at the important Ecuadorian port of Puerto Bolivar to learn about the oro verde – green gold. Then continue northbound to the busy and prosperous town port of Manta, cross the line of the Equator, and sail to the isthmus of Panama. Crossing from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, in the Atlantic side of the Canal, will be the great finishing touch pf your voyage.   

Machu Picchu, National Parks & the Panama Canal Machu Picchu, National Parks & the Panama Canal
  • Day 1
    Lima, Peru

    'The City of Kings’

    6 April 2023

    Set on a strip of desert between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains is the Peruvian capital city of Lima. It is the largest city in the country, a modern, sprawling metropolis where traditions and trends converge in an exciting cocktail of culture and cuisine. It’s for good reason that its original name was La Ciudad de los Reyes, or ‘The City of Kings’. Your adventure begins here with a night at a central hotel, but you could also arrange to come a few days early to explore the capital more. 

    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 1
    Lima, Peru

    'The City of Kings’

  • Day 2
    Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley

    'Navel of the World’

    7 April 2023

    In the morning, you’ll hop on a flight from Lima to Cusco, the former capital of the Inca empire whose name means ‘Navel of the World’. It is thought the city’s original layout in the middle of the highland Huatanay River valley was in the form of a puma. If the heart of the puma is Plaza de Armas, the site of colonial architecture, colourful carnivals and festive street parades, the head of the puma is Sacsayhuamán, a fortress and temple complex that overlooks Cusco from atop a hill.Its name means ‘Royal Eagle’, a reference to the mythical bird that was believed to guard the empire. You’ll enjoy a visit to the ruins here 3,700 metres above sea level and with great views over the city and the Inca-sacred summits of Ausangate, Pachatusán and Cinca. Take your time to stroll the fortress’ open esplanade, passing among the remains of residences, shrines, towers, tunnels, zigzagged limestone walls and distinct trapezoidal doorways. 

    It’s thought that construction of the site took more than seven decades and required the labour of 20,000 men to set the foundations, hew the stone, transport materials and complete the stonework. As you walk around, you might notice that the walls and buildings are made entirely without mortar. The fact that the enormous stones fit together so perfectly that not even a single blade of grass can fit between them is a testament to the Inca’s sophisticated masonry. 

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

    In the afternoon, we continue to Tambo del Inka Resort in the Sacred Valley, a perfect place to end the day with dinner and a good night’s sleep. 

    Day 2
    Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley

    'Navel of the World’

  • Day 3
    Sacred Valley / Machu Picchu / Scared Valley

    ‘The Lost City of the Incas’

    8 April 2023

    After breakfast at the resort, you’re in for an unforgettable day. We start off in Ollantaytambo, once the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region and built the town that shares its name with the formidable stone fortress that clings to a massive cliff above the community. Constructed of rose-coloured granite, this huge structure was once a thriving complex of baths, temples and military barracks, and the fortification was the valley’s main defence against the rival Antis people. It was also the site of the Inca’s greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest. 

    We then head to the nearby train station to board the deluxe Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. Tuck into a savoury brunch while enjoying the views on the way to the renowned location. 

    At last, we arrive at spectacular Machu Picchu. Built around 1450 and abandoned at the time of the Spanish conquest, thick tangles of vines and trees shielded it from the outside world for centuries. Since being 'found’ by an American archaeologist in 1911, 'The Lost City of the Incas’ has now taken centre stage as one of the greatest destinations in the world. 

    You can explore the city’s ruins, imagining what life must have been like when it was inhabited by priests, craftsmen and servants. Excavations at the site have revealed skeletons, artefacts and woollen clothing, and you can admire the famous precision of Incan stonework on display here. Still, as the Incas left no written records behind about the city’s rise or fall, Machu Picchu remains one of the most archaeologically mysterious sites in the world. 

    After spending an eventful day at the two sites, we head back to Tambo del Inka Resort by train for another relaxing evening and overnight stay. 

    Day 3
    Sacred Valley / Machu Picchu / Scared Valley

    ‘The Lost City of the Incas’

  • Day 4
    Sacred Valley/Cusco/Lima/Callao

    Centre of the Incan Empire

    9 April 2023

    After breakfast, we head to the splendid Baroque-style Cusco Cathedral, built by the Spaniards in the mid-1500s on the foundations of an Incan palace. Many of the stones used in its construction were looted from the nearby Sacsayhuamán fortress. From there, we continue to Koricancha where you can admire the lovely Dominican Convent of Santo Domingo that was built on the foundations of the Temple of the Sun, the most important temple in the Inca Empire. The curved, mortar-less masonry wall at the west end of the church is considered to be one of the greatest existing examples of Inca stonework. 

    We transfer to the airport and fly to Lima. Once there, we head to Callao where your ship is docked, ready and waiting to begin the next part of your expedition. Once on board, you’ll check-in, run through an important safety drill and have time to settle into your cabin and look around the ship. Later, meet the Captain, crew and your Expedition Team at the welcome dinner and raise a glass to toast to the adventures ahead. The day ends with a health and safety briefing from the Expedition Team, and maybe a few more drinks in the Explorer Lounge and Bar! 

    Day 4
    Sacred Valley/Cusco/Lima/Callao

    Centre of the Incan Empire

  • Day 5
    Salaverry / Trujillo, Peru

    An archaeologist’s dream

    10 April 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. 

    Day 5
    Salaverry / Trujillo, Peru

    An archaeologist’s dream

  • Day 6
    At Sea

    At your leisure

    11 April 2023

    As we leave Peru behind and set sail for Ecuador, enjoy another day at your leisure aboard the ship.  

    Spend part of your day walking out on deck, enjoying the seascapes and keeping an eye out for marine wildlife like whales, dolphins and sea birds. If you want to feel closer to the water, go for a dip in the infinity pool or the two outdoor hot tubs, and still be able to admire the scenery.  

    This is also a great opportunity to head to the Science Center for lectures with the Expedition Team and to learn more about what you will experience in the following days. Pick one of the proposed Citizen Science programmes to get involved in too, knowing that you will be helping research currently happening around the world. When darkness falls and it’s a starry night, you might also join the Expedition Team out on deck to do some stargazing. Or settle into a comfortable seat in the Explorer Lounge & Bar to raise a glass or two with new-found friends.   

    Day 6
    At Sea

    At your leisure

  • Day 7
    Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador

    Growing green gold

    12 April 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. 

    Day 7
    Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador

    Growing green gold

  • Day 8
    Manta, Ecuador

    Sea, sand, surf… and tuna?

    13 April 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 Etnografico 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. 

    Day 8
    Manta, Ecuador

    Sea, sand, surf… and tuna?

  • Day 9
    At sea

    Serenity at sea

    14 April 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. 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’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, 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 9
    At sea

    Serenity at sea

  • Day 10
    Panama Canal

    Connecting Two Oceans

    15 April 2023

    Today we will sail the Panama Canal, transiting from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean. The complex canal network is over a hundred years in the making, stretching 80 km through natural and man-made waterways. We’ll wait with anticipation for our allocated slot to enter the first of a series of huge locks. In a feat of modern engineering, these ingenious locks effectively lift the ship more than 26 metres above sea level. If weather allows, the Expedition Team will be out on deck to point out sites of interest around the canal and to talk about the history of this ambitious project. 

    Roughly half way through the 12-hour transit of the canal, the ship will enter the Gatun Lake section. Created by damning the nearby Chagres River, it is one of the largest artificial lakes in the world. By contrast, the surrounding rainforest is virtually untouched by any development and various flora and fauna native to Central America flourish here undisturbed. Along the shores, you might be lucky enough to spot crocodiles and alligators. Scan the trees for glimpses of monkeys and maybe sloths too. 

    After a few more locks and lakes, the ship will eventually sail into the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Passing from one great ocean to another in a day, you’ve just experienced the culmination of centuries of planning, hard work and resourcefulness. It’s sure to be a moment you won’t soon forget. 

    Day 10
    Panama Canal

    Connecting Two Oceans

  • Day 11
    Colón, Panamá

    Entrance to the Panama Canal

    16 April 2023

    Your expedition concludes at the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal. This bustling port town is a popular stop for cruises going to the Caribbean and has a diverse population for its small size.   

     If you’re not quite ready to see an end to your adventure, add on three extra nights with our Post-Programme, staying at an exotic jungle lodge nestled in the rainforest next to Chagres River. During your stay, you’ll visit a rainforest centre and a farm working with reforestation, explore the jungle on a night boat safari, and enjoy views of the area by cable car.    

    There's also another Post-Programme option to Casco Viejo, arguably the most charismatic neighbourhood in Panama City. Stroll the rustic cobblestone streets and plazas, admire the architecture of colonial churches, mansions and the Metropolitan Cathedral, and try out some of the local specialities like coffee and cocoa.  

     You can even book another expedition cruise from here that takes you through the ingenious man-made locks of the Panama Canal and through to the Pacific Ocean on the other side. You can then explore the many sights and coastal cities of South America.  

     Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you on your next adventure!  

    Day 11
    Colón, Panamá

    Entrance to the Panama Canal

Departures

2023

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  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
April:
6.

What's included

Included in your voyage

Expedition Machu Picchu/Peru 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 day 2 and 3, and packed lunch on day 4 
  • Return economy flight Lima-Cusco-Lima 
  • All transfers and train rides as described, including English-speaking guide 
  • Entrance fee as listed in the 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 restaurant Aune  
  • 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, panoramic sauna and indoor gym 
  • 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   

Notes

MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo
MS Fram in Antarctica
Photo: Sandra Walser
Your ship

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 114 m
Beam 20.2 m
Speed 13 knots
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo

The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time, and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. MS Fram brings on the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology to make her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in Polar Regions.

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Icebergs – one of many favorite photo motives when on an expedition with MS Fram
Photo: Tomas Mauch

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