Panama Canal & Colonial Highlights with Machu Picchu

Panama Canal & Colonial Highlights with Machu Picchu

Panama Canal & Colonial Highlights with Machu Picchu

Panama Canal & Colonial Highlights with Machu Picchu

Travel information 12 Days MS Fridtjof Nansen
Departure
12 October 2023
Price from
5898 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Join this expedition to four Latin American countries southbound from Costa Rica, uncovering ancient pyramids, exceptionally beautiful national reserves, and delicious local delicacies. Along your voyage you will visit cities in Ecuador and Peru to experience beautiful beaches and UNESCO sites. You’ll then get to explore the biggest archaeological mystery of them all, the mighty Machu Picchu. 

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  

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 

Admire the imposing Ollantaytambo fortress before boarding the Belmond Hiram Bingham train to once hidden Machu Picchu. Wandering the ruins, you might develop your own theories as to the mountain city’s mysterious rise and fall, the facts of which still elude archaeologists today. We then travel to Sacsayhuamán fortress above Cusco where you get to behold Inca craftmanship and architecture at their finest. Your adventure comes to an end in the Peruvian capital of Lima, home to a historic centre boasting colonial cathedrals and Baroque buildings.  

Panama Canal & Colonial Highlights with Machu Picchu Panama Canal & Colonial Highlights with Machu Picchu
  • 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.  

    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.  

    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. 

    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. 

    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. 

    Day 8
    Salaverry / Trujillo, Peru

    An archaeologist’s dream

  • Day 9
    Callao/Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley

    On your way to the Sacred Valley

    20 October 2023

    Day 9
    Callao/Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley

    On your way to the Sacred Valley

  • Day 10
    Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

    ‘The Lost City of the Incas’

    21 October 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 10
    Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

    ‘The Lost City of the Incas’

  • Day 11
    Sacred Valley/Cusco/Lima

    Centre of the Incan Empire

    22 October 2023

    After breakfast, we head back to Cusco to visit Sacsayhuamán fortress. It is strategically located on a hill overlooking Cusco and constructed without mortar like many other Inca structures. Even though the enormous stones can weigh up to 200 tons, they fit so tightly together that not even a thin blade of grass can slide between them, a testament to the Inca’s sophisticated construction techniques and architectural skills. 

    Next, we proceed 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. 

    When it’s time for lunch, we’ll eat at a local restaurant, before we transfer to the airport and fly to Lima. Once there, we meet our local guide and transfer to the hotel. After checking in, you can enjoy the evening in Peru’s capital at your leisure. We recommend heading to the trendy neighbourhood of Barranco for bars and restaurants or dropping by the illuminated ruins of clay ceremonial pyramids Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Hulallamarca.  

    Day 11
    Sacred Valley/Cusco/Lima

    Centre of the Incan Empire

  • Day 12
    Lima

    ‘The City of Kings’

    23 October 2023

    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 12
    Lima

    ‘The City of Kings’

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What's included

Included in your voyage

Land-Programme Peru/Machu Picchu after the expedition cruise 

  • Two nights at Tambo del Inka Resort, including half board 
  • One night in Lima, including breakfast  
  • 3-course set lunch and dinner on day 10, 11 and packed lunch on day 9 
  • Return economy flight Lima-Cusco-Lima 
  • All transfers and train rides as described, including English-speaking guide 
  • Entrance fees according to 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 

  • 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.

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Photo: Agurtxane Concellon
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