National Parks of South America & Lake Titicaca

National Parks of South America & Lake Titicaca

National Parks of South America & Lake Titicaca

National Parks of South America & Lake Titicaca

Travel information 12 Days MS Fridtjof Nansen
12 October 2023
Price from
4917 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Join this expedition to four Latin American countries southbound from Costa Rica to Chile, 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. Your adventure continues in Lake Titicaca where you’ll explore the communities that live on its scenic shores, including the Uru people and their floating islands.  

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, a UNESCO capital with a sumptuous cuisine offer.  

Lake Titicaca and the floating islands 

After waving bye to the ship and crew in Lima, you’ll fly to Juliaca to explore Lake Titicaca and its surrounding highlights. Visit the Uru people who live on self-constructed floating islands made from buoyant reeds, go kayaking along the sandy beaches of the peninsula at Llachón or horseriding with locals in the colonial-era town of Chucuito. You’ll also see the mystical ‘Gate of the Gods’ at Aramu Muru and the pre-Incan tombs of Sillustani. 

National Parks of South America & Lake Titicaca National Parks of South America & Lake Titicaca
  • 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

    Towards Lake Titicaca

    20 October 2023

    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 9

    Towards Lake Titicaca

  • Day 10

    Uros Floating Islands and Kayaking at Llachón

    21 October 2023

    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 10

    Uros Floating Islands and Kayaking at Llachón

  • Day 11

    Chucuito, mystical Amaru Muro and Sillustani

    22 October 2023

    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 11

    Chucuito, mystical Amaru Muro and Sillustani

  • Day 12

    ‘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

    ‘The City of Kings’



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What's included

Included in your voyage

Expedition Lake Titicaca/Peru after the 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 

  • 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 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. 
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 140 m
Beam 23,6 m
Speed 15 knots

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

A large boat in a body of water with a mountain in the background

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