Panama, Ecuador and Peru – Inca Mysteries and Galápagos Islands
Duration: 14 days
18 October 2021 with MS Fridtjof Nansen
6619 € per person
- See a range of wildlife in the wondrous and biologically diverse Galápagos Islands
- See different cities along South America´s Pacific Coast, each with their own character
- Explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites famous for archaeology or colonial architecture
- Visit the famous Panama Canal and see its system of locks close up
- Day 1 Panama City, Panama
- Day 2 Panama City, Panama
- Day 3 At Sea
- Day 4 Manta, Ecuador
- Day 5 Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador
- Day 6 At Sea
- Day 7 At Sea
- Day 8 Salaverry, Peru
- Day 9 Callao / Lima, Peru / Quito, Ecuador
- Day 10 Quito
- Day 11 Quito/Baltra Island/Santa Cruz Island
- Day 12-13 Santa Cruz Island
- Day 14 Santa Cruz Island/Baltra Island/Guayaquil
Spend the night in a central hotel in Panama City. Hike to Ancón Hill and enjoy views of the skyscraper-lined cityscape and of the Casco Antiguo district which boasts a real mix of architectural styles. Arrange to arrive a few days early for a Pre-Programme that explores the local flora and fauna.
Before embarking the ship, we visit the locks and visitor centre at Miraflores and learn how massive ships are manoeuvred through this marvel of engineering. Enjoy lunch overlooking Chagres River before we board speedboats to cruise the canal itself. In the waters of Lake Gatún, we may spot monkeys and even crocodiles.
Spend time relaxing in the serenity of the sea. Join lectures as our experienced lecturers share their extensive knowledge and meet our Expedition Team on deck to spot marine wildlife and sea birds. As we cross the Equator, it’s our tradition to hold a ceremony seeking King Neptune’s blessing. He may even make an appearance.
Manta is a bustling port with high-rise buildings and lovely beaches. You can visit the city museum which showcases artefacts from local pre-Colombian culture, a collection of Ecuadorian art, and weird and wonderful fishing paraphernalia. We recommend an excursion to nearby Montecristi where traditional Panamanian straw hats are hand woven.
Known as the banana capital of the world, this area is surrounded by banana plantations - approximately 80% of Ecuador’s bananas are shipped through Puerto Bolivar. Join an optional excursion to an organic plantation and learn about their unique process of growing their banana plants – by playing classical music for them. Further ashore you can explore the Buenaventura Reserve where you have the chance to observe hummingbirds, hawks and parakeets, or walk amongst fossilized trees, flowers, and plants in the Petrified Forest of Puyango on one of our optional excursions.
We arrive in the largest city in Ecuador. Colourful favelas blanket the hillsides will high-rise buildings line the Guayas river, surrounding Malecón 2000, the attractive riverfront square. Next to the majestic City Cathedral is ‘Iguana Park’, so named for the tame iguanas that roam the gardens here, mingling amiably with tourists, and posing for photos.
Enjoy another day and spend it at your leisure. Recap our voyage so far with fellow guests in our comfortable lounge, indulge yourself with a spa treatment in our Wellness Center, or. Join in on interesting lectures. You can also refresh yourself by taking a dip in the infinity pool and Jacuzzis.
Next is the port of Salaverry, the starting point for two optional excursions. Visit the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site of Chan Chan (`Sun Sun´) to see the mud-brick ruins of the ancient Chimú kingdom. Or tour the Mochican temples of the Sun and Moon, the former being the largest adobe pyramid in Peru.
We dock in Callao and travel a short distance to Lima airport for your flight to Quito where you are picked up and transferred to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure and explore Quito, nestled at the foot of the volcano Pichincha and known for its eternally spring-like climate and beauty of its well preserved colonial quarter. Originally settled by the Quitu tribe in the first millennium, Quito was eventually integrated into the Inca Empire before being destroyed and re-established in 1534 by Spanish conquistador, Sebastian de Benalcázar. For nearly three centuries, the arts and intellectual societies flourished under Spanish colonial rule, a fact evident in the historic centre’s splendidly restored period buildings and churches lining narrow, cobbled streets.
The city’s diligent preservation of its culturally diverse past prompted UNESCO to declare Quito the first of its World Heritage sites in 1978. Beautifully situated in an Andean valley at 2,850 meters (9,350 ft), Quito is the second highest capital city in the world. Enjoy dinner at the hotel. Overnight.
After breakfast, we drive north to the equator and visit the Inti Ñan Museum. Afterwards, we ascend the Teleférico – one of Quito’s most popular attractions offering spectacular and easily accessible views of the city. The ride lasts only 10 minutes but takes you to an altitude of 4,050 m (13,300 ft). At the top, the lookout offers the visitor incredible views of Quito, the surrounding valleys and snow-covered volcanoes (along with coffee, snacks, and oxygen for the short-of-breath). Bring a sweater or light jacket - it can get chilly up there!
Return to the city to enjoy lunch in Quito´s charming colonial quarter.
The afternoon's sightseeing is a good example why Ecuador's capital earned the honour as UNESCO´s first World Heritage site. Dinner will be served at the hotel before your overnight.
The day begins with breakfast at your hotel. We drive to Quito Airport for the flight to the Galápagos Islands (via Guayaquil).
Upon arrival at Baltra´s airport, we meet the local representative and board a bus for the short transfer to Itabaca Channel, which separates Baltra Island from Santa Cruz Island. Here, we board a small ferry that crosses the azure waters of the channel to Santa Cruz, a journey that takes about five minutes.
On the other side, we travel through a rural agricultural area surrounded by wild landscapes and many different species of flora and fauna. We may well spot the finches that are famous for being the basis of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
See the famous Galápagos land tortoises in their natural environment and learn how private ranches help protect these special creatures and their habitat. Tortoises of all different ages and sizes gather here: small young ones with shining carapaces and older individuals with weathered and worn shells. Lunch will be served in the highlands.
Afterwards, we continue to our hotel in the town of Puerto Ayora. Once settled, we walk to the nearby Charles Darwin Research Station, which hosts educational museums on both the history and development of the Galápagos Islands, and protection of their natural heritage. Native giant land tortoises can also be observed. Many different tortoise species exist in the Galápagos and the station is the only place where most of the species reside at one site.
The afternoon is at your leisure to explore small yet picturesque Puerto Ayora and its many shops with local arts and crafts. We later enjoy dinner at the hotel´s restaurant.
Breakfast at hotel. We have two full days to tour one of the nearby uninhabited islands by boat.
Please note that only one of the four islands listed below will be visited per day:
Bartolomé Island, famous for Pinnacle Rock and Galápagos penguins; or South Plaza Island, home to a colony of land iguanas; or Santa Fe Island, known for having the islands´ most sea beautiful coves; or North Seymour Island, considered a microcosm of the entire archipelago; or Floreana Island for a tour around the island to see tortoises and sea lions, and with some luck marine iguanas; or Isabela Island to visit a Tortoise Breading station, and a walk to see four species of mangroves and lagoons with flamingos and migratory birds.
The visits are regulated by the Galápagos National Park and we are notified of permission 30 days prior to the visit. Regardless of the islands we visit, lunch is served on board the vessel during the tour.
Later, we have dinner at the hotel and overnight.
After breakfast at hotel, we transfer to Baltra airport for the flight to mainland Ecuador. En route to the airport, we stop at 'The Twins' or 'Los Gemelos' - two impressive volcanic depressions in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.
Next is our flight from Baltra Island to Guayaquil. Upon arrival in Guayaquil, a representative will assist with the international flight connection. A packed lunch will be provided.
Included in your voyage
- Overnight in Panama City, including breakfast before the Expedition cruise
- Transfer from the hotel to the ship in Panama City, including excursion
Land-Programme Galápagos Island after the cruise
- Economy flight Lima to Quito and Quito to Baltra
- Two nights in Quito, including breakfast and dinner
- Three nights at a hotel in Santa Cruz Island /Galápagos, including full board
- Economy flight Baltra to Guayaquil
- All transfers, excursions and meals as described, including English-speaking guide
- Galápagos National Park entrance fee
- 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 excursions
- 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
- 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 ensure you meet all visa entry requirements
- No gratuities expected
- Land based tour to Galápagos Islands involves long stretches of travel, walking over uneven terrain, and getting in/out of boats, as well as a climate that varies from cool at high altitudes to hot tropical weather.
MS Roald Amundsen
|Passenger capacity||530 (500 in Antarctica)|
|Gross tonnage||20 889 T|
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.
MS Fridtjof Nansen
|Shipyard||Kleven Yards, Norway|
|Passenger capacity||530 (500 in Antarctica)|
|Gross tonnage||20 889 T|
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.
Sailing with MS Fridtjof Nansen or MS Roald Amundsen
- MS Fridtjof Nansen: Life on board and Practical information
- MS Roald Amundsen: Life on board and Practical information
- Meet our Expedition Teams
- Young Explorers’ Programme: Bring your kids on board