Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador – Inca Mysteries and Galápagos Islands
Duration: 16 days
Ship: MS Fram
15 October 2019
Price from : £ 5090 per personCheck prices and availability
- Explore some of the most important archaeological sites in South America
- Pass through the Panama Canal
- Visit the historic centre of Quito, the world´s first UNESCO World Heritage site
- Discover the wondrous Galápagos Islands, home to Darwin’s theory of evolution
- Day 1 San José, Costa Rica
- Day 2 Puerto Limón
- Day 3 Bocas del Toro
- Day 4 Panama Canal
- Day 5 Puerto Piña
- Day 6 At sea
- Day 7 Isla de la Plata
- Day 8 At sea
- Day 9 Salaverry, Peru
- Day 10 At sea
- Day 11 Callao, Peru/ Quito, Ecuador
- Day 12 Quito, Ecuador
- Day 13 Quito/Baltra Island/Santa Cruz Island
- Day 14-15 Galapágos Islands
- Day 16 Baltra Island/Guayaquil, Ecuador
We arrive in the Costa Rican capital, San José, and transfer to our hotel in the city centre. San José´s moniker – “towards better things” – aptly coins the spirit of our upcoming adventure. Stroll the streets and discover the neo-classical grandeur of this unique Central American metropolis. As Lonely Planet writes, “give this city a chance and you might be pleasantly surprised”. Get a good night´s sleep because we start the journey of a lifetime the next day.
After breakfast we head east towards the Caribbean coast to visit the tropical rain forests of Tortuguero National Park. A boat ride along the Tortuguero Canals completes a lovely day of sightseeing before we transfer to MS Fram at nearby Puerto Limón for embarkation.
Puerto Limón is the largest city on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast and one of the oldest cities on the continent. The port was established in 1502 when Christopher Columbus landed here during his exploration of the New World.
We begin our continent-crossing journey along the Caribbean coast of Panama, setting our course first for Bocas del Toro, an archipelago of nine main islands, 52 cays, and thousands of islets.
Colourful and brimming with Caribbean-style clapboard houses, home to a UNESCO World Heritage site and Panama's first National Marine Park, Bocas del Toro is one of Panama's most visited eco-tourism destinations. Considered the “Galápagos of the Caribbean”, Bocas del Toro is also one of the most biologically diverse places on earth.
We leave the Caribbean and enter the Panama Canal near the city of Colón. Experience the thrill of canal transit and the intricacy of the locks system firsthand, as MS Fram is lifted more than 26 metres (85 ft) above sea level, from one body of water to the next. We enter the Pacific Ocean near the town of Balboa.
We arrive midday at Puerto Piña, a small coastal community near the border with Colombia. The village lies beside the Bahía Piña, a narrow bay between two promontories that are frequented by humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins. Bahia Piña, in the province of Darien, attracts deep-sea fishermen from around the world. Numerous fishing world records have been broken here, more than anywhere else on earth. A diversity of marine species inhabit Bahía Piña, including sharks, dolphins, rays, and humpback whales. Rich in natural beauty, the area is ideal for hiking along trails in the jungle, kayaking, relaxing on the beach and swimming.
Enjoy a relaxing day at sea. Listen in as our experienced lecturers share their extensive knowledge, or spend time on deck fully enjoying the serenity of a day at sea.
In the afternoon, we arrive at Isla de la Plata, part of Machalilla National Park, Ecuador’s only coastal national park. The island is known as Ecuador’s other Galápagos because of its abundance of marine birdlife. Isla de la Plata translates to Silver Island, and is the home to blue-footed boobies, nesting waved albatrosses and frigate birds, among others. The island is fantastic for hikers and features many bird watching trails. The island also offers great opportunities to swim and snorkel.
Our Expedition team continues its lecture programme, sharing their extensive knowledge and experience, as well as summarizing the voyage so far and letting you know about plans for the exciting days ahead. Our onboard expedition photographer will also be available to help you with the basics of expedition photography.
The small port of Salaverry, Peru, near the city of Trujillo, is the starting point for the excursion to the ancient Chimu kingdom (700-1400 A.D.), which built its capital by the banks of the Moche River. The ancient city of Chan Chan ("Sun Sun"), in Trujillo, covers an area of 20 square km and was constructed with clay, mud, pebbles, straw and cane.
Considered the largest mud-brick citadel of the Americas in pre-Hispanic times, it is a remarkable piece of architecture that was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1986.
Kick back and enjoy another full day at sea. Take part in the lecture series presented by the Expedition team or simply tune into the meditative rhythm of the ocean.
We have arrived at the port of Callao and start our day by transferring to a morning flight at nearby Lima to Quito. Here 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 Pichincha volcano and known for its eternal spring-like climate.
Originally settled by the Quitu tribe in the first millennium, Quito was eventually integrated into the Inca Empire before being destroyed and re-founded in 1534 by Spanish conquistador, Sebastian de Benalcázar. Quito flourished for nearly three centuries under Spanish colonial rule, as evidenced by the historic centre´s splendidly restored colonial buildings and churches lining narrow, cobbled streets.
Due to the city’s preservation of its mixed past, UNESCO declared Quito the first of its World Heritage sites in 1978. Quito is also the world´s second-highest capital city at 2,850 m (9,350 ft). In the evening, enjoy a special welcome dinner at a local restaurant to kick off our visit to Ecuador.
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 us to an altitude of 4,050 m (13,300 ft). At the top, the lookout offers visitors incredible views of Quito and its 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!
We then return to the city and enjoy lunch in the charming colonial quarter.
This afternoon's sightseeing demonstrates some of the reasons why Ecuador's capital earned its honour as UNESCO´s first World Heritage site. Dinner will be served at the hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. Depart the hotel and 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 ones with weathered and worn shells. Lunch will be served in the highlands.
The well-known Lava Tunnels are another amazing experience. Formed by lava flows from the volcanoes, they range from the highlands down to the sea. Join an amazing half-hour hike through one of the tunnels to where it gets too small to pass. A naturalist guide will share in detail the story of the origin of these fascinating tunnels.
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 cosy restaurant.
After enjoying breakfast at the 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.
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 the hotel, we transfer to Baltra’s airport for the flight to Guayaquil. En route to the airport, we stop at “The Twins” or “Los Gemelos”, two impressive volcanic depressions in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.
After our flight from Baltra Island to Guayaquil, we are met by a representative, who assists with the international flight connection. A box lunch will be provided. Have a safe and pleasant trip home!
Included in your voyage
- Hurtigruten Expedition in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
- One overnight in San José before your voyage including breakfast
- Transfer hotel to pier including an excursion
- Economy flight Lima to Quito and Quito to Baltra
- Two overnights in Quito after the voyage including breakfast and dinner.
- Three overnights at Red Mangrove hotel in Santa Cruz Island /Galápagos after the voyage including full board
- Economy flight Baltra to Guayaquil
- All transfers as described including English-speaking guide
- Galápagos National Park entrance fee
- Wind- and water-resistant jacket
- Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
- Professional English-speaking Expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
- Free tea and coffee
Not included in your voyage
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Luggage handling
- Optional excursions and gratuities
- Tour start date: 15 October 2019 (San José, Costa Rica)
- Departure date: 16 October 2019 (Puerto Limón, Costa Rica)
- Ship arrival date: 25 October (Callao/Lima, Peru)
- Tour end date: 30 October 2019 (Guayaquil, Ecuador)
- On this trip, a vaccine against yellow fever is recommended. The vaccination must be done at least 10 days before departure. Please bring the vaccination certificate on your voyage.
|Year of refurbishment||2020|
|Ship yard||Fincantieri, Italy|
|Passenger capacity||318 (200 in Antarctica)|
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.
Salaverry - Chan Chan UNESCO Site and Trujillo City
Salaverry - Discovering the Moon Temple
Salaverry - Moon Temple and Trujillo City
Bocas del Toro - Bocas Indigenous Chocolate Tour
Bocas del Toro - Cayo Zapatilla & Cayo Coral
Bocas del Toro - Cayo Zapatilla
Bocas del Toro - Sustainable Cacao Farm
Callao - A Traditional City
Callao - Biking in Lima
Callao - Discovering the Palomino Islands
Callao - Grand Tour of Lima
Callao - Pachacamac, Archaeological Museum & Paso Horses
Callao - Peruvian Culinary Experience
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