From ancient Inca kingdoms to the Costa Rican rainforest

This expedition gives you a unique opportunity to explore fascinating archaeological sites and the mysteries of lost cultures. Starting with the magnificent Machu Picchu, then on to the Sacsayhuamán fortress, as well as the ancient Chimu kingdom´s pyramids and shrines. Finally, we sail through the Panama Canal before ending our journey in beautiful Costa Rica.

  • Explore the Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuamán fortress and the Chimu Kingdom
  • Explore the mysteries of the Incas and other lost cultures
  • Visit a mix of exciting cities, national parks and beautiful islands
  • Sail through the Panama Canal
This ship has sailed

This cruise has sailed! Don't worry, here are a few suggestions if you want to explore South America with Hurtigruten.


The itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind and ice conditions will determine our final schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience, and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

22 March 2019

Departs from Lima

Lost Cities and a giant citadel

The Inca Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. This expedition starts on land. From Lima, Peru we will visit some amazing Inca constructions like the Incan town of Ollantaytambo, the ruins of spectacular Machu Picchu, the Sacsayhuamán fortress and Cusco, once the centre of the Inca Empire. Then board MS Fram to continue the expedition by sea.
In Salaverry we visit the ancient Chimu kingdom, the largest mud brick citadel of the Americas from the pre-Columbian era.

National Parks and Panama Canal

We will also explore the only coastal national park in Ecuador, visit a small coastal community known for excellent fishing in Panama and sail through the Panama Canal. The last day will be spent in Bocas del Toro and the Bastimentos National Park. Here you can dive and kayak among mangroves and coral reefs as well as hike through the rainforest in search of wildlife, before we reach the end of this expedition in beautiful Costa Rica.

Day 1

From ancient Inca kingdoms to the Costa Rican rainforest


Lima's history predates the colonial presence in the country. In the north, visit the city of Caral, considered the most ancient city in the Americas, and to the south is the archaeological complex of Pachacamac. Spanish conquistadores established the Viceroyalty of Peru in Lima in 1542, and began building significant churches, monasteries, mansions and balconies in the city. The arrival of modernity didn’t impact the historic center, which is recognized as a World Heritage Site. Join one of our excursions to enjoy art museums, archaeological sites, beaches, the boardwalk and experience the exquisite cuisine that gives Peru’s capital its unique personality. Explore the city on your own before spending the night in a hotel.

Day 2
Cusco, once the centre of the Inca Empire. Photo

UNESCO site and ancient history


In the morning, you are transferred to your flight from Lima to Cusco. Enjoy lunch before visiting one of the most amazing Incan constructions in the area, the Sacsayhuamán fortress. Sacsayhuamán translates as "satisfied falcon". It was said the falcon guarded the capital of the empire - the name also makes sense since one gets a birds-eye view of Cusco from the hill where this fortress was built. The construction lasted more than seven decades and required the work of 20,000 men, both for the foundations and hewn stone works, the transportation of materials, carving and stones setting. It was constructed entirely without mortar, like many other Inca structures. Yet the enormous stones fit so tightly that not even a thin blade of grass can slide between them. The craftsmanship is a stunning example of the Inca’s sophisticated construction techniques and architectural skills. In the afternoon we continue to Hacienda Urubamba in the Sacred Valley for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 3
Now one of the great destinations in world travel, the city of Machu Picchu still hides the secret of its rise and fall, as the Incas left behind no written records. Photo

The highlights of the Incan empire

Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu

After breakfast, you’re in for another day of highlights. First is the visit to Ollantaytambo. This Incan town shares its name with the formidable stone structure that climbs the massive cliff looming over town. The fortress was the valley’s main defence against the Antis and was the site of the Incas’ greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest. Constructed of rose-coloured granite, this huge installation was once a thriving complex of baths, temples and military barracks. Next, head to the nearby train station to board the deluxe Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. A savoury brunch will be served as we enjoy the spectacular views outside. Overlooking the raging Urubamba River and discovered in a hidden tangle of vines and trees atop the mountain, the city of Machu Picchu will forever hold the secret of its rise and fall – as the Incas left no written records. Explore the city's ruins, feel its pulse and visualize the lives of the priests, craftsmen, and servants who inhabited this incredible place. Excavations at the site have revealed skeletons, artefacts and woollen clothing, but no gold. The same precision of assembled stones exists here as in other Incan sites. After spending a time exploring the ruins, you can enjoy tea at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge before we continue back to Hacienda Urubamba for another nice evening and overnight stay here.

Day 4
Discover the beautiful colonial architecture and well-preserved buildings in Lima’s historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo

Centre of the Incan Empire


After breakfast we head on to Cusco, once the centre of the Inca Empire. Visit the splendid Baroque-style Cusco Cathedral, built in the mid-1500s on the foundations of an Inca palace. Many of the stones used in its construction were looted from the nearby Sacsayhuaman fortress. We continue to Koricancha, to 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. After another day of exploring, we will transfer you to the airport, where you fly to Lima, where MS Fram stands ready to continue this expedition at sea.

Day 5

Gain insight while being at sea

At sea

Expedition days at sea are yours to enjoy. These days are great for inspiration – enjoy the changing blue horizons and ponder about those early explorers who sailed in these waters before you. Join our lecture team for interesting presentations to learn more about the west coast of South America, its nature, history and geography. Oceanography, climate change and environmental issues are also frequent topics of our lectures.

Day 6
The ancient city of Chan Chan ("Sun Sun") in Trujillo. Photo

Explore an ancient kingdom, Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon.


The small port of Salaverry is the starting point for the excursion to the ancient Chimu kingdom (700–1400 A.D.). The Chimu founded their capital by the banks of the Moche River and called it Chan Chan (“sun-sun”), which covers an area of eight square miles. It was built using clay, mud, pebbles, straw and cane, creating the largest mud brick citadel of the Americas from pre-Hispanic times. It is a remarkable place, listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1986. Also discover Trujillo, a city that retains much of its colonial charm and has a splendid backdrop of the vast green and brown of the Andean foothills. There is also an excursion going to the main religious center of the Moche culture, built in the 5th century A.D. Admire the Temple of the Sun, the largest adobe structure in the world, and the Temple of the Moon, covered with beautiful and vibrant Moche designs.

Day 7
Scan for wildlife on deck. Photo

Sailing north

At sea

While we make our way further north towards Ecuador, take your time to relax on the open decks or gain more insight with our lectures. During the day there might also be other gatherings with the Expedition team or photography workshops.

Day 8
Isla de la Plata, part of Machalilla National Park, Ecuador’s only coastal national park. Photo

Colourful birds and fish on the Silver Island

Isla de la Plata

Isla de la Plata is a part of Parque National Machalilla, and is Ecuador’s only coastal national park. The island is known as Ecuador’s other Galapagos 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 great for hikers and has plenty of bird watching trails. You can also explore the colourful life under water by snorkelling amongst large schools of fish, or take a refreshing dip in the blue ocean.

Day 9

Crossing the Equator

At sea

After the days you have had at sea so far, you have probably found the perfect way to spend this day. Find the time to finish one of the books you brought with you, look through and sort the pictures you have taken, or maybe simply relax on deck. We will cross the Equator, and a remarkable celebration; the” Equator baptism” is waiting for you.

Day 10
Home of the indigenous tribe Wounaan. Photo: Ayaita Photo
Photo: Andrea Klaussner Photo

The Community of Playa Muerto

Playa Muerto

The village of Playa Muerto is set in the secluded Darién National Park in one of the most remote corners of Central America. The tranquil village is surrounded by lush, green tropical forest and beautiful beaches. Its population of about 200 indigenous people belong to the Emberá Tribe. Due to its remote location, the community has only a handful of visitors each year, which they receive with joy and genuine curiosity.

The villagers are proud of their cultural heritage and the beauty of their surroundings. As their guests, you will enjoy cultural performances with music and dance, learn about their traditional crafts and have the opportunity to try some of their typical foods based on seafood and coconut water. You can also enjoy the magnificent flora and fauna whilst taking walks along the beach or during a swim in the waterfall near the village.

Day 11

Connecting two oceans

Panama Canal

We enter the Panama Canal close to Balboa. Experience the thrill of canal transit and the intricacy of the lock system first-hand, as MS Fram is lifted over 85 feet above sea level from one body of water to the next. The Panama Canal is one of the largest and most ambitious engineering projects ever undertaken. It had an enormous impact on shipping between the two oceans, replacing the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn.

Day 12

UNESCO Site and Biosphere Reserve

Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro, (“mouth of the bull”), is a pristine region, and home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, La Amistad International Park and Isla Bastimentos, Panama's first National Marine Park and Biosphere Reserve. Consisting of 9 islands and hundreds of smaller islets you can visit Bocas town with its colourful Caribbean vibe and atmosphere, before venturing into the expanse of Bastimentos National Park. Snorkel, dive and kayak among mangroves and coral reefs, or hike through the rainforest in search of wildlife.

Day 13

Home of the “pura vida” lifestyle

Puerto Limon

Puerto Limón in Costa Rica is a compelling destination for adventurous explorers. The city itself has some fascinating architecture and colorful open-air marketplaces. The main market in the centre of town is the place to go to buy everything from wooden carved items to traditional souvenirs. Cashew nuts are big in this city, so be sure to try the cashew wine, which is a specialty. While the city is rather laid back during the day, Puerto Limon has an active nightlife. The evenings are lively, with a number of bars and restaurants to be found all over the city. This is where your expedition comes to an end. Stay on to enjoy Costa Rica or fly home.

3 April 2019

Location Puerto Limon

Price includes:

• Hurtigruten Expedition in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
• 1 overnight in Lima and 2 overnights at Hacienda Urubamba before the voyage including breakfast
• 3- course set lunch and dinner on day 2, 3 and box lunch on day 4
• Return economy flight Lima-Cusco-Lima
• All transfers and train rides as described including English-speaking guide
• Entrance fees according to program
• 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 accompany landings and activities
• Free tea and coffee

Not included:

• International flights
• Travel insurance
• Luggage handling
• Optional Excursions and Gratuities

Vaccination required:

On this trip, a vaccine against yellow fever is required. The vaccination must be done at least 10 days before departure. Please bring the vaccination certificate on your voyage as you will need this to enter certain countries.

Your ship Extend your holiday