14 days

Galápagos Islands, Ancient History & Highlights of South America

Price from
£ 5397
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
14 days

Galápagos Islands, Ancient History & Highlights of South America

Price from
£ 5397
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Explore the beautiful and biologically diverse Galápagos Islands before embarking on an expedition cruise along the scenic west coast of South America. Discover the differences and similarities between modern cities and historic ancient civilisations as you experience charming architecture, beautiful beaches, archaeological mysteries and UNESCO sites across Peru and Chile.

The islands of the giant tortoise

Your adventure starts in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, home to the best-preserved UNESCO historic centre in the Americas. You’ll ascend the Teléferico cable car for the views and visit a museum on the Earth’s Equator. You'll then fly to Santa Cruz in the Galápagos Islands where you will see enormous endemic tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station. The next two days are an exciting exploration of other islands in the archipelago by boat, discovering more of its diverse wildlife.

Life along the Pacific Coast

Take the plane to the Peruvian capital of Lima and enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of the city before boarding your ship bound for Valparaíso. Our first stop, Paracas, is surrounded by sandy cliffs in distinct shades of brown and red. Next is Arica where you can take a short hike up El Morro hill to look over the beaches. In Iquique, you’ll go into the Atacama Desert to explore the abandoned mining town of Humberstone while La Serena has neo-colonial architecture and many stone churches to admire

Galápagos Islands, Ancient History & Highlights of South America
  • Day 1
    Quito, Ecuador

    Top UNESCO historic centre

    Your expedition cruise starts in Quito, the capital of Ecuador and the country’s most populous city. Situated on the eastern side of Pichincha, a volcano in the Andes, at an elevation of 2,850 metres above sea level, it is the second highest capital city in the world. It is also the closest capital city to the Equator, which of course when translated into Spanish is Ecuador. Originally settled by the Quitu tribe in the first millennium, Quito was eventually integrated into the Inca Empire before being refounded in 1534 by Spanish conqueror Sebastian de Benalcásar.

    Take a walk around the city’s historic centre to see splendidly restored period buildings and colonial-era churches lining the narrow, cobbled streets. You’ll understand why Quito’s historic centre is described as the largest, least-altered, and best-preserved historic areas in the Americas. For those reasons, it was among the first places to ever be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The first night of your adventure is spent at a centrally located hotel.

    Day 1
    Quito, Ecuador

    Top UNESCO historic centre

  • Day 2
    Quito, Ecuador

    Views from the Middle of the World

    Once you have enjoyed your breakfast, we’ll take you to Inti Ñan Museum in the aptly named City in the Middle of the World which claims to be built right on the equator. Here, you’ll see a range of totem poles and observe gravitational effects that can only occur at the equator. You’ll also learn about the traditions of rural life, including the customs and rituals of indigenous Quechua-speaking tribes of the Amazon.

    We then ascend the Teleférico, one of Quito’s most popular attractions that connects the city centre to Cruz Loma hill on the east side of the Pichincha volcano. The ride lasts only 10 minutes, but you’ll shoot up to an altitude of 4,050 metres for an incredible view of Quito, the surrounding valleys and the snow-covered volcanoes. It can get chilly up there so remember to bring something warm to wear!

    When we return in Quito, we’ll have lunch in the charming colonial quarter before enjoying a sightseeing tour of the area. Dinner will be served at the hotel and the evening is spent at your leisure.

    Day 2
    Quito, Ecuador

    Views from the Middle of the World

  • Day 3
    Quito/Baltra Island/Santa Cruz Island

    Arriving at Santa Cruz Island

    You’ll start your day with breakfast at the hotel before we drive to Quito Airport for the flight to the Galápagos Islands (via Guayaquil).  When we arrive at Baltra’s airport, our local representative will transfer you to Itabaca Channel where a small ferry brings you to the island of Santa Cruz.

    We’ll travel through a rural agricultural area surrounded by wild landscapes and many different species of flora and fauna. If you are lucky, you might spot a few of the famous finches which inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution. The highlands are one of the best places on the island to observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Easy to spot, they lumber around eating grass and leaves and wallow in the small, muddy rain-formed pools. Younger ones tend to be smaller with shinier carapaces while the larger, older ones wear weathered and worn shells like the distinguished armour of a long life – over 100 years in the wild.

    Once you’ve settled into your hotel in the town of Puerto Ayora, we’ll walk to the nearby Charles Darwin Research Station. The station hosts educational museums on both the history and development of the Galápagos Islands and the range of protections given to this natural heritage. Native giant land tortoises can also be observed here, and the station is the only place in the Galápagos where most of the different species reside at one site.  

    The afternoon is at your leisure to explore the small, picturesque Puerto Ayora and its many local arts and crafts shops. See the colourful murals at the churches around town or take a short walk to Tortuga Bay to look for marine iguanas, crabs, and white tip reef sharks among the mangroves. Dinner will be served at the hotel´s restaurant.

    Day 3
    Quito/Baltra Island/Santa Cruz Island

    Arriving at Santa Cruz Island

  • Day 4-5
    Santa Cruz Island

    Galápagos Island Hopping

    After breakfast, we'll begin to explore the islands that have become synonymous with the theory of evolution and hailed as a natural laboratory for natural selection. The range of wildlife on display in the islands is mind-boggling, full of endemic species and subspecies from the wonderful to the weird and everything in between. Over two days, you’ll visit two islands out of a possible six, going to one island each day by boat. Which ones you’ll see will be on the say-so of the park authorities who regulate and assign visitors a month beforehand.

    Will it be Bartolomé Island, famous for the dramatic Pinnacle Rock and the rare colony of Galápagos penguins at its base? Or perhaps, it’ll be North Seymour Island, site of large populations of the hilarious blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and magnificent frigatebirds? Santa Fe Island is known to have some of the most beautiful coves in the archipelago with beaches covered in lounging sea lions. Or maybe you’ll go to South Plaza Island where a growing colony of land iguanas roam among the prickly pear cactus trees. Perhaps it’ll be southernmost Floreana Island for the flamingo lagoon and, with some luck, signs of the bright green and red marine iguanas usually found here. Or will it be the largest of all the islands, Isabela, home to a variety of mangroves and more wild tortoises than anywhere in the archipelago?

    It’s clear that whichever two islands you get to set foot on and explore, you’re in for a real treat! You’ll go on walks ashore and learn about the island’s geology, human history, and the exceptionally diverse wildlife all around you. After two days, you’ll understand just why Darwin was so impressed by the islands and why they inspired his world-changing theory.  

    Day 4-5
    Santa Cruz Island

    Galápagos Island Hopping

  • Day 6
    Baltra Island/Lima

    From isolated islands to connected capital

    After eating breakfast at the hotel, we make a stop on our way to Baltra airport to see 'The Twins' or 'Los Gemelos'. Often mistaken for volcanic craters, the two depressions are actually a pair of sinkholes in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. You will be served a packed lunch on the flight from Baltra Island, via Guayaquil to Lima, where our local guide will transfer you to your hotel in the city. Dinner will be served at the hotel before you spend the night there.

    Day 6
    Baltra Island/Lima

    From isolated islands to connected capital

  • Day 7
    Callao, Peru

    ‘The City of Kings’

    After a good night’s sleep in this historic city originally known as La Ciudad de los Reyes, or ‘The City of Kings’, wake up to breakfast at the hotel. Once you’ve checked out, you’ll take a half-day tour of Lima’s sights, including a visit to the city’s UNESCO-listed historic centre. Some of the tour’s highlights include Casa Aliaga, a nearly 500-year-old mansion built for one of Pizarro’s lieutenants, and Santo Domingo Convent, the best-preserved colonial building in all of Lima.

    Lunch will be enjoyed in a typical Peruvian restaurant where you might like to try one of Peru’s all-time gastronomic greats: ceviche, fresh fish marinated in tangy lime juice and other seasonings. The tour finishes at the quayside in Callao where your expedition ship awaits you.

    Once on board, you’ll check-in, run through an important safety drill and have time to settle into your cabin and look around the ship. Later, meet the Captain, crew and your Expedition Team at the welcome dinner and raise a glass to toast to the adventures ahead. The day ends with a briefing from the Expedition Leader and Hotel Manager, and maybe a few more drinks in the Explorer Lounge and Bar with fellow guests!

    Day 7
    Callao, Peru

    ‘The City of Kings’

  • Day 8
    Paracas, Peru

    Birds and brandy

    Positioned on a bay behind a peninsula, the small and sleepy resort town of Paracas is surrounded by brown-sugar cliffs and beaches. Known to most as El Chaco, the town has an array of restaurants along the main shorefront and boulevard where you can tuck into jalea, a mishmash of fried seafood with salsa criolla and yuca root. Peruvian silverside fish, known as pejerry, is also a local speciality, best washed down with a glass of pisco – grape brandy which is produced at tourable distilleries in the region. Be careful though, pisco can pack quite the punch!

    Opposite Paracas harbour is a mysterious local geoglyph of a candelabra that possibly dates back to 200 BCE. It could be related to the famous Nazca Lines which you can visit in the Pisco valley a short drive away to the south as part of an optional excursion. The Nazca Lines themselves could be older than the candelabra but new ones are still being discovered, prompting all sorts of theories as to their origin, extra-terrestrial or otherwise.

    You may also take a boat tour of the nearby Ballestas Islands, which are considered to be the lesser Galápagos Islands. The Ballestas support a range of wildlife, including Humboldt penguins, turtles, Peruvian boobies, cormorants, pelicans, sea lions, dolphins, Inca terns and humpback whales. There’s also Paracas National Reserve nearby, covering a rare combination of desert and marine ecosystems in its territory. The Martian-like yellow dunes and red-sand beaches hide more than 100 archaeological sites of the Paracas culture and grant otherworldly views to birds such as the Andean condor and Chilean flamingo.

    Day 8
    Paracas, Peru

    Birds and brandy

  • Day 9
    At Sea

    Picture perfect

    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. There is also a designated photographer on board who, in addition to taking pictures from our journey together, will be available to help you with the basics of expedition photography.

    Day 9
    At Sea

    Picture perfect

  • Day 10
    Arica, Chile

    City of Everlasting Spring

    Unusually for a city by the sea, Arica enjoys a constant desert climate and is classed as one of the driest cities in the world. This also means that it is bathed in glorious sunshine almost every day of the year, and residents proudly like to refer to Arica as enjoying a never-ending spring season. The beaches are popular with sunbathers and surfers alike and the views from the tall, sandy El Morro cliff are well worth the 15-minute hike to the fluttering Chilean flag at the top.

    Another hotspot for visitors is San Marcos Cathedral, designed by Gustave Eiffel of Parisian fame and inaugurated in 1876. Calles 21 de Mayo and Bolognesi are lively, pedestrianised areas with plenty of eateries and artesanía stalls while El Agro market and food court is full of sights and scents. Over at the local San Miguel de Azapa Archaeological Museum, you can peruse artefacts from the Chinchorro culture and marvel at mummies which are older than even ones found in Egypt. Head to the south of the city to trek the more rugged Playa Corazones and explore the Caves of Anzota.

    Day 10
    Arica, Chile

    City of Everlasting Spring

  • Day 11
    Iquique, Chile

    Chile’s Premier Beach Resort

    Welcome to a slice of paradise by the Pacific, complete with palm trees and promenades. As one of Chile’s top seaside cities, Iquique is a hive of activity all year around. Shoppers stream to the duty-free Zofri Mall while maritime enthusiasts will be enthralled by a tour of La Esmeralda corvette that hails from the War of the Pacific. Our main plan here is a visit to the nearby abandoned saltpetre mining town of Humberstone in the Atacama Desert, a UNESCO site and history you can literally walk through.

    Back in Iquique, head along the boardwalk of La Costenera next to the sands of Playa Cavancha and admire the scenery of the city skyline on one side and parasailors and surfers on the other. Baquedano Street showcases 19th century Georgian architecture and leads to Astoreca Palace and a photogenic clock tower at the centre of town. You’ll also find many a chic café where you can indulge in local coffee culture or sip on a traditional creamy mango sour. A Chinatown has sprung up around the mercado, marrying Peruvian and Chinese flavours to invent unique chifa cuisine. Aside from a variety of seafood dishes, you’ll definitely want to try chumbeque, a dessert that blends fried thin dough with fruity caramels.

    Day 11
    Iquique, Chile

    Chile’s Premier Beach Resort

  • Day 12
    At Sea

    We are drawing near the end of your cruise, so maybe spend your last full day at sea kicking back and relaxing before your expedition cruise is over in a couple of day. Or maybe you’d rather spend a couple of hours in the gym to be fit for fight once you get back home. Whatever you do, there’s still time to enjoy your leisure aboard the ship. The Expedition Team will recap the highlights of your adventure and if you like, you can attend the Art Workshop and make art inspired by some of the places you have seen on your adventure.

    Day 12
    At Sea

  • Day 13
    La Serena, Chile

    ‘The City of Churches’

    Perched on ocean terraces, La Serena is blessed with beautiful sandy beaches all along Avenida del Mar and beyond. You’ll find that Chile’s second-oldest city has a distinct and purposeful neo-colonial look and feel to it. Modern buildings sit interspersed with classic architecture, such as the 30 or so carefully restored stone churches, some of which are 350 years old. If the churches, while charming, start to look the same to you, a helpful hint is to distinguish them by their different styles of belfries.

    Aside from wandering the beaches, promenades and plazas, you can also stroll through manicured public gardens like the Japanese-inspired Jardín del Corazón or shop for arts and crafts at Recova Market. The archaeological museum houses pre-colonial artefacts while the hidden lane of Patio Colonial near Balmaceda is the place to go for chilled-out cafés and eateries.

    Day 13
    La Serena, Chile

    ‘The City of Churches’

  • Day 14
    Valparaíso, Chile

    UNESCO’s `Jewel of the Pacific´

    Your voyage ends when we reach the seaport of Valparaíso. Built on steep hillsides overlooking the ocean, the UNESCO-listed city is a maze of monuments, churches, historical funicular lifts, trendy barrios, cobblestone alleys, colourful houses and charming plazas. Cerros Alegre and Concepción have probably the best views while the historic port district boasts colonial architecture, bustling mercados, and the maritime and modern art museums. You’ll likely be fascinated by this colourful and unusual city, so why not arrange to stick around for an extra day or two. From here, you can also join a Post-Programme to Easter Island, famous for its mysterious statues of giant heads.

    Day 14
    Valparaíso, Chile

    UNESCO’s `Jewel of the Pacific´

Departures

  • 2022
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
    3 Oct
    9 Oct
    10 Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
3 October 2022
9 October 2022
10 October 2022

Current offers on this cruise:

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Possibilities

What's included

Included in your voyage

Land-Programme Galápagos Island before the cruise

  • Two nights in Quito, including breakfast and dinner on Day 2.
  • Three nights at a hotel in Santa Cruz Island /Galápagos Islands, including full board
  • One night in Lima, including half board
  • Economy flight Quito-Baltra, Baltra-Lima (via Guayaquil)
  • All transfers, excursions and meals as described, including English-speaking guide
  • Galápagos Islands National Park entrance fee

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 (on MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridjtof Nansen)
  • 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

  • Loan of 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

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
  • 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.

Ships

MS Roald Amundsen

MS Roald Amundsen

Year built 2019
Ship yard Kleven Yards
Passenger capacity 530 (500 in Antarctica)
Gross tonnage 20 889 T
Length 140 m
Beam 23,6 m
Speed 15 knots

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.

Read more about MS Roald Amundsen

MS Fridtjof Nansen

Year built 2020
Ship yard Kleven Yards, Norway
Passenger capacity 530 (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
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo

MS Fram

Year built 2007
Year of refurbishment 2020
Ship yard Fincantieri, Italy
Passenger capacity 318 (200 in Antarctica)
Beds 276
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 11 647 T
Length 114 m
Beam 20.2 m
Speed 13 knots

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.

Read more about MS Fram

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