11 days

Machu Picchu, Inca History & Highlights of South America

Price from
£ 3952
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
11 days

Machu Picchu, Inca History & Highlights of South America

Price from
£ 3952
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Journey to the Sacred Valley for the impressive fortresses around Cusco and ‘The Lost City’ of Machu Picchu. Then fly to Lima to board your expedition ship towards Valparaíso, visiting Paracas’ rust-coloured cliffs, Arica’s sun-soaked beaches, an abandoned Atacama Desert mining town near Iquique, and La Serena’s colonial churches along the way.

Inca History

Lima, the energetic capital of Peru, is day one of your adventure. You’ll then fly to former Inca capital Cusco in the Sacred Valley. Bask in views of the city from Sacsayhuamán fortress and visit the town and cliff-carved royal estate at Ollantaytambo. The luxurious Belmond Hiram Bingham train will then weave its way through the mountains to bring you to the once hidden site of Machu Picchu. Wander the ruins here and wonder what could have caused the ancient city’s mysterious downfall.

From Lima to Valpo

After visiting the cathedral and the Convent of Santo Domingo in Cusco, you’ll return to Lima by plane to board your expedition ship. We’ll set course for Paracas where you may have an opportunity to see the wildlife of the Ballestas Islands or the famous Nazca Lines on optional excursions. Enjoy the sunshine and beaches in Arica and visit an old mining town in the Atacama Desert near Iquique. La Serena is Chile’s second-oldest city with as many as 30 colonial churches to see. Your expedition ends in the colourful port of Valparaíso.

Machu Picchu, Inca History & Highlights of South America
  • Day 1
    Lima, Peru

    'The City of Kings’

    Set on a strip of desert between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains is the Peruvian capital city of Lima. It is the largest city in the country, a modern, sprawling metropolis where traditions and trends converge in an exciting cocktail of culture and cuisine. It’s for good reason that its original name was La Ciudad de los Reyes, or ‘The City of Kings’. Your adventure begins here with a night at a central hotel, but you could also arrange to come a few days early to explore the capital more.

    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 1
    Lima, Peru

    'The City of Kings’

  • Day 2
    Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley

    'Navel of the World’

    In the morning, you’ll hop on a flight from Lima to Cusco, the former capital of the Inca empire whose name means ‘Navel of the World’. It is thought the city’s original layout in the middle of the highland Huatanay River valley was in the form of a puma. If the heart of the puma is Plaza de Armas, the site of colonial architecture, colourful carnivals and festive street parades, the head of the puma is Sacsayhuamán, a fortress and temple complex that overlooks Cusco from atop a hill.Its name means ‘Royal Eagle’, a reference to the mythical bird that was believed to guard the empire. You’ll enjoy a visit to the ruins here 3,700 metres above sea level and with great views over the city and the Inca-sacred summits of Ausangate, Pachatusán and Cinca. Take your time to stroll the fortress’ open esplanade, passing among the remains of residences, shrines, towers, tunnels, zigzagged limestone walls and distinct trapezoidal doorways.

    It’s thought that construction of the site took more than seven decades and required the labour of 20,000 men to set the foundations, hew the stone, transport materials and complete the stonework. As you walk around, you might notice that the walls and buildings are made entirely without mortar. The fact that the enormous stones fit together so perfectly that not even a single blade of grass can fit between them is a testament to the Inca’s sophisticated masonry.

    In the afternoon, we continue to Tambo del Inka Resort in the Sacred Valley, a perfect place to end the day with dinner and a good night’s sleep.

    Day 2
    Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley

    'Navel of the World’

  • Day 3
    Sacred Valley / Machu Picchu / Scared Valley

    ‘The Lost City of the Incas’

    After breakfast at the resort, you’re in for an unforgettable day. We start off in Ollantaytambo, once the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region and built the town that shares its name with the formidable stone fortress that clings to a massive cliff above the community. Constructed of rose-coloured granite, this huge structure was once a thriving complex of baths, temples and military barracks, and the fortification was the valley’s main defence against the rival Antis people. It was also the site of the Inca’s greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest.

    We then head to the nearby train station to board the deluxe Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. Tuck into a savoury brunch while enjoying the views on the way to the renowned location.

    At last, we arrive at spectacular Machu Picchu. Built around 1450 and abandoned at the time of the Spanish conquest, thick tangles of vines and trees shielded it from the outside world for centuries. Since being 'found’ by an American archaeologist in 1911, 'The Lost City of the Incas’ has now taken centre stage as one of the greatest destinations in the world.

    You can explore the city’s ruins, imagining what life must have been like when it was inhabited by priests, craftsmen and servants. Excavations at the site have revealed skeletons, artefacts and woollen clothing, and you can admire the famous precision of Incan stonework on display here. Still, as the Incas left no written records behind about the city’s rise or fall, Machu Picchu remains one of the most archaeologically mysterious sites in the world.

    After spending an eventful day at the two sites, we head back to Tambo del Inka Resort by train for another relaxing evening and overnight stay.

    Day 3
    Sacred Valley / Machu Picchu / Scared Valley

    ‘The Lost City of the Incas’

  • Day 4
    Sacred Valley/Cusco/Lima/Callao

    Centre of the Incan Empire

    After breakfast, we head to the splendid Baroque-style Cusco Cathedral, built by the Spaniards in the mid-1500s on the foundations of an Incan palace. Many of the stones used in its construction were looted from the nearby Sacsayhuamán fortress. From there, we continue to Koricancha where you can 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.

    When it’s time for lunch, we’ll eat at a local restaurant, before we transfer to the airport and fly to Lima. Once there, we head to Callao where your ship is docked, ready and waiting to begin the next part of your expedition. 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 health and safety briefing from the Expedition Team, and maybe a few more drinks in the Explorer Lounge and Bar!

    Day 4
    Sacred Valley/Cusco/Lima/Callao

    Centre of the Incan Empire

  • Day 5
    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 5
    Paracas, Peru

    Birds and brandy

  • Day 6
    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 6
    At Sea

    Picture perfect

  • Day 7
    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 7
    Arica, Chile

    City of Everlasting Spring

  • Day 8
    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 8
    Iquique, Chile

    Chile’s Premier Beach Resort

  • Day 9
    Relax on board

    Relax on board

    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 9
    Relax on board

    Relax on board

  • Day 10
    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 10
    La Serena, Chile

    ‘The City of Churches’

  • Day 11
    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 also can join a Post-Programme to Easter Island, famous for its mysterious statues of giant heads.

    Day 11
    Valparaíso, Chile

    UNESCO’s `Jewel of the Pacific´

Departures

  • 2022
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
    6 Oct
    12 Oct
    13 Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
6 October 2022
12 October 2022
13 October 2022

Current offers on this cruise:

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Possibilities

What's included

Included in your voyage

Expedition Machu Picchu/Peru before the cruise

  • One night in Lima and two nights at Hotel Tambo del Inka, including breakfast
  • 3-course set lunch and dinner on Day 2 and 3, and packed lunch on Day 4
  • Return economy flight Lima-Cusco-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 (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
  • The land programme in Peru takes place at high altitudes (the city of Cuzco’s altitude is around 3350 metres) and may require a certain level of physical fitness. The order of sights may vary.

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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