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.
In the morning, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your flight from Lima to Juliaca. This city is located on the windy Collao Plateau, 3,825 metres above sea level. You’ll meet our local guide at the airport and set off on a one-hour drive through Juliaca to your hotel in Puno. Along the way, you might glimpse such sights as Santa Catalina Church in the Plaza de Armas, the Romanesque Franciscan Convent atop Cerro Santa Bárbara, or the White Christ effigy gazing out over the city from Waynaruqi Hill.
Your hotel in the city of Puno, located right on the shore of lovely Lake Titicaca, will be you’re your home for the next two days. Enjoy lunch at the hotel before our visit to Chucuito and Amaru Muru.
Chucuito was once an important colonial-era town where royal taxes were collected before being transported to Lima. Nowadays, it is a quiet village with two attractive 16th century colonial churches, Santo Domingo and Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, and an ancient solar clock around the town square. To the north of the square is a lookout point that promises splendid views of the surrounding landscape. You may visit a nearby trout hatchery to see how the region’s speciality of trucha are grown and enjoy horseback riding with a local family outside of town. Most visitors are also intrigued by the small archaeological landmark of Inca Uyo. The site claims to be the remains of an ancient temple of fertility, although not all experts agree its status is bona fide. Regardless, the row upon row of 86 phallic granite statues is an amusing sight to see and maybe even count!
Before we head back to the hotel for dinner and your overnight stay, we make a stop at the mysterious Aramu Muru, an unfinished T-shaped doorway carved into solid rock. The mystical site has inspired local legends of people disappearing through it and supposed sights of the doorway opening to tall men carrying glowing balls of light. Some excitedly speculate it is some kind of paranormal or extra-terrestrial portal, prompting pilgrimages here by those who refer to it by its other name: Puerta de Hayu Marca, the Gate of the Gods.
It is finally time to explore Lake Titicaca by boat, the birthplace of the sun and the Incas according to ancient Andean belief. Over 280 metres deep and 8,300 square kilometres across, welcome to the largest lake in South America, 15 times the size of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva and even bigger than Lake Tahoe in the US. At 3,810 metres above sea level, it is also the highest navigable body of water in the world. Surrounded by mountains and yellow grass reeds, more than 25 rivers stream into the freshwater lake which, when placid, seems to perfectly reflect the blue skies above like one vast mirror.
Our first stop of the day is the floating islands of the Uru people, built to allow them to move away if threatened by their enemies. These incredible islands are entirely handmade by the Uru, woven together from buoyant totora reeds that grow in the shallows of the lake. Each islet houses between one and ten families and takes months to complete. They last a decade or so but must be continuously maintained with new layers. You’ll learn about the other fascinating uses of the reeds by the local community during your visit, ranging from huts, boats, and toys. Even walking on the soft and springy ground will be quite the experience!
You’ll continue by boat to the rural community of Llachón on the scenic shores of Capachica peninsula. The panoramic views of the lake from here are enough to take your breath away. Your included activity here is a guided kayaking tour, admiring the sandy beaches of the peninsula and looking out for Titicaca’s 60 species of bird, 14 native fish species and 18 types of amphibian. You’ll also join a guided walk through the village to learn about the agricultural way of life here. Observe arts and crafts and share a typical Andean lunch with one of the local families. Afterwards, we make our way back to Puno for a relaxing evening with dinner at the hotel.
After checking out of the hotel, we’ll head to the airport. There’ll be time though to stop at Sillustani tombs, a pre-Incan cemetery 3,890 metres above sea level, surrounded by Lake Umayo. The tombs or chullas were built above ground by the ancient Colla people, creating tower-like structures as tall as 12 metres to hold the entire families of its society’s elite. After exploring the cemetery, we continue to Juliaca airport for your flight to Lima where your ship is ready to continue your adventure at sea.
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.
As we sail further north toward Chile, continue to enjoy the Expedition Team’s lecture programme, the healthy salt-tinged breeze and views out on deck, and all the facilities the expedition ship has to offer. These waters are also part of the Humboldt Current, a cold-water current that cools the climate in the region and creates clear skies. It also sustains a highly productive marine eco-system in the region, stimulating the growth of sardines, anchovies, and mackerel in huge quantities.
If you’re someone who likes to keep active, there are well-equipped gyms on board, both indoor and outdoor and each with great views. Swimmers aren’t left out either and the ship has a heated infinity pool for you to enjoy. If you tire of the treadmill, take your trainers on the outdoor running track. The scenery and the sea breeze will spur you on to do a few miles more.
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.
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.
We are drawing near the end of your cruise. Enjoy another day at your leisure aboard the ship. Take advantage of the many onboard facilities or join in on lectures as we prepare you for what’s still to come.
To fully relax during your downtime on board, there’s no better place than the Wellness Center. Feel the knots in your muscles disappear during a massage or pamper yourself with a few skin-scrubbing treatments. And if the warm weather hasn’t opened up your pores, a session in the sauna is bound to do the trick. You could also slip into your bathing suit and lie back into the bubbles of the outdoor hot tubs or bask in a state of zen during a guided meditation class. Whatever you decide to do, you’re sure to be stress-free and revitalised for the remaining adventure.
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.
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 join a Post-Programme to Easter Island, famous for its mysterious statues of giant heads.
Included in your voyage
Expedition Lake Titicaca/Peru before the cruise
- One night in Lima, including breakfast
- Two nights at GHL Puno Hotel, including half board
- Two 3-course set lunch and one packed lunch
- Return economy flight Lima-Juliaca-Lima
- All transfers and train rides as described, including English-speaking guide
- Entrance fee as listed in programme
- 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 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
- 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
- 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 Lake Titicaca´s altitude is around 3,800 metres) and may require a certain level of physical fitness. The order of sights may vary.
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
- MS Fridtjof Nansen - Practical information
- MS Roald Amundsen: Life on board and Practical information
- Meet our Expedition Teams
- Young Explorers’ Programme: Bring your kids on board