MS Fram
14 days

Panama Canal, Native Communities and Cultures with Machu Picchu

Price from
$ 9133
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
MS Fram
14 days

Panama Canal, Native Communities and Cultures with Machu Picchu

Price from
$ 9133
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Panama Canal, Native Communities and Cultures with Machu Picchu
Departure
29 September 2022
  • Transit the ingenious Panama Canal and see its system of locks up close
  • Experience Machu Picchu, and the fortresses of Ollantaytambo and Sacsayhuamán

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Itinerary

Enter the Panama Canal aboard your expedition ship to experience one of the greatest man-made modern wonders. Venture deep into the jungle of Darien National Park to meet the Embera and continue south along the Pacific Coast to visit charming communities. You’ll then explore Inca and colonial sites in the Sacred Valley, including the magnificent Machu Picchu.
Day 1
Colón, Panama

29 September 2022

Estimated time of departure is 11:00 PM

Gateway to the Panama Canal
Colon, Panama
Photo: Shunyu Fan/Getty Images

The city of Colón lies by the entrance to the Panama Canal on the Atlantic coast. There are high-quality hotels, a casino, hot springs, a thriving handicraft scene and great restaurants with local delicacies. If you want to really explore the city or join a Pre-Programme to a beautiful jungle lodge next to the Chagres River, you should clear your calendar and arrange to arrive a couple of days earlier.

Once on board the ship, you’ll be busy picking up your complimentary expedition jacket, settling into your cabin, exploring the ship and attending a mandatory safety drill. After dinner and a welcome toast by the Captain, you’ll meet your Expedition Team who run through important health and safety aspects with you.

Colon, Panama
Photo: Shunyu Fan/Getty Images
The Panama Canal
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 2
Panama Canal

30 September 2022

Connecting Two Oceans
The Panama Canal
Photo: Shutterstock

We depart Colón early in the morning to start the process of entering the Panama Canal. The complex canal network is over a hundred years in the making, stretching 80 km through natural and man-made waterways. We’ll wait with anticipation for our allocated slot to enter the first of a series of huge locks. In a feat of modern engineering, these ingenious locks effectively lift the ship more than 26 metres above sea level. If weather allows, the Expedition Team will be out on deck to point out sites of interest around the canal and to talk about the history of this ambitious project.

Roughly half way through the 12-hour transit of the canal, the ship will enter the Gatun Lake section. Created by damning the nearby Chagres River, it is one of the largest artificial lakes in the world. By contrast, the surrounding rainforest is virtually untouched by any development and various flora and fauna native to Central America flourish here undisturbed. Along the shores, you might be lucky enough to spot crocodiles and alligators. Scan the trees for glimpses of monkeys and maybe sloths too.

After a few more locks and lakes, the ship will pass under the Bridge of the Americas and emerge into the Pacific. Passing from one great ocean to another in a day, you’ve just experienced the culmination of centuries of planning, hard work and resourcefulness. It’s sure to be a moment you won’t soon forget.

Day 3
La Chunga, Panama

1 October 2022

Meet the Embera
La Chunga
Photo: Shutterstock

You’ll be on quite the adventure today as we head to an authentic Embera settlement in the middle of the jungle in Darien National Park. The indigenous Embera have lived in this area for centuries, long before the first Spanish explorer set foot in the New World. The tribe here doesn’t receive visitors regularly and we have worked closely with them to give you this rare opportunity. We’ll brief you beforehand on how to make sure our visit to this isolated community is a respectful one and always in line with their customs on courtesy.

In order to get there, we will anchor up in La Chunga bay and head up the Sambu River through the jungle using our small expedition boats. As we will be travelling inland, it will usually be a lot hotter and you’ll want to have good protection from the sun and the mosquitos. The journey up river will take approximately one hour but will be well worth it. Along the way, keep your eyes open and your camera ready to capture birds like herons, egrets, osprey and Harpy Eagles.

When we arrive at the Embera settlement, you’ll be able to greet and meet the people here and explore the village. You can learn about their traditional clothing and medicine, much of it sourced from the surrounding jungle. There might also be an opportunity to join a local guide on a short walk through the jungle to learn about various medicinal plants and insects of interest. Back in the village, the residents are likely to be having fun themselves as they offer to give you a temporary tribal tattoo and even let you try on their traditional dress.

La Chunga
Photo: Shutterstock
Bird up close in Bahia Solano, Colombia
Photo: Shutterstock
Beautiful beaches and a lush jungle in Bahia Solano, Colombia
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 4
Bahía Solano, Colombia

2 October 2022

Afro Colombian vibes
Bird up close in Bahia Solano, Colombia
Photo: Shutterstock

The little town of Bahía Solano is the largest settlement on Colombia’s Chocó coast, near the mouth of Rio Jella and surrounded by thick jungle. It is also named Ciudad Mutis after the 18th century Spanish botanist, perhaps a reference to the natural biodiversity that exists in the area’s jungles, mangroves, mountains, marshes, rivers, and bays.

The community here opens their town to us and warmly invite you on a hosted walk through their settlement. Along the way, you’ll meet and talk to the mainly Afro Colombian residents who live alongside indigenous Embera and other Colombians from the interior. Passing by the main church and kindergarten, we’ll come to the local secondary school where students will greet you with a traditional welcome song and show you around their classrooms. Over at the small fishing port, you’ll learn about the town’s fishing co-operative, which is the main source of income for the community. Your tour ends at the seafront where you’ll be treated to a performance of unique Afro Pacific Colombian music and dance.

There is an optional excursion to the Botanic Gardens located on the long sandy beach of Playa Mecana. The gardens are actually a 170-acre jungle reserve with fascinating nature trails and home to a seed bank plus different reforestation projects. Another potential optional excursion might take you to the fishing village at Playa Huina where you’ll have the opportunity to walk through the jungle to waterfalls with crystal clear swimming holes or to visit a local indigenous community.

Day 5
At Sea

3 October 2022

Crossing the Equator
Woman and man on outdoor deck looking for birds, pointing and looking in binoculars.
Photo: Andrea Klaussner

Spend some of your day taking a relaxing walk out on deck, enjoying the seascapes and keeping an eye out for marine wildlife like whales, dolphins and sea birds. This is also a great opportunity to head to the Science Center for lectures with the Expedition Team and to learn more about what you will experience in the following days. Pick one of the proposed Citizen Science programmes to get involved in too, knowing that you will be helping research currently happening around the world. When darkness falls and it’s a starry night, you might also join the Expedition Team out on deck to do some stargazing. Or settle into a comfortable seat in the Explorer Lounge & Bar to raise a glass or two with new-found friends.  

Woman and man on outdoor deck looking for birds, pointing and looking in binoculars.
Photo: Andrea Klaussner
Woman standing in front of a shop, looking at hats.
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 6
Manta, Ecuador

4 October 2022

Made in Montecristi
Woman standing in front of a shop, looking at hats.
Photo: Shutterstock

We cross the Equator early in the morning. You can join a traditional ceremony on board where we seek King Neptune’s blessing. If we are lucky, he may even make an appearance before we reach our first call in Ecuador.

Our main tour of the day will be to the handicraft town of Montecristi located 8km inland from the tuna-fishing port city of Manta. It was established in the 16th century by manteños fleeing the frequent pirate raids on the coast. Montecristi, Ecuador is the actual birthplace of traditional Panama hats, despite the name. The misnomer originates from when President Roosevelt wore one of these hats on a visit to the Panama Canal in 1904, sparking their popularity worldwide. You’ll see many shops throughout the town selling the genuine article in all sizes and shades, expertly handwoven from the leaves of the jipijapa tree by local artisans.

Aside from hat-hunting, you can spend time browsing the stalls at the pretty plaza, admiring the architecture of the church, or looking at the varied street art. One prominent mural at the plaza depicts General Eloy Alfaro, two-time Ecuadorian President and Montecristi native. You might also have time to head to the top of the main hill where there is a museum and grandiose mausoleum in honour of Alfaro who was also known as the Viejo Luchador or "Old Warrior".

Day 7
Isla del la Plata

5 October 2022

Ecuador’s other Galápagos
The coastline of Isla de la Plata.
Photo: Shutterstock

Isla de la Plata is a part of Parque National Machalilla, Ecuador’s only coastal national park. The island sits quite far off the coast and is prone to large waves that can make landings a challenge. Its name as the ‘Island of Silver’ is thought to come from the belief that English seaman Francis Drake buried a bunch of silver treasure here. Or it’s possibly because all the bird guano reflected in the sunshine gave the island a shiny, silvery look when seen from the mainland. No treasure has ever been found on the island though which only measures less than 6 square kilometres.

Still, whatever the island lacks in size or silver, it more than makes up for in a range of wildlife that rivals that of the Galápagos Islands. If we are able to go ashore here successfully, keen bird watchers among you will enjoy walking on the island with binoculars at the ready to spot some of the 32 species of bird found here, like famous blue-footed boobies, nesting waved albatrosses, pelicans, gannets, and frigate birds. The waters around the island are equally diverse and you might be lucky enough to see whales, manta rays, green turtles, and dolphins.

The coastline of Isla de la Plata.
Photo: Shutterstock
Two birds with blue feet - Blue footed boobies - in Isla de la Plata.
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 8
Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador

6 October 2022

Growing green gold
Two birds with blue feet - Blue footed boobies - in Isla de la Plata.
Photo: Shutterstock

Machala’s main claim to fame is Puerto Bolivar, an important Ecuadorian port for the export of coffee, cocoa, shrimp and bountiful bananas which the locals call oro verde – ‘green gold’. As part of a choice of optional excursions, you can visit a local banana plantation and also try and spot hummingbirds, parakeets and howler monkeys in Buenaventura Nature Reserve to the south. Puyango Petrified Forest is nearby with one of the largest collections of fossilised trees in the world, thought to be about 100 million years-old, as old as the Andes Mountains themselves.

At Puerto Bolivar, you can feast on fresh seafood at one of the many harbour restaurants and enjoy views of the natural mangrove swamps of Isla Jambeli opposite. Machala itself has all the charm you’d expect from a small coastal city, including friendly locals, cute plazas and unusual monuments dedicated to sort-fish and bananeros. The restaurants are evolving and beginning to dabble in the hip modern cuisine which Ecuador and Peru are increasingly known for.

Day 9
At Sea

7 October 2022

At Your Leisure
4 people standing on the outdoor deck, looking into the water.
Photo: Andrea Klaussner

Enjoy another day at your leisure aboard the ship. Take advantage of the many onboard facilities or join in on lectures, perhaps on Peruvian culture and history, as we prepare you for what’s still to come. Spend some time up on deck sun-bathing, slip into your bathing suit and lie back into the bubbles of one of the outdoor hot tubs or bask in a state of zen during a guided meditation class. And if the warm weather hasn’t opened up your pores, a session in the sauna is bound to do the trick. When you’ve had enough of the sun for the day, head back inside to join an art workshop, or maybe recap your voyage so far with your fellow guests in the Explorer Lounge & Bar.

4 people standing on the outdoor deck, looking into the water.
Photo: Andrea Klaussner
Human-like statues in front of two walls. Salaverry, Chan Chan.
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 10
Salaverry, Peru

8 October 2022

Ancient Kingdoms
Human-like statues in front of two walls. Salaverry, Chan Chan.
Photo: Shutterstock

Buffeted by the wind and waves of the Pacific, Salaverry can be a hard port to access. If all goes to plan though, it will be a good transit point to explore Trujillo, Peru’s third largest city, as well as an array of archaeological sites scattered throughout the surrounding region.

Trujillo sits in a fertile valley oasis irrigated by the Moche River. It boasts a colourful baroque 17th century cathedral, 10 colonial churches, and many neoclassical mansions, not to mention one of the longest mosaic murals in the world at the local university. However, it is more than likely that your focus will be elsewhere and on things not so modern.

The city of Chan Chan was raised by the Chimu Empire which appeared in the region around 900 AD. The vast ruins of the 20-square kilometre complex include the Tschudi temple-citadel and Huaca Esmeralda. On the other side of Trujillo are the Mochican pyramids of the Sun and the Moon which pre-date Chan Chan by a few hundred years. Huaca del Sol in particular is the largest adobe structure on the continent while Huaca del Luna is more detailed with many of its pastel frescos still visible.

Day 11
Callao/Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley

9 October 2022

On your way to the Sacred Valley
Woman in traditional clothing standing next to a llama, mountains in the backround.

Around noon, we arrive in Callao and it will be time to say goodbye to the Captain and crew. A packed lunch will be provided for your transfer to Lima airport and your flight to Cusco. Once we arrive in the old capital of the Inca Empire 3,400 metres above sea level, we’ll head to the Tambo del Inka Resort in the Sacred Valley for dinner and to spend the night.

Woman in traditional clothing standing next to a llama, mountains in the backround.
Mountain top and Incan palace in front.
Day 12
Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu/Sacred Valley

10 October 2022

‘The Lost City of the Incas’
Mountain top and Incan palace in front.

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 13
Sacred Valley/Cusco/Lima

11 October 2022

Centre of the Incan Empire
Sacsayhuamán, Cusco, Peru
Photo: Shutterstock

After breakfast, we head back to Cusco to visit Sacsayhuamán fortress. It is strategically located on a hill overlooking Cusco and constructed without mortar like many other Inca structures. Even though the enormous stones can weigh up to 200 tons, they fit so tightly together that not even a thin blade of grass can slide between them, a testament to the Inca’s sophisticated construction techniques and architectural skills.

Next, we proceed 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 meet our local guide and transfer to the hotel. After checking in, you can enjoy the evening in Peru’s capital at your leisure. We recommend heading to the trendy neighbourhood of Barranco for bars and restaurants or dropping by the illuminated ruins of clay ceremonial pyramids Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Hulallamarca.

Sacsayhuamán, Cusco, Peru
Photo: Shutterstock
Beautiful building from below, in Lima.
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 14
Lima

12 October 2022

‘The City of Kings’
Beautiful building from below, in Lima.
Photo: Shutterstock

Sadly, this is the last day of your expedition and it officially ends after breakfast at the hotel when you’ll say farewell to your fellow explorers. Seeing as you’re already here, we recommend extending your holiday for a few days to spend more time in the Peruvian capital which was known as La Ciudad de los Reyes, or ‘The City of Kings’.

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.

Hurtigruten offers unique expedition cruises to some of the most remote and pristine waters of the world. As with all expeditions; nature prevails. Weather, and ice and sea conditions, sets the final framework for all Hurtigruten’s operations. Safety and unparalleled guest experiences are at all times our top priorities. All our indicative itineraries are continuously evaluated for adaptions, whether this is due to constraints the elements unexpectedly presents – or exciting possibilities nature and wildlife offer. That is why we call it an expedition.
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What's included

Included in your voyage

Land-Programme Peru/Machu Picchu after the cruise

  • Two nights at Tambo del Inka Resort, including half board
  • One night in Lima, including breakfast
  • 3-course set lunch on day 12, 13 and packed lunch on day 11
  • Return economy flight Lima-Cusco-Lima
  • All transfers and train rides as described, including English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fees according to 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
  • 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

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats
  • Loan of boots, 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.
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo
MS Fram in Antarctica
Photo: Sandra Walser

Your ship

MS Fram

Year built 2007
Year of refurbishment 2020
Shipyard 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
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo

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.

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Icebergs – one of many favorite photo motives when on an expedition with MS Fram
Photo: Tomas Mauch
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