Costa Rica and Peru - Incan Mysteries and Machu Picchu (Itinerary 2)

Our journey begins in the rain forests of beautiful Costa Rica. We then sail south to beautiful sandy beaches on Panama's Bocos del Toro islands, pass through the iconic Panama Canal, and explore fascinating archaeological sites and mysterious lost cultures in Ecuador and Peru, including Machu Picchu and the treasures of the Chimu civilization.
14 days

Colorful Central America

We begin our expedition in beautiful Costa Rica, said to be the happiest place on earth and home to more than 50 species of humming birds.

Our first stop in Panama is at one of the sandy Caribbean islands of Bocas del Toro.  Enjoy the slow pace of life, unwind on the beach, or swim in the warm waters and explore coral reefs.

Continental Divide

After a stop at the city of Colón, marking the entrance to the Panama Canal, it's time to muster on deck to watch MS Fram manoeuvre through a series of locks and artificial canals interconnecting natural lakes.  We cross the continent at 82 feet above sea level!

Beaches and Blue-footed Birds

Once on the Pacific side, it’s time to enjoy Puerto Piña where we may see whales.  After a relaxing day at sea, step ashore at Isla de la Plata, known as Ecuador’s “other Galápagos” because of the abundance of wildlife found here. Take a walk along one of the marked trails or head down to a sandy beach, either way be sure to keep a look out for blue-footed boobies, albatross and many other species.

Chimu Civilization

In Salaverry, we visit the ruins of the ancient Chimu kingdom, featuring the largest mud brick citadel of the Americas from the pre-Columbian era.

Incredible Incas

Discover the highlights of the Inca Empire, the largest kingdom in pre-Columbian America, which left behind spectacular legacies like the town of Ollantaytambo, the world-famous ruins of Machu Picchu, the impressive Sacsayhuamán fortress and vibrant city of Cusco, once the imperial center.

Absolutely Unforgettable

The mix of exceptional nature, fascinating cities, vibrant South American culture and captivating lectures make this expedition truly unforgettable. 

Tour departure date: October 15, 2019 (San José, Costa Rica)
Ship departure date: October 16, 2019 (Puerto Limon, Costa Rica)
Ship arrival date: October 25, 2019 (Callao/Lima, Peru)
Tour end date: October 28, 2019 (Lima, Peru) 

Practical information

Tour departure date: October 15, 2019 (San José, Costa Rica)
Ship departure date: October 16, 2019 (Puerto Limon, Costa Rica)
Ship arrival date: October 25, 2019 (Callao/Lima, Peru)
Tour end date: October 28, 2019 (Lima, Peru) 

Price includes: 

Not included: 

This is an expedition where the elements rule, so the weather and wind 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.
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.


  1. Better Things Ahead - San José, Costa Rica

    We arrive in the Costa Rican capital, San José, and transfer to our hotel in the city center. San José's moniker – “towards better things” – aptly coins the spirit of our upcoming adventure. Stroll the streets and discover the neo-classical grandeur of this unique Central American metropolis. As Lonely Planet writes, “give this city a chance and you might be pleasantly surprised”. Get a good night's sleep because we start the journey of a lifetime the next day.

    Better Things Ahead - San José, Costa Rica
  2. Caribbean Side of Costa Rica - Puerto Limón, Costa Rica

    After breakfast we head east towards the Caribbean coast to visit the tropical rain forests near Tortuguero National Park. A boat ride along the Tortuguero Canals completes a lovely day of sightseeing before we transfer to MS Fram at nearby Puerto Limón for embarkation.

    Puerto Limón is the largest city on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast and one of the oldest cities on the continent. The port was established in 1502 when Christopher Columbus landed here during his exploration of the New World. 

    Caribbean Side of Costa Rica - Puerto Limón, Costa Rica
  3. Island Style - Bocas del Toro, Panama

    We begin our continent-crossing journey along the Caribbean coast of Panama, setting our course first for Bocas del Toro, an archipelago of nine main islands, 52 cays, and thousands of islets.

    Colorful and brimming with Caribbean-style clapboard houses, Bocas del Toro is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site and Panama's first National Marine Park. It is also one of Panama's most visited eco-tourism destinations. Considered the “Galápagos of the Caribbean”, Bocas del Toro is also one of the most biologically diverse places on earth. 

    Island Style - Bocas del Toro, Panama
  4. Connecting Two Oceans - Panama Canal, Panama

    We leave the Caribbean and enter the Panama Canal near the city of Colón. Experience the thrill of canal transit and the intricacy of the locks system firsthand, as MS Fram is lifted more than 85 feet above sea level, from one body of water to the next. We enter the Pacific Ocean near the town of Balboa.

    Connecting Two Oceans - Panama Canal, Panama
  5. Marvellous Marine Life - Puerto Piña, Panama

    We arrive midday at Puerto Piña, a small coastal community near the border with Colombia. The village lies beside the Bahía Piña, a narrow bay between two promontories that are frequented by humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins. Bahía Piña, in the province of Darien, attracts deep-sea fishermen from around the world. Numerous fishing world records have been broken here, more than anywhere else on earth. A diversity of marine species inhabit Bahía Piña, including sharks, dolphins, rays, and humpback whales. Rich in natural beauty, the area is ideal for hiking along trails in the jungle, kayaking, relaxing on the beach and swimming. 

    Marvellous Marine Life  - Puerto Piña, Panama
  6. Over the Bounding Main - At sea

    Enjoy a relaxing day at sea. Listen in as our experienced lecturers share their extensive knowledge, or spend time on deck fully enjoying the serenity of a day at sea.

    Over the Bounding Main - At sea
  7. The Other Galápagos - Isla de la Plata, Ecuador

    In the afternoon, we arrive at Isla de la Plata, part of Machalilla National Park, Ecuador’s only coastal national park. The island is known as Ecuador’s other Galápagos 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 fantastic for hikers and features many bird watching trails. It also offers great opportunities to swim and snorkel. 

    The Other Galápagos - Isla de la Plata, Ecuador
  8. Serenity at Sea - At sea

    Our Expedition Team continues its lecture program, sharing their extensive knowledge and experience, as well as summarizing the voyage so far and letting you know about plans for the exciting days ahead. Our onboard Expedition Photographer will also be available to help you with the basics of expedition photography.

    Serenity at Sea - At sea
  9. Temple of the Sun and Moon - Salaverry, Peru

    The small port of Salaverry, Peru, near the city of Trujillo, is the starting point for the excursion to the ancient Chimu kingdom (700-1400 A.D.), which built its capital by the banks of the Moche River. The ancient city of Chan Chan ("Sun Sun"), in Trujillo, covers an area of 12 square miles and was constructed with clay, mud, pebbles, straw and cane.

    Considered the largest mud-brick citadel of the Americas in pre-Hispanic times, it is a remarkable piece of architecture that was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1986. 

    Temple of the Sun and Moon - Salaverry, Peru
  10. Another Relaxing Day at Sea - At sea

    Kick back and enjoy another full day at sea. Take part in the lecture series presented by the Expedition Team or simply tune into the meditative rhythm of the ocean.

    Another Relaxing Day at Sea - At sea
  11. UNESCO Site and Ancient Architecture - Callao/Cusco, Peru

    We have arrived at the port of Callao and start our day by transferring to a morning flight at nearby Lima to Cusco. Enjoy lunch before experiencing the amazing Inca fortress, Sacsayhuamán. The name translates to "satisfied falcon”, in reference to the mythical bird that was said to have guarded the Incan empire capital. Construction of the site took more than seven decades and demanded the labor of 20,000 men to set foundations, hew the stone, transport materials, and carve and set the stonework.

    Like many Incan structures, the fortress was built entirely without mortar, yet the enormous stones fit so perfectly that a single blade of grass will not pass between them. The craftsmanship is a stunning example of the Inca’s sophisticated construction and architectural skills. In the afternoon, we continue to Tambo del Inka Resort in the Sacred Valley for dinner and an overnight stay.

    UNESCO Site and Ancient Architecture - Callao/Cusco, Peru
  12. Majestic Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu

    After breakfast, you’re in for some unforgettable sights. First we visit Ollantaytambo, an Incan town that shares its name with the formidable stone fortress that hugs the massive cliff looming over the community. This stronghold was the valley’s main defence against the rival Antis and the site of the Incas’ greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest. Constructed of rose-colored granite, the huge structure was once a thriving complex of baths, temples and military barracks. Next, we head to the nearby train station and board the deluxe Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. A savory brunch is served as we enjoy spectacular views on the way to Machu Picchu.

    At last, we arrive at spectacular Machu Picchu. The legendary hidden city overlooks the raging Urubamba River and was shielded from discovery for centuries by thick tangles of vines and trees. Now one of the great destinations in world travel, the lost city of Machu Picchu still hides 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. The renowned precision of Incan stonework on display here is astounding. After spending an unforgettable day exploring the ruins, you can enjoy tea at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge before we head back to Tambo del Inka Resort for another relaxing evening and overnight stay.  

    Majestic Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu
  13. Center of the Incan Empire - Cusco/Lima/Callao

    After breakfast, we head back to Cusco, once the center of the Inca Empire. Visit the splendid baroque Cusco Cathedral, built by the Spanish in the mid-1500s on the foundations of an Incan 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 one of the greatest existing examples of Inca stonework. After another day of exploring, we transfer you to the airport for the flight to Lima, followed by a transfer to your hotel. Enjoy your evening in the capital of Peru, and a good night's sleep.

    Center of the Incan Empire - Cusco/Lima/Callao
  14. Lovely Colonial Lima - Lima, Peru

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. The Lima area is steeped in history. To the north is Caral, considered the most ancient city in the Americas, and in the south is the archaeological site of Pachacamac. Lima itself was established by the Spanish conquistadores in 1542, and the ruling Vice Royalty of Peru proceeded to build significant churches, monasteries, and mansions in the town. Today, the Lima´s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Lovely Colonial Lima - Lima, Peru

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