Day 1 Quito, Ecuador
You arrive individually at the Ecuadoran capital of Quito. Take a look around this marvellous city before overnighting at a centrally located hotel.
Thanks to the citys preservation of its diverse cultural past, UNESCO declared Quito the first of its World Heritage sites in 1978. The city is beautifully situated in an Andean valley at 2,850 metres (9,350 ft), making it the second-highest capital city in the world.
Day 2 Quito
After breakfast, we drive north to the Equator and visit the Inti an Museum. Afterwards, we ascend Telefrico one of Quitos most popular attractions, offering spectacular and easily accessible views of the city. The ride lasts only 10 minutes but takes you to an altitude of 4,050 m (13,300 ft). At the top, the lookout offers the visitor incredible views of Quito, the surrounding valleys and snow-covered volcanoes (along with coffee, snacks, and oxygen for the short of breath).
Return to the city to enjoy lunch in Quitos charming colonial quarter. The afternoon’s sightseeing reveals some of the reasons why Ecuador’s capital earned its honour as UNESCOs first World Heritage site. Dinner will be served at the hotel before an overnight stay.
Day 3 Galpagos Islands – Baltra/Santa Cruz
After breakfast, we depart the hotel and drive to Quito Airport for our flight to the Galpagos Islands (via Guayaquil).
Upon arrival at Baltras airport, we meet the local representative and board a bus for the short transfer to Itabaca Channel, which separates Baltra Island from Santa Cruz Island. Here, we board a small ferry that crosses the azure waters of the channel to Santa Cruz, a journey that takes about five minutes.
On the other side, we travel through a rural agricultural area surrounded by wild landscapes and many different species of flora and fauna. We may well spot the finches that are famous for being the basis of Darwins theory of evolution.
See the famous Galpagos land tortoises in their natural environment and learn how private ranches help protect these special creatures and their habitat. Tortoises of all different ages and sizes gather here: Small young ones with shining carapaces, and older ones with weathered and worn shells. Lunch will be served in the highlands.
The well-known Lava Tunnels are another amazing experience. Formed by lava flows from the volcanoes, they range from the highlands down to the sea. Join an amazing half-hour hike through one of the tunnels to where it gets too small to pass.
Afterwards, we continue to our hotel in the town of Puerto Ayora. Once settled, we walk to the nearby Charles Darwin Research Station, which hosts educational museums on both the history and development of the Galpagos Islands, and protection of their natural heritage. Native giant land tortoises can also be observed. Many different tortoise species exist in the Galpagos and the station is the only place where most of the species reside at one site.
The afternoon is at your leisure to explore small yet picturesque Puerto Ayora and its many shops with local arts and crafts. We later enjoy dinner at the hotels cosy restaurant.
Day 4-5 Galpagos Islands – Santa Cruz
Enjoy breakfast at hotel. We have two full days to tour one of the nearby, uninhabited islands by boat.
Please note that only one of the four islands listed below will be visited per day:
Bartolom Island, famous for Pinnacle Rock and Galpagos penguins
South Plaza Island, home to a colony of land iguanas
Santa Fe Island, known for having the islands most sea beautiful coves
North Seymour Island, considered a microcosm of the entire archipelago
The visits are regulated by the Galpagos National Park and we are notified of permission 30 days prior to the visit. Regardless of the islands we visit, lunch is served on board the vessel during the tour.
Later, we have dinner at the hotel and overnight.
Day 6 Baltra Island / Lima
After breakfast at hotel, we transfer to Baltra airport for the flight to mainland Ecuador. En route to the airport, we stop at ‘The Twins’ or ‘Los Gemelos’ – two impressive volcanic depressions in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.
A box lunch is served on the flight from Baltra Island to Lima (via Guayaquil). At Lima airport, we meet our local representative who transfers you to your hotel in the city for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 7 Callao – Embarkation
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. After checkout, we transfer to the ship taking in a ‘Half-day Lima Highlights Tour’, including a visit to the citys historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The tours highlights include Casa Aliaga, a nearly 500-year old mansion built for one of Pizarros lieutenants, and Santo Domingo Convent, the best-preserved colonial building in all of Lima.
The tour finishes at the quayside in Callao, where MS Roald Amundsen stands ready to continue the expedition at sea.
Day 8 Paracas
Paracas is the gateway to the quiet colonial town of Pisco and its fertile coastal valley with the famous and mysterious Nazca lines and geoglyphs. These lines were scratched on the surface of the ground between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D.
Ballestas Islands (3 hrs)
Explore one of this region’s most beautiful natural attractions, the Ballestas Islands, often referred to as Peru’s Galapagos, with its volcanic scenery and diverse wildlife. Spot sea birds and mammals on the boat trip and enjoy photogenic landscapes on the islands. Enjoy some free time to explore and perhaps see seals, sea lions, and even penguins!
Day 9 At sea
Days at sea mean you can join the Expedition Team for interesting lectures, learn the basics of expedition photography, and spend time out on deck enjoying the fresh salt air as you scout for wildlife. Of course, theres also plenty of time to chat with fellow explorers.
Day 10 Arica, Chile
Arica is blessed with a warm climate all year round, and we will spend a full day here. Explore the city, walk up the `El Morro cliff to get a panoramic view, see the beaches or visit the archaeological sites with some of the world’s oldest known mummies.
Atacama Coastal Walk (3 hrs 30)
Depart the pier and head towards the beach resorts of El Laucho and La Lisera. At El Morro de Arica vista, we enjoy a panoramic view of the city, port and ocean. We then proceed south along the coastal road to Corazones/Anzata, where we walk up sandy hills that lead us to Puntilla. Here we observe sea lions and many local birds at close range. After relaxing, taking pictures and breathing the ocean air, we walk back to the buses and return to the pier.
Day 11-12 At sea
Enjoy two peaceful days at sea as we make our way south to Valparaso. The Expedition Team recaps our voyage and continues their lecture programme.
Day 13 La Serena, Chile
La Serena is one of the oldest cities in Chile. The town is overflowing with colourful gardens and beautiful churches. In the Archaeological Museum, you can learn about the ancient Diaguita culture that thrived in this province before the Incan conquest.
Coquimbo and La Serena City Tour (4 hrs 15)
Join us on a city tour of La Serena and the Coquimbo region. Our first stop is La Serena lighthouse for sweeping panoramic views. We then visit La Serenas main plaza, where the city was founded in 1544. We also drive to La Herradura Bay, where legends say pirates buried a treasure. Before returning to the ship, we visit La Recova Market featuring handicrafts like lapis lazuli (Chile’s famous semi-precious blue stone) and alpaca wool.
Day 14 Valparaso, Chile – Disembarkation
Our expedition ends in the wonderful, colourful and poetic city of Valparaso. After disembarking the ship, take some time to stroll the UNESCO-listed Historic Quarter, or ride a funicular to one of the many hilltops for a citywide panorama.