Peru and Chile – Machu Picchu and Inca Highlights

Resort: Peru and Chile - Machu Picchu and Inca Highlights
Operator: Hurtigruten
Destination: South America
Price From: Contact for latest offers

Overview

Explore spectacular Machu Picchu and highlights of the Incan Empire before embarking on an unforgettable expedition cruise along the scenic western coast of South America from Lima, Peru, down to Valparaso in Chile. Experience the contrasts of modern cities and historic ancient civilisations, and enjoy days at sea at your leisure.

Itinerary

Day 1 Lima

Lima’s history predates the Spanish colonial presence in Peru. Present-day Lima was founded by the Spanish conquistadores in 1542 and the ruling Vice Royalty of Peru proceeded to build significant churches, monasteries, and mansions. Today, Limas historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the city on your own before spending the night in a hotel.

Day 2 Cusco/Sacred Valley

In the morning, we will transfer you to your flight from Lima to Cusco. Enjoy lunch before visiting one of the most amazing Incan constructions in the area, the formidable Sacsayhuamn fortress. Sacsayhuamn means ‘satisfied falcon’, the mythical creature that guarded the capital of the empire. The name also makes sense as it was possible to overlook all of Cusco from the hill where the fortress was built.
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 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 Incas 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.

Day 3 Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu

After breakfast, you are in for some unforgettable highlights. First, we visit to Ollantaytambo, an Incan town that shares its name with the formidable stone fortress that clings to a massive cliff looming over the community. This fortification was the valleys main defence against the rival Antis people and was the site of the Incas greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest.
Next, head to the nearby train station to board the deluxe Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. A savoury brunch is served as we enjoy spectacular views on the way to Machu Picchu.
At last, we arrive at spectacular Machu Picchu. This 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 city of Machu Picchu still hides the secret of its rise and fall, as the Incas left behind no written records.
Explore the city’s ruins, feel its pulse and visualise the lives of the priests, craftsmen, and servants who inhabited this incredible place. Excavations at the site have revealed skeletons, artefacts and woollen clothing. Inspect the famous precision of Incan stonework on display here.
After spending an unforgettable day exploring the ruins, you can enjoy tea at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge before we head back by train to Tambo del Inka Resort for another relaxing evening and overnight stay.

Day 4 Cusco to Lima/Callao – Embarkation

After breakfast, we head to Cusco, once the centre of the Inca Empire. Visit the splendid baroque Cusco Cathedral, built 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, demonstratively built atop the Temple of the Sun, the most important temple in the Inca Empire.
After a half day of exploring, we take you to the airport for your flight to Lima and transfer to Callao, where MS Roald Amundsen is ready to continue the expedition at sea.

Day 5 Paracas, Peru

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.
Included activity:
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 6 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 7 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.
Included activity:
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 8-9 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 10 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.
Included activity:
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 11 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.

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