Summary : Watch for South American sea lions, marine otters and bottlenose dolphins. Identify diverse bird species including: Kelp Gulls, Turkey Vultures, Blackish Oystercatchers, Peruvian Boobies, pelicans, cormorants, terns and Blue-footed Boobies. Drink fine Chilean wines and traditional Pisco Sour. Explore the Atacama Desert and visit “The White City” of Arequipa and the famous Sarita mummy.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$6,350 to $17,050
Embark your vessel and meet some of your fellow explorers as you become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found on board. This evening, after settling in and setting sail, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team.
Binoculars in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and marine mammals. Attend informative lectures that will prepare you for the upcoming ports-of-call and the many possible adventures that lie ahead. Peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library, enjoy the finest cigars and cognacs at the Connoisseur’s Corner or indulge in any of the other leisure activities offered aboard ship.
Anchor off Isla Lobos de Tierra. Ready yourself for the day’s adventures — examining marine life up close. Lobos De Tierra and Lobos de Afuera are steep and rocky islands that protrude more than 200 feet (61 meters) from the surface of the deep blue Pacific. An abundant array of marine mammals and seabirds surround these two islands and offer us a splendid opportunity to explore with our Zodiacs. Sea lions, like sunbathers, bask on the beach and hundreds of Blue-footed Boobies can be viewed ashore as well whilst Peruvian Pelicans pass overhead. Weather permitting, attempt to make a landing on the island. During the afternoon continue heading south as lectures give you an opportunity to understand what conditions led to these seemingly arid islands being so resourceful.
Dock at Salaverry, and disembark to learn about the Mochica culture and complex adobe structures. Visit a private hacienda and enjoy a performance featuring the Peruvian paso horse and marinera dance show — an unrivaled opportunity to immerse yourself in genuine Peruvian culture. In the early afternoon we will arrive at Isla Guañape. Join the Expedition Team for a Zodiac cruise to see hundreds of thousands of seabirds, including Peruvian Pelicans, Inca Terns and Blue-footed Boobies -even Humboldt Penguins and large colonies of South American sea lions can be seen.
Explore Larco Herrera Museum, an extensive private collection of pre-Incan ceramics –probably the largest collection of its kind in the world, providing an excellent overview on 3,000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. Apart from the finest gold and silver collections of Ancient Peru, it also houses the famous erotic archaeological collection, one of the most visited Peruvian attractions.
Proceed to the district of Miraflores to visit the Huaca Pucllana ruins. This ceremonial center of the Lima culture developed between the years 200 and 700 AD. Multiple tombs have been found in this adobe pyramid, which in modern times has been completely surrounded by the neighbourhood of Miraflores.
In the evening enjoy the magnificent setting of the Huaca Pucllana Restaurant which overlooks the ruins lit at night for a special Peruvian dinner and some of the outstanding South American wines Peru and its neighboring countries produce. After this unique culinary experience return to the port of Callao.
During a special complimentary excursion to see the famous Nazca Lines from the air, the Nazca Desert will reveal a series of famous geoglyphs stretching for miles along the Pacific coast. Dating back to an era between 200BC and 700AD, these mysterious figures and geometric patterns are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lines show an understanding of sophisticated mathematics and surveying techniques. After this special experience of over-flying the Nazca Lines, head to the beautiful Hotel Paracas to enjoy a very comprehensive and interesting Pisco Tasting. In a shaded area and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a Pisco expert will present 5 different types of Pisco. Apart from learning about Pisco you will obviously get to taste Peru’s (and Chile’s) national drink and counterbalance the drinks with some local appetizers. If you do not want to see the Nazca Lines, then explore the Ballestas Islands, one of this region’s most beautiful natural attractions. Sea lions, cormorants, Blue-footed Boobies, terns, pelicans and Humboldt Penguins can all be expected around the Ballestas Islands. Because of Peruvian regulations this excursion can only be done in local boats and landings are not allowed. This evening you will be introduced to your Peruvian culinary expert who will join the next section of your voyage of culinary discovery.
Gather in The Theater to hear fascinating tales of adventure or to learn about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. The Expedition Team members are experts in a variety of scientific fields. Other on-board diversions include spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Center, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.
This morning discover Arequipa, nicknamed “The White City” for its magnificent architecture constructed primarily of pearly white volcanic rock, called sillar. Join your on-board historian for a walking tour of this UNESCO Historical Center that includes the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral, followed by a guided visit of Santuario Andinos, home to the famous Sarita mummy. In 1995, several years after a volcanic eruption melted snow and ice from the top of a nearby mountain, Dr Johan Reinhard discovered the mummified remains of a young girl near the summit. Exceptionally well preserved due to the extreme cold, the “ice maiden” was likely a sacrifice to an Incan god.
An early morning departure is necessary for your journey to explore the region’s unique Altiplano scenery. See important archaeological sites along the way before the landscape suddenly opens up and the wide valley of Putre can be seen beneath massive, snow-capped peaks. Upon your arrival in Putre, enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. Although it dates back to pre-Hispanic times, much of Putre’s charm comes from the 17th-century houses with carved stone portals and windows. Following lunch in a local restaurant, stroll through town together, visiting the church and watching a performance of Andean folklore in the main plaza.
Alternatively, enjoy a visit to the Lauca National Park. This is a challenging excursion, taking you to an altitude of 4,500 meters. From the pier drive to the Quebrada de Cardones, a gorge known for its spectacular views and 20-foot high candelabra cactus. Driving past Putre, reach Chungará Lake to admire the mountains reflected in the lake. During one hour at the lake look for the many local bird species, among them the Chilean Flamingo. During the stay at the lake a box lunch will be served. On the return, stop at the abandoned pre-Hispanic village of Parinacota, a National Monument.
A leisurely day at sea is yours to enjoy. Participate in discussions and on-board activities led by the Expedition Team, relax in one of the lounges with that book you’ve been meaning to read, and meet up with new friends for cocktails. Before turning in for the night, take a stroll on deck to take in the solitude of the vast sea and sky.
On offer for today is a full-day excursion into the Atacama Desert — one of the driest places on earth. Unlike most deserts, Atacama is not scorching hot during the day, but is instead rather cool, with average temperatures ranging from 32º–77º F (0º–25º C). Please be aware that your journey inland will be very long, but promises to be a very rewarding experience. Depart early for the seven-hour ride, stopping for lunch in the charming adobe village of San Pedro. The drive continues towards the immense Atacama Salt Flat with its splendid geological formations and its most famous residents — the pink flamingos. Head to Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon). In this unique lunar landscape, see numerous rock formations jutting out of the sand, eroded by wind into incredible shapes. At a lookout point over the majestic valley, observe an indigenous ritual of gratefulness to Mother Earth.
Alternatively, a shorter half-day city tour is also available. Antofagasta is a refined blend of traditional Chilean town and British colonial city. Your excursion begins with a visit to the Huanchaca Ruins, and a walking tour of the Plaza Colón and the Regional Museum. The museum features exhibits on geology, palaeontology, ecology, archaeology, pre-Hispanic, and post-Hispanic growth, the Pacific War, and an overview of the saltpetre industry and its effect on the region. For the final destination, follow the coast to La Portada, an enormous rock caressed by the sea and sand until a spectacular arch formed.
Explore the rugged shores of Isla Pan de Azucar (or Sugarloaf Island) by Zodiac. The island is home to thousands of Humboldt Penguins. During your Zodiac cruise along the perimeter of Isla Pan de Azucar, you might encounter Kelp Gulls, Turkey Vultures, Blackish Oystercatchers, and Peruvian Boobies, pelicans, sea lions and the reclusive South American marine otter.
Embark on an adventure by Zodiac, exploring the islands that make up the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve, located off Chile’s coast. The islands are an important breeding site for Humboldt Penguins. See groups of sea lions resting on the rocky cliff ledges, South American marine otters sliding in and out of the waters along the coastline, and playful bottlenose dolphins in the surrounding seas.
Today you have two choices: a morning visit to the Elqui Valley or a longer visit to the Limarí Valley. For the morning excursion follow the coast to drive into the Elqui Valley, an important agricultural area for papayas, olives, pears and custard apples. This is also where muscatel grapes are turned into Pisco, Chile’s national spirit. Visit the small and picturesque artist village of Diaguitas and explore its attractive streets. Afterwards drive to Vicuña. Famous for its many Pisco producers it was also home to Chilean’s Nobel Prize winner in literature, Gabriela Mistral. Visit the Plaza and the Bauer Tower and have time to explore independently before returning back to Coquimbo and Silver Explorer for lunch. The other excursion option goes into the Limarí Valley, slightly further south. Known for its pictographs and petroglyphs of the El Molle culture, visit the Enchanted Valley in the vicinity of the town of Ovalle. The Elqui and Limarí Valleys are rich and fertile transversal valleys running across the coastal mountains, leading to their importance as agricultural areas. Grapes are grown in impressive vineyards for export and for wine and you will visit the Tabalí winery. This vineyard is well known for its unique coupages and blends of wine stocks such as Viognier, Sangiovese and Carmenere. A guided tour of the winery will be given, followed by a tasting of its most representative wines. Then continue to a local restaurant for a typical Chilean lunch of empanadas and an asado (a BBQ), before returning to the pier. Your last night aboard will permit you to celebrate your new culinary skills and appreciation for the epicurean delights of South America’s West Coast. Your chefs will prepare a menu that will reflect the lands you have traveled through with selections from each region visited.
After breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Onboard accommodation; onboard meals; butler service; complimentary beverages served throughout the ship (an assortment of complimentary wines, champagne and spirits); all onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees; Silver, Medallion, Grand and Owner's Suite guests receive laundry service and dinner at Officer's table; 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Adventurer, Explorer, View, Vista, and Veranda Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Medallion, Silver, Grand, and Owner’s Suites. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; optional excursions; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry and spa options, fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises, © Denis Elterman (woman with hat)