Chile & Peru: In the Wake of Humboldt & Darwin Cruise

This journey of over 2,500 miles takes you along the rugged western coast of South America to discover a wealth of natural and cultural splendors. The nutrient-rich Humboldt Current supports amazing concentrations of seabirds, fish, and marine mammals, which you seek out on numerous Zodiac excursions. The cultural heritage of this region is equally rich, from ancient ruins and mysterious geoglyphs to quaint colonial towns and vibrant markets.

Day 1

Santiago, Chile / Puerto Montt / Embark Sea Adventurer

Arrive in Santiago and connect with your flight to Puerto Montt. Upon arrival, transfer to the ship for lunch on board.

Day 2


This morning visit Valdivia, a provincial capital and river port. Its European ambiance is due to an influx of German immigrants in the 1800s. Visit the fortress in the nearby beach resort of Niebla, the botanical garden, and a famous chocolate factory. After lunch at a local restaurant, board Zodiacs to explore the Río Cruces estuary to search for black-necked swans, snowy-crowned terns, and Chiloé wigeons.

Day 3

Isla Mocha

Isla Mocha supports a lush, temperate rain forest of southern beech, fuschias, and large arrayan trees. Explore the island’s rocky coastline and continue inland, passing horses and cows grazing in fields of flowers, to a lovely forest trail for nature walks. Birders search for black-faced ibis, southern lapwings, and the pink-footed shearwaters that breed on this island.

Day 4

At Sea

Join naturalists on deck as you cruise along the coast. The cold waters of the Humboldt Current, rich in dissolved nutrients, support one of the most productive oceanic environments in the world, attracting a multitude of birds, including albatross, shearwaters, petrels, cormorants, and gulls, as well as dolphins and humpback whales.

Day 5

Islotes Pajaros

Today, board Zodiacs to explore the Islotes Pajaros, home to a number of seabirds, including red-legged cormorants and Peruvian boobies, as well as sea lions.

Day 6

Isla Pan De Azucar

This rugged island, a protected reserve, is home to the largest breeding colony of Humboldt penguins in Chile. From Zodiacs, watch the birds diving, swimming, and feeding. You may also spot marine otters, South American sea lions, pelicans, and Peruvian boobies.

Days 7-8

Antofagasta / Atacama Desert / Iquique

Disembark in Antofagasta and drive inland to Hosteria San Pedro de Atacama, your overnight base while exploring the Atacama Desert. Visit the Valley of the Moon, an eerily beautiful landscape of eroded salt mountains and distant volcanoes soaring to over 19,000 feet. In the town of Lasana, view an ancient fortress, explore the pre-Columbian ruins of Pukara de Quitor, and in San Pedro de Atacama, visit the archaeological museum with its remarkable displays of 2,300-year-old mummies. The next day includes an early-morning stop at Lake Chaxa, where three species of flamingos may be seen feeding in the briny waters. Continue to Calama and board your flight to Iquique, where you re-board the ship in time for dinner.

Day 9

Arica / Lauca National Park

Journey inland for a full-day exploration of Lauca National Park, a Global Biosphere Reserve situated high in the Andes at more than 14,000 feet above sea level. Witness a great variety of landscapes from lowland Arica to the towering, snowcapped Guallatiri Volcano and ice-blue Lake Chungará. View vicuñas, guanacos, viscachas, and Andean flamingos.

Day 10

At Sea

Attend informative lectures on the region’s natural and cultural history.

Day 11

Pisco / Paracas National Reserve / Optional Nazca Lines Excursion)

This morning board local boats for a cruise to Islas Ballestas, a haven for nesting seabirds and sea lions. Then, disembark in Pisco and transfer to Paracas National Reserve, which protects a variety of marine habitats and tropical desert. After seeking out the area’s resident wildlife visit Tambo Colorado, a well-preserved Inca village likely built at the end of the 15th century. Or, choose an optional flight to view the Nazca Lines, a World Heritage Site. These enormous geoglyphs, animal-motif remnants of a pre-Incan civilization that flourished between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D., are etched into the desert surface.

Day 12


Spend the morning in Peru’s capital of Lima, dramatically-situated in the valleys of three rivers and overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You have several options for exploration. Visit the Larco Museum which showcases the development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. Tour the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and admire the city’s beautiful colonial Spanish architecture. Or, join an ornithologist for a birding excursion.

Day 13

Salaverry, Peru / Chan Chan

After breakfast disembark in Salaverry and take a short drive to Chan Chán, a World Heritage Site. Explore the ruins of this former imperial headquarters of the Chimú Empire (1000-1470), with the remains of palaces, temples, dwellings, and burial mounds, many sculpted with ornate decorative figures. The nearby Sun and Moon temples are South America’s largest pre-Columbian pyramids, representative of the Moche culture in the 5th century.

Day 14

Islas Lobos de Afuera / Islas Lobos de Tierra

Board Zodiacs to search for Nazca, blue-footed, and Peruvian boobies, neotropical cormorants, Peruvian pelicans, Peruvian gulls, Inca terns, and Humboldt penguins.

Day 15


Enjoy your last day in Peru with a visit to the seaport of Paita and its surroundings. Known for its picturesque coastline, you can choose to seek out the region’s birdlife with an ornithologist or opt for a cultural tour of Paita and the nearby fishing village of Colan.

Day 16

Salinas, Ecuador / Disembark / Guayaquíl

Disembark in Salinas and depart overland for Guayaquíl. Enjoy an introductory tour of Ecuador’s largest city and main port, including the old district of Las Peñas and the restored Malecón Riverfront neighborhood. Dinner and overnight at the Hilton Colon.

Day 17

  • Breakfast


Board your independent flight.
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- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, a roommate will be assigned to you whenever possible.
- Additional singles may be available at 1.6 times the share rate.
Inclusions:All gratuities; accommodations in our hotel and on board the Sea Adventurer as outlined in the itinerary; all onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows; all group activities and excursions; landing and port fees; medical expense coverage; and emergency evacuation insurance.

Exclusions:All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; travel insurance; passport and/or visa fees; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages except as listed; e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.