Join your Expedition Team on a natural history walk to the top of the saddle for a great view of the town and surrounding Juan Fernandez Islands. Learn about the Dresden – a German ship deliberately sunk offshore during World War I and join your onboard Ornithologist to see the island’s Magellanic penguin community. Be on the lookout for (and feel incredibly lucky to spot) the Fernandez Firecrown – an endemic and critically endangered hummingbird species.
Following a picnic lunch, drive a short distance to the Tabali winery where you will learn about growing grapes in this dry region and the production process of wine. Visit the winery’s cellars and sample some of their wines before your return journey back to the Silver Explorer.
Depart early for the seven-hour ride, stopping for lunch in the charming adobe village of San Pedro, with time after lunch for a quick look at the quaint handicrafts market. Your drive continues towards the immense Atacama Salt Flat with its splendid geological formations, major archaeological sites, interesting fauna including its most famous residents – the pink flamingos, and nearby geyser fields. Visibility is amazing due to the exceptionally dry air, and it is possible to see over 50 miles to the other side of the salt flat with the naked eye. For a chance to experience everyday life in a desert village, stop in at Toconao before heading 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 caused by wind erosion that jut out of the sand. At a lookout point over the majestic valley, enjoy some cheese and wine while observing an indigenous ritual of gratefulness to Mother Earth. Return to the Silver Explorer for a late dinner.
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 – the remains of a large silver smelter, a stop at the local market to peruse its colorful handicrafts, and a walking tour of the Plaza Colón Square where you can step inside the Cathedral of San José, the former Customs House, 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 your final destination follow the coast to La Portada, an enormous rock caressed by the sea and sand until a spectacular arch formed. Lunch will be served on board, and the rest of the afternoon is yours. Explore Antofagasta’s beaches, museums, eateries and shops at your leisure.
Other important archaeological sites you may see along the way include Tambo de Zapahuira, an Inca storage area, and Pukara de Copaquilla, a pre-Inca defensive settlement. 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, then take a stroll through the town. 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 scenic drive along the coast and a nature walk. Most of the walk is done on the sidewalls of these sandy mountains, walking through some caves, caverns and other spectacular sites. At Puntilla, the final point of your trek, observe sea lions as well as many local birds. After taking plenty of photographs and breathing in the fresh ocean air, make your way back to the pier, stopping briefly at the El Morro de Arica view point.
After lunch on board the Silver Explorer, explore one of this region’s most beautiful natural attractions: the Ballestas Islands. Often referred to as “Peru’s Galapagos,” the volcanic islands are well known for their extraordinary diversity of marine fauna. In the waters, inquisitive sea lions often play around the boats, while at the islands you will be overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of seabirds including cormorants, blue footed boobies, terns, pelicans and Humboldt penguins. During your journey, see the enigmatic Candelabro figure, etched into the desert hillside.
Nazca Lines Overflight
As an alternative to the above complimentary activities, you may choose instead to participate in this optional excursion to see the famous Nazca Lines. Aboard a small aircraft that has been selected specifically for optimum viewing, depart from the Pisco Airport for a truly unforgettable flight. The Nazca Desert reveals a series of famous geoglyphs stretching for miles along the Pacific coast. The mysterious figures and geometric patterns were formed between 200 BC and 700 AD and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From high above, the lines look like etchings but are in reality an alignment of stones. Apparently, the Nazca people cleared away the dark red surface stones and soil, exposing the lighter-coloured subsoil and creating the lines. There are scores of theories as to why a pre-Columbian culture would trace huge patterns in the sands, creations that they would not necessarily be able to see from above themselves. The lines show an understanding of sophisticated mathematics and surveying techniques. This option must be booked prior to departure, please contact us for rates and details.
|Adventurer Class||Explorer Class||View Suite||Vista Suite||Veranda Suite||Expedition Suite||Medallion Suite||Silver Suite||Grand Suite||Owner|
|Fares are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out.|
Initial deposit is 30%, and most travelers will call our office and pay the deposit with a credit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Discover. Alternatively, you can send a check to our Missoula, Montana, office or register online at: https://www.adventure-life.com/forms/register
Final payment is due 130 days prior to departure.
Final payment by Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Diners Club or AmEx.
Booking last minute? No problem! Please contact one of our trip planners, and we can get you on your way if booking less than 130 days prior to departure.
Click here to see a copy of our Terms and Conditions.
|Days Prior to departure||Fee|
|121 days or more||$300|
|120-91 days||20% cruise cost|
|90-46 days||55% cruise cost|
|45-31 days||80% cruise cost|
|30-0 days||100% cruise cost|