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Road along coastline of Valparaiso

Expedition Cruise from Chile to Costa Rica

Example 17 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Victory
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Lighthouse on the coast near Lima
Highlights
  • Admire the historic architecture of Coquimbo
  • Marvel at the beauty of the Atacama desert
  • See the ruins of the largest pro-Columbian city of Chan Chan
  • Look for incredible wildlife off the coast of Manta, Ecuador
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Valparaiso, Chile | Embark

Your journey begins in Valparaiso, Chile, where MV Ocean Victory is located by the dock. Boarding is in the afternoon. After the mandatory security review and drill, sail out from the colorful and artistic city of Valparaiso, heading north towards Coquimbo.

Day 2: Coquimbo, Chile

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Coquimbo is located in a valley about 10 kilometers south of the town La Serena, and the two cities combine to create the area Grande La Serena with around 400,000 inhabitants. According to legends, Sir Francis Drake has hidden a treasure outside Coquimbo that remains unfound. It is also said that the famous architect Gustave Eiffel left a more visible treasure in the local church, the iron- and zinc-based Iglesia Guyacan. The coast is riddled with stories of Drake and Eiffel.

The expedition team leads a short walk around the charming little town of Coquimbo, known for a mix of modern and colonial architecture. The walk normally includes a visit at either Plaza de Armas or Plaza Prat and the promenade at Avenida Costanera. There will also be a shuttle bus service that runs during your visit. The shuttle goes to the neighbouing town of La Serena where the town center is worth a visit. It is known as Chile’s second oldest town, founded in 1544. The town has 3 different architectural periods in clear view, with traditional Spanish styles mixing in with the neo-classical era and most clearly the new colonial period. The local market (La Recova) is a good place to find local handicrafts and jewelry with lapis lazuli.

Day 3: Gaviota, Choros, and Damas Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cruise slowly past the islands known for their penguin nature reserve. If the weather allows it, embark the Zodiacs and pass by closer to the islands. Landings are not permitted here, but hopefully you can see some of the wildlife that the area is known for. Observe the animals from a safe distance and make sure not to bother them.
 
After the visit, continue your journey along the Chilean coast.

Day 4: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Listen to a lecture from the experienced expedition staff, enjoy a good lunch and go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales. Even though the whale season is normally considered to run December-March, they can also often be seen in April. The whales along the Humboldt Current are mostly blue whales, fin whales and humpbacks, all feeding on the krill-filled waters.

Day 5: Iquique, Chile | Atacama Desert

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Iquique, which loosely translates to “quiet place to relax” in the native tongue of Aymará, is a modern city, where travelers in the northern Chile often stop by. Apart from its beautiful location, it is known for wonderful beaches and the old central Plaza Arturo which marks the city center. At the center you can find the clocktower Torre de Reloj and the old Teatro Municipal. Iquique also has an important share of Chile's trade, as it has one of South America's largest duty-free commercial zones (the Zona Franca Iquique, also known as Zofri ). The local fishing port also adds to the tally by being the world’s largest export harbor for fishmeal (used mostly for animal feed).

Your coaches are waiting at the pier, driving you through the indescribable beauty of the Atacama desert. Initially enjoy the panoramic view of Iquique, its beaches and the ridged Cerro Dragon. Your destination is the nitrate ghost town of Santa Laura, which operated from 1872 to 1960. The processing plant and smokestacks are still visible along with the administration building and the warehouse. Along with the nearby town of Humberstone, these two form a National monument that since 2005 is also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 6: Arica, Chile

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Chile's northernmost is only 12 kilometers from Peru’s border in the area Norte Grande. The milder climate and easier access to water has always made Arica an important area, witnessed by the first settlements that date back to 6000 BCE. The local tribes grew corn, zucchini, and cotton, made ceramic pottery, and were later a part of the Tihuanaco culture in Bolivia and subsequently the Inca empire. The Arica of today is a lively place, with golden sandy beaches, duty-free shopping and a vibrant nightlife. Many use Arica as a base to explore the ruins found inland.
 
Within the town you can find Sir Francis Drake's grave and the cathedral de San Marcos, which was designed and constructed in steel and zinc by Gustav Eiffel.
Climb aboard the waiting buses, then drive toward the Azapa valley. On the way, you can hopefully catch a glimpse of several of the geoglyphs that adorn the sides of the hills. The geoglyphs were created centuries ago. Stop at the San Miguel de Azapa Archaeological Museum, where you can see the Chinchorro mummies. They are the oldest on earth, dating 6,000-8,000 BCE. They are classified as the oldest examples of artificially mummified human remains, considerably older than their Eqyptian counterparts.

After your visit, return to Arica to take a city tour.

Day 7: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Another day to enjoy some of the services onboard as you cruise along the last part of the journey following the cold Humboldt Current.

Day 8: Paracas, Peru

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Your first port of call in Peru is Paracas, known as the entrance to Pisco. The small village has ample beaches, hotels and shorefront restaurants. Apart from the lovely sandy beaches, the area is famous for the islands of Ballestas located not far from the coast. The islands are jokingly known as “the poor man's Galapagos islands” for their likeness in both geology and wildlife. The Nazca lines, made famous from countless magazine covers, are also very close by, giving you an opportunity for flight excursions.
 
Optional excursion: Ballestas Islands
Morning tour visiting Ballestas Islands. The excursion offers excellent chances of seeing wildlife such as: sea lions, cormorants, boobies, pelicans, penguins and more than 200 species of birds (both migratory and native species). The area also has dolphins which will show up if we are in luck. The islands are very important breeding grounds for hundreds of thousands of birds, that are all feeding off the huge quantities of anchovies that live along the Peruvian coast.
The trip takes around 2 hours
Duration total approx.: 3 hours

Optional excursion: Nazca Lines
Transfer (30 minutes) to the airport of Pisco for the famous Nasca Lines flight.
The Nazca lines are a group of very large figures formed by depressions or shallow incisions made in the soil of the Nazca desert in southern Peru. They were created between 500 BC and 500 AD. They cary in size up to 1 km and are thus best appreciated from the air.
The significance of the figures is still not completely understood, but most theories point towards them being of religious content.
The trip takes around 1½-2 hours in small Cessna-planes, from which you can observe the most famous figures (The Astronaut, the Monkey, The Condor, The Hummingbird etc.)
Duration approx.: 4 hours

Day 9: Callao | Lima

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive today to the seaside city of Callao, with its historic port. Not only was it the historical main port for all trade coming in from Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, before being shipped to Panama and then Spain, it is also the famed starting point for the Kon-tiki expedition. The city is only 15 kilometers from Peru’s capital Lima, to which an optional excursion can take you. Callao is still Peru’s greatest and most important port (and also home to a naval base). The city also boasts of the fort Real Felipe, the Callao cathedral and some wonderful plazas, so it’s worth taking an afternoon stroll through the city before setting sail north.

Optional excursion: Lima city tour
Take around 1 hour bus drive to the city center. On the way, get an idea of this enormous city with more than 10 million inhabitants. Lima is also the second largest desert city in the world, only surpassed by Cairo. As you arrive the Colonial center, leave the bus and continue by foot to visit the Main Square (Plaza de Armas), where Lima was founded by Conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Take the chance to enjoy the colonial architecture. Some of the older buildings have disappeared, but fortunately, in recent years, there is a renewed focus on the colonial center where many buildings have been renovated. Then walk the short distance to the San Francisco church and monastery, where you will visit the bizarre catacombs where Catholics were buried until the end of the Spanish era.
Return to the ship for lunch.
Duration approx.: 4-5 hours

Day 10: Trujillo, Peru

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in the port city of Salaverry after lunch and from here embark on an adventure in both the past and the present. Begin with the past, with a visit to the Chimu culture's old capital of Chan Chan, renowned for being the largest city in the Americas in the pre-Colombian era. It is still the largest city built with clay (using mudbricks or adobe). The city covers 28 square kilometers and was built around 1300 CE. It is believed that around 60,000 people inhabited the area. The people had amassed great reserves of gold, silver and other valuables. Once the Spaniards came along, they plundered the treasures of Chan Chan. 

The city consists of nine different parts, each built by a ruler. Visit a few of these “king cities,” and see the ceremonial yards, wall decorations and the cistern that provided water to the inner city.

Your next visit will be in the more modern Trujillo, which was founded in 1535 by the infamous conquistador Pizzaro. The colonial heart of the city is well-preserved with lively colors and wrought iron balconies. Tourism has yet to make a big impact on this part of Peru, allowing you to see a more genuine sense of life here. There is a buzz in the city that gives a good impression of modern Peru. Trujillo is the third largest city in the country, with around 925,000 inhabitants.

Day 11: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today there is time to relax, read a book, listen to some of the scheduled lectures and enjoy the company of your fellow passengers. The temperature gets hotter as you reach the tropical climates of Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica.

Day 12-13: Manta, Ecuador

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Although Manta, Ecuador is not a typical tourist destination, this city has a lot to offer when it comes to seascapes, history, and culture. Manta is the second-largest port city in Ecuador and its economy largely relies on the fishing and tourism industry. Spend two days here exploring or join optional excursions.

Join an exciting optional excursion by boat to the nearby island Isla de la Plata. Transfer by coach to the small port town of Puerto Lopez to board a smaller boat that can land at the islands. This tour offers excellent chances of seeing the teeming wildlife which is reminiscent of Galapagos and includes frigate birds, albatrosses, boobies, pelicans, manta rays, sea lions, dolphins, green turtles and more than 30 species of birds (both migratory and native species). Includes a box lunch.
The trip takes around 1.5 hours each way
Duration total approx.: 8 hours

With more time in lovely Manta, get to know the area and its traditional crafts. Set off directly from the dock in Manta and go to Montecristi, a place known for the quality of handicrafts made with wicker, wood, and ancestral fibers like piquigua and toquilla palm. It is with the latter that the famous Panama Hats are made, and Montecristi is recognized worldwide for its very high quality. These hats are hand-woven by following a process that can take from 4 to 6 months, depending on the fineness and complexity of the materials and weave. A visit that will change your views of the famous hat for sure! Following your visit in Montecristi, head to Pacoche, a private reserve of 10 hectares that is part of the Pacoche Wildlife Refuge, just 20 minutes away from the city of Manta. It is a unique place surrounded by the jungle, home to many endemic bird species and mammals such as the howler monkeys. The reserve has two trails that will allow you to get into the jungle and feel part of the nature of the place. Pacoche is famous for the presence of families of howler monkeys that wander freely through the forest. Additionally, there are capuchin monkeys and over 250 species of birds, of which 50 are endemic to the area.

Day 14: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, relax aboard the ship as it continues toward Coiba Island off the Pacific coast of Panama.

Day 15: Coiba National Park, Panama

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
It’s time for a tropical visit in Panama, as you lay anchor near Coiba island. Sail to land by Zodiacs and visit the Coiba National Park. The park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005, because of the multitude of endemic mammals, plants and birds found here. The Park area encompasses 38 islands of the coast of Panama. Go for a walk along the beach and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Day 16: Golfito Bay, Costa Rica

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Golfito of today is a sleepy fishing village, whereas in the 1960s a booming banana export told a very different story. In 1985 the banana economy on the west coast ground to a halt, as declining foreign markets, rising export taxes and banana disease forced the closing of the local United Fruit Company. Costa Rica still exports a lot of the yellow-skinned fruits, but now mostly from the east coast. Today, Golfito Bay is known for its beaches and sport fishing, giving the village some tourism income. The opening of a duty-free shopping center has also generated some domestic visitors.

Optional excursion:
Morning tour visiting Tropenstation La Gamba before going on a tour of the Piedras Blancas National Park. As you arrive in Golfito, you are picked up and go directly towards the La Gamba research and teaching field station. The field station plays a significant role in research into tropical rainforests and rainforest conservation awareness. Many students from all over the world come to spend some time here to do field research. You'll have the chance to hear about the research station's work as well as having a short tour of the premises. After the visit, take your own stint into the local nature. The National park has a great diversity of plants, animals and species of insects. It is considered one of the best places in Costa Rica for bird watching, since it is one of the main meeting point for birds from North and South America. The National park is also home to some endemic species of both flora and fauna.
Duration total approx. 5 hours

Day 17: Puntarenas, Costa Rica | Disembark

The captain has led the ship northwards along the Humboldt Current and the Latin American coasts of Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica. Today arrive in Puntarenas and say farewell to the ship and its crew before departing for the airport in the nearby capital San Jose to begin your return journey.

Photo Gallery

Lighthouse on the coast near Lima Road along coastline of Valparaiso Explore Coiba National Park Pelicans in the harbor of La Serena Explore colorful Lima Explore beautiful Costa Rica Explore Chile's Atacama desert

Map

Ship/Hotel

Ocean Victory

Dates & Prices

Per person starting at
$5,990
Select a Date
Category G Single
Five single cabins located on deck 3. 16 m², cabins have porthole window.
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Category F Triple
Four triple cabins located on deck 3. 22 m², cabins have porthole windows.
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Category E
Nine cabins located on deck 7. 16 m², cabins have a french balcony.
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Category D
Seven cabins located on deck 3 or 4. 22 m², cabins have porthole windows.
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Category C
57 cabins located on deck 4 or 6. 24 m², cabins include a balcony.
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Category B Triple
Four triple/family cabins located on deck 4 or 5. 28 m², cabins include a balcony. Include VIP services
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Category B
Two cabins located on deck 4. 35 m², cabins include a balcony. Include VIP services
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Category A
Four cabins located on deck 7. 42 m², cabins include a balcony. Include VIP services
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Premium Suite
One two-bedroom cabin located on deck 4. 45 m², the cabin includes a balcony. Include VIP services

Notes

INCLUSIONS
  • 9-17 nights voyages according to program
  • Accommodation in shared outside cabins
  • English-speaking expedition team
  • Shore landings by Zodiac
  • Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
  • Full board on the ship
  • Free coffee and tea on the ship
  • Boots in all assorted sizes, suitable for shore landings
  • Port fees, IAATO fees, taxes and tariffs + Parkas for all guests

EXCLUSIONS
  • Flights to/from Ushuaia
  • Hotel accommodation in Ushuaia
  • Travel insurance
  • Cancellation insurance
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Single cabin supplement and cabin upgrades
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Beverages (other than coffee, tea and ice water)
  • Tips for ship crew (approx. 13.5 USD per person per day)
  • Required Emergency Evacuation Insurance of at least $200,000. Please let us know if you need help arranging this.

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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