Costa Rica, Peru, and Ecuador – Incan Mysteries and Galápagos Islands (16 Days)

Cruise Line: Hurtigruten
Ship: MS Fram  |  1 Review
San Jose, Costa Rica to Guayaquil, Ecuador
Dates: 15 Oct 2019 - 30 Oct 2019

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Tour Segment  Cruise Segment
15 Oct 2019
San Jose, Costa Rica

We arrive in the Costa Rican capital, San José, and transfer to our hotel in the city center. San José's moniker — "towards better things" — aptly coins the spirit of our upcoming adventure. Stroll the streets and discover the neo-classical grandeur of this unique Central American metropolis. As Lonely Planet writes: "give this city a chance and you might be pleasantly surprised". Get a good night's sleep because we start the journey of a lifetime the next day.

16 Oct 2019
San Jose, Costa Rica
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Limón, Costa Rica

After breakfast, we head east towards the Caribbean coast to visit the tropical rainforests of Tortuguero National Park. A boat ride along the Tortuguero Canals completes a lovely day of sightseeing before we transfer to MS Fram at nearby Puerto Limón for embarkation. Puerto Limón is the largest city on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast and one of the oldest cities on the continent. The port was established in 1502 when Christopher Columbus landed here during his exploration of the New World.

17 Oct 2019
Bocas Del Toro, Panama

We begin our continent-crossing journey along the Caribbean coast of Panama, setting our course first for Bocas del Toro, an archipelago of nine main islands, 52 cays, and thousands of islets. Bocas del Toro is colorful and brimming with Caribbean-style clapboard houses. It is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Panama's first national marine park, and has become one of Panama's most visited eco-tourism destinations. Considered the "Galápagos of the Caribbean", it is also one of the most biologically diverse places on earth.

18 Oct 2019
Panama Canal, Panama

We leave the Caribbean and enter the Panama Canal near the city of Colón. Experience the thrill of canal transit and the intricacy of the lock system firsthand, as MS Fram is lifted more than 85 feet above sea level, from one body of water to the next. We enter the Pacific Ocean near the town of Balboa.

19 Oct 2019
Puerto Piña, Panama

We arrive midday at Puerto Piña, a small coastal community near the border with Colombia. The village lies beside the Bahía Piña, a narrow bay between two promontories that are frequented by humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins. Bahía Piña, in the province of Darién, attracts deep-sea fishermen from around the world. Numerous fishing world records have been broken here, more than anywhere else on earth. A diversity of marine species inhabit Bahía Piña, including sharks, dolphins, rays, and humpback whales. Rich in natural beauty, the area is ideal for hiking along trails in the jungle, kayaking, relaxing on the beach, and swimming.

20 Oct 2019

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea. Listen in as our experienced lecturers share their extensive knowledge, or spend time on deck fully enjoying the serenity of a day at sea.

21 Oct 2019
Isla de la Plata, Ecuador

In the afternoon, we arrive at Isla de la Plata, part of Machalilla National Park, Ecuador's only coastal national park. The island is known as Ecuador's other Galápagos because of its abundance of marine birdlife. Isla de la Plata translates to Silver Island, and is the home to blue-footed boobies, nesting waved albatrosses, and frigate birds, among others. The island is fantastic for hikers and features many bird watching trails. The island also offers great opportunities to swim and snorkel.

22 Oct 2019

Our expedition team continues its lecture program, sharing their extensive knowledge and experience, as well as summarizing the voyage so far and letting you know about plans for the exciting days ahead. Our onboard expedition photographer will also be available to help you with the basics of expedition photography.

23 Oct 2019
Salaverry, Peru

The small port of Salaverry, Peru, near the city of Trujillo, is the starting point for the excursion to the ancient Chimú kingdom (700–1400 AD), which built its capital by the banks of the Moche River. The ancient city of Chan Chan ("Sun Sun"), in Trujillo, covers an area of 12 square miles and was constructed with clay, mud, pebbles, straw, and cane. Considered the largest mud-brick citadel of the Americas in pre-Hispanic times, it is a remarkable piece of architecture that was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1986.

DAY 10
24 Oct 2019

Kick back and enjoy another full day at sea. Take part in the lecture series presented by the expedition team or simply tune into the meditative rhythm of the ocean.

DAY 11
25 Oct 2019
Callao, Peru
Lima, Peru
Air travel
Quito, Ecuador

We have arrived at the port of Callao and start our day by transferring to a morning flight at nearby Lima to Quito. Here you are picked up and transferred to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure and explore Quito, nestled at the foot of the Pichincha volcano and known for its eternal spring-like climate. Originally settled by the Quitu tribe in the first millennium, Quito was eventually integrated into the Inca Empire before being destroyed and re-founded in 1534 by the Spanish conquistador, Sebastián de Benalcázar. Quito flourished for nearly three centuries under Spanish colonial rule, as evidenced by the historic center's splendidly restored colonial buildings and churches lining narrow cobbled streets. Due to the city's preservation of its mixed past, UNESCO declared Quito the first of its World Heritage Sites in 1978. Quito is also the world's second-highest capital city at 9,350 ft. In the evening, enjoy a special welcome dinner at a local restaurant to kick off our visit to Ecuador.

DAY 12
26 Oct 2019
Quito, Ecuador

After breakfast, we drive north to the equator and visit the Inti-Ñan Museum. Afterwards, we ascend the Teleférico, one of Quito's most popular attractions offering spectacular and easily accessible views of the city. The ride lasts only 10 minutes but takes us to an altitude of 13,300 ft. At the top, the lookout offers visitors incredible views of Quito and its surrounding valleys and snow-covered volcanoes (along with coffee, snacks, and oxygen for the short of breath). Bring a sweater or light jacket — it can get chilly up there! We then return to the city and enjoy lunch in the charming colonial quarter. This afternoon's sightseeing demonstrates some of the reasons why Ecuador's capital earned its honor as one of UNESCO's first World Heritage Sites. Dinner will be served at the hotel.

DAY 13
27 Oct 2019
Quito, Ecuador
Air travel
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Air travel
Baltra Island, Ecuador
Isla Baltra Ferry Dock, Ecuador
Isla Santa Cruz Ferry Dock, Ecuador
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

Breakfast at hotel. Depart the hotel and drive to Quito Airport for the flight to the Galápagos Islands (via Guayaquil). Upon arrival at Baltra's airport, we meet the local representative and board a bus for the short transfer to Itabaca Channel, which separates Baltra Island from Santa Cruz Island. Here, we board a small ferry that crosses the azure waters of the channel to Santa Cruz, a journey that takes about five minutes. On the other side, we travel through a rural agricultural area surrounded by wild landscapes and many different species of flora and fauna. We may well spot the finches that are famous for being the basis of Darwin's theory of evolution. See the famous Galápagos land tortoises in their natural environment and learn how private ranches help protect these special creatures and their habitat. Tortoises of all different ages and sizes gather here: small young ones with shining carapaces and older ones with weathered and worn shells. Lunch will be served in the highlands. The well-known Lava Tunnels are another amazing experience. Formed by lava flows from the volcanoes, they range from the highlands down to the sea. Join an amazing half-hour hike through one of the tunnels to where it gets too small to pass. A naturalist guide will share in detail the story of the origin of these fascinating tunnels. Afterwards, we continue to our hotel in the town of Puerto Ayora. Once settled, we walk to the nearby Charles Darwin Research Station, which hosts educational museums on both the history and development of the Galápagos Islands and protection of their natural heritage. Native giant land tortoises can also be observed. Many different tortoise species exist in the Galápagos and the station is the only place where most of the species reside at one site. The afternoon is at your leisure to explore small yet picturesque Puerto Ayora and its many shops with local arts and crafts. We later enjoy dinner at the hotel's cozy restaurant.

DAY 14
28 Oct 2019
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador
Bartolome Island, Ecuador
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador
DAY 15
29 Oct 2019
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador
Bartolome Island, Ecuador
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, we have two full days to tour one of the nearby uninhabited islands by boat. Please note that only one of the four islands listed below will be visited per day: Bartolomé Island, famous for Pinnacle Rock and Galápagos penguins; or South Plaza Island, home to a colony of land iguanas; or Santa Fe Island, known for having the islands' most sea beautiful coves; or North Seymour Island, considered a microcosm of the entire archipelago. The visits are regulated by the Galápagos National Park and we are notified of permission 30 days prior to the visit. Regardless of the islands we visit, lunch is served onboard the vessel during the tour. Later, we have dinner at the hotel and overnight.

DAY 16
30 Oct 2019
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador
Los Gemelos, Ecuador
Isla Santa Cruz Ferry Dock, Ecuador
Isla Baltra Ferry Dock, Ecuador
Baltra Island, Ecuador
Air travel
Guayaquil, Ecuador

After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer to Baltra's airport for the flight to Guayaquil. En route to the airport, we stop at "The Twins" or "Los Gemelos", two impressive volcanic depressions in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. After our flight from Baltra Island to Guayaquil, we are met by a representative, who assists with the international flight connection. A box lunch will be provided. Have a safe and pleasant trip home!

Costa Rica, Peru, and Ecuador – Incan Mysteries and Galápagos Islands map

About the Ship

ms fram
MS Fram

The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time, and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. MS Fram honors the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology and making her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in polar regions.

What's Included


  • Daily Meals & Select Beverages

  • Wind/water-resistant jacket

  • Landings and activities on board and ashore

  • Professional English-speaking Expedition Team

  • Complimentary use of Muck Boot rubber boots

Not Included

  • International Flights

  • Travel Protection Plan

  • Luggage handling

  • Optional excursions and gratuities

About Us

Exploring since 1893, Hurtigruten operates premium exploration voyages to Norway, Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, Spitsbergen, Europe, Africa, South/Central America and Arctic Canada. Our itineraries to these unique destinations focus on the stunning diversity of its wilderness, inhabitants, flora, and fauna. Hurtigruten’s unique heritage, combined with highly skilled crews and a diverse fleet of nimble, intimately-scaled expedition ships, enable us to offer guests unforgettable experiences in some of the most exciting corners of the world.

Insider Tip

Choose from a variety of cabin options ranging from Interior, Ocean View and Suite categories on any one of our 15 ships offering modern facilities carefully blended with true character.

Terms & Conditions

The terms and conditions of this contract apply to the sea passage as well as to all other products or services of any kind whatsoever provided for or arranged by Hurtigruten AS, their agents or independent contractors. These terms and conditions represent the entire agreement and a binding contract between Hurtigruten AS and the customer. These pro-visions supersede any oral or written representations. Any change in these provisions must be in writing signed by the president of Hurtigruten AS.The transports of passengers, baggage and vehicles is subject to the provisions of the Act no. 39 of 24 June 1994 Norwegian Maritime Code, as amended (‘Norwegian Maritime Code’), and package tours are subject to the provisions of the Act no. 57 of 25 August 1995 Relating to Package Tours (‘Package Tours Act’). Copies of the Norwegian Maritime Code and the Package Tours Acts, in Norwegian and in English, are on file with Hurtigruten AS and available upon request. The terms and conditions of this contract are drawn up in accord ance with the Norwegian Maritime Code, Package Tours Act, and the regulations laid down by the Norwegian Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion. However, in case of conflict between this contract and the Norwegian Maritime Code or Package Tours Act, this contract shall take precedence.

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