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Culinary cruise along the Humboldt Current - 29 Oct 2016, 23 Oct 2017

18 days from £5650pp

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Culinary cruise along the Humboldt Current - 29 Oct 2016, 23 Oct 2017:
Trip Dossier

Travelling on Silversea’s small luxury cruise ship Silver Explorer, you will take a truly unique cruise from Ecuador’s second city, tropical Guayaquil, via Lima, Peru’s City of Kings south to the port of Valparaiso, the gateway to Chile’s capital, Santiago.

Not only will you dock at a few of South America’s great cities but you have many opportunities to venture inland to visit cultural and landscape highlights including Peru’s famous Nazca Lines and the national parks and lunar landscapes of the Atacama desert in Chile.

It’s a voyage packed with on and off shore experiences during which you’ll sample outstanding Peruvian and Chilean food and wines with cuisine prepared by invited executive chefs and Silversea’s Culinary Director. Enthused by the delicious meals, you can take part in workshops and discussions about the gastronomical specialties of South America’s west coast.

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Quito, Ecuador, transfer to hotel.

Day 2

Private guided city tour with Equator visit.

Day 3

Fly to the port Guayaquil and embark expedition ship Silver Explorer.

Day 4

At sea, cross into Peruvian waters.

Day 5

Explore Isla Lobos de Tierra, Peru.

Day 6

Arrive Salaverry, Peru. Visit Moche archaeological site and Isla Guañape.

Day 7

Dock at Callao. Visit Larco Herrera museum in Lima.

Day 8

Arrive Paracas. Visit Tambo Colorado and the Ballestas Islands.

Day 9

At sea.

Day 10

Drop anchor at Matarani and visit Arequipa with city tour.

Day 11

Arica, Chile. Excursion into the Andean Atacama desert.

Day 12

At sea.

Day 13

Arrive Antofagasta. Full day excursion to San Pedro de Atacama and Valley of the Moon.

Day 14

Zodiac tour of Pan de Azucar island.

Day 15

Explore Chañaral island, breeding ground for Humboldt penguins.

Day 16

Coquimbo, Chile. Head inland to Elqui valley, where pisco is produced.

Day 17

Arrive in the port of Valparaiso. Transfer inland to Santiago.

Day 18

Transfer to airport for international flight.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Quito, Ecuador, transfer to hotel.
 
Arrive in Quito and transfer to your first class hotel, Casa Gangotena, an exquisite restored mansion in the historic quarter.

 

quito

Day 2

Private guided city tour with Equator visit.
 

Take a guided tour of colonial Quito, an attractive neighbourhood of spruced up, heavily-tiled blue and white buildings, markets and Spanish baroque churches. You’ll see the cathedral and Government Palace among other grandiose buildings.

Later you are driven north of Quito to the Equatorial Monument where you can place a foot simultaneously in the northern and southern hemispheres. 

Quito, Ecuador

Day 3

Fly to the port Guayaquil and embark expedition ship Silver Explorer.
 

Take a short flight to tropical Guayaquil, the country’s second city and major Pacific port, where the population is more exuberant than their more reserved Andean counterparts.

Embark your cruise vessel, luxury expedition ship Silver Explorer. After she weighs anchor and during a special sail-away party you are introduced to gourmet chef Antonio Perez, who will lead the culinary team down to Callao.

Later meet the Expedition Team and your fellow travellers, and enjoy your first special meal from a menu of specialities from the voyage’s destinations.

guayaquil

Day 4

At sea, cross into Peruvian waters.
 

At sea. During your journey there are presentations to prepare you for the upcoming ports-of-call and the many experiences which lie ahead.

Since bananas and plantains are very important in Ecuador’s cuisine, Chef Antonio presents their various culinary uses.  A special Ecuadorian-themed Captain’s dinner is served this evening.

Silversea Explorer

Day 5

Explore Isla Lobos de Tierra, Peru.
 

Lobos De Tierra and Lobos de Afuera are steep, rocky islands which offer a splendid opportunity to explore with Zodiacs. Sea lions and hundreds of blue-footed boobies can be viewed ashore, whilst Peruvian pelicans fly overhead. A landing on the island may be attempted if conditions are right.

During the afternoon, Chef Antonio introduces you to the world of cocoa with a mouth-watering tasting of various chocolate specialties.


Bluee footed boobie

Day 6

Arrive Salaverry, Peru. Visit Moche archaeological site and Isla Guañape.
 

Dock close to Trujillo, one of Lima’s best preserved colonial cities, and take a guided whistle-stop tour for a flavour of a typical traditional Peruvian town.

Continue to the religious centre of the pre-Columbian Mochica culture. The archaeological complex includes the Temple of the Sun - one of the largest adobe structures in the world - and the Temple of the Moon, decorated with intricate Moche designs.

Next you visit a private hacienda where, over a glass of champagne, you watch a demonstration of the graceful skills of Peruvian Paso horses and a marinera dance show, an opportunity to immerse yourself in authentic Peruvian culture.

The ship arrives at Isla Guañape, a wildlife Mecca.  Join a Zodiac cruise to see hundreds of thousands of seabirds, including Peruvian pelicans, Inca terns and blue-footed boobies. A staggering sight. Humboldt Penguins and large colonies of South American sea lions can also be spotted. 

Paso Horse

Day 7

Dock at Callao. Visit Larco Herrera museum in Lima.
 

Dock at Callao, the port serving Peru’s capital, Lima. Heading onshore towards the vast metropolis, you’ll stop to visit Larco Herrera, one of the country’s best museums.

It holds an extensive private collection of pre-Incan ceramics providing an overview of 3,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. Apart from the finest gold and silver collections of ancient Peru, it also houses a famous collection of erotic artefacts.

Stay on shore for dinner at the Huaca Pucllana restaurant which occupies an archaeological site with its own pyramid.  The food served here is sophisticated cuisine reflecting Lima’s current status as one the world’s top gastronomic destinations.

larco museum

Day 8

Arrive Paracas. Visit Tambo Colorado and the Ballestas Islands.
 

The coast south of Lima consists of harsh, arid desert with small fishing villages on small oases dotted with date palms. It has always been inhabited: the desert reveals a series of famous geoglyphs carved by pre-Columbian peoples.

There’s a complimentary light-aircraft flight over the famous Nazca Lines, inland from the coast. These mysterious figures and geometric patterns are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lines show an understanding of sophisticated mathematics and surveying techniques and can only be really appreciated from the air.

If you don’t fancy the flight, you can take a boat trip out to one of  this region’s most extraordinary natural attractions and wildlife refuges: the Ballestas Islands, where the haunting cries of thousands of seabirds and sea-lions, all huddled together on  guano-smothered rocks, creates an abiding memory.

nazca lines

Day 9

At sea.
 

Gather in the Theatre to hear fascinating tales of adventure and to learn about the region’s wildlife and natural history.

Due to the presence of the very nutrient-rich Humboldt Current, the waters along the Peruvian coast teem with fish. Today the chefs introduce you to ‘ceviche’, the basis of which is marinated fish but which has a large variety of incarnations. This evening you are served a special Peruvian-themed dinner.


Dinner onboard Silversea cruise

Day 10

Drop anchor at Matarani and visit Arequipa with city tour.
 

Having docked at the small port of Matarani, take to the road inland through the desert to Arequipa, Peru’s second city, set in an oasis and dwarfed by three volcanoes.

Your guided walk through the historical centre is followed by a viewing of the ice-preserved mummies of two young Inca girls, discovered on a mountain top and probably a religious sacrifice.

The Moorish-influenced Santa Catalina Monastery is one of the most important religious monuments in Peru. The vast rabbit-warren complex is like a village within the city, with cobbled patios, fountains and the former cells of the Dominican nuns (only a handful still live there). The refectory is reserved for your lunch accompanied by live Andean music.

Back on board, your dinner prepared by the Peruvian chefs features regional fare, including of course potatoes of which the country has more than 1,000 varieties. 

San Catalina Convent Peru

Day 11

Arica, Chile. Excursion into the Andean Atacama desert.
 

Sailing further south the ship crosses the border and docks at Arica, a pleasant palm-fringed port and beach resort in the north of Chile. You’re still in the Atacama desert here and there’s an excursion inland, climbing up towards the Andes. The landscape suddenly opens up to a broad valley below massive, ice-bound peaks. Stop for lunch in the little town of Putre which has an historic church.

If you’re feeling adventurous you could travel to Lauca National Park which lies at 4,500m. It’s a long trip and the air is increasingly rarified by you are rewarded with views of extraordinary desert landscape: canyons, gorges and cactus-freckled slopes.

Take lunch at the lake Changara, which reflects the snow-tipped volcanoes on the shoreline and is home to rose-hued Chilean flamingoes. Visit an abandoned pre-Hispanic village, Parinacota, a national monument.

Back on board relax in the bar for a pisco evening to learn more about the famous grape-brandy cocktail.

Atacama Desert

Day 12

At sea.
 

At sea.  There are discussions and onboard activities led by the Expedition Team. Join the chefs for a ceviche workshop, preparing your own for lunch.

Relax in one of the lounges over a book or meet up with new friends for cocktails. Before turning in, you might take a stroll on deck to appreciate the solitude of the vast sea and sky.

Dinner onboard Silversea cruise

Day 13

Arrive Antofagasta. Full day excursion to San Pedro de Atacama and Valley of the Moon.
 

Arrive at Antofagasta, a vast and very busy Pacific port. Travel inland for a 7hr drive into the heart of the rain-starved Atacama desert, visiting the adobe town San Pedro, now a popular centre for visitors. Continue to the Atacama salt flats, shimmering in perpetual sunshine, and arrive at Valle de la Luna where the lunar landscape is composed of numerous wind-sculptured rocks.

If you prefer you can stay in the port and take a city tour of Antofagasta, which is a modern industrial town but with many vestiges of a cosmopolitan history: you can spot many British as well as Spanish colonial influences in its architecture.

For those not on the full day excursion an evening cocktail in the desert ghost town Chacabuco will be offered. Once a nitrate mining town, Chacabuco was declared a National Monument in 1971 and has been restored. 

Atacama desert

Day 14

Zodiac tour of Pan de Azucar island.
 

Silversea’s Culinary Director Rudi Scholdis  joins the ship for the rest of the voyage. Before lunch, Rudi and the Chilean sommelier introduce you to Chilean wine and seafood.

Later, explore the rugged shores of Isla Pan de Azucar (Sugarloaf Island) by Zodiac. The island is home to thousands of Humboldt penguins and you may also encounter a variety of marine birds, sea lions and the reclusive South American marine otter.

Dinner onboard Silversea cruise

Day 15

Explore Chañaral island, breeding ground for Humboldt penguins.
 

This morning the culinary team focuses on shellfish and other seafood and shows you how to prepare them.

During the afternoon, explore the islands of the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve by Zodiac. The islands are an important breeding site for Humboldt penguins. Once again you have the chance of watching groups of sea-lions resting on the rocky cliff ledges, South American marine otters sliding in and out of the water and bottlenose dolphins frisking in the sea. 

Humboldt penguin

Day 16

Coquimbo, Chile. Head inland to Elqui valley, where pisco is produced.
 

Leaving the severity of the pure desert behind, the ship drops anchor at the bustling port Coquimbo. Drive inland to the Elqui Valley, finding at last a pea-green carpet of fertile soils supporting papayas, olives, pears and custard apples. This is also an important wine-producing region and where muscatel grapes are processed into pisco.

There are visits to traditional villages and a barbecue lunch before you drop in at a winery to learn about the local cultivation Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Pinot Noir grapes and the wine production process.

The alternative excursion will take you into the Limarí Valley, slightly further south, known for its pictographs and petroglyphs from the El Molle culture. The Elqui and Limarí Valleys are rich and fertile valleys running across the coastal mountains, enhancing their importance as agricultural areas. Grapes are grown vineyards for export and for wine. Visit the award-winning Tabalí winery.  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: the chefs prepare a menu with cuisine from each region you have travelled through.

la serena

Day 17

Arrive in the port of Valparaiso. Transfer inland to Santiago.
 

Silver Explorer arrives in Valparaiso in the morning. Following breakfast, disembark and transfer to Chile’s capital, Santiago, a 2hr drive inland.  Transfer to the smart new  Hotel Singular for the night.

Alternatively, and if you really have got the cruising bug, why not stay on board for the next section of the ship's epic cruise, from Valparaiso to Ushuaia in Argentine Patagonia, jumping off point for cruises to Antarctica? In 2016, this cruise includes the Antarctic Peninsula too. 

valparaiso

Day 18

Transfer to airport for international flight.
 

Transfer to the airport for your international flight, UK clients arriving the following morning...

...or think again: it's worth staying for a few days in Santiago, or  visit one of the vineyards in one of the country's premium wine-producing regions..

Santiago

Essential information

Transport

Flight from Quito to Guayaquil (1hr). 14 day cruise from Guayaquil, Ecuador, to Valparaiso, Chile. Land transfer from Valparaiso to Santiago (2hrs). 

Accommodation

This holiday incorporates a luxurious cruise on board a first class cruise ship, Silver Explorer, accommodating 130 guests and 117 staff and crew.  All guest suites are ocean view and all have verandas, marble bath, flat screen TV, on demand movies, and spa robes. All suites have a designated trained butler. Among his or her many services for you, your butler helps customise your mattress, pillow and bathroom amenities. Wifi internet (when coverage is available) and computers are accessed in the Internet café. The ship also has a medical centre, spa, beauty salon, fitness room and boutique.

Hotels on the mainland in Quito and Santiago are first class.

Meals

Breakfast daily, full board on the cruise ship. On board ship, all meals and snacks are included, with options to eat al fresco or in your suite. Complimentary beverages incl wine, spirits, coffee, soft drinks; customised minibar items.

Throughout the cruise there will be speciality gourmet meals served, and workshops devoted to the cuisine of the countries visited. 

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return. Guides, lecturers and presenters on the cruise ship are all qualified in a field of expertise relevant to the cruise.

Included excursions

• City tour of Quito and visit to the Ecuatorial monument.
• Land and sea-based excursions and activities on the expedition cruise.
• Complimentary flight over the Nazca Lines.

Summary of nights

Quito, Ecuador 2; cruise 13 nights, Santiago, Chile 1 night.

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives on the mainland..
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• All inclusive cruise as specified, including land and sea excursions, activities and lectures. 
• Complimentary parka, water bottle and backpack on cruise.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified. 
• Culinary workshops on board ship.
• Cruise staff tips and gratuities.

Not included in the journey price

• Tips and gratuities on the mainland and mainland excursions.
• Meals other than specified.
• International flights to Latin America
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Excursions designated optional.

Currency

The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar, and in Peru, the Nuevo Sol.  The unit of currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso.

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$50 per day should cover the cost of good quality meals, drinks and the odd souvenir on those days in the holiday itinerary or extension outside the cruise. Eat at the very best restaurants and you will pay considerably more. On the cruise, excursions, drinks, meals and tips are included.

How to take it

Outside the cruise period, cash machines are available in major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds. 

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can spend as the dollar is the local currency. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

You can pay for extras on the cruise (beauty salon and spa treatments, boutique items) with a credit card or US dollars. Optional excursions may be offered which have to be booked and  paid in advance before departure. Acquiring some local currency for tips for services provided by local people on the mainland and purchases from markets is advisable.

Tipping

Tips for the cruise staff are included, but local guides onshore will welcome a gratuity: they often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. Most service industry workers will hope for a tip so it is useful to have spare change for waiters, hotel porters, taxi drivers etc. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential.  Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

This holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors. If you have doubts about your fitness for the cruise, we will send you a medical questionnaire. 

Children are accepted, but must be over 6 years old to participate in excursions. There is no special entertainment programme on board for children. Children and and teenagers who are interested in wildlife, towns and desert scenery should enjoy the cruise and if there is a number of children/teenagers on board, the expedition team might dedicate a team member to lead the group and explain things to them.

Climate

The coasts of Ecuador. Peru and Chile are hot, but humidity declines once you leave the tropical  seas around Guayaquil and enter the region dominated by the cold Humboldt Current. The coast of Peru and northern Chile is desert, and the weather will be relatively hot (temperatures in the 20sC) and dry with substantial periods of sunshine. In Quito and on land excursions you will be at higher altitudes and the air temperature will be lower with a fresher feel. Santiago has a Mediterranean climate, it is Spring and should be hot and dry when you will be visiting, though cooler days with showers are possible.  

Clothing and special equipment

Pack for hot weather with summer-weight loose, comfortable clothing including shorts and trousers (bear in mind that you have to get in and out of Zodiac boats). Brings sun-protective headgear, swimwear, smart casual for the evening, light sweater or jacket for cool evenings, fleece jacket or equivalent for excursions to destinations at a higher altitude, wet weather gear: umbrella for potential tropical downpours on the early days of the cruise, rain-cape or coat, comfortable non-slip footwear including stout walking boots or shoes.  There’s no need to over-pack: On board the cruise ship there is a laundry and dry cleaning service.

Sun block and insect repellent are essential. Don’t forget your sun-glasses, binoculars, camera, charger and memory cards. Some items can be bought in the on board boutique, including branded and unbranded T shirts and sweatshirts, scent, souvenir mugs etc. Remember to pack any personal medication (carry it in cabin luggage on the flights). 

Consider taking sea-sickness prevention (consult your pharmacist). A small first aid kit with blister pads, aspirin etc may come in handy. The ship has a medical centre.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements such as malaria prophylactics.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html

This costs $14 per person, and must be applied for by you personally.

UK Passport holders must present an e-passport with a built in chip. Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.


APIS - many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.

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