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Luxury culinary cruise from Peru to Patagonia - 24 Oct 2018

20 days from £6,335pp

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Luxury culinary cruise from Peru to Patagonia - 24 Oct 2018

 

Private Journey

 

Day 1

Arrive in Lima, Peru's monumental capital.
 
Lima

Lima, the ‘city of Kings’  is one of South America’s great cities. It exudes the aristocratic gravitas and elegance befitting one of the most important hubs of colonial Spain, while embracing arty neighbourhoods, modern business quarters, upmarket, tree-shaded residential districts and cramped, teeming shanty towns. Its rugged Pacific coast-setting is pretty spectacular, though nowadays tamed with velvety parks and cliff-side walks. Nowadays the city is famed for its gastronomic innovations, with several world class restaurants featuring internationally renowned chefs.

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Lima

Day 2

Guided tour of Colonial Lima and Larco Museum.
 
larco museum

The Plaza San Martín, with its colonial churches, promenades and palaces marks the beginning of a private guided tour which unearths much of the city's Spanish colonial past. Visitt several ornate ex-palaces including the Torre Tagle Palace (built for the treasurer of the Royal Spanish fleet and considered to be the most striking of Lima's 18th century mansions). Alongside the imposing cathedral, another building which borrows its architectural style from Baroque and Moorish Spain is the Monastery of San Francisco with its fascinating library and Catacombs.

You also will discover the impressive Larco Museum, one of the finest museums in Latin America, housing a vast collection of pre-Columbian pieces. The majority of artefacts in the museum are ceramics, depicting a number of Peruvian cultures including the Moche, Sicán and Chimú and there is also an excellent collection of textiles, gold and silver work, and mummies.

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larco museum

Day 3

Embark Silver Cloud; sail south to Paracas.
 
Silver Cloud

Your cruise departs from Lima’s port, Callao, and there you will embark your ship the Silver Cloud to begin your Silversea Expedition – “Sights, sounds and tastes of South America”. Yes, you will be exploring with experiences to satisfy all your senses, but if you are not that zealous about  food you will still no doubt thrill to the choice of experiences on and off board.

During a special sail away party you will be introduced to the guest Chef, who will lead your culinary team down to Arica. Later you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and this evening you can enjoy a special menu in one of the dining venues.

Set off south towards Paracas, a small Pacific port and peninsula where a national reserve hosts a unique and surprisingly large (given that it is set within in an arid, rocky coastal plain in the Atacama Desert) community of wildlife.  Condors soar above or perch watchfully on the cliffs, while Humboldt penguins and flamingoes enliven the lagoons and beaches and sea lions set up camp on the rocks. Cruise overnight and drop anchor here in the early hours of Saturday.

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Silver Cloud

Day 4

Wildlife Ballestas Islands, fly over the Nazca Lines.
 
Nazca Boobies

During your full day here you will be presented with a choice of very different activities. Given the plethora of wildlife on display, one of these options is a boat trip to the uninhabited (by humans) Ballestas Islands. These guano-coated rocks lying just off shore have been adopted as shelter by a multitude of marine birds and sea lions; the eerie, wailing music of their cacophonous cries are carried across the water.  You may well spot crowds of boobies, terns, pelicans and penguins all fighting for space in what has been called in the past the Poor Man’s Galápagos,  since the islands offer  a great wildlife-spotting experience but for those arriving by land the accessibility is much more economical than a Galápagos cruise. You’ll be riding in a local boat (safety features checked) because Peruvian regulations dictate that only local operators are licensed to offer this service.

If you are interested in the history and archaeology of the Incas, take a guided excursion to Tambo Colorado, once a regional centre of the Inca Empire. The complex includes three palaces, residential buildings and a central plaza. Built primarily out of adobe, the structures have been remarkably preserved, including the wall paintings.

You may opt to travel to Hacienda La Caravedo which has the oldest functioning distillery producing Peru’s famous grape-based brandy, pisco. Tour the distillery and taste a few of the many varieties of pisco the hacienda produces.  If after that you are still able to stand up (!) you will also be able to team up with local expert ceramists to create your own piece of pottery.

You will also have the opportunity to see the famous Nazca Lines from the air in a light aircraft. The inhospitable Nazca Desert reveals a collection of geoglyphs stretching across the barren landscape. Carved by the mysterious Nazca people between 200BC and 700AD, these figures and geometric patterns are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. No one is sure quite what they represent but the lines show an understanding of sophisticated mathematics and surveying techniques.  The designs are best appreciated from the air and the rugged, contorted desert formations are worth viewing in themselves.  (Seats on this flight are limited so you should enquire with Journey Latin America before you leave for the cruise). 

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Nazca Boobies

Day 5

At sea
 
Silver Cloud

Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up on your preparatory reading. So whether your choice is bird-watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home or simply enjoying the salty sea air on deck, these open-water days offer the perfect balance to busy time spent exploring on shore.

Gather in the Lecture Theatre for an introduction to Chile, as you will be crossing the international border tonight. Owing to the presence of the very nutrient-rich Humboldt Current, the waters along the coast here are incredibly rich in marine life. Today the chefs will introduce you to ‘ceviche’, the marinated raw fish delicacy for which Peru is so well known, in all its forms. This evening there will be a special Peruvian-themed dinner. 

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Silver Cloud

Day 6

Arica and Lauca National Park in the Andes.
 
Lauca National Park

Arrive at the Chilean port and beach resort Arica at dawn. The temperate climate and sandy beaches are not the only reason for the congenial town’s popularity. Relax for an hour or two on the main plaza or walk to the pier and watch the pelicans and sea lions trail the fishing boats as the afternoon's catch comes in. Climb to the top of the hill overlooking the town and imagine battles of days gone by, or wonder at the magnitude of modern ships as Chilean goods leave the port below by container.

You also have multiple choices for half day or full day excursions:

It’s an early morning departure to penetrate inland to the Andes and explore the  ethereal beauty of the high altitude altiplano scenery. You will see important archaeological sites along the way before the landscape suddenly opens up and the wide Putre valley can be spotted embedded beneath massive, snow-capped peaks. At the settlement of Putre, you will take lunch and later stroll through town together, visiting the church and observing a performance of Andean folkloric dance in the main plaza.

Alternatively, explore Lauca National Park. This is a challenging excursion, taking you to an altitude of 4,500m above sea-level. From the pier you drive to Copaquilla, where a pre-Inca defensive settlement (pukara) can be seen. Beyond Putre you’ll climb to Chungará Lake, where ice-cold, gemstone-shaded water of a flamingo-studded lake reflects the mountains rising close to the shores. A packed lunch will be served there. On the return you will stop at the abandoned pre-Hispanic village of Parinacota, a National Monument.

In Arica, half day excursions will permit you either to visit the Archaeological Museum and climb the promontory El Morro for sweeping views, or to visit the local market, choosing fresh produce with the help of a local chef and visit a farm and learn about the famous Azapa olives. Savour appetisers prepared by the chef with the products you selected at the market.

 After all this activity, take your time to join the bar team for a Pisco evening. Learn more about this iconic drink, which both Peru and Chile claim to be their own.

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Lauca National Park

Day 7

At sea
 
Silver Cloud

Further opportunities to enjoy the ship's facilities, watch birds, chat to other guests or catch up on your reading.

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Silver Cloud

Day 8

Antofagasta and the Atacama Desert.
 
Atacama desert

Situated on the arid coastal strip between the Pacific Ocean and the mountains of the coastal range is Chile’s largest city in the northern region. Antofagasta's role as principal port for the export of nitrate was triggered in 1866. In 1872 silver was discovered in the area, enhancing the town’s importance. Today, Antofagasta continues to be the centre of nitrate and copper mining, but its role as a hub for rail traffic to La Paz, Bolivia, and Salta, Argentina is mostly in the past. As a result of to the treaty signed after the War of the Pacific, much of land-locked Bolivia's international commerce transits through Antofagasta.

Visit the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth (in spite of the rains of January 2018). Depart early for the 7hr drive to the small resort town San Pedro de Atacama. Visit the town, its delightful adobe church (declared a National Monument), and walk through the picturesque narrow streets. At a restaurant you will have a welcome cocktail while local artisans present their handicrafts, and lunch will follow. Finally you will be heading to Valle de la Luna, an aptly named lunar landscape with contorted, wind-sculpted rock formations jutting out of the sand. At a viewpoint it’s time to savour another cocktail while observing an indigenous ritual to Mother Earth.

Alternatively, a half-day city tour is available. Antofagasta is a refined blend of traditional Chilean town and British colonial city. You will view the Huanchaca ruins. Huanchaca is a Quechua word meaning ‘the bridge of sorrows’ and it is also the name of a former silver foundry functioning about two centuries ago. The monumental industrial ruins are the remnants of this foundry, and have been turned into a Cultural Park, which includes the Museum of the Atacama Desert. Continue with a walking tour to visit the Plaza Colón and arrive at the fishing wharf where a local chef will prepare you some freshly caught seafood. The final destination will be Antofagasta’s landmark La Portada, an enormous rock caressed by the sea and sand until a giant arch was formed.

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Atacama desert

Day 9

Cookery workshop; Pan de Azucar island.
 
Dinner onboard Silversea cruise

This morning the culinary team will focus on shellfish and other seafood and you may choose to learn about the various ways to prepare them in a workshop. From raw to steamed – choose your preferred dish accompanied by the perfect Chilean wine.

The rugged shores of Isla Pan de Azucar (Sugarloaf Island) are home to thousands of Humboldt penguins, which arrive here to breed and spend their days fishing, swimming and diving, as do many other bird species such as kelp gulls, blackish oystercatchers, Peruvian boobies, pelicans, sea lions and the reclusive South American marine otter. In the afternoon you will explore the rugged shores of Isla Pan de Azucar by Zodiac. 

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Dinner onboard Silversea cruise

Day 10

Coquimbo and the Elqui valley.
 
La Serena, Chile

The name Coquimbo is derived from a native Diaguita word meaning 'place of calm waters'. Charles Darwin noted that the town was 'remarkable for nothing but its extreme quietness'. Since then, Coquimbo has developed into a bustling port and the region's major commercial and industrial centre from which minerals, fish products and fruits are exported. Used during the colonial period as a port for La Serena, Coquimbo attracted attention from English pirates, including Sir Francis Drake, who visited in 1578.

Today you have several options: a half day visit to the Elqui Valley, a visit to the Tabalí Vineyard, discovery of the nearby town La Serena or a longer visit to the Limarí Valley.

For the excursion into the Elqui valley you follow the coast going north. The Elqui valley is an important agricultural area producing papayas, olives, pears and custard apples. This is also where muscatel grapes are turned into Pisco.

You will visit a small artisan village where at a workshop you will have the opportunity to buy handmade crafts featuring stunning Diaguita designs and iconography. Afterwards you will be driven to Vicuña, famous for its many Pisco distilleries and home to Chilean’s Nobel Prize winner for Literature, Gabriela Mistral. Visit the Plaza and the Bauer Tower and there will be time to explore independently before returning to Coquimbo and Silver Cloud.

Another half day visit can be made to the seaside resort of La Serena featuring an interesting historical centre where buildings from three different architectural periods can be observed. There’s also an open-air museum with statues.

A full day excursion will take you into the Limarí Valley slightly further south, known for its pictographs and petroglyphs of the El Molle culture. Visit the Enchanted Valley in the vicinity of the town of Ovalle. The Elqui and Limarí valleys are rich and fertile transversal valleys running across the coastal mountains. Grapes are cultivated for export and for wine production: you will tour the Tabalí winery, famed for its unique coupages and blends of wine stocks such as Viognier, Sangiovese and Carmenere, and of course a tasting of its most representative wines is included. Continue to a restaurant for a traditional Chilean lunch of empanadas and an asado (a BBQ), before returning to the pier.

This excursion can also be taken as a half day tour without including the lunch. 

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La Serena, Chile

Day 11

At sea.
 
ceviche

A leisurely day at sea. Participate in discussions and onboard activities led by the Expedition Team and join the chefs for a ceviche workshop, preparing your own ceviche for lunch – the experts will assist you. 

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ceviche

Day 12

Valdivia and the land of the Mapuche indians
 
Valdivia, Chile

During the morning Silver Cloud will head further south into a much more humid, cooler and rain-sprinkled region of river deltas and bottle-green forests. During the journey the lecturers introduce you to the natural and historical highlights of Valdivia and Chile’s Lake District. Niebla is a small village on the banks of the Rio Valdivia where Chile’s Corral Bay meets the Pacific Ocean. Today it is a beach resort, but in 1671 the Spanish-built town had a defensive function to repel attacks from pirates and corsairs. Niebla is well-known for its animated markets, the ruins of a restored colonial fortress and a museum dedicated to its history.

This afternoon you can visit the modern river port Valdivia, where you will find an interesting blend of influences from the native Mapuche, Spanish settlers, and German immigrants. You might take a catamaran cruise on the river, but you will still have time to visit Valdivia. The first German colonists arrived there in 1849 and helped develop the region into one of southern Chile’s most productive. The German heritage can be found in every corner of the city, which was virtually destroyed in 1960 by an earthquake but was rebuilt with an even stronger German influence. On your way to Valdivia you can see tracts of land that are still under water as a result of the quake. You will choose whether you would like to visit the fort at Niebla or enjoy fresh fish and crabs in Valdivia. 

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Valdivia, Chile

Day 13

Visit Chile's volcano-studded lake district.
 
Lake Llanquihue

For most of its history, the seasalt-infused fishing port Puerto Montt was the end of the line ion terms of road travel. Now, the pioneering Carretera Austral is a lonely road carving its way southward through the fractured landscape of fjords and islands. Puerto Montt however remains the region's last significant outpost, a provincial city which is the hub of the fishing, textile, and tourist industries. Not so long ago it had a frontier feel but today the city centre is crammed with malls, condominiums and office towers—it's the fastest-growing city in Chile—although away from the centre it consists mainly of low clapboard houses perched above its bay, the Seno de Reloncaví.

Puerto Montt is the starting point for excursions to the picture-book-pretty Lake District, an emerald landscape studded with conical snow-capped volcanoes. You’ll be driven along the southern shore of Lake Llanquihue, heading for the impressive Petrohué waterfalls. Later you may choose to visit to a typical Chilean ranch to learn about the traditions of southern Chile’s agriculture, music and the national sport of rodeo, quite different from the North American version. At the Fundo Olguita you will have lunch featuring regional specialities also have the opportunity to learn the Chilean national dance, the Cueca.

Alternatively have a restaurant lunch and explore of the Bavarian-style lakeside town Puerto Varas. 

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Lake Llanquihue

Day 14

Puerto Chacabuco in the remote Aisén region.
 
Chilean fjords

During the morning, Silver Cloud will sail beyond the Las Huichas Islands to enter the remote Aisén Fjord. Halfway up you cruise by the National Monument Cinco Hermanas (Five Sisters), which despite the name consists of six islands. Marine otters and South American sea-lions can often be seen nearby. At the end of the fjord, rainy, sleepy Puerto Chacabuco is the main port for the Aisén region. Upon arrival you will disembark to drive to a private park, Aiken del Sur, where you may elect to walk a challenging 2km, narrow trail ascending to 2,030m with severe gradients, or decide on an easier 4km walk through the temperate rain forest. Local guides will escort you, identifying the trees, flowers, mosses and ferns of these humid, atmospheric woodlands. Keen bird-watchers will be interested to see and hear a variety of indigenous birds along the trails. You may even be lucky enough to spot an Andean condor soaring above you.

You will also visit a Quincho, where you will be rewarded with drinks (including, of course, pisco) and snacks while a local music group will entertain with traditional songs and dancing.

The scenery in this glacier-ravaged region is beautiful, punctuated with frequent waterfalls and sinuous rivers, forests and bare chilly hills, for centuries virtually inaccessible and a savagely remote destination for rugged pioneers and political exiles, but now, with new roads, opening up to delight visitors.   

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Chilean fjords

Day 15

Remote fjords and Caleta Tortel.
 
Tortel

Silver Cloud will sail through the Golfo de Penas –an area of rough seas visited by whales - to reach Caleta Tortel, one of the southernmost – and, until 2003, least connected settlements in Patagonia’s Aisén region. This is a spectacular wilderness of rugged mountains, glaciers, rivers and ancient forests. The unique landscape is characterised by an archipelagic area with numerous islands and channels.

Tortel is known as the ‘footbridge city’ after the wooden walkways which connect its piers and houses  - there are no conventional streets. Most homes are built on stilts along the shoreline of this hilly terrain. You will explore the village, where a folklore presentation awaits you at the main plaza and will take a Zodiacs cruise through the channels to visit ‘La Isla de los Muertos’, a small island used as a cemetery over a hundred years ago. Both the village and the island have been declared National Monuments. 

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Tortel

Day 16

Cruise through the English Narrows and view Pio Xl glacier.
 
pio Xl glacier

As the ship passes through the English Narrows at dawn we recommend you spend time on the outer decks while the Captain and local Chilean pilots expertly manoeuvre through the slalom course of islands and channel markers. Dolphins and marine birds keep you company. At the narrowest part it has a width of merely 80m, permitting the passage of only one vessel at a time.

Once you have passed the English Narrows there’s time to attend lectures on the fjords’ natural history. Only one settlement exists south of the English Narrows, the fishing port Puerto Eden. In the afternoon you will visit the Pio XI Glacier. This tidewater glacier is 4.5 km wide and a remarkable shade of brilliant blue. An outlet glacier of the South Patagonian Ice Field, the Pio XI had once extended out into the fjords whose waters you sail through today. Conditions permitting, you will board Zodiacs and dodge icebergs to approach the glacier at a safe distance.  Be alert for signs of calving: you may witness vast chunks of ice crashing down from the glacier wall. 

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pio Xl glacier

Day 17

Cruise through the Strait of Magellan.
 
deals silversea

Winding through the maze of the Chilean fjords you’ll see towering mountains looming on both sides, waterfalls, and the marvel of hardy flora clinging to barren rocks. Seals and dolphins patrol the length of these uninhabited inlets and tiny fishing-boats can be spotted coming out of the southern city, Punta Arenas.

The ship will sail through Chile’s largest national park, Bernardo O’Higgins, before heading for the western channel of the Strait of Magellan. Occasionally seals and dolphins can be seen. Silver Cloud will head for the Strait of Magellan and the Francisco Coloane Marine Park, an area humpback whales are known to frequent. 

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deals silversea

Day 18

Alberto de Agostini National Park and Ainsworth Bay, Tierra del Fuego, Chile
 
silversea patagonia

Today the ship will navigate past Dawson Island, once a penal settlement for political prisoners- into Almirantazgo Sound,  arriving at Ainsworth Bay. The bay is within Alberto De Agostini National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The park was created in 1965, taking its name from an Italian missionary of the Salesian religious order which settled in the region in the early 20th century. De Agostini was also an explorer famed for his discoveries, photographs and maps of the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica.

Ainsworth Bay is part of the Almirantazgo Sound, in the Tierra del Fuego region of Chile. It is inside the D Agostini National Park, within the Darwin range and is one of the most pristine and secluded spots to visit in this part of Chilean Patagonia. The retreating Marinelli glacier, with its 40m high ice walls, is nearby, there are often elephant seals hauled out on the beaches, and colonies of Magellanic Penguins nest in burrows amongst the vegetation. Other common birds are cormorants and predatory skuas. 

Depending on conditions, you will be offered a Zodiac cruise to see the Marinelli Glacier descending from Darwin mountain range. There will also be a walk in the tangled sub-polar Magellanic forest thick with evergreens and deciduous trees. There’s a possibility of sightings of southern elephant seals, while nearby Tucker Island is known to host Magellanic Penguins.

During the night Silver Cloud will again head into the Strait of Magellan, sailing for Punta Arenas. 

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silversea patagonia

Day 19

Arrive Punta Arenas, disembark and fly to Santiago.
 
Punta Arenas, Chile

Impenetrable forests, impassable mountains, and endless fields of ice define Chilean Patagonia, and as a result the region was largely unexplored until the beginning of the 20th century. Located in the southernmost part of the country, this area is still sparsely inhabited, though you will find a few more populated settlements such as the provincial city Punta Arenas.

After breakfast disembark Silver Cloud.

Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.

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Punta Arenas, Chile

Day 20

Transfer to airport for international flight.

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