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Splashing colour and culture into the arid Peruvian landscape, Lima is a city bedecked with grand colonial splendour. Founded in 1535, this sprawling capital enjoys a breezy oceanfront location and forms one of the world’s largest desert cities. A place of sharp contrasts, almost 10 million people are packed into the city, occupying vastly different living conditions. Visit for an unfiltered experience of this richly layered place of ancient history, colonial relics and dazzling flavours. View less
Rising from the misty blanket of the garua – a persistent fog that cloaks Lima during winter – you’ll find one of South America’s most culturally vibrant cities. The former capital of the Spanish colonists – head to Plaza de Armas to immerse yourself in the heart of the old city. The Basilica Cathedral of Lima watches over Plaza Mayor – listen out for the stomps of boots outside, as the pomp and ceremony of the Changing of the Guards draws crowds to the Government Palace. The history of this area runs much deeper, however, and pre-Colombian cities and temples emerge from the dusty earth nearby. Grand museums showcase unearthed treasures from the extraordinary civilisations who built vast mud adobe cities across Peru’s coastline, and incredible settlements in the country’s valleys and mountains. The Barranco district is Lima’s artsy area, and you can walk from modern art galleries to see the local muse, the Bridge of Sighs. This wooden bridge is an artist’s favourite, and one of the city’s most romantic spots. Afterwards, sample some of Lima’s cuisine, and the zingy flavours of spicy, lime-marinated fish ceviche. So revered in these parts, ceviche even has its own national day on June 28th. Sipping a Pisco Sour is the perfect way to round off your visit to this engrossing, multi-layered city.
The port city of Paracas is blessed with magnificent natural beauty and rich historical importance, offerings inviting beaches, ideal weather and pleasant scenery — a combination that draws visitors throughout the year. The shores of the Paracas Peninsula and waters of the bay teem with wildlife and have been declared a national reserve. Condors frequently can be seen gliding on the sea winds or perched on the cliffs; pink flamingos often rest here on their migratory flights. View less
The complex interaction between wind and ocean, sun and land has transformed this region into a kind of lunarscape under an equatorial sun. Another reason for travellers to come to this area is its proximity to the famous and mysterious Nazca Lines. Visible from the air, these strange markings stretch for miles on a large barren plain and have bewildered archaeologists, historians and mathematicians since their discovery over a century ago. The earliest Andean people found shelter here. The Paracas culture was known for fine weavings in geometrical designs and vibrant colours, which have been preserved for thousands of years by the dry climate. Some of the finest examples are in museums in Lima. The town of Ica is Peru’s finest wine centre, as well as home to the fiery brandy-derived beverage known as Pisco. The surrounding area features oases with springs considered to have medicinal cures. Pier Information The ship is scheduled to dock at Port of Paracas, about a 45-minute drive from Ica. There are no passenger facilities at the pier. Shopping Shopping opportunities are limited; some souvenirs can be found at the museum in Ica. A bottle of Peruvian Pisco (grape brandy) makes a nice memento. The local currency is the nuevo sol. Cuisine Seafood is highly recommended, however, we recommend you dine only in the hotel restaurants in Peru’s southern region. Be sure to sample the national drink pisco sour and the area’s excellent wines. Always drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes. Other Sites The Bay of Paracas is sheltered by the Paracas peninsula, noted as one of the best marine reserves in the world. This is also a popular resort area thanks to its beautiful bay, beaches and dependable warm weather. Facilities include swimming pools, tennis courts, miniature golf and a good restaurant. For those who are looking for a little adventure dune buggies are available. Local boat trips can be booked to the Ballestas Islands but be aware that commentary is given in Spanish. Private arrangements for independent sightseeing are limited in this port as cars have to come from Lima. Please submit your request to the Tour Office early in the cruise.
Matarani is located on the south-western coast of Peru and gives access to the colonial city of Arequipa, 75 miles (121 km) inland. From here it is a 200 mile (322 km) drive to Lake Titicaca and 400 miles (644 km) to Cuzco and Machu Picchu.
This major port is an important element in the current plan between the governments of Peru and Brazil to afford easy commercial movement between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans by both countries.
Arica is Chile’s northernmost city and the capital of the Region of Arica and Parinacota. Its 240,000 inhabitants make up almost 98% of the region’s population. With an average temperature of 18 degrees Celsius Arica is known as the “city of eternal spring”. Although it is within the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places in the world, and several years can pass before it rains in the city, a fertile river valley dissects it. Fruit and vegetables are produced there and Arica is famous for its olives.
Arica’s port had been important for the Spanish Empire since 1545 when silver was brought down to the coast from Potosi (Bolivia) –this attracted English and Dutch pirates which looted Arica on several occasions. Today the port serves as a free port for goods from landlocked Bolivia. Arica belonged to Peru until 1880, when Chilean troops took the “El Morro” hill above the port during the War of the Pacific. It is possible to walk up to the giant flagpole and small military museum on the hill, from where there are excellent views across the city, port and valley. Attractions in or near Arica include the Museum of Azapa dedicated to the Chinchorro culture with the oldest mummies in the world going back 7,ooo years, several beaches and three buildings said to have been designed by Eiffel.
If archaeological zones, landscaped plazas and well, giant hands, are your travel cup of tea then look no further than Antofagasta. Set between the Pacific Ocean and the mountains, the city is Chile’s second most populated place, and by far the largest in the northern region. Once the country’s primary export port, notably for minerals including nitrate and later, silver, today Antofagasta is still the country’s centre for mineral mining.
Antofagasta was once part of Bolivia, and only became Chilean in 1904 after it was captured in the War of the Pacific. Under the subsequent treaty, Chile agreed to construct a rail link to Bolivia in return for the city. Today the city still enjoys relative stress free travel to La Paz, through some of the most scenic and spectacular landscapes in the world. The railway link, which extended south as well as north, naturally brought colossal growth, expansion which is still continuing today. In recent years, Antofagasta has seen high rise hotels and buildings sprout up amid the jumble of old-fashioned plazas, former Railway Stations, and wooden-fronted Victorian and Georgian buildings that can be found along the Barrio Histórico. The city borders the arid Atacama Desert, aka the world’s driest place. As if the lunar like landscape was not enough, the aforementioned “Hand of the Desert”, an 11-metre tall sculpture of a hand reaching up to the stars is located about 60 km from Antofagasta, and is surely a must for anyone who is interested in alien experiences.
Isla Pan de Azucar is the largest of several rock formations of highly metamorphosed sandstone and mudstone in front of a small ranger station at Caleta Pan de Azucar within the Pan de Azucar National Park. The national park of 43754 hectares straddles two of Chile’s regions, but just 1.1 square kilometers are formed by Isla Pan de Azucar, the neighboring Las Chatas islets and Las Mariposas (Butterfly) rocks. View less
To protect the South American sea lions and elusive marine otters seen on the island and islets, the park does not permit landings. Ships are not allowed to anchor either and even Zodiacs cruising along the shores need to be accompanied by local boats. During a Zodiac cruise several bird species including Humboldt Penguins, Inca Terns, Kelp Gulls, Peruvian Boobies, as well as Peruvian Pelicans, Peruvian Diving-Petrels, Red-legged Cormorants, and Turkey Vultures might be seen closer.
Isla Chañaral is located 6 km off-shore from the northern Central Chilean coast, some 100 km north of the city of La Serena. Together with Isla Choros and Isla Damas, the island forms the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve, which is administered by the Chilean Forestry Corporation
Since time immemorial Valparaiso has inspired writers, poets, musicians and artists alike. If the city is still a little rough around the edges, this only adds to its bohemian ambience; the architecture, style, street art, nightlife, and live music scenes of Valparaiso are some of the best in the world. Add colourful clifftop homes to the mix and you’ll soon see why Valpariaso is many people’s favourite Chilean city. The city was founded in 1536 by Spanish conquistador Juan de Saavedra, who named the city after his birthplace. View less
Many of the colonial buildings he implemented are still standing today, despite the rain, wind, fire and several earthquakes (one of which almost levelled the city in 1906). Quirky architecture also abounds; poetry lovers and amateur architects will no doubt want to make the 45 km trip south to Chilean poet laureate (and Nobel Prize winner) Pablo Neruda’s ship-shaped house and museum for a taste of the extraordinary. The city and region are also extremely well known for their love of good food and wine. The vineyards of the nearby Casablanca Valley – first planted in the early 1980s – have earned worldwide recognition in a relatively short space of time. However, Chile’s viticulture history does date back much farther than that. De Saavedra brought grape vines on his voyage to South America in order to make his own wine and this led to a new grape brandy being created, Pisco. Today give any Chilean a Pisco and wherever they are in the world, they will be home.
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