Explore the Nature and Culture of Central America’s Pacific Coast
About Puerto Vallarta
- Visit a variety of Central America’s colorful coastal cities and communities
- Watch for exotic wildlife such as dolphins, turtles, sharks, rays, crocodiles, and macaws
- Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim
- Fine-dining À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm is included for suite guests
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
- Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
- English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and guide activities, both on board and ashore
- Range of included activities
- Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
- Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
- The Citizen Science program allows guests to contribute to current scientific research projects
- The onboard professional photographer will give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos
- The ship has hot tubs, an infinity pool, a sauna, an outdoor and indoor gym, and an outdoor running track
- Yoga and meditation sessions with an instructor
- Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations
- Escorted landings with small boats (RIBs)
- Loan of trekking poles and all equipment needed for the activities
- Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition photographers will help configure your camera settings before landings
- International flights
- Travel protection
- Baggage handling
- Optional shore excursions with our local partners
- Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
- Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area
- All planned activities are subject to weather conditions
- Excursions and activities are subject to change
- Please ensure you can meet all entry and boarding requirements
- No gratuities are expected
What will it be, lobster or ceviche? - Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Your expedition cruise starts in Puntarenas. Once the largest and most prosperous cargo seaport in Costa Rica, those traveling around the region now use the city as a transit hub. The ticos (the nickname for San José’s residents) often head to the coast for their weekend get-aways, and Puntarenas is the perfect spot. Stroll the oceanfront promenade and enjoy some of the freshest and most delicious seafood on the island. Why not try the lobster or ceviche? If you have a sweet tooth, we recommend a Churchill snow cone, the official snack of Puntarenas. It’s a shaved ice dessert with fruit, syrup, and ice cream.
Then it’s time to board the hybrid electric–powered MS Roald Amundsen. After you check in, you must attend a mandatory safety drill before we depart. Then comes the first of many delicious meals, capped off by the captain’s welcome toast. The captain will introduce you to the ship officers and the Expedition Team, who will be your guides and lecturers throughout the journey, both on and off the ship.
Southern Pacific Beaches - San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Your first stop is the southern Pacific beach town of San Juan Ddel Sur, a pretty horseshoe bay that has grown in popularity as Nicaragua’s surfing destination hub. This once-sleepy fishing village is known for its dark sand beaches, rolling green hills, colourful Victorian-era clapboard houses, fresh seafood restaurants, and lively surfer lifestyle.
Lie back and relax on the beach soaking up the sun and people watching. A short walk from the town will lead you to a spectacular 1,500-year-old petroglyph, with a carved depiction of a hunting scene on a large rock. Enjoy an hour-long hike up to Cristo de la Misericordia, a towering 25-metre-tall statue of Jesus where you’ll be rewarded with picturesque views over the town and beach.
Your included activity for this day is a bus tour of the city of Granada. Located on the shores of Lake Nicaragua and with views of Mombacho Volcano, Granada is home to some of the finest 16th century colonial architecture in the country. You’ll visit the main square by Central Park and admire the ornate cathedral as well as the Convent of San Francisco. Topping off your tour is a visit to a local school where we plan to drop off donated school supplies.
Alternatively, you could join an optional excursion to Masaya Volcano. The tour bus will take you near to the active volcano’s crater where you’ll likely see steam rising from the fumaroles. There’ll be a stop at Catarina for panoramic views of Apoyo Lagoon and Lake Nicaragua, as well as a handicrafts market.
Leon: Artistic and Sophisticated City - Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua
An hour’s shuttle bus ride from Puerto Corinto is the former capital of Nicaragua, León. With its large student population, León is a cosmopolitan and vibrant city and considered the intellectual and liberal centre of the country. Walk through the streets and immerse yourself in the animated chatter emanating from local coffee houses and bars.
León showcases some of the most elegant examples of colonial architecture in Nicaragua, especially its many churches and squares. Basílica de la Asunción, the largest cathedral in Central America, while the art museum houses one of the best art collections in Latin America.
Léon’s streets tell their own story of the city’s revolutionary history through political street art daubed on walls and the sides of buildings. Colourful Sandinista murals depict scenes of protest, civil war, and portraits of revolutionary heroes like Carlos Fonseca.
For a proper introduction to this nation’s history, a visit to the Museo Histórico de la Revolución is a must. Former revolutionaries act as tour guides providing authentic first-hand commentary of what it was like to live through the different ages. The Museo de Leyendes y Traditiones and the Galería de Héroes y Mártres also offer interesting insights.
A day in El Salvador - Acajutla, El Salvador
We dock at Acajutla, El Salvador’s main seaport to export coffee, sugar and balsam of Peru. Originally a Mayan village, there are hints of its history at ruins near the port. Aside from that, you can enjoy the comfortable atmosphere here, treasure hunting in the shops and strolling the dark sand beaches.
Harbour restaurants will be happy to serve you great seafood and introduce you to typical Salvadoran dishes. Order a pupusa, the national dish of El Salvador; it’s a corn tortilla filled with either cheese, pork or beans and topped with sour cabbage salad and tomato sauce. Don’t forget to try some of the local coffee too. The region is famous for it.
You may also have a number of optional excursions to choose from here. Take in the cities of Sonsonate or Nahuizalco and Ataco found inland from Acajulta. Another possible excursion brings you to Cerro Verde National Park which is 500 hectares of beautiful nature and home to the towering Izalco and Ilamatepec Volcanos. This excursion may also include a visit to UNESCO-protected Joya de Cerén, a pre-Columbian 600 A.D. Maya village preserved in volcanic ash, also known as the archaeological ‘Pompeii of America’.
A City Founded on Coffee and Cocoa - Puerto Chiapas, Mexico
We arrive at Puerto Chiapas in Mexico. This is the main port connected to the bustling commercial centre of Tapachula about 30 minutes’ drive inland. The fertile soil of the Soconusco province is famed for producing coffee, bananas, cacao and sugar cane.
Thanks to the region’s reputation for premium coffee and cocoa plantations, immigrant German, Chinese, and French workers flocked here and their influence is visible, especially in the city. Chinese cuisine has merged with regional Mayan, Mestizo, and Spanish cultures and you might find a few fusion dishes have made their way to Puerto Chiapas’ restaurants from Tapachula’s little Chinatown.
Some fascinating optional excursions might be possible from Puerto Chiapas, including a tour of culturally diverse Tapachula itself. The ancient ruins of Izapa are thought to be as ancient as 1,500 BCE and could even be where the sacred Mayan Calendar originated. A guided tour may delve into a series of stone carvings here that depict the fabled Tree of Life.
Another potential optional excursion is the aptly named Chocolate City which offers a glimpse into how locally grown cocoa beans are transformed into the treat we all know, love, and crave!
For an opportunity to spot the likes of pelicans, herons, hummingbirds, storks and turtles, perhaps it’s the optional boat excursion to the nearby mangrove streams and lagoons, accompanied by a professional captain and guide.
Bays National Park - Huatulco, Mexico
We spend the day in Huatulco, home to nine scenic bays, 36 pristine beaches, sheltered coves, and a range of eco-lodges and beach resorts.
The National Park covers three of the nine bays and several ecosystems including deciduous forest, mangroves, savanna, wetlands and coral reefs. The park is home to over 700 plant species, 130 mammals, 300 bird species, and more than 80 types of reptile and amphibians, making it a dream for nature lovers, birdwatchers and photographers alike.
Optional excursions to explore and experience Huatulco might include visiting Chahué, Tangolunda, Organo, and Maguey bays via romantic catamaran. Or perhaps a coach tour to Conejos Bay, Copalita River, and the arts and crafts museum in the town of La Cruceita.
Another possible optional excursion dives into Mexican culture by visiting three small communities. Step into a communal kitchen in Piedra de Moros to see how authentic tortillas and tamales are made. Tour a prickly pear cactus plantation in Pueblo Viejo and examine traditional edible and medicinal plants in Las Pozas.
Serenity at Sea - At Sea
After an action-packed week of activities, you’ll be ready for a relaxing day at sea with no fixed programme. Time to reflect on your experiences, edit your photos, update your travel journal, rest weary legs or catch up with loved ones back home.
You can relax and admire the scenery from the observation decks or from inside the lounge, go for a refreshing swim, or soothe your tired muscles in the spa. Or join an art workshop where you can create your own art pieces inspired by your travels so far.
Stop by the ship’s Science Center for more in-depth geological and biological insights. If you’ve collected any samples on your expedition so far, you can analyse these under the microscope together with the Expedition Team’s Chief Scientist.
You can keep active by taking advantage of our Yoga and Wellness pProgramme. Enjoy early morning mile-long walks on deck taking in the fresh sea air and join in tension-releasing stretching sessions to strengthen your joints.
Take part in wellness workshops on how to achieve physical and mental balance by unblocking barriers to your internal energy or let our massage therapists work their magic to soften any aches and strains.
Mexican resort city - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
When you get to Puerto Vallarta, your expedition will come to an end. While your cruise might be over, your adventure doesn’t have to be. This is one of Mexico’s premier coastal destinations, so why not explore more of what the city has to offer before heading home?
Check out to the downtown landmark - The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe or visit Mercado Municipal Rio Cualem, which offers 160 stalls and a large food hall serving tacos, mole and other traditional Mexican dishes.
Over at El Malecón, the seafront boardwalk buzzes with excitement. Here you can appreciate eye-pleasing sculptures created by local and international artists.
And if you’re not done with the shopping list of souvenirs for your friends and family, you can peruse to your heart’s content at two of the largest public markets in the city.
Whatever you decide to do, we truly hope you’ve had an amazing time and an unforgettable experience on your expedition cruise with us.