Cultures of Northern Peru and Biodiversity Cruise

Cultures of Northern Peru and Biodiversity Cruise

From NZD $4,635


Set sail to remote and pristine places in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Panama on this Cultures of Northern Peru and Biodiversity cruise and encounter the planet’s most diverse wildlife, including blue-footed boobies and Humboldt penguins. Your boutique expedition ship leaves from the port of Callao in Lima, Peru, and sails north along the Pacific Coast. Your journey makes for an unforgettable adventure as you head into the Darien Jungle and meet the indigenous Emberá, the world’s most remote people. Discover some of Latin America’s best-preserved archaeological sites, including the Moche civilization, and learn more about this region’s rich history and fascinating culture from your onboard team. Your journey ends in Acapulco, the beach capital of Mexico, where you can relax and savor your recent extraordinary experiences.

Trip Name
Cultures of Northern Peru and Biodiversity Cruise
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 125 meters Passenger Capacity: 192 Built: 2022-2023 Arriving in early 2023, SH Diana will be the largest ship in our fleet, providing elegant and spacious 5-star accommodation for 192 guests in 96 spacious staterooms and suites, the vast majority with large balconies. Operated by an onboard team of 140 she will provide the highest levels of personal service and take Swan Hellenic back to its roots when she launches, exploring the Mediterranean and its famous sites of antiquity. Now sit back, relax and take a moment to get to know this amazing new ship, purpose-designed for our unique cultural expedition cruises. Named after the Ancient Roman goddess of light, the moon, hunting and the wilderness, SH Diana been specially designed for worldwide cruising to explore the most inspiring and inaccessible places on earth. Building on the outstanding amenities of her sister ships, she adds a dedicated Multifunctional Room next to the Observation Lounge, a Private Dining Room for special occasions, and two tenders which bring guests a comfortable alternative to Zodiacs for expedition landings. A Polar Class 6 ice-strengthened hull combines with extra-large stabilisers to make your journey as comfortable as possible. SH Diana has been designed for immersive experiences, with extensive outside deck areas, multiple observation points and bright, open and relaxing public spaces with unobstructed views. The pleasure and safety of our guests is paramount at all times, cared for by our attentive crew and seasoned expedition leaders. Cutting edge hygiene technology protects the health of all on board to the highest standards and includes air conditioning with UV sanitisation systems. SH Diana’s 96 staterooms , including 11 suites, are each a superbly comfortable home from home and all feature panoramic sea views, a flame-effect fireplace, original works of art, plush couches, premium pocket sprung mattresses, en-suite bathrooms with glass-enclosed rain showers, and Egyptian cotton towels, bathrobes and sheets. A pillow menu offers customised head and neck comfort during rest, while a large flat screen TV, espresso machine with Illy premium coffee, tea making facilities with the finest Kusmi teas, and a minibar with refreshments enhance relaxation at any time. In-room dining is of course available at all hours.


Situated on a strip of desert between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains is Peru’s capital city of Lima. The city is served by the seaport of Callao, where you will be boarding your boutique cruise ship. The bustling metropolis of Lima has much to offer, but not least of all its internationally renowned culinary scene. There are many award-winning eateries to explore and local dishes to sample. A local favourite is ceviche, fresh fish marinated in tangy lime juice and other seasonings. You’ll find the dish on offer just about everywhere in the city, from up-market restaurants to local fishing dock cevicherías. Culture is also in plentiful supply, with the UNESCO World Heritage historic centre packed with colonial-era architecture like Plaza Mayor and San Francisco Monastery. You can also visit the clay ruins of ceremonial pyramids Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarca, reminders of the long-lost Inca civilisation.
Located few miles off the Peruvian coast, Isla Guanape is a breeding ground for huge populations of seabirds and sea lions. Consisting of four separate islands, the area was formerly exploited for guano (for fertiliser). The islands are now protected, and the harvesting of guano is strictly regulated. We will be searching for wildlife, including pelicans, boobies, Humboldt penguins and Southern sea lions, along the coastline of the islands on our zodiac expedition boats.
The port of Salaverry is the gateway to the very best of pre-Incan Peru. Just a short distance away you’ll find Peru’s northern capital, Trujillo. Here you can wander through the Plaza de Armes, one of the most iconic city squares in the country. The vibrant red and blue buildings date back to the 16th century. Surrounding the city you’ll find an array of archaeological ruins, some of which are the best preserved in the country. The Moche civilisation flourished in Peru from 1-750AD, leaving several incredible relics in its wake. Two of the most archaeologically important sites in the area are the well-preserved mud pyramids of HUACA del Sol and HUACA de la Luna (Temples of the Sun and Moon). The ancient city of Chan Chan is also a spectacular sight. Built by the Chimú empire around 1300AD, the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas was once home to an estimated 60,000 people.
Continue north to the island of Lobos de Tierra, a thriving wildlife hub situated just off Peru’s northern coast. The lunar-like landscape and rocky shorelines support huge populations of seabirds. The bird’s thick layers of nitrate-rich guano once attracted an abundance of guano harvesters. The harvesting has since ceased, and the birds of Lobos de Tierra are for the most part undisturbed. Here we will explore the Lobos de Tierra coastline from our zodiac boats, looking out for sea lions, Peruvian pelicans and blue-footed boobies. There are also a few building relics scattered around from the guano-mining days.
You will arrive in Ecuador today via the charming port city of Machala. Feast on local seafood at one of the many harbour restaurants, wander around the quaint plazas and get to know the friendly locals. The city is surrounded by banana plantations, the region’s most famous export. Today we will be leaving the city behind as we explore the Buenaventura Reserve located within pristine cloud forest. The region is home to over 130 species of hummingbird alongside many other bird species. You will also have the option to visit a local banana plantation where you can learn how this crop is grown, harvested and packed for export.
Also known as the Silver Island, the uninhabited Isla de la Plata allegedly derives its moniker from the centuries-old, buried treasure of Sir Francis Drake. Although no treasure has ever been found, what the island lacks in buried silver it makes up for in biodiversity. Rivalling the Galapagos Islands in its wildlife offerings, the island is home to the same dry, tropical environment. The variety of fauna is also similar, with over 32 species of bird living here. As we explore the island and surrounding waters, we’ll be looking out for more blue-footed boobies, nested waved albatrosses, pelicans, gannets and frigate birds.
Day 8 - DAY 8 DAY AT SEA
Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship’s observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to our library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of our on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from our onboard professional photographers.
The area is one of the worlds' wettest regions, with around 10,000 millimetres of rainfall per year. Utria National Park’s forested area has rich and diverse fauna and flora with seven different mangrove species along its shore. You will have the option to explore the national park on a rainforest or mangrove walk. The national park also overlaps the territory of the Emberà indigenous people. There are also fishing villages of Afro-Colombian people along the coastline whom you may come across as you explore the area. Both groups are strong conservationists and many of the local ecotourism services are provided by these communities.
Today we will be making our way to an authentic Emberá settlement in the Darien Jungle. We will travel using local boats alongside our zodiacs as we make our way through the mangroves and waterways. On the journey keep a lookout for birds like heron, egret, osprey and harpy eagles. The indigenous Emberà have lived in this region for centuries. This is a unique opportunity to visit a tribe that rarely receives outside visitors. After a briefing on local customs and courtesies, you’ll meet the tribe and be able to explore the village. You’ll learn about the tribe’s strong connection to the surrounding jungle and how they rely on the natural environment for clothing, food and medicine.
Located west of Panama City, at the Pacific terminus of the Panama Canal, Fuetre Amador is a manmade causeway, constructed with material excavated from the canal. Before boarding your boutique cruise ship, be sure to stop in at the Miraflores Locks’ visitor’s centre. Here you will learn about the impressive engineering that went into building this legendary waterway. Watch the mighty barges make their way through the canal from the panoramic observation deck. A short taxi ride away, Panama City is a modern and vibrant place that has evolved around its Spanish colonial centre, the Casco Veijo. Here you can wander through a conquistador-era UNESCO World Heritage Site, sip coffee in the street cafés or enjoy some shopping in the malls.
Day 12 - Please Note:
Itinerary changes and surprising experiences are part of expedition cruise life. The world has a habit of amazing us with incredible things when we yield to the unexpected. Join us with an open mind and a sense of adventure and you’ll find that this can pay off in the most rewarding ways.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
17-03-202427-03-2024NZD $4,635Oceanview D4
17-03-202427-03-2024NZD $4,860Oceanview M4
17-03-202427-03-2024NZD $5,760Balcony D5
17-03-202427-03-2024NZD $5,985Balcony M5
17-03-202427-03-2024NZD $6,660Balcony D6
17-03-202427-03-2024NZD $7,635Junior Suite
17-03-202427-03-2024NZD $8,010Suite
17-03-202427-03-2024NZD $8,835Premium Suite


    • Lima, Peru: Explore the vibrant culinary scene, visit the historic center with its colonial architecture, and learn about the ancient Inca civilization at sites like Plaza Mayor and San Francisco Monastery.
    • Isla Guanape: Discover the wildlife-rich islands off the Peruvian coast, home to seabirds, sea lions, and Humboldt penguins. Take a zodiac expedition to explore the coastline and observe the diverse wildlife.
    • Trujillo and Huaca de la Luna: Visit the archaeological sites near the port of Salaverry, including the mud pyramids of Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna. Explore the ancient city of Chan Chan, built by the Chimú empire, and learn about the region's pre-Incan history.
    • Isla de la Plata: Known as the "Silver Island," this uninhabited island offers a biodiversity similar to the Galapagos Islands. Observe blue-footed boobies, waved albatrosses, pelicans, gannets, and frigate birds as you explore the island and its surrounding waters.