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Panama Canal, Fjords & Patagonia

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 Cruise Length
31 Days
 Cruise Starts
Fort Lauderdale
 Cruise Finishes
Ushuaia
31 Day Panama Canal, Fjords & Patagonia Itinerary (Viking)
Countries Explored: USA, Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina
Cruise Line
Viking
Ship
Passengers
378
Crew
260
Launched
2022
Cruise Code
VKPCFP

Overview

Explore intriguing cultures and untamed natural beauty during an unforgettable voyage across the Americas. Discover the secrets of ancient civilizations of the Yucatán Peninsula and transit the famous Panama Canal. Admire soaring peaks and towering ice shelves as you navigate the channels of the Chilean fjords. Join your team of experts for an up-close encounter with blue-tinged glaciers and encounter the customs of North, Central and South America.

Itinerary

Embark your ship and settle into your stateroom. A beloved leisure destination for Floridians and visitors alike, the Ft. Lauderdale area exudes the carefree attitude of South Florida's coast. In Miami, a thriving Cuban culture infuses Old Havana and gleaming high-rises overlook Biscayne Bay. On the outlying barrier islands, South Beach is an intoxicating blend of seaside glamour and art deco pastel brilliance. Farther north, the seven-mile-long Ft. Lauderdale Beach provides a more leisurely ambience. Along Las Olas Boulevard, cafés and boutiques invite lingering and endless browsing.

The Gulf of Mexico has been a witness to much of the history of North and Central America. In 1497, Amerigo Vespucci was purportedly the first European to sail into the gulf's basin, charting its coast and changing the world map. Meet fellow guests and listen to the soothing sounds of classical music in The Living Room, an ideal setting for relaxation. Enjoy a cup of coffee or sip on a refreshing cocktail.

The island of Cozumel holds the keys to many of the most intriguing secrets of Mexico's ancient civilizations. At San Gervasio, pre-Columbian women made offerings to Ix Chel, goddess of the moon and fertility. More recently, the Spanish left marks of their early presence in the colorful colonial architecture and lively traditions of San Miguel and at the scenic lighthouse at Punta Sur. Today, this island off Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula attracts as many snorkelers as it does history buffs; the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park is the world's second-largest coral reef system.

Sail through turquoise waters where legends of marauding pirates, swashbucklers and tales of hidden treasures were born. Meet fellow guests and listen to the soothing sounds of classical music in The Living Room, an ideal setting for relaxation. Enjoy a cup of coffee or sip on a refreshing cocktail.

Sail through turquoise waters where legends of marauding pirates, swashbucklers and tales of hidden treasures were born. Meet fellow guests and listen to the soothing sounds of classical music in The Living Room, an ideal setting for relaxation. Enjoy a cup of coffee or sip on a refreshing cocktail.

Colón lies near the Panama Canal's Atlantic entrance. During the California gold rush, prospectors from the eastern United States sailed here, trekked across the narrow isthmus of Panama, then sailed up the Pacific coast, believing the journey easier than traversing the entire United States. Indigenous tribes maintain a strong presence in this northern corner of Panama. In the city's rural reaches—the Emberá people—descended from ancient tribes, live in thatched-roof huts, travel by dugout canoe and weave traditional baskets.

The Panama Canal connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, crossing the narrowest stretch of the isthmus of Panama. A full transit through the 48-mile-long canal takes around eight to ten hours and passes through the Gatun Lake and the Culebra Cut, an artificial valley that runs through the Continental Divide. An engineering marvel of the 20th century, the crossing passes through a series of locks that lift and lower ships 85 feet from sea level, guided by electric locomotives known as mulas. The Panama Canal transit is a rite of passage and a truly memorable experience.

Sail Mar Pacífico, meaning 'peaceful sea,' dubbed by Ferdinand Magellan when he crossed these waters almost 500 years ago. As you sail today, attend an informative lecture or watch a film on our 8k laser-projected panoramic screen in The Aula, one of the world's most advanced venues for learning at sea. This indoor-outdoor experience allows nature to take center stage with its retractable floor-to-ceiling windows that unveil 270° views.

Manta has long been closely linked to the rhythms of the sea. The city boasts the largest seaport in Ecuador and a bustling fish market brimming with sea bass, tuna and countless other delicacies. Local Manabita fare is a celebrated gastronomic tradition and considered by Ecuadorians to be one of their country's finest cuisines. Founded as a pre-Columbian trading post known as Jocay, the city is also recognized for its heritage with craft exhibits. But the craft scene really thrives in nearby Montecristi, renowned for its intricate wickerwork and original Panama hats.

Traverse the world's largest ocean, covering almost 64 million square miles. At twice the size of the Atlantic, the Pacific is an ocean of extremes. Renew your body, mind and spirit in our Scandinavian-inspired spa, a Nordic sanctuary of holistic wellness, today while at sea. Whether you unwind in the Sauna, refresh in the Snow Grotto or take a dip in the Thermal Pool, you will feel recharged and revitalized.

Traverse the world's largest ocean, covering almost 64 million square miles. At twice the size of the Atlantic, the Pacific is an ocean of extremes. Renew your body, mind and spirit in our Scandinavian-inspired spa, a Nordic sanctuary of holistic wellness, today while at sea. Whether you unwind in the Sauna, refresh in the Snow Grotto or take a dip in the Thermal Pool, you will feel recharged and revitalized.

Lima was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizzaro as La Ciudad de los Reyes, or 'City of Kings.' It soon grew into the capital of Spain's Viceroyalty of Peru and established the oldest university in the Americas, the National University of San Marcos. One of the most cosmopolitan cities in South America, Lima's extravagant collection of architecture spans the centuries: early colonial, Spanish baroque, neoclassical and Art Nouveau buildings all adorn the cityscape. The historic center, graced with hundreds of balconies built during the viceroyalty era, is a UNESCO Site.

Learn about the vast array of marine life that call the Pacific Ocean home. Gigantic humpback and blue whales troll the water for microscopic krill, while predators such as sharks and orcas feed on the likes of tuna and swordfish. As you sail, admire the surrounding vistas from the Finse Terrace, an outdoor lounge area with comfortable couches and heated lava rock 'firepits' to keep you warm in colder climes.

Learn about the vast array of marine life that call the Pacific Ocean home. Gigantic humpback and blue whales troll the water for microscopic krill, while predators such as sharks and orcas feed on the likes of tuna and swordfish. As you sail, admire the surrounding vistas from the Finse Terrace, an outdoor lounge area with comfortable couches and heated lava rock 'firepits' to keep you warm in colder climes.

Iquique enjoys a scenic locale between the Pacific Ocean and the Pampa del Tamarugal, a vast plateau within the Atacama Desert. This bustling city was once part of Peru and grew prosperous from saltpeter mining. It was ceded to Chile in 1883 after the War of the Pacific. Today, Iquique boasts many architectural treasures around its central Arturo Prat Square, from the stately Municipal Theater and the elegant Casino Español to a Gothic and Moorish-style Clock Tower. The city's well-preserved Georgian-style homes are a picturesque legacy from the 19th-century mining boom.

Cross the Pacific Ocean and learn about its fascinating geology, with more than 75,000 volcanoes—many still active—reaching up from its depths. Linger on the deck of your veranda for vistas of azure and turquoise as you sail through some of the world's most beautiful waters. Perhaps you will take a dip in the Infinity Pool or stroll the Promenade Deck.

Cross the Pacific Ocean and learn about its fascinating geology, with more than 75,000 volcanoes—many still active—reaching up from its depths. Linger on the deck of your veranda for vistas of azure and turquoise as you sail through some of the world's most beautiful waters. Perhaps you will take a dip in the Infinity Pool or stroll the Promenade Deck.

Chile's modern capital of Santiago is one of the largest cities in the Americas. Its impressive neoclassical, neo-Gothic, art deco and other architecture spans several centuries. Santiago's gateway, Valparaíso, is often compared to San Francisco for its many cerros, or hills. The city prospered as a major port until the opening of the Panama Canal rendered it unnecessary. Quaint Victorian-era architecture recalling its 19th-century affluence and steeply sloped barrios are linked by ascensores, or funiculars, and winding byways. From Los Cerros, the views are spectacular.

The Pacific Ocean may have been officially discovered in 1521, yet early civilizations have been traversing these waters since 3000 BC. As you sail today, relax in the Explorers' Lounge, inspired by epic journeys of discovery. Marvel at the views through the two-story panoramic windows as you share a cocktail with friends, or settle down to read a book.

A pristine paradise of soaring peaks, countless lush islands teeming with wildlife and a tapestry of glaciers and rivers spilling into shimmering waters, the fjords of Chile are heralded as one of the most rugged and untamed places on earth. The crystal waters are a breathtaking sight as they journey through vast ice fields, towering mountainsides and serene fishing villages that hug tranquil shores against backdrops of dramatic forested hills.

Castro is the capital of the Chiloé Archipelago, located on an inlet on Chiloé Island's western shores. Founded in 1537, it was rebuilt after being destroyed by an earthquake in 1837. The city is renowned for its palafitos, traditional houses built on stilts along the waterfront. Historically the residences of fishermen, these brightly painted wooden structures are a unique architectural characteristic of Chiloé. The island is also home to 16 churches designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites for being outstanding examples of ecclesiastical wooden architecture.

The fjords and channels of Chile were first inhabited by indigenous people who used the wood of the endemic Pilgerodendron uviferum, a conifer tree, to build their canoes and homes. Spanish conquistadors began exploring the region during the mid-16th century, navigating the fjord's internal passageways to avoid the heavy seas and bad weather of the Pacific Ocean. The harsh climate and declining local populations limited colonial expansion, leaving the fjords sparsely populated—a situation that continues to this day.

The coastal lumber town of Tortel sits at the mouths of two rivers, between the expansive Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields. One of the most remote destinations in southern Chile, Tortel is surrounded by wild and untamed nature, with rocky shores mixing with blue-ice glaciers and subpolar forests to create unspoiled landscapes of epic beauty. Built entirely on stilts over the dense vegetation and steep slopes around the cove, the residents of Tortel use an intricate wooden walkway system that winds its way for miles through the town and the surrounding wilderness.

The gigantic Patagonian Ice Sheet covered southern Chile in a thick blanket of ice and snow during the last Ice Age. Around 12,000 years ago, rising temperatures caused it to begin melting, carving out the Patagonian landscape as it receded. Today, two vast sections, northern and southern, remain of this ancient ice sheet. Together, they cover more than 5,400 square miles and form the third largest frozen landmass on Earth. At their edges are towering glaciers of blue-tinged ice, whose ever-changing faces create the large icebergs that float in the fjords and channels.

The gigantic Patagonian Ice Sheet covered southern Chile in a thick blanket of ice and snow during the last Ice Age. Around 12,000 years ago, rising temperatures caused it to begin melting, carving out the Patagonian landscape as it receded. Today, two vast sections, northern and southern, remain of this ancient ice sheet. Together, they cover more than 5,400 square miles and form the third largest frozen landmass on Earth. At their edges are towering glaciers of blue-tinged ice, whose ever-changing faces create the large icebergs that float in the fjords and channels.

The picturesque Chilean fjords stretch nearly 1,000 miles from Cape Horn at the South American continent's southern tip to the Reloncaví Estuary just below the city of Puerto Montt. Carved out by receding glaciers starting more than 2.5 million years ago, the fjords are composed of several hundred channels and passages that wind their way past walls of blue ice, dense forests and steep mountain ranges. Its rugged coastline is home to colonies of Magellanic penguins and lazing elephant seals, while its waters welcome dolphins, migrating humpback whales and orcas on the hunt.

Punta Arenas was founded as a penal colony by Chile in 1848. Nestled amid spectacular mountain vistas on the eastern shores of the Brunswick Peninsula, it played host to mariners crossing the continent by ship. Europeans followed, searching for newly discovered gold and establishing vast swaths of sheep farms locally and throughout the surrounding region. Over time, Punta Arenas became one of Chile's most important ports as, before the opening of the Panama Canal, it laid on the northernmost transcontinental shipping route.

Spanning the border of Chile and Argentina, the Southern Patagonian Ice Field stretches along the spine of the Andes Mountains for more than 200 miles. Chile itself is home to almost 80% of South America's glaciers, covering an estimated 7,700 square miles. These glaciers act as enormous freshwater reserves for the mountain habitats across Patagonia, helping to sustain the region's diverse plants and wildlife.

Spanning the border of Chile and Argentina, the Southern Patagonian Ice Field stretches along the spine of the Andes Mountains for more than 200 miles. Chile itself is home to almost 80% of South America's glaciers, covering an estimated 7,700 square miles. These glaciers act as enormous freshwater reserves for the mountain habitats across Patagonia, helping to sustain the region's diverse plants and wildlife.

Rising above the point where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans converge, Cape Horn, named for the Dutch city of Hoorn in The Netherlands, is part of the Hermite Islands archipelago. This remote, stark and treeless place is often considered the continent's southernmost point. Soaring from Hornos Island is a massive prehistoric-looking massif of Jurassic volcanic rock. Atop, stands its historic lighthouse near the water's edge. A beacon of assurance and safety for countless sailors since 1991, it is the world's southernmost traditional-style lighthouse.

Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. Its splendid setting, tucked between the Beagle Channel and the southernmost slopes of the Andes, lends it an outpost atmosphere, as do the Antarctic explorers readying for the expeditions that depart from here. Ushuaia is the capital of and gateway to the celebrated Tierra del Fuego, the 'Land of Fire,' named by Spaniards upon seeing the constant flames burned by the indigenous Yámana to keep warm. This largely unspoiled region comprises the large island of Tierra del Fuego and countless Chilean and Argentinean islands. After breakfast, disembark your ship and journey home.

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