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Treasures of a Coastal Desert

Between Chile’s cosmopolitan capital Santiago to Guayaquil, gateway to Ecuador’s incredible Galápagos Islands, experience dazzling coastal desert scenery teeming with wildlife, UNESCO World Heritage gems, and ancient pre-Hispanic cultures. Encounter impressive cultural, natural, and archaeological marvels including Nazca Lines, Chinchorro mummies, and Chan Chan ancient city. You may cross paths with guanacos, flamingos, dolphins, fur seals, and Humboldt penguins one day, and sample Peru’s gastronomic flavours in Arequipa and Lima the next as we sail the coast of Chile and Peru aboard the state-of-the-art small ship expedition vessel Greg Mortimer.

16 April, 2020 to 29 April, 2020 Make a booking request for Treasures of a Coastal Desert, departing on 16 April, 2020

Prices quoted here are often dependent on currency fluctuations. Please check with (01432 507450 or info@small-cruise-ships.com) for the very latest price, which may well be cheaper than the one advertised here.

Aurora Stateroom Triple £ 4960 GBP pp
Deck: 3 | Quantity: 6 | Size: 23.2 m2 Cabin Features: Three single beds Private En-suite Porthole window Desk area Closet space Room-controlled thermostat Safe for storing valuables 42" flat-screen TV
view cabin photo
Aurora Stateroom £ 5600 GBP pp
Deck: 3 | Quantity: 15 | Size: 23.2 m2 Cabin Features: Twin or double bed Private En-suite Porthole window Desk area Closet space Sofa bed (can sleep 3rd passenger in select cabins) Room-controlled thermostat Safe for storing valuables 42" flat-screen TV
view cabin photo
Balcony Stateroom £ 7520 GBP pp
Decks: 4,6,7 | Quantity: 58 | Room Size: 16.5 - 20.7 m2 | Balcony Size: 6.6 - 7.2 m2 Cabin Features: Twin or double bed Private En-suite Floor to ceiling window Desk area Closet space Private balcony Room-controlled thermostat Safe for storing valuables 42" flat-screen TV
view cabin photo
Balcony Suite £ 10480 GBP pp
Deck: 4 | Quantity: 2 | Room Size: 25.4 - 26.1 m2 | Balcony Size: 9.1 - 10.8 m2 Cabin Features: Twin or double bed Private en-suite Full size window Desk area Closet space Private balcony Room-controlled thermostat Safe for storing valuables 42" flat-screen TV
view cabin photo
Junior Suite £ 12320 GBP pp
Deck: 7 | Quantity: 4 | Room Size: 30.1 m2 | Balcony Size: 14.3 m2 Cabin Features: Twin or double bed Private en-suite Full size window Desk area Closet space Private balcony Room-controlled thermostat Safe for storing valuables 42" flat-screen TV Seperate lounge area
view cabin photo
Captain's Suite £ 14240 GBP pp
Deck: 4 | Quantity: 1 | Room Size: 35.9 m2 | Balcony Size: 10.4 m2 Cabin Features: Twin or double bed Private en-suite Full size window Desk area Closet space Private balcony Room-controlled thermostat Safe for storing valuables Seperate lounge area 42" flat-screen TV
view cabin photo

Treasures of a Coastal Desert itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
Day 1 – Santiago, Chile
Arrive in Santiago and make your own way to our group hotel. Dynamic and cosmopolitan, Chile’s capital Santiago is a vibrant and versatile city. Surrounded by the snow-capped mountains of the Andes, it enjoys a dramatically beautiful setting. The city’s diversity shines through in its many contrasting neighbourhoods such as trendy Lastarria and Bellas Artes in downtown Santiago, lively Bellavista that lies at the foot of San Cristobal Hill, and more tranquil yet commercial Providencia, filled with shops, restaurants, bars and nightlife. After check-in, the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 2 – Valparaiso, Chile
Discover Santiago on an excursion highlighting the architecture of the city before making our way towards Valparaíso located on the Pacific coast, where our ship awaits. We’ll stop at a local vineyard for lunch and a brief tour to learn about the important wine industry. In nearby Valparaíso, we head to one of the old town’s 42 hills – under UNESCO protection - to discover the dazzling street art for which the city is renowned. In late afternoon, board the Greg Mortimer for your journey to Guayaquil.
Day 3 – At Sea
The Pacific is the largest ocean on Earth, covering approximately 30% of Earth’s surface. The ocean was named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who after sailing the mighty winds of the Atlantic, found calm and favourable winds in the Pacific, from the Latin word meaning peace. Our series of interesting onboard presentations begins, delivered by our hand-picked group of experts. Learn about the wildlife, people, culture, and history of the places you’ll visit on this journey of discovery. You’ll also pick up a few photography tips along the way.
Day 4 – Pan de Azúcar National Park, Chile
Pan de Azúcar National Park, located on the north coast of the Atacama Region, is characterized by its abundance of flora and fauna, and its Humboldt penguin colony on nearby Pan de Azúcar island. A unique characteristic of the park is the combination of terrestrial and sea environments, creating an ecosystem of diverse and abundant flora and fauna. A few hiking options will be available to you including Sendero Costero, a trail along the rocky coastline offering superb view of Pan de Azúcar island and Mirador Trail, leading to a lookout that offers a panoramic view of Pan de Azúcar Island and its surroundings. On the hike you may encounter guanaco, the largest and the only wild species of the camelids. Time and conditions permitting, we may enjoy a Zodiac cruise along the shoreline to spot wildlife inhabiting the island.
Day 5 – At Sea
Our lecture series continues during our voyage toward the Peruvian border. Learn about the rich archaeological history of northern Chile, hear stories about the beguiling Chinchorro mummies that pre-date the Egyptian mummies and considered to be the oldest in the world.
Day 6 – Arica, Chile
Affectionately called the ‘city of eternal spring’, Arica’s salubrious weather and warm ocean water are enjoyed by visitors throughout the year. Shore excursions include a visit to San Miguel de Azapa Archaeological and Anthropological Museum to see the famous Chinchorro mummies. On the Atacama Coastal Walk, enjoy the panoramic views of the city, ocean, and the port from The Morro of Arica. At Puntilla, there’s a chance to see playful sea lions as well as soaring sea birds.
Day 7 – Arequípa / Mejía Lagoon, Peru
Leaving Chile behind and crossing the border into southern Peru, our first port of call is at Matarani, the coastal gateway to the stunning colonial city, Arequípa, Peru’s second largest. From the port of Matarani, you have the choice to head to the Mejía Lagoons National Sanctuary, a well-recognized refuge for migratory birds or alternatively take a gorgeous drive into the Andes to Arequípa, Peru’s southern capital and one of Peru’s best preserved colonial towns.
Day 8 – At Sea
Our series of onboard lectures continues as we make our way north along Peru’s coast. Learn more about fascinating pre-Hispanic cultures such as the Icas and the famous Incan empire, which at the height of its power, extended from northern Ecuador to central Chile and north Argentina, with Cuzco as its capital.
Day 9 – Paracas, Peru
The Paracas National Park is one of two Protected Natural Areas that preserves samples representing Peru's coastal marine ecosystems. Shore excursions today include a boat tour to the Ballestas Islands located off the coast of the Paracas Peninsula, where you’ll cruise among the rock arches and pink granite caves, encountering sea lions and teeming seabirds, including Humboldt penguins and Inca terns. At Paracas National Reserve, bird-watchers may encounter Peruvian boobies, Peruvian pelicans, whimbrel, American oystercatchers, and turkey vultures. As the centre of the pre-Inca culture, Paracan civilization was famous for its textiles and scientific and medical knowledge; evidence of which can be seen at the wonderful Julio C. Tello Archaeological Museum. Enjoy a Nazca Lines Scenic Flight!* Don’t miss your opportunity to witness the enigmatic Nazca Lines geoglyphs on scenic flyover in a 12-seater light aircraft, where more than 800 images have mysteriously been carved into the desert floor. *Places are limited; surcharge applies.
Day 10 – Lima, Peru
Peru’s eclectic capital enthrals visitors with the shores of its bay washed by the Pacific, its architecture that exudes a colonial past and its multi-faceted origins that sprout up at every corner. The City of the Kings is renowned for its medley of cultures, ethnicities and customs that make it one of the most diverse cities in the world. It is precisely this mixture that has made Lima the Culinary Capital of South America. This ancient and cosmopolitan city is home to hundreds of historical monuments. On a full day excursion, discover the wonders of Lima from its UNESCO listed old town to its bustling modern metropolis, with plenty of free time to explore at your own pace.
Day 11 – At Sea
In preparation for your arrival into Trujillo, learn about the Chimú kingdom, that was conquered by the Incas in the late 15th century.
Day 12 – Trujillo, Peru
Trujillo, ‘City of Eternal Spring’ is located in the north-eastern part of Peru, and capital of the department of La Libertad. The star attraction in Trujillo are the remarkable pre-Incan archaeological sites nearby. Today’s shore excursion will include visits to the Sun and Moon pyramids, the centre of power in the Trujillo Valley during Moche ancient times. At the Temple of the Moon, you’ll see impressive mud-brick friezes on the walls. Afterwards, visit the ‘Dragon ceremonial Temple’ before visiting one of the most significant archaeological sites in the country - the ancient adobe city of Chan Chan.
Day 13 – At Sea
Enjoy a few final presentations from our team of experts including how to edit photos; finish that book you’ve been reading, or simply relax on your private balcony or in one of the many shared spaces on board the ship.
Day 14 – Guayaquil, Ecuador
Bid a fond farewell to your fellow travellers and expedition team and disembark in Guayaquil, Ecuador, gateway to the renowned Galápagos Islands, a renowned wildlife hotspot and the place that led Charles Darwin to develop his ground-breaking theory of evolution.
Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Treasures of a Coastal Desert reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
Itineraries are subject to change.
Bid a fond farewell to your fellow travellers and expedition team and disembark in Guayaquil, Ecuador, gateway to the renowned Galápagos Islands, a renowned wildlife hotspot and the place that led Charles Darwin to develop his ground-breaking theory of evolution.
Enjoy a few final presentations from our team of experts including how to edit photos; finish that book you’ve been reading, or simply relax on your private balcony or in one of the many shared spaces on board the ship.
Trujillo, ‘City of Eternal Spring’ is located in the north-eastern part of Peru, and capital of the department of La Libertad. The star attraction in Trujillo are the remarkable pre-Incan archaeological sites nearby. Today’s shore excursion will include visits to the Sun and Moon pyramids, the centre of power in the Trujillo Valley during Moche ancient times. At the Temple of the Moon, you’ll see impressive mud-brick friezes on the walls. Afterwards, visit the ‘Dragon ceremonial Temple’ before visiting one of the most significant archaeological sites in the country - the ancient adobe city of Chan Chan.
In preparation for your arrival into Trujillo, learn about the Chimú kingdom, that was conquered by the Incas in the late 15th century.
Peru’s eclectic capital enthrals visitors with the shores of its bay washed by the Pacific, its architecture that exudes a colonial past and its multi-faceted origins that sprout up at every corner. The City of the Kings is renowned for its medley of cultures, ethnicities and customs that make it one of the most diverse cities in the world. It is precisely this mixture that has made Lima the Culinary Capital of South America. This ancient and cosmopolitan city is home to hundreds of historical monuments. On a full day excursion, discover the wonders of Lima from its UNESCO listed old town to its bustling modern metropolis, with plenty of free time to explore at your own pace.
The Paracas National Park is one of two Protected Natural Areas that preserves samples representing Peru's coastal marine ecosystems. Shore excursions today include a boat tour to the Ballestas Islands located off the coast of the Paracas Peninsula, where you’ll cruise among the rock arches and pink granite caves, encountering sea lions and teeming seabirds, including Humboldt penguins and Inca terns. At Paracas National Reserve, bird-watchers may encounter Peruvian boobies, Peruvian pelicans, whimbrel, American oystercatchers, and turkey vultures. As the centre of the pre-Inca culture, Paracan civilization was famous for its textiles and scientific and medical knowledge; evidence of which can be seen at the wonderful Julio C. Tello Archaeological Museum. Enjoy a Nazca Lines Scenic Flight!* Don’t miss your opportunity to witness the enigmatic Nazca Lines geoglyphs on scenic flyover in a 12-seater light aircraft, where more than 800 images have mysteriously been carved into the desert floor. *Places are limited; surcharge applies.
Our series of onboard lectures continues as we make our way north along Peru’s coast. Learn more about fascinating pre-Hispanic cultures such as the Icas and the famous Incan empire, which at the height of its power, extended from northern Ecuador to central Chile and north Argentina, with Cuzco as its capital.
Leaving Chile behind and crossing the border into southern Peru, our first port of call is at Matarani, the coastal gateway to the stunning colonial city, Arequípa, Peru’s second largest. From the port of Matarani, you have the choice to head to the Mejía Lagoons National Sanctuary, a well-recognized refuge for migratory birds or alternatively take a gorgeous drive into the Andes to Arequípa, Peru’s southern capital and one of Peru’s best preserved colonial towns.
Affectionately called the ‘city of eternal spring’, Arica’s salubrious weather and warm ocean water are enjoyed by visitors throughout the year. Shore excursions include a visit to San Miguel de Azapa Archaeological and Anthropological Museum to see the famous Chinchorro mummies. On the Atacama Coastal Walk, enjoy the panoramic views of the city, ocean, and the port from The Morro of Arica. At Puntilla, there’s a chance to see playful sea lions as well as soaring sea birds.
Our lecture series continues during our voyage toward the Peruvian border. Learn about the rich archaeological history of northern Chile, hear stories about the beguiling Chinchorro mummies that pre-date the Egyptian mummies and considered to be the oldest in the world.
Pan de Azúcar National Park, located on the north coast of the Atacama Region, is characterized by its abundance of flora and fauna, and its Humboldt penguin colony on nearby Pan de Azúcar island. A unique characteristic of the park is the combination of terrestrial and sea environments, creating an ecosystem of diverse and abundant flora and fauna. A few hiking options will be available to you including Sendero Costero, a trail along the rocky coastline offering superb view of Pan de Azúcar island and Mirador Trail, leading to a lookout that offers a panoramic view of Pan de Azúcar Island and its surroundings. On the hike you may encounter guanaco, the largest and the only wild species of the camelids. Time and conditions permitting, we may enjoy a Zodiac cruise along the shoreline to spot wildlife inhabiting the island.
The Pacific is the largest ocean on Earth, covering approximately 30% of Earth’s surface. The ocean was named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who after sailing the mighty winds of the Atlantic, found calm and favourable winds in the Pacific, from the Latin word meaning peace. Our series of interesting onboard presentations begins, delivered by our hand-picked group of experts. Learn about the wildlife, people, culture, and history of the places you’ll visit on this journey of discovery. You’ll also pick up a few photography tips along the way.
Discover Santiago on an excursion highlighting the architecture of the city before making our way towards Valparaíso located on the Pacific coast, where our ship awaits. We’ll stop at a local vineyard for lunch and a brief tour to learn about the important wine industry. In nearby Valparaíso, we head to one of the old town’s 42 hills – under UNESCO protection - to discover the dazzling street art for which the city is renowned. In late afternoon, board the Greg Mortimer for your journey to Guayaquil.
Arrive in Santiago and make your own way to our group hotel. Dynamic and cosmopolitan, Chile’s capital Santiago is a vibrant and versatile city. Surrounded by the snow-capped mountains of the Andes, it enjoys a dramatically beautiful setting. The city’s diversity shines through in its many contrasting neighbourhoods such as trendy Lastarria and Bellas Artes in downtown Santiago, lively Bellavista that lies at the foot of San Cristobal Hill, and more tranquil yet commercial Providencia, filled with shops, restaurants, bars and nightlife. After check-in, the remainder of the day is at leisure.
* = Indicative
Map for Treasures of a Coastal Desert
Greg Mortimer, the ship servicing Treasures of a Coastal Desert

Greg Mortimer

Capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, the Greg Mortimer is built to world-class polar standards – designed in close consultation with our expedition specialists, taking advantage of our more than 25 years of experience.

The Greg Mortimer redefines expedition cruising for the future, with just 120 passengers on board in the polar regions. Not only is the ship bigger to contend with adverse weather conditions, its added creature comforts make for a more enjoyable journey out on the open ocean. The Greg Mortimer remains true to our ethos and focus on multiple landings, flexible itineraries and family atmosphere – just with an improved home base!

As a modern and custom-designed ship, the Greg Mortimer is at the cutting edge of nautical technology. Robust, powerful and built with our guests in mind, this ship marks a significant investment in our fleet's capabilities. From the European Arctic to the depths of Antarctica, and other far-flung destinations in-between, the Greg Mortimer will make your journey a breeze!

Length: 104 metres

Built: 2018

Greg Mortimer X-BOWX-BOW™

Our expeditions face some of the worst Mother Nature can throw at us. However, this won't be problem on the Greg Mortimer with the introduction of the patented X-BOW™, created by Norwegian ship designer ULSTEIN. As one of the leaders in marine engineering, ULSTEIN's X-BOW™ is an inverted bow concept that's been built on over 100 vessels in the shipping industry. Excitingly, we are the first expedition cruise operator to utilise this technology for the challenging open ocean waves! 

Hydraulic viewing platforms 

Although there is no doubt that you'll love the aesthetics of the Greg Mortimer, we are all here to admire the spectacular landscape and spot the elusive wildlife in their natural habitat. To ensure you get the best views possible, the new ship features unique viewing platforms, custom-built for the Greg Mortimer. Accessed from Deck 5, the two platforms fold out hydraulically for unobstructed views of passing marine life and seabirds – make sure your camera is locked and loaded!

Zodiac launching platform

Zodiacs are a vital part of getting up close and personal on your adventure – sneaking into areas that the Greg Mortimer can't reach. On this new ship, there are specially designed launching platforms that enables us to load Zodiacs easily and quickly, allowing you to spend more time exploring on the two to three daily landings. There are 15 Zodiacs that are boarded from either side of Deck 3 (sea level), perfect for when there is a group of fluffy cute penguin chicks that we need a photo of! 

Activity Platform

Regardless of your destination, we offer a number of additional activities to allow you to see more of the environment. From kayaking and diving to climbing and ski touring, it's these optional activities that often leave the biggest impression on your trip as a whole. Onboard the Greg Mortimer, there is a spacious prep and loading platform for these activities and more – designed in consultation with our expert activity guides.

Environmentally friendly

Climate change and carbon emissions continue to be major issues that everyone needs to be aware of and actively managing. This includes reduced emissions into the air and sea, lower energy consumption, high fuel efficiency, reduced light pollution for minimal wildlife disruption and lower on-board plastic use. It's vital to also mention the state-of-the-art virtual anchoring technology of the X-BOW™, which means the ship can float anchorless while launching Zodiacs, kayaks etc, without disturbing delicate sea floor areas. 

Safety features

This starts with the return-to-port equipment – not compulsory on a ship of this size – which duplicates the propulsion system. This enables the ship to maintain operating systems and comfort in the event of engine failure. Furthermore, the Greg Mortimer is Polar Code 6 compliant, holds BV class and is fully compliant with the latest SOLAS requirements. It's also built with a Rolls Royce stabiliser system.  If there's an incident or accident during your adventure, the ship has an on-board, fully-stocked medical centre – where our trained medical team can provide necessary treatment in a timely fashion. Safety continues to be an issue that our team takes very serious and the Greg Mortimer allows us to create an environment where you can concentrate on the brilliant landscape and wildlife, without worrying about your wellbeing.

Ship Life

Greg Mortimer is designed to serve your every need. It's your bedroom, bathroom, lounge, dining room and even your observatory. Make yourself at home, the Greg Mortimer is yours to enjoy!

Observation Points

Let's face it – you don't want windowless rooms when travelling around some of the most beautiful locations around the world. This is why the Greg Mortimer is designed with plenty of dedicated observation spaces – ideal for keen bird spotters, wildlife watchers and those wanting to watch the scenery go past. From the indoor 180-degree lounge and outdoor 360-degree open deck, both on deck 8, to the 270-degree open sundeck on level 7, there are plenty of observation points to share around the ship! If these are full, then you can take up a spot on one of the two hydraulic viewing platforms on deck 5. Aurora Expeditions also has an open bridge policy, which means at any point you can come up to the bridge and check out what the captain and officers are up to. From watching navigational practices to observing mapping techniques, you can get a firsthand look at the inner workings of the Greg Mortimer. 

Shore excursions

Although the ship is fun, the real enjoyment comes from the many shore excursions that are available. Depending on the weather and itinerary, it's possible to take two to three landings daily, taking a look at everything from rock formations and ancient ruins to cute groups of penguins. We know time is of the essence in these wild locations, so the Greg Mortimer has been designed with 15 Zodiacs, which means you can maximise your time on shore. From four dedicated sea level launching platforms, transfers are quicker, safer and enable you to get closer to the action for a longer period of time. Just remember to charge your camera before you step onto the Zodiac!

Activity options

From kayaking and skiing to diving and climbing, these are one-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you need to take advantage of.  Aboard the Greg Mortimer there is a specially designed launching platform for all activities, a concept overseen by our activity experts. This area also includes individual lockers in the expansive mudroom and rapid drying areas for wetsuits so you can quickly get warm after exploring in the elements!  

Dining

From the moment you step onto the Greg Mortimer, we aim to give you the best hospitality service possible. Starting with the official Captain's welcome, as our guests, you're welcome to 24 hours complimentary coffee, tea and snack facilities in addition to the range of different menu options and courses for each meal. Meals are served in large dining room/restaurant with family style dining, perfect to swap stories with your new expedition family. Enjoy the range of house wine, beers and soft drinks included with dinner after a long day in the wild, preparing yourself for another exciting day to follow. On the last day of your trip, the team on the Greg Mortimer put on a special farewell four-course dinner and cocktails – a perfect way to reflect on your time on the ship and consolidate lifelong friendships with the people you've met on-board.

On-board entertainment

When you’re relaxing during a sea day or you have a little downtime on the ship between excursions, what is there to do onboard the Greg Mortimer? Plenty! On all our expeditions, there are experts who lead presentations in the spacious lecture room so you can understand the region a little better. These often include topics as broad as history and culture to biology and climate change, these presentations aim to educate and entertain. If you're keen to just watch the surroundings and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, you have access to two bars/lounges where the stunning floor to ceiling windows offer a special perspective on the landscape. The Greg Mortimer is also decked out with other facilities for your enjoyment. There is a library on Deck 5 with books and maps and a Wellness Centre complete with gym equipment, sauna and spa. Feeling a little sore after walking around all day? Treat yourself to a massage at the Wellness Centre and feels the aches disappear! Keen photographers and artists will revel in the multimedia room on Deck 5.

Greg Mortimer in Antarctica

Greg Mortimer Captains Suite | The Small Cruise Ship CollectionGreg Mortimer Dining Room | The Small Cruise Ship CollectionGreg Mortimer Aurora Twin Cabin | The Small Cruise Ship CollectionGreg Mortimer Observation Lounge | The Small Cruise Ship Collection

Cabin layout for Greg Mortimer
• Marvel at the dazzling desert coastal landscape of the Atacama eco-region

• Soak up the charm of UNESCO-protected cities – Valparaíso, Lima and Arequipa

• Discover the unique flora and fauna at Pan de Azúcar National Park

• Explore Chan Chan, an ancient pre-hispanic city in northern Peru

• Scenic flight over the Nazca Lines - surcharge applies
Enquire now about Treasures of a Coastal Desert

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