Inviting Beaches & Rich Culture in Central America
About San Diego, California
- Visit Central American coastal communities and experience authentic culture
- Opportunities abound to spot exotic wildlife in diverse tropical habitats
- 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 the ship’s Science Center, which features 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.
Nicaragua’s Best Surfing Beaches - San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Your first stop is the southern Pacific beach town of San Juan del Sur, a gorgeous horseshoe-shaped bay that has been growing in popularity as Nicaragua’s surfing hub. This once-sleepy fishing village is known for its dark-sand beaches, rolling green hills, colorful Victorian-era clapboard houses, fresh seafood restaurants, and a lively surfer lifestyle.
Lie back on the beach and relax while you soak up the sun and people watch. A short walk will lead you to a spectacular 1,500-year-old petroglyph that depicts a hunting scene carved into a large rock. Enjoy an hour-long hike up to Cristo de la Misericordia, a statue of Jesus towering over 80 feet tall, where you’ll also be rewarded with picturesque views over the town and beach.
A bus tour of the city of Granada is your included activity today. Located on the shores of Lake Nicaragua and with views of the Mombacho Volcano, Granada is home to some of the finest 16th-century Colonial architecture in the country. Visit the main square by Central Park and admire the ornate cathedral and the Convent of San Francisco. We’ll top our tour off with a special visit to a local school, where we plan to drop off donated school supplies.
Or, join an optional excursion to the Masaya Volcano. This bus tour will take you near the active volcano’s crater, where you’ll likely see steam rising from the fumaroles. We’ll stop at Catarina for panoramic views of the Apoyo Lagoon and Lake Nicaragua and then at a handicrafts market.
León: a city with a fascinating revolutionary history - Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua
Just one hour from Puerto Corinto by shuttle bus, we find León, the former capital of Nicaragua. Its large student population makes León a cosmopolitan and vibrant city. It’s considered the intellectual and liberal center of the country. Stroll its streets and immerse yourself in the animated chatter emanating from local coffee houses and bars.
León hosts the most elegant Colonial architecture in Nicaragua, especially its many churches and public squares. Basílica de la Asunción is the largest cathedral in Central America, and the art museum houses one Latin America’s greatest art collections.
León’s streets exude revolutionary history, with political street art covering street walls and the sides of buildings. Colorful Sandinista murals depict scenes of protest, civil war, and portraits of revolutionary heroes such as Carlos Fonseca.
For a proper overview of the nation’s history, visit the Museo Histórico de la Revolución (Revolutionary History Museum). Former revolutionaries guide tours and offer authentic first-hand commentary of their experiences during tumultuous times. The Museo de Tradiciones y Leyendas (Traditions and Legends Museum) and the Galería de Héroes y Mártires (Heroes and Martyrs Gallery) also offer interesting insights.
White sands, blue waves, and coffee - Acajutla, El Salvador
We dock at Acajutla, which is El Salvador’s main seaport to export coffee, sugar, and balsam of Peru. Ruins near the port reveal how the city was originally a Mayan village. Enjoy its comfortable atmosphere here, hunt for treasures in the quaint shops, and stroll the dark-sand beaches.
Restaurants on the harbor serve up fantastic seafood and will be delighted to introduce you to typical Salvadoran dishes. Order a pupusa, the national dish of El Salvador. This corn tortilla can be filled with cheese, pork, or beans, and is topped with a sour cabbage salad and light tomato sauce. Don’t forget to try the local coffee. The region is famous for it.
You may also have the choice to participate in one of several optional excursions while you’re here. You can visit the cities of Sonsonate or Nahuizalco and Ataco, found inland from Acajulta. Another possible excursion will bring you to Cerro Verde National Park, two square miles of beautiful nature and home to the towering Izalco and Ilamatepec Volcanoes. This excursion may include a visit to the UNESCO-protected Joya de Cerén, a pre-Columbian Mayan village preserved in volcanic ash and dated to 600 A.D., also known as the ‘Pompeii of the Americas’.
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 center of Tapachula by a 30-minute drive inland. The fertile soil of the Soconusco province is famed for producing coffee, bananas, cacao, and sugar cane.
The region’s reputation for premium coffee and cocoa plantations brought immigrants from Germany, China, and France. Their influence is clearly visible, especially in the city itself. Chinese cuisine has fused with regional Mayan, Mestizo, and Spanish cultures, and fusion dishes have left Tapachula’s little Chinatown and forged their way into the Puerto Chiapas restaurants.
Fascinating optional excursions may be possible from Puerto Chiapas, including a tour of the culturally diverse Tapachula itself. The ancient ruins of Izapa are thought to date from 1,500 B.C., and could even be the origin of the sacred Mayan Calendar. A guided tour here may delve into a series of stone carvings depicting the fabled Tree of Life.
Another possible optional excursion is the aptly named Chocolate City, offering a glimpse into how locally grown cocoa beans are transformed into the delicacy we all know, love, and crave!
To spot pelicans, herons, hummingbirds, storks and turtles, take an optional boat excursion to the nearby mangrove streams and lagoons, accompanied by a professional captain and guide.
Bays National Park - Huatulco, Mexico
We’ll 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 here stretches over three of the nine bays and includes several different ecosystems, including a deciduous forest, mangroves, savanna, wetlands, and coral reefs. The park is a dream for nature lovers, birdwatchers, and photographers alike. It is home to over 700 species of plants, 130 different types of mammals, 300 different types of birds, and more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians.
Optional excursions to further explore and experience Huatulco may include visiting Chahué, Tangolunda, Organo, and Maguey Bays on a romantic catamaran ride. Or choose the bus tour to Conejos Bay, the 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 the locals make authentic tortillas and tamales. 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 program. Reflect on your experiences, edit your photos, update your travel journal, rest your weary legs, or catch up with your new friends on this ship or your loved ones back home.
Admire the scenery from the observation decks or from inside the Explorer Lounge. Or go for a refreshing swim and then soothe your tired muscles in the spa. You could also join an art workshop and create your own art, 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 from the expedition, analyze them under a microscope with the help of the Expedition Team’s Chief Scientist.
Want to stay active? Take advantage of our Yoga and Wellness Program. Enjoy early morning walks on deck taking in the fresh sea air and join stretching sessions to release tension and strengthen your joints.
Wellness workshops touch on how to achieve physical and mental balance by unblocking barriers to your internal energy. You can also let our massage therapists work their magic to soften any aches and strains.
Enticing Mexican Resort City - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Situated along Bahía de Banderas, Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico's premier coastal destinations. The town is vibrant and full of personality, while the beaches and marine life offer plenty of nature and watersport options.
Downtown in El Malecón, the seafront boardwalk buzzes with activity. Admire street performers as you peruse the many stands selling souvenirs and cold refreshments such as the jalisco tejuíno (a regional drink made of fermented corn) and agua fresca.
Look to the sky for the death-defying dance of the papantla flyers, swinging upside down like a human maypole. Enjoy music and watch friendly locals dance in the plazas—maybe even join in, if the mood inspires you.
Puerto Vallarta is a great place to pick up local Mexican handicrafts like colorful bags, silver jewelry, wooden toys, and leather goods. Expect a friendly haggle.
Check out Isla Cuale, a vast open-air market close to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe (a downtown landmark) or stroll past the 160 stalls in Mercado Municipal Rio Cuale, whose large food hall serves tamales, tacos, mole, and other traditional Mexican dishes.
A possible optional excursion brings you to the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, which has an orchid house and impressive display of native palms, agave, and cacti. How about learning some authentic recipes for yourself at a Mexican cooking class? Master stuffed green peppers (chile relleno) or the sweet and savory mixture of tri-color chiles en nogada.
Land’s End in Baja California - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Situated at the southern tip of Baja California, where the Sea of Cortés meets the Pacific Ocean, the Los Cabos Peninsula is a mixture of desert and coastal landscapes. The stunning beaches and azure waters of Cabo San Lucas has long made it the resort of choice for Hollywood stars and other holidaymakers. Its reputation as a party town is well earned. Here, you can frolic in the sea by day and enjoy the lively bar scene by night.
Land’s End, where the Sea of Cortés meets the Pacific, jagged granite rocks in the form of arches, stacks, and needles create El Arco, Cabo’s most recognizable landmark. The waters here are teeming with sea life. Aside from fish, you might also see sea lions, rays, and even whales.
Join an optional excursion to El Arco and visit Baja’s most famous beach, Playa del Amor, nestled into a sheltered bay with pristine waters and perfect white sand. Or go to the cynically named Playa del Divorcio on the other side of Land’s End.
Head to downtown Cabo San Lucas to the Museo de Historia Natural (Natural History Museum) to learn about the geology, botany, and anthropology of the region, as well as local conservation efforts for dolphins, whales, and sea turtles.
Don’t forget to sample local Baja Californian specialties such as almejas chocolatas (chocolate clams) and fresh fish and shellfish, deep fried and encased in delicious freshly made tortillas.
Relax on board - At Sea
Wave goodbye to Mexico as we sail to our final destination, San Diego. Take time to reflect on your experiences in the wonderful places you’ve visited over the last few days.
At this stage of your trip, some of your fellow explorers likely have become new friends, after bonding over common interests and shared experiences. Meet them in the Explorer Bar for a drink or in the Fredheim bistro over snacks. The crew and Expedition Team will also be on hand and at your disposal, always up for a chat and some friendly banter.
The onboard lecture program continues, offering a wide range of subjects to spark your interest. Hone your expedition photography skills on deck as you scout for wildlife and seabirds. Weather permitting, join our Yoga and Meditation Program, or relax in the Wellness Center.
Relive the highlights of your Pacific coast adventure with the Expedition Team, as they present a photo slideshow of the expedition before you arrive in San Diego—if you’re lucky, the crew may even put on an impromptu farewell show.
America’s Finest City - San Diego, U.S.
Bid a fond farewell to MS Roald Amundsen as we dock in the fabulous city of San Diego, where you’ll end your expedition.
Welcome to ‘America’s Finest City’, the ‘Beach City’ of California! San Diego has it all: a mix of urban sophistication, a laid-back surfer vibe, and year-round sunshine.
Spend your final day enjoying some fun in the sun and water sports at one of its many beaches. Or take a trolley car tour and explore Downtown, from the historic Gaslamp Quarter to the San Diego Bay waterfront.
Culture buffs should head straight to Balboa Park, the ‘Smithsonian of the West’, with its 17 museums, art galleries, and numerous performing arts venues. This city is also a delicious melting pot of cuisine, local wines, and craft beers.
San Diego offers so much to do and see that we highly recommend booking a Post-Program to better explore the city and its surroundings before you return home.