Thomson led a 2003 team that re-discovered a misplaced site (Lllactapata) near Machu Pichu that had not been seen since the early 1900s when Hiram Bingham (the scientific discoverer of Machu Picchu) first visited it. Bingham had documented the latitude and longitude of Llactapata, but the settings recorded in his journal were incorrect. One of Thomson's team found Llactapata when he ventured into the jungle to have some "private time". Very interesting how many scientific discoveries, both in the jungle and in the lab are almost accidental. Thomson and his team determined that Llactapata was an observatory because its long open tunnel is filled with streaming light only once a year--sunrise at the summer solstice in June. Fascinating.
The Venetian Society party (past cruisers) was before dinner by the pool. Several cruisers got "bling" for sailing with Silversea for various markers (100 days, 200 days, 500 days, etc.). One couple from Chicago became only the third couple in Silversea history to get the "1000 day" award, and they did it in only 10 years of cruising with the line!
The Silver Spirit arrived in Manta right after lunch the next day. The area around Manta was clogged with fishing boats. Since tuna is the main product of Manta, it wasn't really surprising.
The ship docked right between a tuna boat and a huge car carrier. The free shuttle bus took us from the pier into downtown Manta, where we explored the artisans' market and central area of the town. Not much to see and very hot and humid in the early afternoon sun. We also rode the bus to the indoor mall, which could have been located back in the good ole USA. After much searching, we finally found our magnets, but didn't buy any Panama hats.
Some on our ship were surprised to learn that Panama hats have always been made in Ecuador. They got their name because they originally were sent to Panama for export to the USA. So, when people in the USA asked where the hats came from, they were told "Panama". Also, Theodore Roosevelt bought one in Panama when he went to inspect the canal construction in the early 1900's. He told people his hat came from Panama, reinforcing the incorrect story. The Ecuadorians now put "Made in Ecuador" in the rim of all the hats, and they come all rolled up in a lightweight balsa box also labeled "Made in Ecuador". When I visited Manta in 2002, I bought some of the cheaper hats ($30) for family back home. The prices have not come down. Our expert destination lecturer said you need to spend at least $500 for a good handmade hat, with the ones that will last a lifetime costing about $1200.
More on Silversea Silver Spirit Latin America Cruise - Valparaiso to Acapulco
- Embark in Valparaiso (port for Santiago)
- Days at Sea on the Silver Spirit
- At Anchor Off Mejillones, Chile
- Pisco, Peru - A Day at Tambo Colorado and Sumaqkay Peru
- Ancient Peoples of Peru - Incas and Other Tribes
- Lima, Peru - Tour of Old Town
- Lima, Peru - Magic Fountains and Dinner at Hacienda Diez-Canseco
- Pachacamac Pilgrimage Center near Lima
- Mamacona Hacienda near Lima and the Peruvian Pasos
- Manta, Ecuador - Home of the Panama Hat
- Puntarenas, Costa Rica - Rafting on the Corobici River
- Day at Sea and Tour of the Silver Spirit Galley
- Tour of Antigua, Guatemala from Puerto Quetzal
- Filadelphia Coffee Plantation - Shore Excursion from Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
- Disembark in Acapulco