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A First: River Cruising Through Colombia with AmaWaterways

Discover for yourself why this picturesque country is becoming an increasingly popular destination for new and experienced travelers alike.

Embark on the Magical Magdalena River

Award-winning luxury river cruise line AmaWaterways is renowned for providing the most authentic and immersive travel experiences with an exceptional variety of included excursions and delectable regionally inspired cuisine in Europe, Asia, Africa and, beginning in 2025: South American along Colombia’s Magdalena River.

 

AmaWaterways will be the first major river cruise company to welcome guests on the enchanting Magdalena River, cruising through the colorful scenery as you take in the natural beauty of a thriving ecosystem untouched by the effects of industrialism. Choose between AmaWaterways’ Magic of Colombia itinerary, which cruises from Barrannquilla to Cartagena, and Wonders of Colombia river cruise, cruising from Cartagena to Barrannquilla. With the personal touch for which the river cruise line is renowned, experience the wonders and magic of Colombia aboard one of two stunning ships, AmaMagdalena or AmaMelodia, while being pampered by the attentive crew and dedicated Cruise Manager, locals familiar with the river and the surrounding destinations. Throughout the entire cruise, experienced local guides will accompany you, and you will be immersed in the energy of this fascinating country on a wide variety of included and authentic excursions. Discover for yourself why this picturesque country is becoming an increasingly popular destination for new and experienced travelers alike.

 

Colombia and Its History

From Spanish conquistadors to pirate raids and so much more, Colombia has borne witness to many dynamic events throughout time, and signs of that history still stands clearly throughout the destinations visited along your itinerary. The sparkle of gold and silver led many Spaniards to cities such as Cartagena, where you will embark or disembark on your AmaWaterways river cruise, and that same allure drew the excitement of pirates as well.

 

Safeguarding this treasure in Mompox allowed for the rise of skilled craftsmen to mold and reshape the precious metals into wonderous new relics and trinkets, perfecting the art of filigree that has become a feature of this town. Now, you can learn more about this fascinating past and see the talent that has been cultivated in this town over the centuries during a special included excursion during your AmaWaterways itinerary. Whether it be a special souvenir or a priceless memory, find your own treasure as you immerse yourself in the rich culture and history along your journey.

 

Living with the Land

From its early history, the people who lived alongside the majestic Magdalena cherished this river and sought to preserve the diverse environment. With more than 1,930 species of birds that call this river and its lush banks their home (that’s more than the number native to the United States and Canada combined!), the air is alight with gorgeous notes and fascinating calls. When cruising with AmaWaterways, enjoy your own special opportunity to observe our feathered friends during a birdwatching excursion in Magangue.

 

Another destination that showcases the Magdalena River’s lively ecosystem is the Ciénaga Pijiño region, which you can explore while your ship is docked in Mompox. Near the largest inland island in Latin America, the massive lake is the habitat of a diverse array of flora and fauna – perfect for travelers seeking a unique way to truly immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.

 

A Floating Theater for Your Colombian Story

When designing the stunning ships that will be your home-away-from-home as you delve into this magical region, AmaWaterways was inspired by the unique ecosystem of the Magdalena River. Not only were they held to impressive standards to protect the environment, even the interior amenities and furnishings were picked to enhance your experience, bringing the natural beauty and wonder found outdoors on board.

 

Camilo Restrepo, an award-winning architect and co-founder of AGENdA Agencia de Arquitectura in Medellín, Colombia, envisioned the stunning AmaMagdalena and AmaMelodia as integral parts of the storytelling experience along this magnificent river. With this vision in mind, he added vivid elements such as elegant silk curtains along the walls of the lounge that change as you cruise further along the Magdalena. Each day, different curtains adorn the shared interior space, gradually gaining brighter colors and embodying the vibrant wildlife that you have seen along the river.

 

Savor Regional Flavors

The Magdalena River brings you to many wonderful destinations that are filled with delicious local treats to savor. In Mompox, you may wish to try capa cheese, a mild cheese widely enjoyed in this beautiful town. Butifarra, a savory sausage essential to many Colombian cuisines, and chorizo, a spicy sausage, are also delicacies offered here. In addition, this destination is known for its wonderful desserts made with lemons and pineapples, which are grown throughout the country.

 

In Palenque, the city’s famous palenqueras – women who sell goods with vast baskets of traditional treats and tropical fruit balanced on their heads – offer a variety of delicious goods along the colonial streets. At their market stalls, enjoy irresistible sweets such as coconut cake, tamarind balls (made with tamarind fruit and spices), sugared papaya, traditional cheeses and more.

 

When you return to your spacious ship after exploring, you know that you will enjoy more incredible cuisine in the Main Restaurant or specialty restauranton board. At every meal, your expert chefs will create mouthwatering dishes, inspired by both Western favorites and regional delights.

 

Rhythms Along the River

Vibrant colors, exciting drumming, and lively folk dancing are all central to the proud heritage of the “Land of a Thousand Rhythms.” Along your AmaWaterways cruise on the Magdalena River, you have a wide variety of ways to experience this aspect of Colombian culture during many excursions and performances exclusive to the river cruise line.

 

Mompox is home to an annual international jazz festival that attracts music-lovers from around the world. When you arrive at this island town, you will be welcomed with open arms and dynamic music during an exclusive jazz performance played by local musicians, which is an experience offered on every sailing year-round.

 

Cumbia music and dance is at the heart of Colombian culture. Originating centuries ago in the town of El Banco, cumbia is a unique mix of Spanish, African and indigenous tradition. When you visit the birthplace of this inspired genre of music, you will also be treated to a special shoreside dinner and exclusive cumbia performance – available during every AmaWaterways journey!

 

Colombia and Carnaval

Barranquilla boasts the second largest Carnaval celebration in the world. In 2003, UNESCO declared the Barranquilla Carnaval a “Masterpiece of Humanity’s Intangible and Oral Heritage.” Four days before Lent, the city breaks out into boisterous festivities, and the streets of Barranquilla come alive with music, masks, costumes, floats and an explosion of colors.

 

While traditionally celebrated for only four days out of the year, every AmaWaterways guest will get to experience Carnaval when visiting Barranquilla – a year-round event available exclusively from this river cruise line. During this festival, you can dance, sing and get lost in the radiant spirit that excites all who embrace this exuberant energy.

 

Extending Your South American Journey

If you want to enhance your river cruise experience through this gorgeous region and take advantage of your international airfare, extend your journey with an optional land package! Stay in 4- and 5-star hotels and be treated to daily breakfast, excursions, convenient transfers and luggage service between your hotel and river cruise ship.

 

A city known for its rich civic culture, Medellín is known for seamlessly blending urbanity with nature. During your optional 3-night land package before AmaWaterways’ Magic of Colombia itinerary, you will be struck by the stunning mountainous backdrop contrasting Medellín's colorful urban landscape. While there, you can immerse yourself in the city’s story of transformation on a guided tour and take an excursion to a coffee farm, where the beans for the rich beverage are grown.

 

After your river cruise, you can choose to journey with AmaWaterways to Panama City, where you can witness the man-made majesty of the Panama Canal and see this beautiful isthmus where North and South America meet on an optional 3-night land package. Explore the new and the old aspects of Panama City and delve into the tropical rainforest of the Chagres National Park during your stay here with AmaWaterways.

 

For those embarking on AmaWaterways’ Wonders of Colombia river cruise, you can also enjoy two nights in the Caribbean city of Cartagena before you embark. From its fortified city walls to the imposing protection of San Felipe Castle, Cartagena has withstood the test of time and the plundering of pirates. Immerse yourself in the city’s royal history as you explore what it has to offer on a variety of excursions such as city tours, museum visits and so much more!

 

With so many wonderful adventures awaiting on these all-new river cruises, the “Land of a Thousand Rhythms” is the perfect place to find your inner flow. And there is no better way to experience it all than with AmaWaterways, the Heart of the RiverTM

 

Are you ready to experience the soul and spirit of Colombia as you sail the Magdalena River?

Experience Colombia

Family-owned and operated for more than 21 years, AmaWaterways is a luxury river cruise line offering unforgettable experiences with 29 custom-designed ships sailing iconic rivers throughout Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia, Africa, Egypt, and, starting in 2025, Colombia. Co-founded by pioneering river cruise executives Rudi Schreiner, Kristin Karst and Jimmy Murphy, AmaWaterways is committed to its reputation of welcoming guests with a warm and inviting crew and creating immersive, truly authentic cultural experiences for active travelers of all ages. AmaWaterways leads the river cruise industry in innovation, highlighted by the launch of the revolutionary AmaMagna, and through its sustainable ship design, wide variety of small group shore excursions featuring biking and hiking options, and award-winning, locally sourced cuisine paired with fine wines from the world’s most acclaimed wine regions. 

More from AmaWaterways River Cruises

Discover Colombia’s rich history, traditions, local delicacies and more along its magnificent Magdalena River.

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