Top Cruises in Latin America
People often think of cruises as massive floating hotels built to embark on ocean voyages carrying thousands of passengers across long distances. We all know the big cruise lines continue to build more and more lavish ships with all manner of activities, but this isn’t the best way to get up close and personal with the destinations you’ve spent your life dreaming of. What’s more, this style of cruise experience isn’t for everyone. Nowhere is this more true than in Central and South America, where these large cruise liners dock only at sporadic ports and give limited time to truly savor all Latin America has to offer. For those who dream of sailing the high seas AND having high touch experiences on land along the way, there are Latin American cruise options that certainly fit the bill. Here are our Top 10 favorite cruises in Latin America:
Luxury Amazon Yacht Cruise
You’ll explore the Brazil section of the Amazon in style and the ultimate luxury aboard our private eco expedition yacht. Swim with the pink dolphins, dine of haute cuisine handcrafted by your private chef, get hands on and learn about the local flora and fauna with your bilingual biologist guide, visit national archeology sites and even take off on an amazingly scenic floatplane flight to get a bird’s eye view of the region. This 95-foot yacht boasts comfortable cabins, spacious lounge areas and a design that can traverse even the most remote areas of the Amazon. It’s truly a once in the lifetime river cruise!
Amazon Floating Boutique Hotel Cruise
Be transported into the heart of the Pacaya Samiria Reserve in the Peru section of the mighty Amazon River aboard a truly stunning floating boutique hotel. This remarkable boat is rivaled only by the astounding and wild beauty of the Peruvian Amazon. You’ll depart from Iquitos for your 3-night excursion and enjoy stops along the way at the Yanayacu River, Corrientes Lakes, Yarapa River, Maranon River, Mayayali River and, of course, the birthplace of the Amazon– Puerto Miguel. Through it all, you’ll explore the river and the canopy with your expert guides and get nose to nose with monkeys, dolphins, tropical birds and so much more. The chef on board is one of the finest in Peru, so meals will be experiences in and of themselves!
Galapagos Luxury Catamaran Cruise
Sure, there are plenty of larger boats cruising the Galapagos Islands, but we think the smaller 16 passenger catamarans are where it’s at to explore all this living laboratory has to offer. All vessels sailing the islands offer two landings a day (a wet and a dry) and combine snorkeling, hiking, beach explorations and kayaking, as certified naturalist guides lead the way. There really isn’t a bad time to visit the Galapagos, but we recommend guests keep in mind the water is typically choppier during the “dry season” from June to November. Most of the boats we work with, including the brand new Alia that just hit the water, offer private balconies and bathrooms, as well as a full array of amenities on the boat.
Luxury Charter Galapagos Cruise
Another option we love in the Galapagos affords truly white glove service and the ultimate private experience. The Stella Maris was built by renowned Italian shipmaker Picciotti and is an unparalleled luxury super yacht known for its quintessentially modern decor, panoramic windows boasting scenic vistas, finely appointed cabins and shared spaces and customer service unrivaled in the Galapagos. With the ability to house up to 14 guests, the Stella Maris is a full board charter yacht that features six spacious cabins and a truly awe-inspiring master suite— all with private balconies. The grand sun deck with jacuzzi, delectable cuisine and expert certified crew make this 38-meter-long eco-friendly cruiser an ideal way to experience the leisurely pace of the Galapagos with those you love. The charter for on board the Stella Maris includes all transfers and shore excursions with a naturalist guide, all meals and use of kayaks and snorkeling gear.
Cruising the Panama Canal
Those lucky travelers who have made the voyage through the Panama Canal are part of a small and intrepid group. What do they all have in common? They’ll all tell you that it ranks right up there with the other big bucket list vacations. This marvel of modern technology is a near 50-mile long waterway connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and a major maritime trade route for countries and corporations around the globe. It takes about six hours to pass through the whole Canal, and one highlight many people recount is witnessing the lochs rise and fall. If you’d like to make a long weekend or even a week out of your Panama Canal cruise, why not start in Colon, Panama and head north to Costa Rica or south to Guayaquil. Both routes provide wonderful opportunities to explore rainforest, cultures and ecosystems.
Set Sail Through Bocas de Toro in Panama
Discover the beauty and magic of the Bocas del Toro island archipelago in Panama aboard a small sail boat, and let all your cares fall behind you. Our boats can arrange excursions or lessons in surfing, sailing, kayaking, SCUBA, snuba, SUP, fishing and much more, and you’ll love visiting unique indigenous villages, trekking remote jungles and lounging on isolated white sand beaches along the way. Most boats offer everything from 1- to 6-night itineraries and all meals, snacks, beverages, water sport activities and tours are included. These boats typically feature three cabins with one shared bathroom that can accommodate up to six people– the perfect size for a multi-generational family or group of friends to buy the whole boat!
Cruise Around the Horn in Patagonia
One of the bigger boats we offer, ideal for the rougher waters of around Cape Horn in Patagonia, the Australis Cruise takes guests on a whirlwind adventure from Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel and the Strait of Magellan before rounding Cape Horn. En route, you’ll explore towering glaciers, Torres del Paine National Park and historic indigenous settlements, as you enjoy panoramic vistas and a wealth of endemic wildlife. Tours can include hikes to Lago Grey and its epynonymous glacier, Laguna Azul, and more, as well as horseback riding and archeological tours. During your stay, you’ll enjoy complimentary meals, beverages and excursions through one of the last remaining truly rugged and wild places on Earth. The Australis boats each have around 100 cabins, spacious lounge areas and outstanding service. If you love the experience Australis offers, they also cruise the Galapagos with similar programs.
Explore Colombia’s Rosario Islands via Catamaran
Spend a few days tooling around the Rosario Islands just off shore from Colombia near the walled city of Cartagena, and you’ll be treated to a privately-chartered tour of this stunning 27-island archipelago. The waters are crystal blue, the ecosystem is so diverse it’s been called “a marvel of nature,” and the accommodations and service couldn’t be any better. Although there are a range of boats touring these magnificent isles, that set sail for anything from one day to a week or more, we love the full board yachts with private chefs, luxurious cabins and a flexible schedule that allows guests to partake of just about any water sport or other activities their hearts desire. The only thing that could be better is combining this cruise with a few days in Cartagena’s Old Town.
Overnight Cruise on Lake Titicaca
Our first class overnight (2-day) cruise on the world’s highest navigable lake is truly a can’t miss experience for cultural travelers, amateur archeologists, adventure seekers and wildlife lovers. You’ll set out on Lake Titicaca in Peru to explore its waters aboard a luxury catamaran and discover the rich history on the renowned Inca civilization. Learn about the importance of its culture and witness awe-inspiring structures, including important religious sites of both the Incas and the region’s imperial settlers. Plus, visit the completely untouched Sun Island to and visit Challapampa Village to see the very best of cultural tourism in the works before retiring to the boat for a romantic dinner on board. All cabins include lake views and private baths.
Full Day Cruise of the Gourmet Islands in Bariloche
Whoever said a cruise had to be overnight never enjoyed the splendor of our full-day cruise around the Gourmet Islands in Bariloche, Argentina. You’ll glide across the crystal clear waters to a universe of natural attractions from Victoria Island and its Arrayanes Wood up to the frigid waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake and its millenary island. Here, you’ll find a rugged woodland filled to overflowing with diverse and amazing plants and animals en route to remote beaches via trails where you’re unlikely to see another soul. The Arrayanes is completely unique, with its smooth, cinnamon colored trees that grow nowhere else on Earth. Here, you’ll find not only the inspiration for the Disney movie Bambi but probably your deeper self.
Tour Central America’s Pacific Coast
Lastly, for the quintessential cruise passenger who may be hesitant to go small vessel, why not ease into it with a voyage aboard a 130 passenger cruise liner along the Pacific Coast of Central America? On this cruise, you’ll begin in Panama City before heading through the Darien Jungle and Isla de Coiba en route to Costa Rica’s most revered national parks (including Corcovado and Curu among others). As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also be treated to San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua and Bahia de Jilquilisco in El Salvador before finally landing in Guatemala’s Puerto Quetzal. This journey is simply dripping with culture, adventure, architecture, archeology and romance, and its the perfect transition from big cruise line tourist to cruising traveler!
If you’re ready to set sail and get cruising in Latin America, contact us today to begin planning your dream journey.