Luxury river cruise line AmaWaterways on Thursday announced a partnership with Metropolitan Touring, a leading South America tour operator, to introduce a new river cruise experience in Colombia. Through the partnership, AmaWaterways says it becomes the first luxury river cruise line to sail the Magdalena River. It also marks the river cruise line’s first foray into South America. 

A new custom-built, all-suite, eco-friendly river cruise ship will begin sailing in December 2023. The new ship and cruise program will incorporate years of design experience from AmaWaterways’ President and Co-Founder Rudi Schreiner, plus Metropolitan Touring’s decades of expertise in expedition cruising in the Galápagos Islands. 

Guests will be able to choose between two seven-night itineraries with pre- and post-cruise land programs exploring the Magdalena River and delving into Colombia’s cultural and natural heritage. Accompanied by a team, which will include a wellness manager on-board, river cruise travelers on the Magdalena will enjoy in-depth connections with local nature, wildlife, culture, flavors and people, as well as activities such as kayaking, hiking and birdwatching. 

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Specific itineraries are currently being developed with more details anticipated in the coming weeks.

The Magdalena River is the principal river of Colombia, flowing for roughly 950 miles south-to-north in the western half of the country. Its mouth is near Barranquilla, along the Caribbean Sea, meaning the river was the only transport link communicating Bogotá with the Caribbean Sea port Cartagena and, thus, with Europe.

Beyond the hundreds of fish species found in the river, other native animals include caiman, iguanas, pelicans, manatees, parakeets, turtles and tortoises. Invasive hippopotamuses are also found in the river—originally brought to Colombia by Pablo Escobar. 

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