Riviera’s £1 million birthday giveaway
Riviera’s £1 million birthday giveaway
The Magdalena is Colombia’s longest and most important river, flowing through diverse landscapes, from arid plains to lush rainforests. Enjoy port stops at vibrant towns and cities before setting sail through river regions with some of the world’s most stunning scenery and an incredible and rich biodiversity of around 2,000 birds and more than 150 species of mammals.
The Magdalena River is the cultural heart of Colombia. The river’s significance dates to before colonial times because of its strategic route from the centre of Colombia to the Caribbean Sea. Strategically important for the Spanish conquistadors in the early 16th century, explore the history and heritage of this significant and beautiful river. With port stops at Neuva Venecia and Santa Barbara de Pinto, see why the Magdalena has inspired countless artists and writers through the centuries.
Explore Colombia’s beautiful and varied scenery with port itineraries that cater to every taste, whether you’re interested in heritage, culture, or architecture or just want to savour authentic Latin American cuisine and classic Colombian coffee! Discover fascinating and ancient towns with our expert tour guides, or relax on the sun deck in the company of some of the world’s most stunning scenery.
A Magdalena River cruise is a totally unique way to explore Colombia’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Nearly 1,000 miles in length, the Magdalena River is the lifeblood of this South American country, providing access to the Caribbean Sea and serving as a critical transport link throughout the centuries. Discover historic towns and cities like Mompox, with its mix of colonial and Spanish buildings, and Neuva Venecia, Colombia’s equivalent of Venice. Our luxury River Cruise packages combine the colour and heritage of Colombia with Magdalena’s unmatched biodiversity. Add a warm Latin American welcome and a stunning river backdrop for the perfect cruise holiday.
Only a handful of partners cruise the Magdalena
Expert guides put together our itineraries, offering cruise guests a selection of the most popular tourist destinations interspersed with some hidden gems and ‘must-see’ seasonal events. If you don’t want to follow one of our guided tours, then explore by yourself.
Enjoy the authentic flavour of Colombia with regional Latin American dishes made with locally sourced produce, plus a comprehensive wine list with the very best Colombian and international vintages. There are vegan and vegetarian options offered daily, and our gourmet chefs can also accommodate guests on restricted diets, with the only concession being the ingredients rather than taste and flavour.
As well as varied and picturesque riverside scenery, the Magdalena River provides an insight into the real and hidden Colombia, linking port destinations and sights that have been out of view for decades. Visit traditional Colombian towns like Santa Barbara de Pinto, the exceptional colonial relic that is Santa Cruz de Mompox, and the Colombian version of Venice at Neuva Venecia. Expertly crafted itineraries create a perfect blend of popular attractions with hidden gems, whether your fascination is the riverside wildlife and scenery, architecture and heritage, or Latin American culture and cuisine! Our enchanting Magdalena River cruises are for eight nights and can be combined with longer port stays for a more extended holiday.
Spend a day in bustling Barranquilla, known as the ‘Golden Gate,’ a strategic and busy sea port, before embarking on your ship in the evening, ready to enjoy a special celebration inspired by this famous carnival city. The Barranquilla Carnival is accredited as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, and guests can enjoy all the flavours of Latin America infused with influences of the Caribbean when they step on board.
The name, ‘Nueva Venecia,’ is Spanish for New Venice, and this floating town is only navigable by boat. Sitting on the Grande Ciénega, a marsh leading from the Magdalena River to the Caribbean Sea, visitors can enjoy the colourful and vivid architecture of the colonial-style stilt houses and a sanctuary showcasing the local flora and fauna. Local people travel by boat, and visitors can enjoy a guided water tour focusing on their lifestyle and culture and discover ancient fishing techniques and traditional arts and crafts.
Located on the Mompox arm of the Magdalena River, spend the morning in this traditional Colombian town and visit local landmarks like the Santa Barbara Church. In the afternoon, your cruise will arrive at the island town of Mompox, heralded by a distinctive jazz performance from local musicians.
Santa Cruz de Mompox played a unique role in the Spanish colonisation of this part of South America. The city developed parallel to the river between the 16th and 19th centuries and retains a historic centre that charmingly combines the urban landscape in harmony with the river. It is a genuinely historical picture of what a Spanish colonial city looked like and reflects this area’s strategic and commercial importance situated between the port of Cartagena and the Colombian interior. Mompox has three plazas along the river with buildings in a remarkable state of preservation and primarily still used for their original purposes.
Leave Mompox and embark on one of the most scenic and breathtakingly beautiful sections of the Magdalena River in the La Mojana region before reaching El Banco, a town nestling at the intersection of the Magdalena and César Rivers. Fought over for centuries between the native people and the Spaniards, El Banco has a fascinating history and is home to ‘cumbia,’ a music and dance genre that combines African dance influences with European instruments, now a worldwide sensation. Dinner is in El Banco, a chance to witness cumbia for yourself.
A day for nature lovers. Enjoy a birdwatching tour and see certain species only found in this part of Colombia, or take a hiking tour through the picturesque Ciénaga. Visit Calamar, located at the entrance of the Canal de Dique, a waterway developed in the 17th century to provide a quick connection with the Magdalena River. This town was first inhabited in 1840 and has some historic sites, such as the Iglesia de la Inmaculada Conception.
Arrive in the beautiful coastal city of Cartagena with its UNESCO-designated Sal Felipe Castle and iconic landmarks such as the Cathedral de Cartagena. Held to ransom by Sir Francis Drake in 1586, Cartagena has a fascinating and rich history. The Gold Museum is crammed with artefacts from the indigenous cultures in this region and is on the guided itinerary for the morning tour with the Caribbean Naval Museum in the afternoon. Enjoy the vibrant colours and culture of the historic Getsemani neighbourhood with a fusion of street art and flavoursome local cuisine.
Disembark in Cartagena, the end of your memorable Magdalena River Cruise, and an opportunity to spend more time in this colourful Colombian city.
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The Magdalena River is a majestic waterway representing the beating heart of this exotic and vibrant South American country. It is a connector of cities and a vital element in Colmbia’s heritage and history, as well as a haven for wildlife and countless species of birds. The inspiration for some of Colombia’s most important literature perfectly captured by writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Magdalena weaves together lush jungle and colonial towns embodied in a unique literary genre called Magic Realism, an enduring symbol of Colombia’s utter uniqueness.
“We’ve visited Colombia before, but the concept of a cruise was something really different, and I can confirm seeing and experiencing Colombia from the water is totally unique. There is a huge mix of scenery, wildlife, and urban settings, all infused with warm Latin American hospitality and bucketloads of excellent coffee! The guided tours were excellent, but you could dip in and out of them; they were really flexible, plus the cuisine on board was excellent.”
“We wanted a different way to see Colombia and had read about the significance of the Magdalena River, so a cruise seemed to make sense. We did our own thing for most of the trip, but the guides were happy to inform and pass on information even for people like us who opted out of their tours and planned itineraries. It was really like having our own vessel as you can tailor the cruise to suit your personal requirements. The boat was luxurious, and the service and food were all five-star.”
“I was planning this cruise as a surprise for my Colombian wife, and she was seriously impressed with every aspect, and she should know! The food was excellent, with authentic Latin American cuisine, and the boat was the height of luxury. Of course, I had a personal expert tour guide, but even my wife was impressed with the port excursions and how well-planned and interesting they were. So, from a native Colombian, that’s five stars!”
“As experienced river cruisers, this was something very different for us. We usually tour the rivers of Europe but couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit Colombia by water. This was a new cruise company for us, and I have to say the port tours were spot on, a fascinating mix of different things. The boat was also very luxurious and well-appointed, with five-star cuisine that truly reflected the tastes and flavours of Latin America. Colombia is certainly a country we would like to see more of, and we will definitely be sailing with this company again.”
Isabella, Crui.se Expert
As an experienced European river cruiser, this trip on the Magdalena was a real first. Even if you’ve experienced the colour and vibe of Colombia before, there is something exceptional about seeing this country from the water, and the Magdalena is such a historic river that it really does give you a proper taste of the culture and diversity of this amazing country. This cruise has everything: hugely varied scenery, fabulous wildlife, and biodiversity with fascinating port stops plus, you are never far from proper Colombian coffee! If you want to experience authentic Latin American culture, then this is the cruise for you.
You can check our frequently ask questions here anytime
There is a wide range of daily menus, including vegan and vegetarian dishes. We also cook fresh menus for passengers with allergies, food intolerances, or special diets – just let us know your requirements when you book. We pride ourselves on offering authentic local cuisine, which reflects the regional menus of the area we’re sailing through, and use local produce as much as possible. Passengers with restricted diets will be offered the same standard of freshly cooked food without compromising flavour and taste.
All our cruisers provide access for guests with physical restrictions or mobility issues. We’ll select the best cabin for your needs and talk you through every element of the boat and different port itineraries. We leave no stone unturned to ensure every passenger enjoys the full cruise experience, and we’ll make modifications ahead of your embarkation date. Many of our vessels also offer interconnecting staterooms, perfect for passengers who need assistance from a family member or friend.
Check with one of our expert booking team when you make your reservation. We’ll stay in touch and let you know if anything changes between the booking and your cruise dates. We follow the latest Covid guidance from the World Health Organisation and stay up-to-date with local rules in the regions we sail through. Our on-board staff are all fully vaccinated.
You will need a visa, and you’ll be responsible for arranging your own visa. It’s best to do this well ahead of your holiday in case of any delays. Our booking team can talk you through the basics of applying for a visa when you make your reservation.
Our mission at crui.se is to help you and your loved one’s book and experience the best cruise holiday imaginable. We’re different in that, our customers come first, not our suppliers or profit margins. Get in touch and let us help you set sail.
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