28 Night Cruise sailing roundtrip from San Diego aboard Amsterdam.
The third Holland America Line vessel to bear the name Amsterdam, this elegant, mid-sized ship features a three-story atrium graced by a stunning astrolabe. While on board, enjoy America’s Test Kitchen cooking shows and hands-on workshops. Thrill to our exclusive BBC Earth Experiences presentations and activities. Rejuvenate at the Greenhouse Spa & Salon. Work out at our Fitness Center. And savor our delectable array of specialty restaurants.
Highlights of this cruise:
San Diego, California, US
Easygoing San Diego embodies the Southern California surfer town fantasy, with its more than 300 days of sun, mild year-round temperatures and accessible, sporty pastimes and tourist attractions. You can hike the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve to get a glimpse of whale migrations, go sailing in the bay and, of course, surf the famous swells of Del Mar, Oceanside and La Jolla (among many other superb spots). But the sixth-largest city in the United States is surprisingly nuanced, with distinctive neighborhoods: Old Town, North Park, Point Loma and Coronado are all within a few miles of the port, while the bustling Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy are within walking distance.
And while there are lots of things to do for everyone—from visiting the country’s largest urban park to taking in the famous horse-racing season in Del Mar to riding the charming Old Town Trolley—definitely don’t pass up the chance to investigate San Diego’s quickly growing reputation as a culinary destination. Its inventive new restaurants and huge craft-brewing industry are something to be explored.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Los Cabos doesn't exude the same kind of charm as many other areas of inland Mexico do, but its twin towns—San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas—don't seem to mind, and neither do visitors, who are drawn here less for traditional Mexican culture than for the sun, the sand and the opportunity to just slow down and relax. Los Cabos—or the Capes—sits at the southernmost tip of the Baja California Peninsula, a narrow strip of land whose varied geography, both above and underwater, makes for plenty of interesting activities and some unusual ones, too. Did you ever think you'd ride a camel in Mexico? You can do that here, or enjoy more predictable pursuits including fishing, golfing and whale-watching. Want something still more laid-back? Visit picture-perfect El Arco, an arch that may look familiar thanks to its cameo on postcards and tourism advertisements. North of the capes, you can drop by the famed Hotel California. And if you've worked up an appetite, you won't be disappointed: Los Cabos offers plenty to enjoy at the table as well, with farm-fresh fruits and vegetables and, of course, seafood being the mainstays here.
Huatulco, situated on Mexico's Pacific Coast in the state of Oaxaca, has nine bays and 36 beaches, offering more than enough opportunities for fun in the sun. The most popular beach is La Entrega, with clean white sand and calm waters, perfect for snorkeling and swimming . . . or just relaxing. But Huatulco's attractions aren't limited to sand and surf; there are also archaeological sites to explore, rivers to raft, and waterfalls whose pools invite childlike splashing. Bird lovers, in particular, will find Huatulco to be especially captivating. The region is home to more than 225 bird species, including many rare ones and a number that are endemic to Mexico, like the Colima pygmy owl and the wildly colorful orange-breasted bunting and citreoline trogon. Bring your bird list, because you're sure to add new species to your "sighted" column. And the food in Huatulco! The food will give you plenty to write home about. The state of Oaxaca has some of the most iconic dishes in Mexico's culinary repertoire. You won't go home hungry.
Fuerte Amador, Panama
Located west of Panama City at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, Fuerte Amador is a gateway to exploring the many faces of this unique Central American country. The impressive engineering of the canal itself is a wonder to behold; a quick trip to the Miraflores Locks' visitor center with its panoramic observation decks offers the chance to watch behemoth barges thread their way through the legendary manmade waterway. Just minutes from the cruise port, the recently opened Biomuseo is a Frank Gehry–designed natural-history museum dedicated to Panama's ecological marvels. And Fuerte Amador sits within easy taxi distance of Panama City, the bustling, multicultural capital metropolis where visitors can wander a conquistador-era UNESCO World Heritage Site, sip coffee in street cafés and peruse modern malls. For a rural escape, it only takes an hour or two by car to trade the city for the tropical rain forests of Soberanía National Park, where an aerial tram carries passengers through treetops, or to meet Emberá tribespeople in their traditional village along the Chagres River.
Located on the Pacific coast, Manta is one of Ecuador’s most important ports. The mainstay of the economy of this city with some 200,000 residents is tuna—both fishing and the processing and canning of the catch. In other words, unless you have a keen interest in the tuna industry, Manta will, most likely, simply be a stopping point to other destinations in the country like Quito, the Galápagos and the haciendas in the foothills of the Andes. Even so, Manta is a pleasant port town with some contemporary buildings and a few historic sights, interesting museums and natural beauty in the form of parks and nearby beaches.
Neither the Galápagos nor the country’s capital, Quito, can be visited as a day trip from Manta. If you have extra time before or after you reach Manta, however, it's a short flight to both. Still not enough time? Isla Corazón, to the north, and Machalilla National Park, to the south, provide introductions to the flora and fauna of equatorial rain forests. If even those destinations are too far, the city’s archaeological museum is highly recommended, and a walk along the Malecón pairs ocean views with cooling breezes.
Salaverry (Trujillo), Peru
The port of Salaverry is essentially a ticket to a best-of-Peru buffet. Half an hour away is Peru’s northern capital, Trujillo, home to one of the most iconic squares in the country: the city's Plaza de Armas. The bright blue, yellow and red buildings date back to the 16th century, and—traffic aside—transport you back to the days of the conquistadores. For time travel to a more distant past—a past that predates even the Inca—visit the profusion of ruins around the city. There’s the Chimu capital Chan Chan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Mochica sites of Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna, to name just a few. And for time travel with a twist—or more accurately, with an arc—there are the caballitos de totora, curvilinear fishing boats made from reed and used by ancient Peruvians, that continue to ply the waters (and serve as the calling card) of the nearby village of Huanchaco. Watching these graceful arched vessels "surf" the waves is totally enchanting—especially if you’re seated at a beach-view table with some ceviche and a cerveza.
Callao (Lima), Peru
Peru's bone-dry capital (only Cairo is drier as far as national capitals go), Lima is a booming energetic metropolis built on ancient foundations millennia in the making. At first she is no looker, but scratch that parched surface below the high-rise offices and dust-settled dwellings and Lima's charms begin to shine: Strikingly preserved pre-Columbian ruins sit defiantly among modern skyscrapers, a cultural potpourri of world-class museums, sun-toasted beaches beautifully illuminated by nightly sunsets and one of the most exciting and dynamic culinary landscapes in the world.
Lima is a tale of two cities. Colonial charms abound in the city's historic center, where impressive plazas—including the cinematic 16th-century Plaza de Armas, the handiwork of Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro—are overseen by Baroque and neoclassical cathedrals, palaces, monasteries and remnants of ancient city walls. But a different Lima emerges in the cliff-hugging seaside barrios of Miraflores and Barranco. Miraflores, Lima's modern face, is a bustling enclave of chic restaurants, bars and nightlife, and Barranco is a bohemian resort commune flush with grand casonas converted into atmospheric hotels and eateries. One of the city's allures is navigating between the old and the new.
But the Peruvian capital is at its most extraordinary at mealtimes, where the signature dishes of its world-famous cuisine—ceviche, lomo saltado pisco (beef stir-fried with tomatoes, peppers, onions and fried potatoes), aji de gallina (a pepper-laced chicken stew), causa (avocado and shrimp layered between mashed potato)—are the culinary stuff of legend, further wowing when chased by Peru's extraordinary national cocktail, the highly addictive pisco sour. ¡Salud!
Guayaquil (Quito), Ecuador
Sprawling Guayaquil sits on the western bank of the wide Guayas River in Ecuador, a few miles upriver from where it flows into the Pacific Ocean. It is the main port and commercial center of the country and also its largest city, home to a number of universities and colleges and a burgeoning arts scene. Its international airport and coastal location make it one of the main departure points for travelers heading to the Galápagos Islands. Much of the colonial architecture of Guayaquil, founded in 1538 by Spanish conquistadors on the site of an indigenous village, was lost in a massive fire in the 19th century. Some of the city’s most impressive buildings, including the neoclassical city hall, are near the riverfront on the Malecón Simón Bolívar. Nearby, the neo-Gothic Metropolitan Cathedral of Guayaquil soars above the Parque Seminario, a pocket park also known as Parque de las Iguanas (Iguana Park) for its large population of tame lizards that are happy to be fed by visitors. The local government has invested in urban renewal projects such as the Malecón 2000, a riverfront promenade, and the Museo Antropológico y de Arte Contemporáneo (MAAC), which showcases both pre-Columbian and contemporary Ecuadorian art and hosts performances in its large theater.
Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera), Costa Rica
One of the stops along the Panama Canal Zone route, Puntarenas on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast is nicely positioned within easy day-trip distance of a number of that country's national parks. The town, a busy working port on the surface, makes an ideal base from which travelers can venture out to explore the variety of this Central American country's outdoor attractions, from lush jungle destinations to pristine beaches along the Pacific. Activities include snapping photos of gushing waterfalls (and swimming at the base of one, if you bring your swimsuit!), sightseeing near active volcanoes, bird-watching in nature reserves and sanctuaries and horseback riding on Pacific beaches . . . and that's just for starters. Visitors to this extraordinary region also enjoy shopping for the handicrafts that local artists sell at their cooperatives, as well as sampling traditional Tico cuisine, especially gallo pinto—a combination of rice and beans eaten at any time of the day or night. A trip here serves as the perfect reminder that adventure often awaits just around the bend.
As a travel destination, Nicaragua still remains below the radar for many Americans, despite a recent surge of media interest in this Central American country. One of the region’s most politically and socially stable nations, Nicaragua has been billed as the next great spot for eco-, cultural and culinary tourism. Adventurous guests keen to experience its charms are rewarded richly for their efforts. The country’s most visited cities are Managua (the capital), Granada and León; the latter sits near the Pacific Coast. Corinto is the nearest port town, just northwest of León and along the route to the Panama Canal Zone. It offers many of the charms of the larger cities, including their colonial-era architecture, as well as a number of cultural and ecological attractions in surrounding areas. Given the port's proximity to León, it’s easy for cruise passengers to take a day trip to this beautiful city established by Spanish conquistadores in 1524. While there, be sure to sample the traditional dish called vigorón, a hearty plate heaped with pork, boiled yuca and cabbage salad. Though residents of Granada claim to have invented it, vigorón is popular around the entire country and is a true taste of Nicaragua.
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
Puerto Quetzal is Guatemala's largest port on the Pacific Ocean side of this Central American country, important for both cargo and cruise ships. There's not a great deal to see and do in Puerto Quetzal itself, and visitors should adjust their expectations accordingly. Yet you shouldn't despair, either; Puerto Quetzal is an ideal point of departure for exploring several corners of the country. Choose your mode of transportation—plane, bus, car or boat—and decide whether you want to take in Guatemala's stunning, volcano-studded landscape, one (or more!) of the country's Maya sites, the UNESCO–recognized colonial city of Antigua (the former capital), a coffee plantation or one of the many beguiling bodies of water. In addition to the gleaming Pacific, there's Lake Atitlán, which 19th-century German explorer Alexander von Humboldt described as the most beautiful lake in the world. All of these attractions are accessible as day trips, and getting to them is all part of your Guatemalan adventure.
Please note, while prices and inclusions are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to changes in cruise line policies and pricing and due to currency fluctuations. Currency surcharges may apply. Please check details of price and inclusions at time of booking.