Windstar Cruises is expanding its global footprint to South America with tours to Galapagos and Machu Picchu.
Windstar Cruises is expanding its global reach with first-time cruises in South America beginning in December of 2025 on board all-suite yacht Star Pride. The diversification to the region creates new opportunities for the small ship cruise line’s well-traveled guests to experience bucket-list destinations, like Machu Picchu in Peru and Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, allowing Windstar’s guests to enjoy the uncrowded and unpretentious style they are well known for.
The new 16-day Marvels of Latin America Cruise Tour sailing from Colón, Panama to Lima, Peru (or reverse) adds a pre- or post-cruise tour to Machu Picchu. And there’s an option for a mid-cruise overland tour to the Galapagos Islands. For a shorter version, an 11-day Marvels of Ecuador, Peru, and the Panama Canal includes the cruise and the optional Galapagos Island overland tour.
“Our new cruise tour in Machu Picchu and overland tour to Galapagos allow our guests to see more of South America,” explains Windstar Cruises President Christopher Prelog. “I’m excited to offer our loyal guests new destinations to visit with Windstar. We’re taking care of the complicated logistics to get you to all these spectacular places.”
Starting with the New Year’s sailing on December 27, 2025, through January, the itinerary includes a daylight transit of the iconic Panama Canal and is also filled with overnight stays allowing ample time for multi-day exploration in Manta, Guayaquil, and Lima. Additional port visits include Machala (where more locals go on vacation than tourists) and Trujillo, where guests can visit the nearby pre-Colombian Chimu tribe archaeological site of Chan Chan.
The Machu Picchu tour is offered as a pre- or post-cruise excursion over five days. Highlights include driving to the Sacred Valley while visiting and dining at local farms; riding the legendary Vistadome train through the Andean landscape to and from Machu Picchu, where a private guide takes guests through the UNESCO World Heritage Site; exploring the Urubamba market and a local ceramic workshop on an extensive overview of Cusco; and ambling Lima’s bustling streets with a knowledgeable local. Overnight stays during the tour are in luxury, boutique hotels, and included meals focus on local ingredients and flavors for which Peru is best known.
The mid-cruise Ecuadorian excursion to the Galapagos takes place over three days, beginning in either Manta or Guayaquil depending on the date/direction of the sailing. After flying from Gauyaquil to the Galapagos, guests take a ferry to the Santa Cruz Highlands to see Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. The next day guests embark on a small ferry for a navigable tour to one of the Galapagos’ uninhabited islands: North Seymour Island, Bartolome Island, South Plaza Island, Santa Fe Island, or Floreana Island. On the final day, guests board a short flight and transfer to return to their Windstar yacht in Guayaquil (or in Manta, depending on the date and itinerary direction).
Prelog emphasized the unique opportunity to visit three must-see places – Panama Canal, Machu Picchu, Galapagos – within one 16-day trip. “It’s an incredible value and makes good use of travel time by combining these locations into one cruise tour,” said Prelog.
Windstar has made significant increases in the number of cruise tours on offer in every region the small ship line sails, including these first-time offerings in South America. The move is in response to customers’ demands to spend more time soaking in the sights and spirit of each destination.
“These tours take care of every detail while also getting you closer to the wildlife, culture, and history of the region in a way that’s respectful of the land and the locals,” Prelog says. “Since we begin or end in Panama versus Florida where traditionally these itineraries depart from, we have fewer sea days and more port calls in South America for a rich destination experience.”