The deep connections and observances made during travel not only inspire our time abroad, but can also subtly affect the way we live our lives back home.

AdventureSmith Founder and President Todd Smith shares his top cultural cruise picks, small ship expeditions where the local community and culture takes center stage. These cultural travel options are ideal for travelers looking for an educational experience connecting to the powerful inhabitants of the unique places we all aim to visit. The deep connections and observances made during travel not only inspire our time abroad, but can also subtly affect the way we live our lives back home by offering new perspectives, new ways of living and whole new possibilities. Read through these three cruises and one bonus land adventure for captivating possibilities for your next adventure.

Panama Adventure Cruise

Panama Adventure Cruise visits Embera and Kuna villages in the Darien Jungle and San Blas Islands. Get a glimpse into the lives of people who have been able to maintain their traditions and lifestyle as they were before the Spaniards colonized the region. These natives are also master crafters of cocobolo wood carvings and basketry.

Children greeting guests from small ship cruise visiting the villages in the Darien Jungle.

Amatista Amazon Cruise

Amatista Amazon Cruise visits a remote village and a local shaman, and offers experiences with local river people. Pictured above is one of many encounters with local fishermen that Adventure Specialist Aaron Gaines had on his Amatista cruise. This motorized small wooden platform raft pushed a 50-foot-long rectangular underwater netting enclosure. Three men had sailed on it five days from the jungle into Iquitos to sell their haul of over 7,000 live catfish contained in the nets. Their food, gasoline and other supplies all shared this tiny raft with them.

Amatista Amazon cruise guests on excursion visiting remote villages in the Amazon.

“With a genuine joy that put us tourists at ease, the kids sang us a song and introduced themselves one by one.”

Aaron was also able to visit the riverside village of Puerto Prado where he met members of the Kokama-Kokamilya tribe and interacted with the schoolchildren there. “With a genuine joy that put us tourists at ease, the kids sang us a song and introduced themselves one by one. When the guide indicated that the kids wanted us to sing a song (and no one volunteered), I was glad to sing a favorite song of my two-year-old son and the kids loved it.” Read more of Aaron’s cultural cruise experience aboard the Amatista in his Amatista Amazon Cruise Expert Review.

Local children in remote village in the Peruvian Amazon waving to visitors.

Frontier Lands of New Guinea Cruise

Experience some of the world’s most striking and intact cultural regions as they emerge into the 21st century and venture into the most remote corners of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia on a series of distinct departures with trip lengths to suit a range of travel needs.

Experience some of the world’s most striking & intact cultural regions as they emerge into the 21st century.

This incredible trip brings travelers safely into places few outsiders have ever been while introducing unique cultures and traditions at each stop. On this Frontier Lands of New Guinea cruise learn about mythical tales, spiritual rituals, traditional dances and wardrobes, intriguing history and welcoming ceremonies, all while taking in the beautiful islands and stunning underwater life.

Meeting the locals on a Papua New  Guinea small ship cruise.

Sacred Valley & Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu Land Trip

Most people who travel to the extraordinary Machu Picchu have a cultural experience through the ancient architecture, but many miss out on the incredible and vibrant traditions and cultures that still live and thrive in the nearby mountains. The Sacred Valley & Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu trip offers the perfect balance with visits to Machu Picchu, other nearby ancient sites and local villages and markets as well as local interactions through textile presentations, cooking classes and participation in local ceremonies.

Local women weaving traditional clothes on Sacred Valley & Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu Land Trip.

Contact the experts at AdventureSmith to learn more about cultural cruises and ways to get involved with local communities when you travel.