The name of this expedition was recently changed from “Wild South America: The Guianas To Brazil” to “Wild South America: Trinidad, Guyana and Brazil.”
Legendary wildness and special access to seldom-visited regions
Extraordinary diversity and a dazzling array of points of interest await on this exploration through five countries, two legendary rivers, and a host of places few people ever see. Experience fascinating ecosystems from riverine to jungle to urban, within dramatic natural settings. Spot tropical wildlife from spinner dolphins to the spectacle of hundreds of scarlet ibis coming home to roost. Have the rare opportunity to explore pristine Fernando de Noronha, a UNESCO site; grand Kaieteur Falls, two times the height of Victoria Falls; and well-preserved colonial towns with a dramatic history.
Spot tropical wildlife as we explore two legendary jungle rivers: the Amazon and the Essequibo
Fly-over the grand Kaieteur Falls, the largest single-drop waterfall in the world
Explore three picturesque colonial cities from Paramaribo, Suriname, a UNESCO Site, to Belém, the gateway to the Amazon, and Salvador, Brazil’s cultural heart. And visit notorious Devil’s Island
Enjoy special access to the unspoiled islands of Fernando de Noronha, a World Heritage site. Snorkel amid the rich marine life and see the rich population of spinner dolphins
Get out and explore—hike jungle pathways to see rare birds, stroll through colonial cities, and Zodiac cruise river deltas. Because National Geographic Explorer has a fleet of both Zodiacs and kayaks, the entire expedition community can embark at once on forays, no waiting around for returning parties. You’ll have a choice of activities each day, and the option to join any naturalist whose interests mirror yours. Plus, get top shots with the help of a National Geographic Photography Expert. Flexibility is a hallmark of our expeditions, and often the day-by-day itinerary will change as we take advantage of spur-of-the-moment opportunities or photographers linger ashore through the golden hour of light.
The sound of the steel pan and calypso tell us we’re in Trinidad & Tobago. Arrive and join us for a welcome reception before an overnight at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad Hotel. (D)
Caroni Swamp / Port of Spain / Embark
Drive to Caroni Swamp on the west coast of Trinidad, where scarlet ibis return by the hundreds at dusk to roost—one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles. The next day, enjoy a leisurely breakfast and perhaps a dip in the pool, with sweeping views of the Gulf of Paria, before embarking our ship in Port of Spain and settling in as we set sail southward. (B,L,D)
This is a day to explore the amenities of our ship and prepare for the adventures ahead. Visit the Bridge (a great place to spot marine life), have a relaxing massage, attend a talk about the history of this storied coast, or settle into a comfy chair in the observation lounge to read or look out over the waves and reflect on what you've seen and what is to come. (B,L,D)
Essequibo River, Guyana/Georgetown/At Sea
Little-visited Guyana has some of the planet’s most pristine rainforest. On the Essequibo, spot colorful macaws, cotingas, and jacamars—a few of the more than 600 bird species for the area. Fly over Guyana’s crown jewel: powerful 822-foot Kaieteur Falls. Once on the ground we explore the rainforest and look for rare parrots and toucans. In Georgetown, Guyana’s capital, discover rich colonial architecture, historic markets, and spirited local music. (B,L,D)
Paramaribo’s well-preserved Dutch colonial architecture has earned it a UNESCO designation. Explore the waterfront with its wooden colonial buildings, and Fort Zeelandia, home to the fine Suriname Museum. (B,L,D)
Devil’s Island, French Guiana/At Sea
Devil’s Island became notorious as a penal colony whose inmates included Alfred Dreyfus and Henri Charrière—who chronicled his escape in the book Papillon. Explore the remains of the prison and spot birds and monkeys in the surrounding jungle. Then relax during a day at sea. (B,L,D)
Amazon River Delta, Brazil
Enter the great delta region of the Amazon and spend three days exploring the river and its tributaries by ship and by Zodiac. Spot macaws, toucans, and kingfishers, along with monkeys and the two elusive species of river dolphin found here—the gray tucuxi and the pink boto. See some of the communities of local residents, called caboclos, who make their living in this rich but difficult environment. (B,L,D)
The gateway to the Amazon, Belém has a rich colonial history evident on our walk in the Cidade Velha (Old City). Visit the Ver-O-Peso market, with its amazing variety of rainforest medicinal remedies, or the town of Icoaraci, known for its ceramics. (B,L,D)
Enjoy the pleasures of being aboard National Geographic Explorer with an expert staff. Attend a photo presentation given by a National Geographic photographer and get your photography questions answered. Head up to the Bridge, where the officers will reveal the secrets of navigation. Hear talks from our naturalist team that will prepare us for the exciting days to come on Fernando de Noronha. Unwind, have a massage in the wellness center, read in the excellent library, or listen to music curated by our onboard musicologist. (B,L,D)
Fernando de Noronha
The Fernando de Noronha archipelago is a UNESCO Site recognized for its marine life and breeding tropical seabirds. Enjoy three days exploring its beaches, birdlife, and rich marine life. Hike, swim, and snorkel. Or go on a boat excursion to watch spinner dolphins, renowned for their acrobatics. (B,L,D)
After time at sea, arrive at colorful Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia and cultural center of Brazil. Salvador’s music is legendary—the region is the birthplace of the samba. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we disembark and have a walking tour of Salvador through the historic Pelourinho, a network of sweeping avenues lined with towering pink, yellow, and purple buildings finished with elegant white trims. Later, we transfer to the airport for overnight flights home. (Day 23: B,L)
Join Ethnomusicologist and music researcher Jacob Edgar this September and learn how music opens a vibrant gateway into culture.
$1,000 AIR CREDIT
Valid for new bookings only on select departures, subject to availability, not applicable on extensions, and may not be combined with other offers. Credit will be deducted from cabin fare prior to any additional applicable savings. Call for details.
FREE RIO OR SALVADOR EXTENSION
Get a free extension to either Salvador or Rio de Janeiro when booking Wild South America: The Guianas To Brazil. Must be ticketed by Lindblad Expeditions, valid for new bookings only on select departures, and subject to availability. Call for details.
TRAVELING AS A GROUP
Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more people. Take advantage of these great savings, while enjoying traveling with your friends and family. This savings is applicable to voyage fares only, and is not valid on extensions or airfare. Deposit, final payments, and cancellation policies for group travel vary from our regular policies.
Certain offers may be combinable, up to two savings opportunities, except where noted otherwise. For example, travel with a group of 8 or more on back-to-back expeditions, and take advantage of both savings.
FREE BAR TAB AND CREW TIPS INCLUDED
We will cover your bar tab (including alcoholic beverages aboard the ship except certain premium brands of alcohol), and all tips for the crew on all National Geographic Resolution, National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Endurance, and National Geographic Orion voyages.
EARLY BOOKING SAVINGS
Book 2024 departures and get 2023 rates if booked by January 13, 2023. Valid for new bookings on departures on Lindblad-National Geographic ships, Delfin II, and The Jahan, subject to availability, not applicable on extensions, and may not be combined with other offers. Call for details.
Save 10% on any consecutive journeys taken on board one of our expedition ships. This savings is applicable on voyage fares only, and are not valid on extensions or airfare.
CELEBRATE LIFE'S MILESTONES
Join us and celebrate your great milestones, including birthdays, anniversaries, family reunions, retirements, and more. Beginning in 2023, groups of 8 or more traveling together in celebration receive 5% off and a complimentary group photograph, while the cabin-of-honor receives onboard ship credit, beautiful cake, and more onboard celebrations. Milestone celebration must be communicated at time of booking. Milestone amenity package is one per group, intended for the guest celebrating the Milestone event. Group discount is applicable to cruise portion only, and does not apply towards additional services such as hotels, extensions, airfare, etc. Group cancellation terms also apply. Not combinable with certain offers.
BRINGING THE KIDS
We believe sharing an expedition with your kids or grandkids is a life-enhancing experience. So take $500 off for each child under the age of 18.
Our last full day on National Geographic Explorer took us to Ilheus, a small city in Bahia that has long been an epicenter for Brazil’s cacao industry. Once the world’s largest producer of cacao, the fruit whose beans are the source of chocolate, the area’s plantations were decimated in the 1980s when the witch’s broom fungus destroyed most of the area’s trees. The industry has been making a comeback in recent years as local farmers begin to focus on small crops and boutique production. We spent most of our day at two different cacao plantations, where we learned the backstory behind the chocolate that we consume every day. Most of the people in our group had never seen a cacao tree before, with its large red, yellow, and green pods hanging awkwardly from thin branches like something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers . We learned about the origins of cacao, which is a native of the Amazon rainforests of present-day Venezuela. Human consumption of chocolate dates back at least 5,000 years and was popular among the Mesoamerican Aztecs who gave it its name. Originally consumed as an unsweetened and spicy beverage, it wasn’t until sugar was added that chocolate became popular in Europe, and the rest, as they say, is history. We enjoyed samples of a variety of cacao products, from the sweet nectar made from the pulp that surrounds the seeds, to roasted cacao nibs, cacao molasses, tea, and even a cacao liquor. And, of course, we indulged in plenty of chocolate. Luckily, we were still hungry for lunch, a sumptuous buffet of Bahian delicacies, which we enjoyed to the sounds of Afro-Brazilian music. The music continued once we got back to the ship, when our guest musicians, guitarist Alex Mesquita and percussionist Daniella Penna, performed bossa nova, Afro-sambas, and axé music for us in the lounge. It was a sweet ending to a magnificent adventure that took us from Trinidad to Brazil.
Our day started with a very uncommon visit from a couple of south polar skuas chasing each other around the ship. Manx shearwaters were flying around National Geographic Explorer . Birdwatching is certainly one of the top activities on board, and you never know what you might see! Aside from the birding and whale watching, a day at sea is more than going from point A to point B. During the morning, our one and only Eduardo Shaw gave his presentation on, “My Years with Lindblad,” which was one of the highlights of the trip. Eduardo has worked for Lindblad since 1983, so he certainly had many stories to share! Travel has changed a lot since then! After lunch, all the naturalists met in the lounge for a presentation, “Climate Solutions: Panel with Q & A.” After a long discussion, we agreed that not all is doom and gloom, there is still hope, and we should not underestimate the power of one. Just before dinner, we enjoyed a musical performance just on the back deck! Thanks to Jacob Edgar, our ethnomusicologist, we enjoyed music and tunes from Alex Mesquite. What a nice day at sea. Tomorrow: Ilheus. So many adventures await us!
Our journey through South America brought us to Recife, the capital of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco and a hotspot for music, culture, architecture, and so much more. We were greeted like celebrities when we approached the dock, where a military frevo brass band welcomed us with festive rhythms played on trumpets, saxophones, trombones, and backed by lively percussion. At one point, a female soldier dressed in army green with a rifle slung over her shoulder provided lead vocals. Frevo, which is a fascinating blend of European brass band marching music and Afro-Brazilian rhythms, is a staple of Recife’s unique carnival tradition, quite distinct from the music to the south in Rio de Janeiro. We learned more about frevo when we visited Recife’s nearby sister city of Olinda, a UNESCO World Heritage site with colorful, Portuguese colonial architecture that makes this a must-visit destination. After exploring the lovely 17th century St. Francis Convent, we strolled up to a cultural center that specializes in building the giant puppets that are a standard part of Recife’s carnival parades. Frevo dancers greeted us, performing acrobatic steps with small umbrellas in their hands to enhance their movements. The organization’s museum featured giant puppets in the likenesses of famous international figures, ranging from Bob Marley to Mickey Mouse, as well as plenty of less-familiar local celebrities. After exploring the beautiful streets of Olinda, we journeyed by bus to the grounds of the Ricardo Brennand Institute, a one-of-a-kind museum and park that houses a jaw-dropping collection of art and artifacts from Brazil’s colonial period. Founded by a Brazilian collector and businessman, the institute includes one of the largest collections of armaments from the 14th to 19th centuries, along with many curiosities, such as a display of over 1,000 teacups. Not just any teacups; these were exclusively teacups with a special insert designed to keep one’s mustache from getting wet. I have visited Recife in the past and was charmed by the city’s lively arts scene and unique character, so I was happy that our guests got a chance to experience the area firsthand. Hopefully, it will become a regular part of Lindblad’s itineraries, as there is so much more to explore in this colorful destination in Brazil’s northeast.
A windy day brought good birdwatching conditions. Many birds approached the ship, and some followed us the whole day, giving us great opportunities for photography and observation. Inside the ship, staff entertained us with lectures and presentations on several different subjects, ranging from Brazilian folk music and culture to climate change issues.
“Good morning, good morning!” said expedition leader Lucho Verdesoto over the loudspeaker on National Geographic Explorer . Was this a dream, being that it was so early in the morning, only 4:30 a.m.? No, it was not a dream. That was the plan: to wake up early in the port city of Fortaleza for an adventure into the high country at Maciço de Baturité, roughly three hours away by coach. After a quick breakfast, the birders left on the first coach at 5:00 a.m. Most of us departed the ship at 6:15 a.m. Our destination was Parque das Trilhas, which is a nature area with good hiking trails at an elevation of about 2,000 feet. We observed farms and villages as we passed through coastal sand dunes and savannah-like, dry vegetation called Caatinga. Then we began climbing up in elevation. We observed banana plantations and red laterite soils before moving into more lush vegetation to reach our destination. Here, we split up into groups with our local guides for hikes of various lengths. The trail system was extensive, and we all had a marvelous time admiring the abundant birdlife and humid tropical forest. We met back at the entrance to the park. Our coaches drove us to a nearby restaurant called Sitio São Luís, a former, elaborate residence with distinctive architecture, including large support columns. We had a buffet lunch and enjoyed sitting out on the shaded patio and listening to local accordion music as we ate. Then we boarded the coaches for the drive back to the ship. Once everyone was aboard, the ship set off immediately, and evening cocktails were served, followed by recap and dinner. Night fell under cloudy skies, and we all thought about how wonderful it was to be back on-board National Geographic Explorer , our home away from home.