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Colonial capitals, Old World boom towns, plus fascinating ecosystems
Explore the diverse coast of South America, with its vast variety of ecosystems, from tropical to riverine to pampas, and all its iconic wildlife. Live the culture and history amid Old World boomtowns, colonial capitals, and modern urbanity.
Book by June 30, 2023. Airfare included up to a ticket value of $2,500 per person from Miami and Dallas on 2023 departures of Wild South America: Trinidad, Guyana to Brazil. Airfare must be ticketed by Lindblad Expeditions for a value up to $2,500 per person. In the case that the airfare at the time of booking is higher than $2,500, the guest will be required to pay the amount above $2,500. In the case the offered flights are no longer available, Lindblad reserves the right to issue a credit. Baggage fees may be additional. Valid for new bookings only, may not be combined with other offers, and is subject to availability. Call for details.
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.
SOLO TRAVELER SAVINGS
Book by June 30, 2023 and waive the solo traveler premium on solo cabins on select departures. Valid for new bookings only, subject to availability, may not be combined with other offers, and is not applicable on airfare or extensions. Call for details.
Step aboard the National Geographic Explorer and embark on an active, immersive expedition along the wildly diverse and culturally rich east coast of South America. Discover fascinating ecosystems, visit remote isles, explore dazzling cities, and see a vast array of birdlife as well as marine mammals.
Life aboard National Geographic Explorer is casual all the way. There’s no assigned seating in the dining room or any of the restaurants. In fact, many tables accommodate uneven numbers, making for easy mingling and the fun of sharing breakfast, lunch, or dinner with different new friends, staff, or guest speakers.
The logic is simple—bring people who love making images to the planet’s most spectacular places and most thrilling subjects. Expedition Photography takes it to the next level by adding to the mix some of the world’s top visual storytellers who travel at your side and at your service.
Beyond the Amazon: 4 Seldom-Seen South American Wild Wonders
While the Amazon will always be a must-see, there are other less-traveled destinations in South America that not only teem with their own unique natural wonders but will also earn travelers the distinction of going off the beaten track.
From the Guianas to Brazil, the music of South America opens a vibrant gateway into culture.
Explore with seasoned expedition teams
See, do, and learn more by going with engaging experts who have been exploring this region for decades. Go with an expedition leader, naturalists, and more.
Veteran expedition leaders are the orchestrators of your experience. Many have advanced degrees and have conducted research or taught for years. They have achieved expedition leader status because they possess the skills, experience, and the depth of knowledge necessary to continually craft the best expedition possible for our guests.
Explore with a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor—a naturalist who is specially trained to offer assistance with camera settings, the basics of composition, and to help you become a better, more confident photographer.
Our naturalists, passionate about the geographies they explore (and return to regularly), illuminate each facet through their enthusiasm and knowledge. Our guests consistently cite the expertise and engaging company of our staff as key reasons to repeatedly travel with us.
National Geographic Endurance sails with an undersea specialist aboard who can dive into the cold waters to shoot video of what lies beneath the waves or deploy an ROV to depths of 1,000 feet to explore regions never before seen.
Travel and shoot with a bona fide National Geographic Photography Expert. These top pros are at your side and at your service—providing advice, inspiration, tips, and slideshows. Access to photographers of this caliber will help you improve your skills and ensure you’ll go home with incredible photos.
Some of the charming towns really feel like a chapter out of Portuguese colonial history with the colonial tiled roofs, the beautiful whitewashed walls, and the colored doors. It’s very photogenic.
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.
Not only does this itinerary take you through some of the most ecologically vibrant parts of the planet, it also offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the region's incredible cultures through music.