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Expedition Essentials: 6 Ways to Actively Explore the World

Hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling: on a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyage, these activities are more than just simple excursions. They are the essential elements of exploration, working together to give our guests an in-depth experience. No matter which of our activities you choose, you get a more complete picture of your destination—and each can be customized to your interests so you can explore your way, every day.

To help you actively explore the world’s most thrilling destinations, we’re offering exclusive savings when you book select itineraries between May 10 and June 27, 2024. See details. > Get Inspired By Photos, Videos, Webinars, Stories, And Exclusive Offers. Sign Up

Zodiac Excursions: Coastal Discovery Up Close

Our fleet of small, motorized Zodiacs is the key to unlocking wonders hidden in the places we explore. These durable, stable boats put you right on the water’s surface—often several times a day during your voyage—so that you can experience the marine world at eye level. Step aboard and be whisked away to quiet coves and narrow channels that lie beyond the reach of larger vessels.


Our efficient, meticulously honed deployment system allows us to board Zodiacs spontaneously when nature beckons—like if a pod of whales appears, or we spy the entrance to an enticing sea cave. Each ride accommodates just 10 guests and is navigated by a highly experienced driver and an expert naturalist, who helps interpret your wild surroundings.

Photo: Tanish Peelgrane

Kayaking & Paddleboarding: Paddle Into the Wilderness

Kayaks and paddleboards offer the chance to slow down for intimate exploration of the places we visit. Glide across calm waters as you soak in the stillness of nature, completely immersed in the beauty of your surroundings—whether it’s the towering cliffs of a Norwegian fjord or an icy sculpture garden in the Arctic.


Paddle sports have been a fixture of our expeditions for decades, and we pioneered kayaking in epic places like Antarctica to give guests a new perspective on our destinations. We’ve perfected our safety procedures to make these excursions appropriate for all skill levels; beginners can opt to stay close to guiding naturalists, while more experienced paddlers can feel confident venturing further afield, even in the wildest of places. Choose a single craft or pick a partner and go tandem, then set out for a personal experience in nature.*

Photo: David Vargas

Photography: Capture the Moment

Photography unveils new avenues for exploration in our dynamic destinations, where a captivating subject could cross your path at any moment. It’s a true thrill to capture ‘the shot’ of a humpback whale breaching or an ancient Egyptian temple at golden hour—and on every departure of our voyages, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructors are on hand to help make it happen.


These visual storytellers travel by your side and at your service, sharing in the journey as they offer photo tips in real time for everyone from smartphone camera users to advanced hobbyists. National Geographic Photography Experts also join select voyages, including each departure of our dedicated photo expeditions.

Our immersive photography program involves more than just field shoots—lessons learned ashore are enhanced on board through informative presentations, one-on-one critiques, and slideshow events. Select ships in our fleet are also equipped with an OM System Photo Gear Locker, stocked with best-in-class, lightweight gear that you can test while you’re out exploring.

Photo: David Vargas

Hiking & Walking: Step Into Adventure

During our time ashore, we find adventure on foot, heading deeper inland in search of terrestrial treasures. Exploring at eye level, we can experience the land with all our senses, taking the time to touch the velvety moss that carpets an Alaskan forest or listen to the steady drumbeat of a frigatebird’s call as it resonates through the Galápagos.


Each walk or hike is guided by one of our experts— such as a naturalist or Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor— who draws your attention to the fascinating details that tell the story of your destination. In places with a rich human story, our walks are often led by cultural specialists or historians, who help us understand how local traditions and customs were shaped by our incredible surroundings.

Photo: David Vargas

Undersea Adventures: Uncover Marine Wonders

On a planet where nearly every inch of land has been mapped, few places offer the potential for true exploration like the underwater world. Our undersea adventures reveal a window onto oceans of the past, taking you far from the overcrowded hotspots to pristine seas where we encounter thriving coral gardens and charismatic species. Snorkel or dive among swirling schools of fluorescent fish, massive manta rays, or somersaulting sea lions. Every guest receives a full complement of gear, including dedicated masks, fins, and wetsuits—all fit to you.*  


Most voyages sail with an undersea specialist, who brings your destination’s marine wonders to the surface, capturing underwater footage in places from Alaska to Antarctica and beyond. Images are shared during nightly recaps in the comfort of the ship’s lounge, where our specialist interprets sea creatures and geological features, offering insights that are integral to the story of your destination.

Photo: Michael S. Nolan

Cultural Encounters: Make Meaningful Connections

For as long as Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has ventured to wild places by small ship, we have also explored the cultures that give context to our natural world. In places both storied and secret, step into the past and trace the threads of tradition into the future to discover how cultural treasures such as food, art, and music are intertwined with the rhythms of your destination.


When we visit places steeped in human history—whether it’s the ancestral villages of British Columbia or an ancient capital of the Roman empire—a cultural specialist often joins us to interpret everyday customs and help make meaningful connections with the people we meet along the way. They may guide village walks, arrange private concerts and visits to artisan workshops, or simply translate at a local market or festival. In many destinations, we also have robust ‘give back’ initiatives aimed at helping local traditions thrive for generations to come.

Photo: David Jaffe

*Kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, and scuba diving are available on select voyages. See expedition itineraries for details.