Epic South America: Jungles, Rivers, Rainforests & the Colonial Coast Cruise

Day 1

    Arrive Port of Spain, Trinidad

    The sound of the steel pan and calypso tell you you're in Trinidad. Check in to the unique upside-down Hilton Trinidad & Conference Center with breathtaking views overlooking the Gulf of Paria.

    Days 2-3

      Port of Spain / Embark

      Explore the old section of the city, and visit renowned Asa Wright Nature Center, high in the lush Arima Valley, and the Caroni Swamp, home to the famed scarlet ibis. Embark National Geographic Explorer and sail southward to begin your voyage.

      Days 4-6

        Orinoco River, Venezuela

        Explore the Orinoco River, the world’s third largest by volume, and its tropical rainforest — with a dazzling variety of birds, exotic plants and animals from red howler monkeys to electric-blue morpho butterflies and bow-riding river dolphins.

        Days 7-9

          Essequibo River, Guyana / Georgetown

          Little-visited Guyana has developed a deserved reputation for some of the most pristine rainforest and tropical nature in the world. Take an excursion by charter aircraft (weather permitting) to Guyana’s crown jewel, remote, powerful Kaieteur Falls. Explore the surrounding forest and look for colorful birdlife including, with luck, the cock-of-the-rock. Guyana’s capital, Georgetown, offers a number of interesting possibilities. Explore the city, seeing its rich colonial architecture, historic buildings and markets and listening to some of the spirited local music.

          Day 10

            Paramaribo, Suriname

            Paramaribo’s well-preserved Dutch colonial architecture has earned it a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. Explore Fort Zeelandia, home to the fine Suriname Museum, and the side-by-side synagogue and mosque, a symbol of the country’s tolerance.

            Day 11

              Devil's Island, French Guiana

              The collective name for a group of small rocky islets, it became notorious as a penal colony that held inmates, Henri Charrière, who chronicled his imprisonment and escape in Papillon, and Alfred Dreyfus. See the remains of the buildings, including the commander’s house, cell blocks and mental asylum. The islands have been reclaimed by jungle, so your explorations will include wildlife and birdlife sightings.

              Day 12

                At Sea

                Days 13-15

                  Amazon River / Belem, Brazil

                  The delta region of the great Amazon River is extraordinarily rich in wildlife, with colorful birds including macaws, toucans and kingfishers, along with monkeys and pink river dolphins. Spend two days exploring the river and its tributaries by ship and by Zodiac. See some of the communities of local residents, called the caboclos. Belém, capital of Pará in Northern Brazil, is the gateway to the Amazon. Founded by the Portuguese, it has a rich colonial history—evident in the old town’s charming tree-filled squares, churches and traditional blue tiles. Early in the morning visit the Ver-O-Peso market, a bustle of activity with an amazing variety of products, including a medicinal section of rainforest remedies.

                  Days 16-18

                    At Sea

                    Days 19-20

                      Fernando De Noronha

                      A highlight will be the archipelago Fernando de Noronha, a UNESCO site recognized for the richness of its waters and as a tropical seabird breeding site. Pending official permission, spend two days exploring its beaches, birdlife and rich marine life, with a special visit to the TAMAR turtle research project.

                      Days 21-22

                        At Sea

                        Days 23-24


                          The capital of the State of Bahia is home to a blend of different cultures and a unique Bahian lifestyle. Explore its pastel-hued, baroque-style buildings, and the vivid local market, where embroidered linens and wood carvings are the draw. It’s the perfect launching point for the diversity and wonders ahead along the Brazilian coast.

                          Day 25


                            Ilhéus once flourished as the cacao capital of Brazil. Stroll past charming colonial buildings to the impressive Cathedral of Sao Sebastião. Visit a cacao plantation and see a musical performance. Visit a research facility for endangered maned sloth and the Una Ecological Reserve, the canopy section ideal for bird watching. There’s also a lovely beach for swimming.

                            Day 26

                              Abrolhos Archipelago National Park

                              Humpback whales come here to breed and give birth. In previous years, the crew has been fortunate to observe them tail lob, breach and even sit motionless with their tails out of the water.

                              Day 27

                                At Sea

                                Days 28-29

                                  Rio De Janeiro

                                  Famous for its fun-loving ways, Rio presents a dazzling array of options. Explore Floresta da Tijuca, Rio’s largest national park with a maze of trails. High above the city at the famous iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado yields spectacular views over the city, the ocean, and Guanabara Bay — all making for great photo opportunities. Or visit the golden lion tamarin reserve and learn about this endangered primate. And be sure to enjoy Rio’s legendary beaches.

                                  Day 30


                                    Once prominent in the gold trade, charming Parati is a World Heritage Site with cobbled streets, lovely colonial buildings and churches. An isolated beach or secluded bay will beckon here, inviting you to relax or kayak.

                                    Day 31

                                      At Sea

                                      Day 32

                                        Curitiba & Paranagua

                                        In Paranaguá; board the Litorina train for for Brazil’s most remarkable rail trip — a three-hour ride down steep mountains, across 30 trestle bridges and through 13 tunnels—to the tropical lowlands, with a barreado (traditional beef stew) finale. Or explore the Atlantic rain forest, with opportunities for forest walks and waterfall views. Aboard a local boat navigate the mangroves habitat of the Laguna Mar complex.

                                        Day 33

                                          At Sea

                                          Day 34

                                            Rio Grande

                                            North of this southernmost Brazilian port is one of the longest sandy beaches in the world. Now in the pampas region of South America, which extends southward through Uruguay and Argentina. The region has a diverse history influenced by immigrants from a variety of European countries. Wildlife of the region is a mixture of northern and southern species, and you’ll spend the day exploring this region.

                                            Day 35

                                              At Sea

                                              Day 36

                                                Montevideo, Uruguay

                                                Montevideo’s history is reflected in elegant architecture ranging from colonial to Art Deco. Experience the culture of the gauchos at a private estancia (ranch) and savor an asado (traditional barbecue).

                                                Day 37

                                                  Buenos Aires, Argentina / Disembark

                                                  Explore the city’s Beaux Arts palaces, including the famous pink palace of Eva Perón; and the bohemian quarters of La Boca and the revitalized bohemian quarters La Boca and San Telmo. Disembark this afternoon and connect to your overnight flight home.

                                                  Travelers under the age of 18 save $500 per person.

                                                  Costs Include:
                                                  All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar, all meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, meals on land as indicated, air transportation where indicated as included, shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits, transfers to and from group flights, use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits, use of kayaks (where available), gratuities (except to ship’s crew), taxes and service charges, services of a ship physician on most voyages, and services of our expedition staff.

                                                  Not Included:
                                                  Air transportation (except where shown as included), extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees, scuba diving (where available), meals not indicated, travel protection plan, items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, internet access, and laundry. Gratuities to ship's crew are at your discretion.