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Wild South America: The Guianas to Brazil

Example 23 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Explorer
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  • Spot tropical wildlife as we explore two legendary jungle rivers: the Amazon and the Essequibo
  • Explore three picturesque colonial cities from Paramaribo, Suriname, to Belém
  • Discover the rhythms of South America with live performances by leading musicians
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Trinidad & Tobago

  • 1 Dinner
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.

Day 2-3: Asa Wright Nature Center | Caroni Swamp | Port Of Spain | Embark

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Drive through the lush Arima Valley to the Asa Wright Nature Center, a mecca for nature lovers. We’ll have a choice of trails to walk as we look for toucans, hummingbirds, tanagers, motmots, and butterflies. Or, stay on the “birding veranda” and let the avifauna come to you. Then drive to the Caroni Swamp, 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.

Day 4: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.

Day 5-7: Essequibo River, Guyana | Georgetown | At Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
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.

Day 8: Paramaribo, Suriname

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.

Day 9-10: Devil’s Island, French Guiana | At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
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 on a day at sea.

Day 11-13: Amazon River Delta, Brazil

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Enter the great delta region of the Amazon, and have 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.

Day 14: Belém

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 an amazing variety of rainforest medicinal remedies, or the town of Icoaraci, known for its ceramics. 

Day 15-17: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Enjoy the pleasures of being aboard National Geographic Explorer with an expert staff. Attend a photo presentation given by the 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 preparing 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.

Day 18-20: Fernando de Noronha

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
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.

Day 21-22: At Sea | Salvador

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
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.

Day 23: Salvador | Disembark | Home

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
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 flights home.



National Geographic Explorer

The National Geographic Explorer

Dates & Prices

Per person starting at
National Geographic Explorer's Category 1 Cabin.
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Cat 1
Main Deck with one or two portholes. #301-308
National Geographic Explorer's Category 2 Cabin.
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Cat 2
Main Deck with window. #317-320, 335-336.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 3 Cabin.
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Cat 3
Main Deck with Window #313-316, 321-328, 337-340,342, 344, 346, 348, 350.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 4 Cabin.
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Cat 4
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. # 103-104, 107-108, 201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 5 Upper Deck Cabin.
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Cat 5
Upper Deck with Balcony. #209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 6 Cabin.
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Cat 6
Veranda Deck Suite #101-102; Upper Deck Suite with Balcony #213.
Luxurious Catagory 8 Suite
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Cat 7
Upper Deck Suite with Balcony. #215, 219, 230.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SA
C Deck Solo - Cabins 309-312, 329-334. Single cabins with window.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SB
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. #105-106, 203, 208.


What's Included

Aboard ship
  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages*
  • Your bar tab and all crew gratuities are included in the voyage price on all National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Endurance, and National Geographic Orion voyages. Please call for details.
  • Your bar tab and WiFi** are included in the voyage price on all National Geographic Islander or National Geographic Endeavour II voyages. Please call for details.
  • Cappuccinos, lattes & filtered water
  • 24-hour coffee, tea & soda on demand (soda not included on Lord of the Glens)
  • Hors d’oeuvres & snacks during Recap
  • Fitness center or exercise equipment, depending on the ship
  • Fully stocked library, and other gracious public spaces
  • The guidance and company of our expedition staff
  • The services of a physician on certain ships/destinations
  • Hotels ashore as indicated in itinerary
  • Meals on land, as indicated in itinerary
  • Sightseeing & entrance fees
  • Special access permits, park fees, port taxes
  • Transfers to and from group flights
  • The expertise of our expedition staff
  • All excursions
  • Zodiac & kayak explorations
  • Snorkeling, including wetsuits, masks, fins & snorkel where relevant
  • Presentations and guest speakers in the lounge
*Alcoholic beverages are included on the National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Orion, National Geographic Endurance, Sea Cloud, and Lord of the Glens; certain super-premium brands are not included.

What's Not Included

  • International and internal airfare
Pre- and post-expedition
  • Additional hotel nights
  • Private transfers
  • Travel Protection Plan
  • Passport, visa, and immigration fees
  • Expedition extensions
  • Gratuities
Aboard ship
  • Alcoholic beverages (except aboard Sea Cloud, Lord of the Glens, National Geographic Orion, National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Endurance, National Geographic Islander and National Geographic Endeavour II); certain super-premium brands not included
  • Spa treatments
  • Gratuities (except aboard Sea Cloud, National Geographic Orion,  National Geographic Endurance & National Geographic Explorer)
  • Scuba diving
  • Laundry
  • Internet and phone
  • Gift shop items and any other items of personal nature


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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney

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