Epic South America

  • 38 days
  • Sail from the West Indies to Buenos Aires, Argentina, on an epic voyage celebrating the Society's 125th anniversary aboard the National Geographic Explorer

Expedition Details


Sail from the West Indies to Buenos Aires, Argentina, aboard the National Geographic Explorer on an epic voyage to eight different countries and three jungle rivers: the Orinoco, the Amazon, and the Essequibo. In the company of several National Geographic experts, including Explorer-in-Residence Johan Reinhard and pioneering conservationist and National Geographic Fellow Thomas Lovejoy, encounter exuberant cultures, colonial towns, and a dazzling array of wildlife.

Trip Highlights

  • Go on photo shoots with photographer Tyrone Turner, and take a photography and filmmaking workshop with National Geographic photographer Cotton Coulsen and Emmy-Award-winning filmmaker David Wright.
  • Spot tropical wildlife in rain forests, river deltas, tropical islands, and the Pampas.
  • Enjoy special access to Brazil’s unspoiled Fernando de Noronha archipelago and snorkel amid its rich marine life.
  • Soak up the spirit of the vibrant cities of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires and travel with former Columbian President César Gaviria.

Itinerary - 38 Days

Days 1, 2, & 3 — U.S./Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Our voyage begins on the island of Trinidad, home of steel drums and calypso. Visit the renowned Asa Wright Nature Centre and spot scarlet ibis in the Caroni Swamp. Then set sail on the National Geographic Explorer.
Hilton Trinidad (B,L,D)

Days 4, 5, & 6 — Orinoco River, Venezuela

Glide into the tropical rain forest on the Orinoco River, which coils some 1,700 miles from the Guyana highlands to the sea. Keep an eye out for red howler monkeys, electric-blue morpho butterflies, river dolphins, and exotic birds and plants.
National Geographic Explorer (B,L,D)

Days 7, 8, & 9 — Essequibo River, Guyana/Georgetown

Enter the pristine jungles of Guyana via the Essequibo River, and, weather permitting, board a charter aircraft to Kaieteur Falls, one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world. In Georgetown, Guyana’s capital, discover eclectic architecture and bustling markets, and listen to the spirited local music.

Day 10 — Paramaribo, Suriname

Paramaribo’s blend of Dutch colonial and indigenous architecture earned it a UNESCO World Heritage site designation. Trace the country’s tumultuous history at the 17th-century Fort Zeelandia, now home to the Suriname Museum. Then see the city’s synagogue and mosque, built side by side.

Days 11 & 12 — Devil's Island, French Guiana/ At Sea

Often collectively known as “Devil’s Island,” the Îles du Salut gained notoriety as a French penal colony whose inmates included Henri Charrière, who chronicled his escape in the bestselling memoir Papillon. Explore the remains of the prison, and spot wildlife in the islands’ lush vegetation. Then enjoy a day at sea to relax as we make our way toward Brazil.

Days 13 through 18 — Amazon River/ Belem, Brazil/ At Sea

Spend two days exploring the Amazon River and its tributaries by ship and by Zodiac. Spot macaws, toucans, and pink river dolphins; and meet the indigenous people of the rain forest. Visit Belém, once a thriving rubber trade center, and see an amazing variety of rain forest products at the Ver-o-Peso market. Enjoy the ship’s amenities as we cruise to the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha.

Days 19 & 20 — Fernando De Noronha/At Sea

The Fernando de Noronha archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage site recognized for its rich marine life and the largest concentration of tropical seabirds in the western Atlantic. With special permission, enjoy two days on the islands, snorkeling, birding, and discovering its unspoiled beaches and dramatic coastline. Also, pay a special visit to the TAMAR turtle research project.

Days 21 & 22 — At Sea

Enjoy two days at sea to relax, read a book on deck, and listen to talks by our experts.

Days 23, 24, & 25 — Salvador/ Ilhéus

In the cultural center of Salvador, explore the historic district of Pelourinho—another UNESCO World Heritage site—and the lively local market. Further south lies Ilhéus, once Brazil’s flourishing cacao capital. See the Cathedral of São Sebastião, visit a cacao plantation, and stop in at a sloth sanctuary. Enjoy a musical performance, go birding, or relax on the beach.

Days 26 & 27 — Abrolhos Marine National Park/ At Sea

As we navigate the volcanic isles of the stunning Abrolhos Archipelago, keep an eye out for masked boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, and the humpback whales that come here to breed and calve.

Days 28 & 29 — Rio De Janeiro

Discover legendary Rio on a variety of excursions. Stroll the beach at Ipanema; visit a golden lion tamarin reserve; or explore Floresta da Tijuca, Brazil’s largest urban park. Ascend to the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer for panoramic views of the city and its bay.

Days 30, 31, & 32 — Parati/ At Sea/ Curitiba & Paranagua

Visit Parati, a colonial town once prominent in the gold trade. Later, cruise the coast, stopping at an isolated beach or bay to kayak or swim. After a day at sea, board the Litorina train in Curitiba for a remarkable mountain rail trip across 30 trestle bridges and through more than a dozen tunnels to the tropical lowlands. Or explore the Atlantic rain forest and venture into the mangroves of Serra do Mar in a local boat.

Days 33, 34, & 35 — At Sea/ Rio Grande

Dock in Rio Grande, Brazil’s southernmost port city, set at the edge of the Pampas, vast lowlands that stretch all the way to Patagonia. Spend an afternoon discovering the history, wildlife, and unique culture of these plains.

Day 36 — At Sea/ Montevideo, Uruguay

In Montevideo, view elegant architecture, ranging from colonial to art deco. Then experience the culture of the gauchos and savor an asado (traditional barbecue) at a private estancia (ranch).

Days 37 & 38 — Buenos Aires, Argentina/ U.S.

Cap off our epic voyage in vibrant Buenos Aires. Visit beaux arts palaces and the bohemian quarters of La Boca and San Telmo. Transfer to the airport for your overnight flight home.

Lindblad/National Geographic Logo

This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.


This expedition is not currently being offered.