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Create unforgettable memories aboard a deluxe Sea Cloud Cruise 

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Epic South America Cruise
Le Ponant Cruise
Port of Spain  (Trinidad) - Buenos Aires (Argentina) - 36 nights aboard the National Geographic Explorer

September 18 - October 24, 2013

The northern and eastern coastlines of South America are extraordinary and diverse. On this epic voyage, you’ll have the rare opportunity to explore three legendary rivers and experience the region’s exuberant cultures. You’ll find tropical nature at its most colorful, along with varied, always-inviting ways of life. Among the journey’s myriad facets: unique riverine and rain forest habitats, virgin beaches, charming colonial towns and some of the continent's most vibrant cities And a special pleasure will be our focus on different musical styles and cultural heritages. To give you the best of what this region has to offer, our carefully planned itinerary includes flexibility—to take advantage of the unexpected wonders sure to occur in this exciting part of the world.

  • Discover jungle rivers: the Orinoco, Amazon and Essequibo.
  • Explore the diverse coast: colonial towns such as Ilhéus and Parati, vibrant cities including Montevideo and Buenos Aires.
  • With two full days in exhilarating Rio de Janeiro, there’s time to explore during the day and night.
  • Special access to Fernando de Noronha, to explore and snorkel in the crystal clear waters.



Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1 - Port Of Spain, Trinidad
The sound of the steel pan and calypso tell us we’re in Trinidad. Check in to the unique upside-down Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre with breathtaking views overlooking the Gulf of Paria.
Day 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 our voyage. (B,L,D)
Day 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. (B,L,D)
Day 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. We take an excursion by charter aircraft (weather permitting) to Guyana’s crown jewel, remote, powerful Kaieteur Falls. We explore the surrounding forest and look for colorful birdlife including, with luck, the cock-of-the-rock. Guyana’s capital, Georgetown, offers us 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. (B,L,D)
Day 10 - Paramaribo, Suriname
Paramaribo’s well-preserved Dutch colonial architecture has earned it a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. We 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. We see the remains of the buildings, including the commander’s house, cell blocks and mental asylum. The islands have been reclaimed by jungle, so our explorations will include wildlife and birdlife sightings. (B,L,D)
Day 12 - At Sea (B. L, D)
Day 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. We’ll spend two days exploring the river and its tributaries by ship and by Zodiac. We’ll also 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 we visit the Ver-O-Peso market, a bustle of activity with an amazing variety of products, including a medicinal section of rainforest remedies. (B,L,D)
Day 16-18 - At Sea (B. L, D)
Day 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, we spend two days exploring its beaches, birdlife and rich marine life, with a special visit to the TAMAR turtle research project. (B,L,D)
Day 21-22 - At Sea (B. L, D)
Day 23-24 - Salvador
The capital of the State of Bahia is home to a blend of different cultures and a unique Bahian lifestyle. We 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. (B,L,D)
Day 25 - Ilheus
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. We also 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. (B,L,D)
Day 26 - Abrolhos Archipelago National Park
Humpback whales come here to breed and give birth. In previous years, we have been fortunate to observe them tail lob, breach and even sit motionless with their tails out of the water. (B,L,D)
Day 27 - At Sea (B. L, D)
Day 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 we’ll be sure to enjoy Rio’s legendary beaches. (B,L,D)
Day 30 - Parati
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 us to relax or kayak. (B,L,D)
Day 31 - At Sea (B. L, D)
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 we navigate the mangroves habitat of the Laguna Mar complex. (B,L,D)
Day 33 - At Sea (B. L, D)
Day 34 - Rio Grande
North of this southernmost Brazilian port is one of the longest sandy beaches in the world. We are 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 we’ll spend the day exploring this region. (B,L,D)
Day 35 - At Sea (B. L, D)
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). (B,L,D)
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. Connect to your flight home. (B,L)

Terms and Conditions:

Basis of Rates:
All prices are based on two persons sharing a cabin, or a single where noted. Shared accommodations are available on certain ships and categories. For more information, please refer to our Share Guarantee Program section of our Terms and Conditions, or call us for details. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.


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.

Airfare: 
For all programs, airfare is an additional cost unless otherwise indicated. Sample airfares are subject to change. We will gladly assist in making your air arrangements for a $50 per person service fee.

Deposits: 
To reserve your place, an advance payment for the program is required at the time of reservation. The per person advance payment amount varies by program, and is outlined in our brochures, as well as on our website. Holiday departure dates and certain longer voyages may carry additional advance deposit requirements due to high demand for these voyages. Payment is accepted by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover or check.

Receipt of your initial payment indicates your acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions.

We require written notice at the time of reservation for any physical condition, diet, or treatment requiring special attention.

Smoking Policy:
Smoking is allowed only in designated outdoor areas.

Share Guarantee Program:

If you are a solo guest willing to share accommodations, we will be happy to make arrangements to match you with another solo guest, so you may travel at the double occupancy rate. If you are willing to share, and we are unable to make shared arrangements for you, we will guarantee you the per person double occupancy rate, and you will not incur the solo rate. This program is subject to availability, and limited to certain ships and categories.

Medical Information:
It is essential that guests with medical conditions and/or special dietary restrictions, make them known to us in sufficient time for us to accommodate their request.