Explore South America's Secret Wildlife Paradise!
- Cost: UK £3,250 per person for 13 days / 12 nights (all-inclusive from start point to end point).
- Start Point: Georgetown Guyana.
- End Point: Georgetown Guyana.
- Dates: Monday November 16th to Saturday 28th, 2020 (note: the dates of this trip are specifically selected so that only 10 working days are required to participate on this adventure (depart your country on Saturday November 14th and arrive back home on Sunday November 29th).
- Group Size: 6–11.
- Bespoke Tour: If you do not wish to join a group tour, we can customise a private trip to fit your dates and interests. Please email us for details and a quote.
Guyana is an explorer’s treasure trove!
Hidden away on the north coast of South America, the country was recently voted one of the world’s best-kept secrets. It is home to a mega-diversity of plant life, animals, birds and landscapes as well as fascinating Amerindian heritage (including ancient pictograms), colonial history and many of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls. Today, few visitors penetrate this unspoiled corner of South America, so now is the time to visit!
Roughly the same size as the UK but with a population of just 750,000 (mostly concentrated along the coast), the interior of Guyana is a vast and unique wilderness. In the interior of the country, the population is mostly scattered in Amerindian villages, Government outposts, research stations, jungle lodges and cattle ranches. Travelling across Guyana is true exploration, involving canoes, four-wheel drive vehicles and light aircraft!
This 13-day itinerary takes you to the very best highlights which Guyana has to offer: we will explore Guyana’s fascinating history, see her varied vegetation (from rainforest to savannah to swamps) and have a chance to sight iconic animals such as the elusive jaguar, the spectacular giant anteater and giant river offer, black caiman, turtles, tapir and tree frogs! A few of the many highlights of this trip include watching the breath-taking giant Amazon water lily’s flowers close at night and trekking to see the thundering cascade of Kaieteur Falls, which will leave you spellbound. Kaieteur Falls, hidden deep inside the pristine rainforest, is arguably one of the most powerful of the world’s tallest waterfalls and harbours an eternal rainbow in its misty veil!
Discover this thrilling and diverse land of frontiers, epic landscapes and wild encounters for yourself!
Day 1: We meet in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, rich with wooden 19th century buildings that testify to the British, Dutch and French colonial heritage of the country. We can visit the Botanical Garden and Guyana Zoo to see a wealth of native tropical plant life, as well as captive manatees, ocelots, jaguars, caiman and a giant river otter. Red shouldered macaws, Toco toucans and brown capuchin monkeys are often sighted in the trees of the botanic gardens. During our tour of the city, we can visit the Stabroek Market, St George’s Cathedral, a small (but fascinating) natural history museum, the Parliament Building and the Georgetown Lighthouse. We overnight in Georgetown in a comfortable local hotel and dine in a local restaurant.
Day 2: We have an early start, and transfer to the airport for a flight over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and fly above a spectacular green carpet of rainforest to Kaieteur Falls, with its sheer drop of 822 feet (approx. five times the height of Niagara Falls). Upon landing, we trek through lush rainforest to explore several viewpoints over the Falls. The vegetation is luxuriant, and on the cliffs overlooking mighty Kaieteur Falls, there grows many giant tank bromeliads (Brocchinia micrantha) home to numerous frogs, as well as airplants and countless epiphytes. As we trek closer to the Falls, we see the eternal rainbow that arches over a curtain of mist in the Kaieteur Gorge. The Falls were first seen by a European in 1870 but known to local Amerindian people for centuries. Our guide from the Patamona tribe recounts local legends of Falls, including the story of chief Kai sacrificing himself over the falls to save his tribe. We then transfer to a nearby wilderness rainforest lodge. Accommodation is in rainforest bungalows with dinner at the lodge restaurant.
Day 3: We spend today exploring the rainforest of Iwokrama. Guided by Amerindian nature-experts, we trek along rainforest trails and journey on canoes to see diverse plant life, more than 450 species of birds (including blue and yellow, red and green and scarlet macaws) and a chance to see black spider money, banded tamandua and kinkajous. Jaguars are present in the area but sighting them is unlikely. We may have the opportunity to visit Amerindian villages nearby, and after dinner, we can return to the canoes for a night trip along the river to spot caiman and tree frogs. Accommodation in rainforest bungalows with dinner at the lodge restaurant.
Day 4: An early start, and we transfer into canoes to journey along the Essequibo River to Indian House Island spotting birds along the way. After breakfast, we undertake a two hour trek up to the peak of Turtle Mountain for spectacular views across the rainforest canopy, spot red howler monkeys, diverse bird life and luxuriant rainforest vegetation. After lunch at the lodge we travel to Kurupukari Falls by boat to see Amerindian petroglyphs and pictograms. We transfer to Atta Lodge and along the way, look out for agouti, tapir and black curassow. We overnight at Atta Lodge and dine at the lodge restaurant.
Day 5: This morning we explore the trails surrounding Atta lodge accompanied by an Iwokrama ranger. We transfer by vehicle to the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway which consists of four suspension bridges leading to three platforms, the highest of which is over 30 metres above the ground, allowing for great views into the canopy to observe the plant life in the forest, as well as diverse birdlife and mammals. We have a good chance to see the crimson fruitcrow, black curassow, the Guianan puffbird, green aracari, waved woodpecker as well as red howler monkeys and black spider monkeys. We overnight at Atta Lodge and dine at the lodge restaurant.
Day 6: Early risers can undertake a dawn walk along the canopy walkway and then return to the lodge for breakfast. We drive to a site where the Guianian Cock-of-the-Rock is known to nest and display. With patience, we may experience the spectacular display of this beautiful bird. We then continue to the Amerindian community at Surama. We can undertake a tour around the village and explore the surrounding landscape which is noteworthy because the dense rainforest transitions into open areas of the grassland of the Rupununi savannah. The Rupununi Savannah is an extensive area of grassland with termite mounds and scattered or riparian woodland. The plant life and birdlife changes dramatically in the savannah. Grassland sparrows, wedge-tailed grass finches, scaled pigeons, black vultures, yellow-headed caracara and yellow-rumped cacique are all frequently spotted nearby to Surama. We overnight in basic by comfortable accommodation and savour delicious local Amerindian cuisine for dinner.
Day 7: We rise before dawn and walk across the savannah to climb up Surama Mountain for incredible views across the village and savannah to the Pakaraima Mountains. We return to Surama for breakfast, then trek (approx. 4 km) across the savannah and patches of rainforest to the Burro Burro River for a canoe trip to spot giant river otters, tapir, tira, spider monkeys and diverse birdlife. We return to Surama village for sunset, and overnight and dine in the village again.
Day 8: Today, we explore the diverse forest and Rupununi wetlands in search of the giant Amazon water lily (Victoria amazonica), black caiman and the Amazonian river turtle. Local vegetation includes the greenheart, rosewood and groves of the Guyana manicole palm. We have a chance to see the Guianan crested eagle, the blue-cheeked Amazon parrot, crestless curassow as well as bush dog, tapir, Beddard’s olingo, giant armadillo and tapir. We arrive at Rock View Lodge before sunset for dinner and accommodation for the night.
Days 9 and 10: After breakfast, we drive through the savannah to Karanambu Conservation Area and Lodge. Settled in 1927 by Tiny McTurk, Karanambu was once a working cattle ranch and balata collection station, but now encompasses approximately 110-square miles of savannah, marshy ponds, riparian forest, and a 30-mile stretch of the Rupununi River. We spend the afternoon of day 9 and all of day 10 undertaking tours the wetlands for viewing opportunities of giant river otters, giant black caiman and giant anteaters. The evening ritual of watching the giant Amazon water lily (Victoria amazonica) open is a memorable experience. Depending upon how much success we have had, we can dedicate time specifically to attempting to spot the giant anteater. This incredible species has a long tongue allows an adult to eat up to 30,000 ants and termites each day! Bird species we may see include the spotted puffbird, striped wood-creeper, pale-bellied tyrant-manakin, golden-spangled piculet, bearded tachuri and capuchinbird as well as many others! We overnight at Karanambu Ranch and dine at the ranch’s restaurant.
Day 11: After breakfast, we transfer upriver by motorised boat to the nearby Amerindian village of Yupukari and visit Caiman House Field Station to get up close and personal with the black caiman, the yellow spotted Amazon River turtle and (if we are very lucky) jaguar. Depending upon the research being carried out, we may observe caiman conservation and research efforts, and may assist with data collection, including weighing, measuring, sexing and tagging caiman for release. We overnight and dine in Yupukari Village and have the opportunity to visit local craftsmen and carvers.
Day 12: After breakfast we commence our journey back to Lethem. Depending upon the airline schedules, this will either be a flight from Annai or Lethem or a drive back to the coast via Linden. Depending upon our arrival time back into Georgetown, we can explore any of the sites that we did not have time for on Day 1; the zoo, the botanic garden, the history city centre and the natural history museum. We overnight in Georgetown in a comfortable local hotel and have a final dinner together in a local restaurant.
Day 13: After breakfast, we transfer to Georgetown Airport for a final goodbye and our departing flights home!
The main international airport in Guyana is Cheddi Jagan International Airport, located close to the capital city, Georgetown. There are direct flights from the USA including American Airlines flights from Miami, and numerous options with Caribbean Airlines flights, many of which connect via Port of Spain (the capital city of Trinidad and Tobago). Many economical flight options are available from Europe and from across the USA to Miami or Port of Spain for connecting flights to Guyana.