Few people even know where Guyana is let alone travel there. This trip to the lost corner of South America is a fascinating exploration of pristine rainforest, staying in riverside eco lodges with indigenous communities, spotting caiman by torchlight along moonlit rivers and eating delicious Guyanese food at a small local 'backyard cafe'. Iwokrama Rainforest - Search for wildlife from canopy walkways, including many different bird species as well as howler monkeys Burro Burro River trip - Experience a canoe trip led by a team of indigenous guides, searching for kingfisher, ibis and, if we're lucky, giant river otters Paramaribo - Get an idea of plantation life in the surroundings of Suriname's fascinating old Dutch capital
Arrive in Paramaribo, Suriname's capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2002. Occupying a scenic position on the banks of the Suriname River, the city is known for its ornate wooden buildings that date back to the Dutch colonial era. For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Paramaribo at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into the Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport (code: PBO) which is approximately 1.5hrs away from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, Paramaribo's multi-cultural and eclectic city centre is a delightful place to explore on foot - Hindu temples and churches sit next door to synagogues, and locals generally celebrate every festival no matter what their faith. Spicy rotis harking back to Indian roots are cooked up in many local shops, while wooden Dutch colonial buildings preside over street corners.
After breakfast, we depart the hotel for a guided tour of the Surinamese capital. You will be impressed by the unique architecture of the city as you both drive and walk along the most prominent historic locations in downtown Paramaribo. The guide will give information about the former 'Fort Zeelandia', the Presidential Palace, the Independence Square and many other monuments before driving across the bridge over the Suriname River into the Commewijne district for an idea of how life must have been on the plantations during colonial times. Most plantations are now no longer active. We make our first stop at Meerzorg, formerly the cross-over site from Paramaribo to Commewijne, which was once a coffee plantation. We continue our trip at Plantation Peperpot, which is one of the oldest plantations in Surinamese history, having been founded by the British before Suriname was conquered by the Dutch in 1667. Although it is no longer in use, the buildings and land are still in a surprisingly good condition, and we will be able to see coffee and cocoa plants here, as well as some of the ancient buildings used by the managers and workers. After a delicious lunch (optional) in a typical Javanese restaurant (warung) in Tamanredjo, we continue to Marienburg, a former sugar plantation, to view a stylish plantation residence from the golden days, where the first group of Javanese indentured labourers were put to work. Before continuing our trip towards the open-air museum at Nieuw Amsterdam, we will drive along some of the other old plantations of Ellen, Leliendaal and Alkmaar. This evening there is the opportunity for a sunset dolphin tour (optional). Often groups of up to 20 dolphins can be seen, and if we are lucky their curiosity will bring them towards the boat to jump and play.
This morning we depart Paramaribo and travel south towards where our nature and cultural adventure awaits us. We will arrive at the village of Atjoni and join a motorised canoe, where our skilled boatmen navigate their way up the Upper Suriname River, to the Danpaati River Lodge. Breathtaking scenery is interspersed with vast open savannahs as our skilled boatman passes the tempestuous Jaw Jaw rapid. Our lodge for the next two nights is a remote and tranquil oasis on the banks of the river, a part of the water where it is safe to swim. With one view out to the river and the other side facing the thick, surrounding nature, the lodge is an escape from the real world. After dinner there is an exciting adventure to search for caimans. The night boat trip gives us the chance to enjoy the wonderful starry sky and the complete silence of the rainforest.
After breakfast we depart the lodge by canoe for one of the 12 nearby villages. During our guided trip through the village we will be introduced to the unique way of life of the local population and to the wonderful traditions brought from Africa by their ancestors. We'll also be visiting the Museum Saamaka, which is dedicated to the cultural heritage of the Saramak Maroon population, where will learn much about the history of the Maroons, their ancient traditions and crafts, before returning to the lodge in time for lunch. In the afternoon we will discover the secrets of the rainforest with a nature walk within the surrounding forest. Afterwards there is the choice to swim and simply enjoy the beautiful natural scenery and views from the island, or explore the surrounding area by dugout canoe. After dinner we can enjoy a traditional and cultural dance performance, and you will be able to use your guide's expertise to explain the cultural significance of each dance.
This morning we will still have some time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and take pictures. After saying goodbye to the team at the lodge, we return to Atjoni by dugout canoe and travel back to Paramaribo by vehicle.
Leaving Paramaribo early this morning, we transfer by bus along the coast of Suriname to Nieuw Nickerie to the border with Guyana. Crossing the newly constructed floating bridge across the Berbice River, we arrive at the oldest town New Amsterdam where we will have a short tour. En route to Georgetown, we will also visit the Mangrove Heritage Project. Turning towards the Atlantic Ocean, the scenery includes an old Dutch Koker used to drain the agricultural lands along the low lying coastline. The serene temples of the Hindu Ashram at Cove and John then come into view from across the lake. We are now in the heart of Guyana's first mangrove reserve, owned and managed by the community. Along this coastal strip, we will see four different mangrove species and a wide wetland area, teeming with birdlife and tropical fish. If we're lucky, we will see local fishermen beating the pond water to chase fish into their nets. In the middle of the wetland is a small island of lush, black mangroves where beekeepers produce the distinctive golden mangrove honey. Along the trail, local tour guides point out the array of medicinal plants found in nature's pharmacy right in their backyard and we will learn of the traditional remedies effectively used by Guyanese for generations. Continue to Georgetown, the capital and largest city in Guyana. Situated on the right bank of the Demerara River Estuary, it was chosen as a site for a fort to guard the early Dutch settlements of the Demerara River. The city of Georgetown was designed largely by the Dutch and is laid out in a rectangular pattern with wide tree lined avenues and irrigation canals that criss-cross the city.
The early part of the morning is the best time to visit Georgetown's markets, and today we'll do just that. Bourda Market is Georgetown's largest market, and is stuffed with local produce from tamarind balls to cassava bread, with fish, meat, vegetables and eveything in between. There are the bush medicine stalls that sell concoctions for every ailment, and haberdashery sections with all kinds of fabrics including beautiful African prints. We'll be guided around the market by the local chef Delvin Adams, who will introduce us to all of the different foods that Guyana has in spades and encourage us to try the new and different tastes - from seaside grapes and large red bananas to fiery chillies! After the market visit we're free to explore Georgetown, or take an optional trip to Kaieteur and Orinduik Falls. The Kaieteur Falls, first seen by a European on April 29, 1870, is situated in the heart of Guyana on the Potaro River, a tributary of the Essequibo. The water of Kaieteur, one of the world's natural wonders, flows over a sandstone conglomerate tableland into a deep gorge - a drop of 822 feet or 5 times the height of Niagara Falls. The Orinduik Falls is where the Ireng River thunders over steps and terraces of solid jasper, a semi precious stone. With a backdrop of the rolling grass covered hills of the Pakaraima Mountains, this is truly one of the most beautiful locations in Guyana's hinterland. The trip departs from Ogle Airstrip in Georgetown and you'll spend approximately two hours on the ground at each waterfall. We will reunite again in the evening and visit Delvin's 'Backyard Cafe' restaurant, which is a little hidden Georgetown gem that Delvin has created in his own backyard. Our meal will be proper Guyanese fare, made from ingredients that we've picked up this morning at Bourda Market. It might vary depending on the tastes in the group and what produce is in season, but it's all guaranteed to be fresh and delicious.
Early morning transfer by private bus from Georgetown through the Bauxite Mining township of Linden and into the rainforest. The laterite road is easy traveling to Mabura Hill and then it becomes an adventurous drive on rainforest trails to the Essequibo River, which we will cross on pontoon. The trail continues through the million acres of the Iwokrama Rainforest and we will watch for the myriad of bird species that frequent the forest edge, including Crimson and Purple-necked Fruit-crow, and Gray-winged Trumpeter. This road is the only north-south access in Guyana and links the country to Brazil. If we take our time, the road also offers excellent opportunities to spot a host of birds, flowers, and perhaps even sloths residing high up in the trees. We'll explore both from the vehicle and on foot. The trip continues to the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway. The Canopy Walkway is a series of suspension bridges and observation decks of up to 30 meters (98 ft) in height and 154 meters (505 ft) in length. The state-of-the-art construction allows trees to grow normally by using adjustable cables and braces throughout the support structure. The four observation decks enable visitors to view the mid and upper-level forest canopy and allow wildlife to remain relatively free from human intrusion. We will be looking for a procession of striking, canopy-dwelling birds such as Screaming Piha, Caica Parrot, White-throated Trogon, Golden-winged Parakeet, Guianan Toucanet and many more. If we are lucky we may even see the stunning and highly sought-after Pompadour Cotinga. Families of spider and howler monkeys are sometimes seen here, feeding on the fruits of nearby trees. Every day brings a new surprise to guests on the Canopy. We will also take time to explore Amerindian petroglyphs and pottery shards along the access trail. The mountain behind the canopy walkway was one of several lookout points in what seems to be an interconnected network of trails and observation points all of which feature carvings to guide travellers.
Today we will spend the day wildlife spotting from walkways and trails in area. Another area where we will want to spend some time is the clearing around the lodge, as this is one of the best places to see another of Guyana's 'must see' birds, the Crimson Fruitcrow. This species is seen here on a reasonably regular basis, as it often comes to feed in some of the nearby trees. We can spend the day birdwatching from the mid and upper canopy on the walkway as flocks travel past and also look for Paradise Jacamar, White-necked Puffbird, the clearing is also a reliable site for Black Curassow, as there is a family party which has become habituated to people and regularly passes through the clearing. With reasonable luck, we should be able to add this bird to the impressive list of species we hope to see around the lodge and walkway.
This morning we will enjoy walks on the walkway or jungle trails before continuing to a rainforest trail where Guianian Cock-of-the-Rocks are known to display and nest. The trail is through interesting forest and the guides will demonstrate the use of the plants. There is also the possibility to do an optional tour to a nearby Harpy Eagle nest assuming this is active. The nest itself is located in a huge emergent tree only a couple of miles from the village and if we are extremely fortunate, we may see one of the adult birds bringing a sloth or monkey to the nest to feed their chick. The trek into the nest site is about an hour each way on a reasonable trail. We continue to the Amerindian village of Surama. The village is set in five square miles of savannah and surrounded by the densely forested Pakaraima Mountains. Surama's inhabitants are mainly from the Macushi tribe and still observe many of the traditional practices of their forebears. Our accommodation will be in 'benabs' (thatched sleeping shelters) and our meals will feature excellent local produce. There is great birding leading to the village and the surrounding savannah and you may see White Throated Toucans, Pearl Kites, Great Potoo and White-tailed and Savannah Hawks. Another of the special birds which can be found around Surama is the Rufous-winged Ground-cuckoo. Whilst Neomorphus ground-cuckoos are undoubtedly amongst the toughest family of birds to locate anywhere in the Neotropics, Surama offers one of the best-known chances for seeing Rufous-winged Ground-cuckoo and to maximise the odds of us finding one, we will use expert local guides to assist us. We will, however, still count ourselves as extremely fortunate if we succeed in getting a good look at this extremely elusive species. Tonight we will enjoy an educational walk to observe wildlife and experience the mystique of the forest after dark.
Today we rise before dawn for a walk across the savannah and then climb up Surama Mountain in the cool morning air. This is the best time to observe birdlife along the trail. Breakfast will be served at a look out point which affords incredible views across the village and savannah to the Pakaraima Mountains. Then we return to the village for lunch and set out later in the afternoon to the Burro Burro River, from where the local guides will paddle us upstream in our indigenous dugout canoes for opportunities to observe birdlife and wildlife in their natural habitat, including plenty of kingfisher, ibis, and if we're lucky, Giant River Otters, before returning to the village. On the walk back, see the forest through the eyes of your indigenous guide and learn about the medicinal plants and their uses in the Amerindian culture.
After breakfast, we transfer to Annai or Lethem for a flight back to Georgetown. The afternoon is free to explore the city, and a great way to do this is to travel into town by the local mini-bus from our hotel, only a 15 minute drive. It's a cheap and easy way to see a bit more of everyday life in Guyana's capital. Georgetown is a nice little city to wander around, highlights being the markets (in particular the Stabroek Market) and the beautiful and impressive wooden cathedral, one of the tallest wooden churches in the world at a height of 43.5 metres.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Georgetown. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Georgetown at any time. If you'd like a complimentary airport transfer you need to depart today from either the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (code: GEO) or the Eugene F. Correira Airport (code: OGL), a 1hr15 minute drive or 15 minute drive respectively from our hotel.
12 Break Fast(s) 6 Lunch(es) 7 Dinner(s)
Ved skriftlig aksept av vårt tilbud bekrefter du/dere at våre betingelser er både lest og forstått og at evt kansellerings gebyrer kan tilkomme ved en evt. avbestilling av reisen.