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The Guianas Experience - 14 Days

The Guianas Experience
4990

This 14-day tour explores countries of the Guiana Shield (Guyana and Suriname), a 1.7 billion year old Precambrian geological formation in northeast South America and is one of the regions of highest biodiversity in the world.

The Shield has 1400 vertebrate species and 1680 bird species. The Shield is overlain by the largest expanse of undisturbed tropical rain forest in the world.  Join us as we explore the Guianas: Guyana, Suriname and an optional extension to French Guiana.  Marvel at Kaieteur Falls, the highest single drop waterfall in the world and discover one of the greatest untouched rainforests left.  This region is home to endangered species such as jaguar, giant anteater, giant river otter, tapir and so much more. Spend time learning about the cultures of the region with visits to Amerindian and Maroon communities. This really is an untouched and totally unique part of South America.

Day 1
Day 1 - Saturday

Arrival at Cheddi Jagan International Airport where you will me met and transferred to your selected hotel.

Located in Guyana on the East Coast of Demerara, just minutes from the capital city of Georgetown, is the Grand Coastal Hotel. This hotel is a boutique international hotel with local flavors, and offers a safe and secure environment with excellent services and accommodation along with restaurant and bar, gym and pool.

Overnight in a deluxe room at Grand Coastal Hotel. (Check in time 1600hrs, Check out time 1100hrs)

Day 2
Day 2 - Sunday

Breakfast at the hotel before being transferred to Eugene F. Correia International Airport. Here you will take a scheduled flight over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and hundreds of miles of unbroken tropical rainforest to land at Kaieteur Falls, the world’s highest free-falling waterfall.

Kaieteur Falls which was 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 worlds natural wonders, flows over a sandstone conglomerate tableland into a deep gorge - a drop of 741 feet or 5 times the height of Niagara Falls.

There are no other falls in the world with the magnitude of the sheer drop existing at Kaieteur. Amerindian legend of the Patamona tribe has it that Kai, one of the tribe’s chiefs (after whom the falls is named), committed self sacrifice by canoeing himself over the falls. It was believed this would encourage the Great Spirit Makonaima to save the tribe from being destroyed by the savage Caribishi.

Kaieteur supports a unique micro environment with Tank Bromeliads, the largest in the world, in which the tiny Golden frog spends its entire life and the rarely seen Guiana Cock- of-the-rock nesting close by. The lucky visitor may also see the famous flights of the Kaieteur Swifts or Makonaima Birds which nest under the vast shelf of rock carved by the centuries of water, hidden behind the eternal curtain of falling water.

Overnight at Grand Coastal Hotel. B

Day 3
Day 3 - Monday

Pickup and transfer from Grand Coastal Hotel to Eugene F. Correia International Airport.

Board scheduled flight for journey over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and hundreds of miles of tropical rainforest to land at Lethem.

Transfer by vehicle from Lethem across the savannah to Karanambu Lodge.

Karanambu, a 110-square mile former cattle ranch, was the home of the late Diane McTurk, conservationist and a world-renowned expert on giant otters. Karanambu is located in the North Rupununi, a region of south-western Guyana known for its expansive wetlands and savannah, as well as its biological and cultural diversity. Settled in 1927 by Tiny McTurk, Karanambu was once a working cattle ranch and Balata collection station. It is now an eco-tourist destination known as The Karanambu Lodge. Karanambu encompasses savannah, marshy ponds, riparian forest, and a 30-mile stretch of the Rupununi River.

The North Rupununi of southern Guyana is an extraordinary natural and pristine area. The landscape is an integration of four ecosystem types: wetlands, savannahs, rivers, and forests. The number of species found here is much higher than expected given its size. There are at least 600 species of fish, along with 600 species of bird, and over 200 species of mammals. Karanambu is located roughly in the middle of this beautiful and fascinating biological hotspot where endangered species like the Giant Otter, Black Caiman, Jaguar, Giant Anteater, and Arapaima can be found. The seasonally flooded savannahs and forests also draw substantial fish migrations. There may be as many as 700 species of fish at Karanambu — more than anywhere on Earth.

This region is rich in history, too. The North Rupununi is the homeland of the Makushi and earlier peoples dating back almost 7,000 years ago. Village neighbours include the Makushi villages of Kwaimatta, Massara, Yupukari, Toka, and Simoni. Several prominent explorers and naturalists have written about their experiences here, including Robert and Richard Schomburgk, Charles Waterton, Evelyn Waugh, Gerald Durrell, and David Attenborough. Lake Amuku, not far from Karanambu, was once considered by Sir Walter Raleigh, and later by Alexander von Humboldt, and others to be the location of Lake Parime on whose banks the golden city of “El Dorado” was said to be located.

The romance of the Rupununi pioneers lives on at Karanambu. The compound has the flavour of an Amerindian Village. Because of the remoteness of Karanambu, staff live on site and the children can be seen and heard on the weekends and holidays when they come “home” from schools in the nearby villages of Yupakari, Kwaimatta and Massara. This feeling of community is further enhanced by the accommodations, which are traditionally made clay brick cabins. Each private cabin can accommodate two people and includes private bathroom and Veranda with hammocks.

With both the river and the savannahs close at hand there is a wide variety of activities to be enjoyed at Karanambu. You are free to determine what you want to do based on your interests, the time of year and whether the guides have found anything especially unique and interesting to see. Two guided excursions are provided each day — one early in the morning and another late in the afternoon and into the evening. As well as being the coolest times to be out, these are usually the best times to see the different birds and animals. Trips may be on the river by boat, on the savannahs by Land Rover or along forest trails on foot to the different ponds in the area.

Late in the afternoon we will travel by boat to look for wild Giant River Otters and as dusk falls to the ponds to see the giant Amazonia Regis water lily, bloom at dusk. On the return trip we will spotlight for Black Caiman and birds and creatures of the night.

Overnight at Karanambu Lodge. BLD

Day 4
Day 4 - Tuesday

This morning we may make an early start to reach an area of rolling grasslands, which is home to a population of giant anteaters. With luck we shall locate one of these six-foot long animals excavating its breakfast from one of the red termite mounds that stud the savannah. The giant anteater, also known as the ant bear, is a large insectivorous mammal native to Central and South America. It is recognizable by its elongated snout, bushy tail, long fore-claws and distinctively coloured pelage. It feeds primarily on ants and termites, using its fore-claws to dig them up and its long, sticky tongue to collect them. Though giant anteaters live in overlapping home ranges they are mostly solitary except during mother-offspring relationships, aggressive interactions between males, and when mating. Mother anteaters carry their offspring on their backs until weaning them.

An evening visit to a nearby pond to see hundreds of Ibis, Anhinga, Heron and Egret roosting (only in rainy season) is a highlight. If you are interested in bird watching you can explore woodland patches or gallery forest along the river where we’ll hope to find such species as Spotted Puffbird, Striped Woodcreeper, Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, Golden-spangled Piculet, Bearded Tachuri and Capuchinbird. A feature bird for the area is Agami Heron. An evening walk along the airstrip offers seven species of nightjar and among the grasslands the Double-striped Thick-knees.

Overnight at Karanambu Lodge. BLD

Day 5
Day 5 - Wednesday

In the event you did not see a giant anteater the previous morning, there is time to travel out to search the savannah again. Or explore the Rupununi River in search of wild Giant River Otters, Black Caiman and Arapaima, making a boat journey along quiet stretches of river.

Return to the lodge for breakfast before departure.

From Karanambu we take a boat trip on the Rupununi River to Ginep Landing. Depending on the river level, this trip offers an excellent opportunity to look for Giant Otters as there are several family groups which live along this stretch of the Rupununi River.

Travel north by road from Ginep Landing to the community of Surama.

The Amerindian community of Surama is located in the heart of Guyana. The village is set in five square miles of savannah which is ringed by the forest covered Pakaraima Mountains. Surama’s inhabitants are mainly from the Macushi tribe and still observe many of the traditional practises of their forebears.

This isolated and idyllic location offers an escape from the concrete jungle to a serene and peaceful existence with nature. The guides have lived their entire lives in the rainforest, and have an incredible understanding of nature and how to utilise its resources.

On arrival in Surama you will receive a warm welcome from local staff and settle into your accommodation at the Surama Eco-lodge. A local guide will escort you for a short walk on trails to observe the forest and bird life. As the afternoon cools your guide will take you on a tour of the village. Visit the local school, medical centre and church along with some of the village houses. Tonight enjoy an educational walk to observe wildlife and experience the mystique of the forest after dark.

Overnight at Surama Eco-lodge. BLD

Day 6
Day 6 - Thursday

Rise before dawn for a walk across the savannah and then climb up Surama Mountain for incredible views across the village and savannah to the Pakaraima Mountains. This is not a technical climb but can be arduous, especially after rain, and not for everyone. Your guides will happily offer alternative activities if you prefer not to do this climb.

Return to village for lunch and then take a three mile walk across the savannah and through the rainforest to the Burro Burro River. Your guides will then paddle you on the Burro Burro River for opportunities to observe Giant River Otters, Tapir, Tira, Spider Monkeys and many more species. Return to village for sunset.

Overnight at Surama Eco-lodge. BLD

Day 7
Day 7 - Friday

Enjoy dawn breaking across the rainforest. You can choose from a forest walk to look for wildlife and birds or relax around the lodge before breakfast and departure.

Depart Surama by vehicle along the road, we will watch for the myriad of bird species that frequent the forest edge, continue transfer by vehicle to a trail in the Iwokrama Forest to hopefully see the amazingly brilliant Guianan Cock-of-the-rock. It is an easy 20 minute walk, to hopefully have a great view of the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock. Most trips see at least one male and often the female or even a juvenile on the nest. This trail is through interesting forest and the guides can show the use of the plants.

Then continue the journey to the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway.

The Iwokrama Canopy Walkway is situated at Mauisparu, near the southern boundary of the Iwokrama Reserve in central Guyana. The walkway has four suspension bridges leading to three platforms, the highest of which is over 30 metres above the ground, and these will allow great looks at a range of canopy species, many of which you would struggle to see well from the forest floor.

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. 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, you should be able to add this bird to the impressive list of species you will see around the lodge and walkway.

Atta Rainforest Lodge is 500 metres from the base of the Canopy Walkway, offering comfortable private-room accommodation with ensuite bathrooms, delicious home-cooked meals, and traditional Amerindian hospitality. The lodge is completely surrounded by tropical rainforest which offers a complete immersion in the rainforest experience. The main building is open sided with views across the gardens to the towering forest on all sides and houses the bar, dining area and kitchen.

Overnight at Atta Rainforest Lodge. BLD

Day 8
Day 8 - Saturday

Before dawn return to the canopy where you will welcome the dawn chorus. From this tree top vantage you can sometimes see Red Howler Monkeys and Black Spider Monkeys.

Apart from the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway itself you can enjoy wildlife and birdwatching walks on the trails around the area. For those interested in botany many of the trails have the key trees species marked. Many bird species, stunning insects, noisy amphibians, and playful primates make the surrounding forest their home and you can be fairly certain to spot some extraordinary wildlife without even trying too hard. Deer and agouti are also regular visitors to the lodge.

Return to the lodge for breakfast before departure.

Vehicle transfer from Atta Rainforest Lodge to Lethem airstrip for our scheduled flight to Eugene F. Correia International Airport.

Pickup and transfer from Grand Coastal Hotel to Eugene F. Correia International Airport.

Georgetown the chief port, capital and largest city of Guyana is 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.

Most of the buildings in the city are wooden with unique architecture dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. For the most part the buildings have Demerara shutters and designed fretwork which trim eaves and windows. Main Street, Georgetown provides several excellent examples of old colonial homes, a prime example of which is the State House, built in 1852. The State House is set in large gardens and is painted green and white and has hosted many visiting dignitaries.

During your visit to Georgetown there are a number of interesting sights that should not be missed: the most famous being St. George’s Cathedral. The Cathedral is one of the world’s tallest free standing wooden buildings and was consecrated on 1892. The foundation stone was laid on November 23, 1890 and the building was designed by Sir Arthur Bloomfield. The story of the cathedral is told on the interior on tablets and memorials of a historical and sentimental nature: it is the tale of the history of Guyana in general and of the Diocese in particular.

At the beginning of the Avenue of the Republic stands the Public Library housed in the Carnegie Building. Other historic buildings along this promenade are the Town Hall, a splendid example of Gothic architecture, and further along are the Victoria Law Courts and St. Andrews Kirk. St. Andrew’s is the oldest surviving structure of any church in Guyana.

The famous Stabroek Market, once described as a “bizarre bazaar”, contains every conceivable item from house hold goods and gold jewellery to fresh meat and vegetables brought to town on the river daily. The clock tower can be seen for miles around and is a famous landmark.

No trip to Georgetown would be complete without a visit to the Botanical Gardens and zoo. The Botanical Gardens houses one of the most extensive collections of tropical flora in the Caribbean and are laid out with ponds, canals, kissing bridges and bandstand. Over 100 species of Guyanese wildlife can be observed at the Zoo including a wide variety of birds.

The National Museum which contains a broad selection of our animal life and heritage should not be missed, nor the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology, which explains Amerindian history and life style.

The tour will include walking along the Avenues with an experienced guide who will give you the history, rumour and facts on Georgetown and its citizens. The group will be accompanied at all times by a vehicle, which will be used for travel between areas of interest. During the tour there is always the opportunity to purchase that unusual gift or unique Guyanese handicrafts, or for the daring the chance to delve into the gold and diamond market.

Overnight at Grand Coastal. B

Day 9
Day 9 - Sunday

Pickup and transfer from Grand Coastal Hotel to Eugene F. Correia International Airport for GUMAIR flight (tickets not included) to Zorg-en-Hoop Airport in Paramaribo and transfer to your selected hotel.

Formerly a statuesque townhouse, the Eco Resort Inn has been lovingly renovated while maintaining the authenticity of its exquisite colonial architecture. It has been transformed into the most charming lobby of one of Paramaribo’s most favoured hotels with numerous eco-friendly features. Located within a 5-minute walk of the historic centre of Paramaribo and the tantalizing city life, rooms offer either a breath taking view of the Suriname river or a beautiful view of our lovely garden. The hotel is simply ideal for guests who want to visit Suriname to relax and unwind.

Enjoy a Paramaribo City tour; on foot you will visit one of the most attractive cities of South America, Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its magnificent architecture. During this tour you will visit the Palm Gardens, the Waterfront and the Central Market. Naturally, you will also see the many historical buildings like the recently renovated Presidential Palace, the Mosque and Synagogue next to each other and the magnificent Hindi Temple.

We continue our tour to the pier for the Sunset Dolphin tour. While having a drink we enjoy the cool breeze and river views. Meanwhile the captain searches the horizon for the dolphins. Normally we see them swim by in groups of up to 20 dolphins. After the sun has set we will transfer you by car or bus to Paramaribo.

Overnight in a Standard Room at Eco Resort Inn. (Check in time 1700hrs, Check out time 1300hrs) B

Day 10
Day 10 - Monday

This morning we start our nature and cultural experience as we depart from Paramaribo. At Paranam we drive past impressive giant trees and small villages. After approximately 190 km we arrive at a place named Atjoni. At the port of Atjoni join a motorized canoe, where our skilled personnel will navigate their way up the Upper Suriname River, which is famous for its breathtaking rapids, to the Danpaati River Lodge.

The Danpaati River Lodge is an exceptionally remote and tranquil oasis in the heart of nature, welcoming adventurous visitors in search of an escape from modern stresses and distractions. The lodge features a welcoming and breezy lounge facing the river, a large pool surrounded by a hardwood yoga deck, and easy access to one of the few portions of the Surinam River where it is actually safe to swim. Accommodations are in spacious A-frame style cabins with carefully appointed amenites including fresh coffee service in the mornings, mosquito nets, and unbeatable views into the thick, surrounding nature.

Our day comes to an end with an exciting cruise on the river, looking for caiman lying on the river banks. Overnight at Danpaati River Lodge in a standard room. BLD

Day 11
Day 11 - Tuesday

Today we will visit one of the 12 villages that are affiliated with Danpaati. In the afternoon, we will discover the secrets of the rainforest during our walk in the woods. Afterwards you could choose to enjoy a massage, a combination of traditional and Western techniques. Possibilities to explore the surrounding area are available; fishing or taking the dugout canoe around the island.

Overnight at Danpaati River Lodge in a standard room. BLD

Day 12
Day 12 - Wednesday

This morning we still have some time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and take pictures. After saying good bye to the staff, we depart by dugout canoe from Danpaati to Atjoni. From Atjoni we will continue our journey back to Paramaribo by vehicle.

Overnight in a Standard Room at Eco Resort Inn. BL

Day 13
Day 13 - Thursday

Today we head to the Commewijne district which is situated to the east of Paramaribo across the Suriname River. The tour takes us along the former colonial plantations, most of which them are now abandoned. We make a stop at plantation Peperpot where the old coffee and cocoa factory, deputy-director’s house and the old office are located. This former plantation is one of the oldest plantations in Surinamese history. Peperpot was established by the English and already existed before Suriname was conquered by the natives from Zeeland under command of Abraham Crijnssen in 1667. This is one of the last plantations still in its former original state. On the plantation you can still see coffee and cocoa plants as well as an ancient shed and factory, the manager’s residence and a kampong (workers’ living area). Peperpot is renowned for the many birds which can be spotted.

From Peperpot, we make a stop at the mini-museum of Marienburg, a former sugar plantation before enjoying a delicious lunch in a typical Javanese restaurant (warung) in Tamanredjo before continuing to the confluence of the Commewijne and Suriname Rivers at Nieuw Amsterdam. Here we will a visit the outdoor museum Fort Nieuw Amsterdam. The large fortress was built as a defence for the crop fields that were situated along the upper parts of both rivers.

Overnight in a Standard Room at Eco Resort Inn. BL

Day 14
Day 14 - Friday

Transfer by hotel shuttle bus to the airport for departing flight.

What is included?

  • - airport transfers
  • - double or twin accommodation
  • - meals as listed
  • - limited local bar at Karanambu Lodge
  • - all road and river transfers
  • - internal flights in Guyana
  • - activities as described
  • - local guides
  • - VAT
  • - Iwokrama Forest User Fee
  • - Iwokrama Canopy Walkway fee

What is not included?

  • - items of a personal nature
  • - alcoholic drinks except where mentioned above
  • - departure tax
  • - international flights, including between Guyana and Suriname
  • - visa

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Why book with Wilderness Explorers?

Wilderness Explorers promises to promote ecologically sensitive tourism through a responsible and concerned attitude towards the environment. We will provide the maximum benefit to the local communities by operating in an honest, thoughtful and concerned manner towards their customs and involving the communities so as to afford them the greatest financial benefit possible. At the same time we will offer professional tourism services of an international standard to our clientele.

IMPORTANT - visas and vaccination

Please check with the relevant offices whether you require a visa for countries you are visiting. To apply for your Suriname visa. (please ensure you make a copy of your passport Bio graphic page, the page with the entry stamp and your international flight tickets and fill out the application form) ***A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers coming from or transiting from a country with risk of Yellow Fever transmission. Vaccination must be undertaken at least 10 days prior to travel to Suriname. Suriname recognizes the Yellow Fever vaccination certificate as valid for life starting 10 days after vaccination. A vaccination certificate is required for children over 1 year of age. Travellers should carry their vaccination card with them at all times while travelling in Suriname.***

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31/08/2019 - 13/09/2019 available USD 4,990
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14 Days

Price & Availability

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USD4,990 / per person
This tour is operated by: Wilderness Explorers Guyana

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Tour Facts

  • Set-Departure
  • Set-Departure-Tour
  • 2 - 10 pax (minimum of 2 to operate)
  • 14 Days
  • 12+
  • Moderate
  • English in Guyana, Dutch & English in Suriname
  • Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Guyana
  • Johan Adolf Pengal International Airport, Suriname