DAY 1 - THURSDAY | PORT OF SPAIN
You will be picked up at the Piarco international airport and transferred to the hotel. Overnight at our hotel in Port of Spain.
DAY 2 - FRIDAY | PORT OF SPAIN
After breakfast, we will enjoy a city tour and drive around the capital of Port of Spain. We will have the opportunity to learn about the people, culture, history and places of interest as well as three different landscapes: the hills of the North, the plains of Central and the rolling hills of the South.
There will be a short introduction as we drive along Independence Square, Port of Spain. Pass the hills of the beautiful Northern Range. Our drive takes us through the plains of Central Trinidad with a vast mangrove swamp and rice fields. Trinidad is a mixed society of all different races. We will see many Hindu flags in front of private residences. Learn about Hindu Temples and their significance. We also visit the remarkable “Sadhu” Hindu temple which was built under great sacrifices out in the sea. Pass through the borough of Chaguanas with its lively market place and busy streets to visit an old family pottery shop where we can observe the simple, but effective, pottery production. We will travel eastwards to St. Augustine, where evidence of Trinidad's agricultural, commercial and residential activities can be seen. At St. Augustine, we will climb the northern range to Mt. St. Benedict, the oldest Benedictine monastery in the Caribbean. It lies on the southern slopes of the northern range, some 800 feet above St. Augustine. Here, we will see spectacular views of the islands’ central plains and have an opportunity to visit the souvenir shop and church. Return to the hotel. Early this evening, we will depart for the famous Caroni Marsh and its spectacular highlights. Neotropics Cormorant, Anhinga, Osprey, Striated Heron, White-cheeked Pintail, Yellow-crowned Night Geron, Bicolored Conebill and Red-capped Cardinal could be among the new species seen here. The Caroni Swamp is a special mangrove forest that contains several general species of mangroves, showing classic examples of plant adaptation in this unique brackish water environment. Return to the hotel. Overnight at our hotel in Port of Spain. (B,L)
DAY 3 - SATURDAY | SURAMA
Transfer to the Piarco International airport. Upon arrival in Guyana, we will be picked up from the Cheddi Jagan International airport and transferred to the Eugene F. Correia International Airport for a 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. At 748 feet, Kaieteur is nearly five times the height of Niagara Falls. 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. 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 nests close by. We may also see the famous flights of the Kaieteur Swifts or Makonaima Birds which nest under the vast shelf of rock carved by centuries of water, hidden behind the eternal curtain of falling water.
Re-boarding our plane, our flight now continues onto Surama Village. We will be picked up and transferred to our lodge. 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 practices of their forebearers. 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 utilize its resources. On arrival in Surama, we will receive a warm welcome from local staff and settle into our accommodations. A local guide will escort us on a short walk on the trails to observe the forest and bird life. As the afternoon cools, our guide will take us on a tour of the village. Visit the local school, medical center 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 our lodge in Surama. (B,L,D)
DAY 4 - SUNDAY | SURAMA
Rise before dawn for a walk across the savannah, then climb up Surama Mountain for incredible views across the village and savannah to the Pakaraima Mountains. While not a technical climb, it can be arduous, especially after rain, and is not for everyone. Our guides will happily offer alternative activities.
Return to the village for lunch, then take a three mile walk across the savannah and through the rainforest to the Burro Burro River. Our guides will then paddle us on the Burro Burro River for opportunities to observe Giant River Otters, Tapir, Tira, Spider Monkeys and many more species. Return to the village for sunset. Overnight at our lodge in Surama. (B,L,D)
DAY 5 - MONDAY | IWOKRAMA
Enjoy dawn breaking across the rainforest. We can choose from a forest walk to look for wildlife and birds or relax around the lodge before breakfast. Depart from the lodge by 4x4 vehicle or 4x4 Bedford Truck through the rainforest Corkwood in the Iwokrama Forest. Take a short trail to hopefully see the amazingly brilliant Guianian Cock-of-the-rock. Our guide can show us the use of plants as we walk through this interesting forest.
We continue the journey to the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway. It 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 98 feet above the ground. These will allow great views of a range of canopy species, many of which we would struggle to see well from the forest floor. Amongst the likely highlights are Painted, Brown-throated and Golden-winged Parakeet, Caica Parrot, Guianan Puffbird, Waved and Golden-collared Woodpecker, Spot-tailed, Todd’s and Ash-winged Antwren. The walkway is also an excellent place to look for various species of Cotinga including the not well known and range-restricted Dusky Purpletuft. If there are any suitable fruiting trees nearby, we have a good chance of seeing this bird, as well as the more widespread Purple-breasted Cotinga.
Another area where we will want to spend some time is the clearing around the lodge. 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, we should be able to add this bird to the impressive list of species we will see around the lodge and walkway. Overnight at our lodge in Iwokrama. (B,L,D)
DAY 6 - TUESDAY | NORTH RUPUNUNI
Before dawn, return to the canopy where we will welcome the dawn chorus. From this tree top vantage, we can sometimes see Red Howler and Black Spider Monkeys. Apart from the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway itself, we 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. We can be fairly certain to spot some extraordinary wildlife without trying too hard. Deer and agouti are also regular visitors to the lodge. Return to the lodge for breakfast before departure to Ginep Landing. From there, we take a boat trip on the Rupununi River to the lodge. 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 river. Karanambu, a 110-square mile former cattle ranch, is the former home of Diane McTurk, conservationist and a world-renowned expert on giant otters. 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, 600 species of birds 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 people, dating back almost 7,000 years ago. Village neighbors 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” were said to be located. We are free to determine what we want to do based on our 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. As dusk falls on the ponds, we see the giant Amazonia Regis water lily bloom. On the return trip, we will spotlight for Black Caiman and birds and creatures of the night. Overnight at our lodge in North Rupununi. (B,L,D)
DAY 7 - WEDNESDAY | NORTH RUPUNUNI
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 colored 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 and when mating. Aggressive interactions can occur between males. 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 interested in bird watching, we 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 the Agami Heron. An evening walk along the airstrip offers seven species of nightjar. Among the grasslands, we find the Double-striped Thick-knees. Overnight at our lodge in North Rupununi. (B,L,D)
DAY 8 - THURSDAY | GEORGETOWN
In the event we 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, on a boat journey along quiet stretches of river. Return to the lodge for breakfast before departure.
Transfer by vehicle to Lethem for our flight to Georgetown. (Flight not included in land price). Upon arrival, we will be transferred to our hotel. Enjoy a city tour. 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 with 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. Set in large gardens and painted green and white, it has hosted many visiting dignitaries. During our visit to Georgetown, there are a number of interesting sights that should not be missed. The most famous being St. George’s Cathedral. It 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 tells 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. Another historic building along this promenade is the Town Hall, a splendid example of Gothic architecture. Further along are the Victoria Law Courts and St. Andrews Kirk - 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 a bandstand. Over 100 species of Guyanese wildlife can be observed at the zoo, including a wide variety of tropical fishes and birds. The National Museum, which contains a broad selection of 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 us the history, rumors and facts on Georgetown and its citizens. We have the opportunity to purchase that unusual gift or unique Guyanese handicraft. The daring have the chance to delve into the gold and diamond market.
Enjoy a silver service Heritage Dinner in a colonial atmosphere The evening will include local guest speakers. Overnight at our hotel in Georgetown. (B,L,D)
DAY 9 - FRIDAY | DEPARTURE
Transfer to Cheddi Jagan International Airport for our departing flight. (B)
(B)Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
|Port of Spain||2||Kapok Hotel|
|Surama||2||Surama Eco Lodge|
|Iwokrama||1||Atta Rainforest Lodge|
|North Rupununi||2||Karanambu Lodge|
Land Package Prices Per Person**
|Rates Starting From:||$5,812||$6,291|