Few places offer such raw and authentic adventure as the three Guyanas. An eclectic mix of colourful cultures marooned on South America’s northern shore between the giants of Venezuela and Brazil, this lesser known but fascinating lost world suffers from low name recognition.
Few people think of this culture rich region when planning a trip to South America. Tourism here is extremely underdeveloped. This is one of the world’s best kept ecotourism destination secrets.
A strange mix of European law and rainforest humidity encapsulates this pocket of South America, the home to three equally spectacular countries: Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana. The three Guyanas truly have it all. Pristine waterfalls, virgin jungle, swim in fresh water creeks and paddle with otters. Tempt your taste buds with spicy curries whilst sipping on French wine. Explore a flair of European history as you tread amongst crumbled colonial cities, and learn of an eerie prison camp history. Rock the night away with distinctly Caribbean beats and mingle with the locals in edgy markets. Home to the world’s largest water lily, this region is the gateway of vibrant indigenous tribes in the deep Amazon interior. Offering unparalleled wildlife-viewing opportunities from turtle nesting grounds to wild cat spotting, here you will discover some of the world’s most diverse plant and animal life.
Although challenging, any adventure traveller will relish in the delight of experiencing a region so untouched. The three Guyana’s are well worth the mud, sweat and minor discomforts of uncovering a lesser explored gem.
Welcome to Suriname! Upon arrival at the JA Pengal International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your Paramaribo hotel. The city is named for the Paramaribo tribe living at the mouth of the Suriname River; the name is from Tupi–Guarani para “large river” and the maribo “inhabitants”.
The population of Paramaribo has always been very diverse. Among the first British settlers were many Jews and one of the oldest synagogues in the Americas is found in Paramaribo. The population of the town was greatly increased after 1873, when former slaves (who had been freed in 1863) were allowed to stop working for their former masters and leave the sugar plantations.
Paramaribo has remained the capital of Suriname, from its colonial days through the independence of Suriname in 1975 to the present day. The old town has suffered many devastating fires over the years, notably in January 1821 (which destroyed over 400 buildings) and September 1832 (which destroyed nearly 50 buildings).
Overnight Torarica Hotel and Casino or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Approx. 1hr (56km) drive
This morning you start your nature and cultural experience as you depart from Paramaribo. At Paranam the asphalt road changes into laterite and we drive past impressive giant trees and small villages. After approximately 190 km we arrive at a place named Atjoni. Continue by motorised dugout boat it will take 45 minutes to get to the comfort of Danpaati River Lodge, also known Little Paradise in the Amazon. At Danpaati River Lodge you can immerse yourself into the unspoilt beauty of the wild nature, learn all about the Maroon culture or simply relax in your hammock while enjoying the incredible view over the Upper-Suriname river. By visiting the lodge you contribute to the social community project that is set up with the surrounding villages.
The Danpaati River Lodge is an exceptionally remote and tranquil oasis in the heart of nature, welcoming you in an adventurous 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 amenities including fresh coffee service in the mornings, mosquito nets, and unbeatable views into the thick, surrounding nature.
Your day comes to an end with an exciting cruise on the river, looking for caiman lying on the river banks. (B,L,D)
Overnight at Danpaati River Lodge
Distance and Journey Time: Paramaribo – Atjoni (190km) 3hrs drive, Atjoni – Danpaati River Lodge approximately 2hrs in a local boat (depends on water levels)
Today you will visit one of the 12 villages that are affiliated with Danpaati region. You will have a guided tour through the village where you will be introduced to the unique way of life of the local population and to the wonderful traditions brought from Africa by their ancestors. After the tour you will then visit the Maroon museum, Saamaka, which is dedicated to the cultural heritage of the Saramak Maroon population. The unique transport to Pikinslee which is located 30 minutes will be by boat from Danpaati. In the museum you will learn about the history of the Maroon’s, their ancient traditions and crafts. After the tour, return to the lodge for lunch.
In the afternoon, you will discover the secrets of the rainforest during a walk in the woods. Your afternoon will then be at leisure to either explore the area, utilise some of the resort facilities and activities on offer or kick back and relax.
After dinner you will take in a traditional and cultural dance performance. Traditional dances such as the Seketi, Awasa and Bandamba are performed by the local community; your guide will explain the cultural significance of each dance. (B,L,D)
Overnight at Danpaati River Lodge
What you do this morning is entirely up to you and you can choose to go for a walk to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, swimming, go for a stroll in the forest, relax in the lounge area or in a hammock, or just enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. After lunch you will head back to Atjoni by boat and return to Paramaribo.
Continue your tour to the pier at Nieuw Amsterdam for a Sunset Dolphin tour. While having a drink enjoy the cool breeze and river views. Meanwhile the captain searches the horizon for the dolphins. Normally they will swim by in groups of up to 20 dolphins. After having enjoyed this playful company depart for a wonderful restored plantation owned by Johan and Margaretha where you will enjoy freshly made local snacks like barra, baka bana or eggroll while experiencing the beautiful sunset. All this takes place in the peaceful atmosphere of on a wooden deck near the waterfront of the Commewijne River. After the sun has set, board the boat again and wind your way back down the river to Leonsberg. Then transfer back to Paramaribo to check in to your hotel. (B,L)
Overnight at Torarica Resort Hotel or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Danpaati River Lodge – Atjoni approximately 2hrs in a local boat (depends on water levels), Atjoni – Paramaribo (190km) 3hrs drive
This morning head out to explore Paramaribo City tour on foot. One of the most attractive cities of South America, Paramaribo, is the capital city of Suriname and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with magnificent architecture. The guide will tell you about the former “Fort Zeelandia”, the Presidential Palace, the Independence Square and many other monuments. The buildings are a true representation of the colonial history of Suriname. After a stroll past the Waterkant, along the bank of the Suriname River and through the Palm Gardens, visit the Waka Pasi boardwalk making sure to visit the ice cream kiosk to try some tropical flavours like passion and jamoon. 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.
Then you will proceed to the Commewijne district which is situated to the east of Paramaribo across the Suriname River. The tour takes you along the former colonial plantations, most of which are now abandoned. You will 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, you will 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. Then continue to the confluence of the Commewijne and Suriname Rivers at Nieuw Amsterdam. Here we will 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. (B,L)
Overnight at Torarica Resort Hotel or similar
This morning you will transfer to the Albina border 93 miles (150 km) where you will go through Immigration formalities, then ferry to French Guiana.
Formalities here rarely take more than a few minutes, and soon you find yourselves on the Ferry crossing the Maroni River headed for French Guiana or “Guyane” as it is called locally.
Arrival at St. Laurent du Maroni is relatively uncomplicated, and your French guide will be on hand to help us navigate the usual customs and immigration formalities. Guyane Francaise is a Department of France, so you have entered the EU. Evidence of this connection to the “1st world” is immediately evident: the roads are in near perfect condition, and espresso coffee and chocolate croissants are on tap nearly everywhere, and the Euro is the currency.
Continue to Kourou. On a small peninsula overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Kourou River, this small city of modern apartment blocks once existed solely to serve the mainland and offshore penal colonies. Now it seems to exist solely to serve the Centre Spatial Guyanais (Guyanese Space Centre), a satellite construction facility and launch pad that employs thousands of people. Visit the Center Spatiale Guyanaise for a tour.
A few beaches suitable for sunbathing line the easternmost part of town, but Kourou is mostly a way station for visiting the Space Centre and catching a boat to the Îles du Salut which you will experience tomorrow. In your free time, head to Le Vieux Bourg (Old Town), a great strip for eating and drinking. (B,L)
Overnight Hotel Atlantis or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Paramaribo – Albina, Suriname (145kms) 2.25hrs, St Laurent- Cayenne, French Guiana (245kms) 3hrs
What is commonly referred to as “Devils Island” is really a triangle of three islands – Îles du Salut, or the Salvation Islands – off the coast of Kourou. After breakfast at the hotel, set sail aboard a fine motorised catamaran towards your first stop, Île Saint-Joseph. The islands played a central role in French history as far back as 1792 when they were first employed as a transit point, first for explorers, then slaves and later for political prisoners.
Île Saint-Joseph is the southernmost island and was known as the silent island as inmates were not allowed to speak with other inmates or the guards.
The island is home to the most striking incarceration facilities that made up this notorious penal colony. Île Royale is the site of the oldest buildings on the islands, featuring an old church, administration buildings, officers’ quarters, and today, a good restaurant and lodging facilities. Ironically, the actual Île du Diable (Devil’s Island) is inaccessible to visitors due to dangerous shoreline conditions. This is the island where the prison’s best-known occupant, Alfred Dreyfus, was famously secluded.
Your tour begins on Île St. Joseph which can be easily circumnavigated on foot in less than 2 hours. The prison buildings here are quite well preserved, and you can meander at will through the cell blocks, dormitory buildings, and other structures while taking photographs or simply soaking in the powerful ambience. The countless scenes of nature slowly but relentlessly reclaiming the land here are really quite remarkable.
You will spend most of the day on Ilse Royale. Visit the children’s cemetery behind the old hospital which was used for the children of the guards. Land was at a premium so only the children were buried. The inmates were buried at sea to encourage the sharks as a deterrent to prisoners wanting to swim off the island. Make sure to be back at the dock by about 1530hrs as the boat leaves promptly at 1600hrs. There are plenty of shady trees with benches under which you can catch a cool breeze. Keep an eye out for sea turtles that like to scavenge among the rocks by the dock.
Return to Kourou by Catamaran and transfer to Cayenne to check into your hotel. This evening you can explore the capital city of Cayenne at your leisure. (B,L)
Overnight Central Hotel or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Cayenne – Kourou (62kms) approx. 1hr, Catamaran journey approx. 1hr each way
After breakfast transfer to the border of St. Laurent de Maroni. On the way there will be a stop in St Joseph’s church, in Iracoubo. The entire inside of the church was hand painted by one of the convicts from a nearby penal colony.
Upon arrival of St. Laurent enjoy a city tour of St. Laurent du Maroni where you will pay a visit to the well-preserved Transportation Centre. The facility once served as the processed to the various penal colonies in French Guiana. Starting in the mid-18th century the majority of convicts were transported to French Guiana and served their various convictions. They then had to spend the same amount of time here as their sentence before gaining their freedom. This was a way to try to populate the colony. One of the most famous inmates was Papillion whose initials are carved in one of the cells. A hard-to-miss curiosity just offshore is the British steamer Edith Cavel shipwreck, so overgrown with trees and shrubs that it could be mistaken for a natural island; this famous shipwreck partially sank in bad weather in 1924.
Continue to the immigration point and then cross by boat [Pirogue] to Albina and onwards to Paramaribo. (B)
Overnight Torarica Hotel or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Kourou, French Guiana – Paramaribo, Suriname (355kms) approx. 5hrs
Pick up from your hotel in Paramaribo and transfer to the local airport Zorg-en-Hoop to catch the GUMAIR flight departing at 0730hrs to Georgetown, arriving at 0745hrs.
Your guide will meet you and transfer from Eugene F. Correia International Airport to Georgetown.
Arriving in Georgetown, you will spend the morning doing a market and city tour. Your host and culinary master, Chef Delven Adams will guide you around Bourda Market, the largest of the four markets in Georgetown. The first stop will be at the Guyana Store which has all the local products produced and packaged in Guyana, from tamarind balls to cassava bread and all kinds of local jams and jellies. Then it will be over to the market and meet some of the vendors who Chef Delven buys from daily. See, touch and taste a variety of fruits and vegetables that are unique in this part of the world.
Next up is a visit to the fish market and learn about the different kinds of fish that are found in Guyana’s unique coastal waters. Because of the large rivers the water is brown, but don’t let the sediment fool you, these rivers are home to an amazing variety and abundance of fish. You will then visit the meat section of the market where you will see the locals getting their cuts of meats, custom cut and weighed right there.
Then it is onward for a stroll through the haberdashery section, which is fun, as one can find anything you can think of from thread to bolts of all kinds of fabric, including some beautiful African prints. You will find many kinds of rice which is the second most important agricultural crop in Guyana. There are also many other dry goods like peas and beans and of course many kinds of demerara sugar, from golden crystals to the dark brown molasses rich sugar that Guyanese like in their tea. Lookout for the bush medicine stalls. If you have an ailment, ask the person selling about it and they will be glad to prescribe a “concoction” of different herbs. There are bottles of bush medicine for every kind of ailment.
Last stop is the large open-air market; all the tropical fruits and vegetables are here and you are encouraged to ask questions and learn the names and try the new and different tastes. There are many kinds of bananas from the tiny, sweet fig to the very large red bananas. Try the local pineapple which is long and white inside as opposed to the round yellow ones you may be used to.
There are also many different seasonal small fruits that you should try such as seaside grapes, sapodillas, dunks, jamoon, and gineps. You will find things you have never seen before that are a part of the Guyanese culture.
Chef Delven will make his daily purchases with your suggestions and input of what you would like to try as today you are in for a specially prepared lunch. He will then head home to start preparing while you will head off on a tour of the city of Georgetown. 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 household 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.
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 lifestyle.
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.
You will then end up at the Backyard Café for lunch. This, as the name suggests, is a backyard that Chef Delvin has turned into an exclusive little hidden gem of a restaurant. There are also all kinds of herbs growing around you; anything you do not recognize, Chef Delven will be only too happy to tell you about it. If you are interested, Chef Delven will welcome you to join him as he prepares a wonderful meal prepared from the fruits and vegetables we bought in the market in the morning. He has a smoker and small fireside right outside and sometimes will prepare the fresh fish right there and you can certainly help him and learn his secrets.
Or if you would prefer you can sit under the arbor and sip unique blends of juice or enjoy a cold Banks beer, while taking in the sounds and smells of a delicious meal in the making in a secluded backyard in Georgetown. Once he is ready, you will start eating your way through the courses.
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 tropical fishes and birds.
Later this afternoon you will take a tour through the heart of the city to the Stabroek Market area. Here you will join the afternoon commuters using the old ferry stelling to board the river taxi’s which are used to cross the Demerara River. The river taxis are an alternative route to using the Demerara Harbor Bridge. As you slowly cruise along the bank of the Demerara River you will learn a brief history and some facts of the famous buildings along the waterfront. You will then continue your trip to see the Demerara Harbour Bridge, once the longest floating bridge in the world at a total length of 1,851m long. It was commissioned on 2 July 1978 and was only designed to last for 10 years, yet it is still going strong. As the sun sets over the river you may witness the flock of brilliant Egrets and Scarlet Ibis as they fly across the skies and settle into the Mangroves for the evening. Soon after the sky begin to get dark you return to the ferry enjoying the city light from the river. (B,L)
Overnight Grand Coastal Hotel or similar
Distance and Journey Time: Flight 1.5hrs, Transfers to the airport are approx. 20min each way
Rise and shine early as there will be a pickup and transfer to the extensive and beautiful Georgetown Botanical Gardens where, if you are lucky, will have a chance to view the Blood-coloured Woodpecker. This astonishingly colourful Veniliornis is found only in the Guianas and even there almost wholly limited to the narrow coastal plain. The gardens host Snail Kite, Gray Hawk, Pearl Kite, Carib Grackle, Red-bellied Macaw, and Red-shouldered. We will walk on trails in the back of the gardens and may see Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Black-crested Antshrike, Silver-beaked Tanager, Buff-breasted Wren, Golden-spangled Piculet and Ashy-headed Greenlet. Return to your hotel.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the Eugene F. Correia International Airport for 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. At 228 metres, Kaieteur is nearly five times the height of Niagara Falls.
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 world’s 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 microenvironment 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. (B,L)
Overnight Grand Coastal Hotel or similar
Walking Distance: Approximately 3km
Walking Time: Approximately 1.5-2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate, flat with some shade
**Note: Condition of Sale: Flights to Kaieteur Falls are operated on chartered aircraft and all flights have a minimum passenger restriction. Therefore, any booking to Kaieteur and Orinduik Falls is subject to a minimum of 5 passengers being available to travel. In most cases we are able to fill flights, especially if scheduled for a weekend. However, in the rare case that we cannot meet the required numbers we will reschedule the trip to another day during your stay, if this is possible. Wilderness Explorers retains the right to reschedule a flight as a first option. If we cannot reschedule the flight we will guarantee a flight, with a minimum of 2 passengers, to Kaieteur Falls only.
If a flight is cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control, such as weather, we will endeavour to reschedule the flight during your itinerary. If this is not possible then a full refund on the flight will be made.
After breakfast transfer to Eugene F. Correia International Airport to enjoy your journey over hundreds of miles of tropical rainforest to land at Fair View Airstrip – then transfer to tonight’s accommodation.
The Iwokrama is a vast wilderness of one million acres. This protected area was established in 1996 as the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development. The Iwokrama Forest is in the heart of one of four last untouched tropical forests of the world – The Guiana Shield of North-Eastern South America. Iwokrama was established as a living laboratory for tropical forest management because the unsustainable utilisation of these forests will result in the extinction of half the world’s plant and animal species and unknown changes to global climate. This is a protected area with a difference – the full involvement of people. Iwokrama is exceptional among conservation organisations because it joins with local people in every aspect of its work. From research to business, Iwokrama ensures local economic and social benefits from forest use and conservation.
After arrival at the lodge and you will depart the lodge by boat, birdwatching along the way, for the hike to Turtle Mountain. A well-maintained trail winds through the forest before an exhilarating climb up the mountain to its summit at 935ft (approx. 360m). It takes 2 hours to walk up the mountain, but the effort is more than worth it for the breathtaking views over the forest canopy when you get there and chances of Green Aracari, White Bellbird or a fly-by of one of five types of eagles. This trail is also a great location for seeing Black Spider Monkey and Red Howler Monkey and if you are very lucky even a Jaguar. This pristine forest offers huge buttress trees and the endemic Greenheart, a highly sought after hardwood. If you think this hike may be too strenuous you can take an alternative boat trip to Stanley Lake to search for Giant River Otters and Black Caiman.
Return to the lodge for lunch and a chance to relax.
Next up is a 4 x 4 forest safari – wind along the trail that is one of the best places to see the elusive Jaguar. The Iwokrama forest is rapidly gaining an international reputation for its healthy jaguar populations that seem not to be troubled by the appearance of curious humans. There are no promises of seeing this elusive animal, but many have been lucky! This road is the only north/south access in Guyana and links the country to Brazil. Even so, traffic is only very occasional, and wildlife is often seen along the road, such as Agouti, Tayra, Puma, Tapir and Black Curassow. The journey concludes at the Atta Rainforest Lodge.
Your afternoon will be spent experiencing The Iwokrama Canopy Walkway, situated at Mauisparu, near the southern boundary of the Iwokrama Reserve. 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.
Then it is back to your lodge for some well-deserved R&R; completely surrounded by tropical rainforest your accommodation 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. (B,L,D)
Overnight Atta Rainforest Lodge
Walking Distance: Approximately 5km
Walking Time: Approximately 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate, parts steep
Distance and Journey Time: Flight 45mins, Transfer (Safari) by 4×4 for 1.5hrs
Before dawn return to the rainforest 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 certain to spot some extraordinary wildlife without even trying too hard. Serious birders will want to search the undergrowth for the rarely seen Rufous-winged Ground-cuckoo. Deer and agouti are also regular visitors to the lodge. Spend the day relaxing at the lodge and exploring the surrounding trails.
As darkness falls on the canopy walkway, you may see the White-winged Potoo. Night walks are also possible and something interesting or new always seems to pop on to the scene. (B,L,D)
Overnight Atta Rainforest Lodge
Welcome the dawn chorus from the canopy walkway and then return to the lodge for breakfast before departure.
Transfer from Atta Rainforest Lodge by vehicle or 4×4 Bedford Truck (converted with forward facing seats and canopy) through the rainforest to Corkwood in the Iwokrama Forest. Here there is a comparatively short trail to hopefully see the amazingly brilliant Guianan Cock-of-the-rock. This trail is through interesting forest and the guides can show the use of the plants. Then continue the journey 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. (B,L,D)
Overnight Surama Eco Lodge
Walking Distance: Approximately 5km
Distance and Journey Time: Atta Rainforest – Surama 30min drive
Rise before dawn for a walk across the savannah and then the exhilarating and challenging climb up Surama Mountain in the cool morning air. This is the best time to observe bird life along the trail. A lookout point affords incredible views across the village and savannah to the Pakaraima Mountains.
Return to the Lodge for breakfast before it is time to transfer to the Rupununi airstrip for the journey over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and hundreds of miles of tropical rainforest to land at Eugene F. Correia International Airport. Transfer to your hotel to check in and freshen up.
Tonight, you will return to the Backyard Café for a farewell dinner and to experience a wonderful Guyanese tradition; the Seven curry.
Seven curry is a staple at all Indo-Guyanese weddings and religious functions. It is served in a freshly picked lotus lily leaf with rice and seven different curries. Traditionally the curries are all vegetarian. Most commonly served are pumpkin, bagee (spinach), catahar (breadnut), potato/channa (chick peas), boulanger (eggplant), eddoe and dhal. You hold the leaf with the curries in one hand, and use your other to eat the food. Definitely a challenge to eat gracefully, but so much fun and delicious!!
Return to the hotel. (B,L,D)
Overnight: Grand Coastal Hotel or similar
Walking Distance: Approximately 5km
Walking Time: Approximately 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Difficult, parts steep
Distance and Journey Time: Surama – Lethem 2-3hr drive, 1hr flight
The day is at your leisure until it is time to transfer to Cheddi jagan International Airport for your onward flight. (B)
Download this tour’s PDF brochure and start your planning offline!
**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
Please read our responsible tourism policy here.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.