The Highlights of Guyana
Our popular small group tour offers the perfect introduction to Guyana, one of the most exciting, unique and least visited nations in South America.
English-speaking and little known, Guyana consists almost entirely of primary rainforest complemented by vast savannahs in the south, all home to a staggering array of fauna and flora. Guyana is known for its wildlife giants, the largest of their kind anywhere. These include giant river otter; giant anteater; capybara, the world’s largest rodent; the largest caiman, the black caiman; the largest freshwater fish, the arapaima; largest freshwater turtle, the giant river turtle; largest snake (anaconda) and pit viper (bushmaster), as well as two of South America’s most magnificent carnivores, jaguar and harpy eagle. However, many of these species are very rare and hard to see, especially in the dense forests.
Botanical giants include the Victoria amazonica ,the world’s largest water lily, and tank bromeliad, the world’s largest bromeliad. Geological highlights include Kaieteur Falls, five times the height of Niagara and the world’s highest single-drop waterfall. It’s a spectacular natural feature which creates a unique, localised cloud forest micro-climate.
The forests and savannahs of Guyana possess incredibly rich biodiversity. The rainforest fauna include spider and squirrel monkeys, five species of macaw, the bizarre Guianan cock-of-the rock, caiman, tree boa, colourful poison dart frogs and bizarre insects of all shapes and sizes: all regular encounters on this tour.
With a little more luck, giant anteaters and giant otters can also be seen and harpy eagles count among the 814 bird species to search for. This journey through Guyana is a real adventure with remote lodge stays, exotic wildlife and friendly Amerindian tribes still living naturally. The vast expanses of untouched rainforest, fascinating wildlife and cultures, and the impressive yet largely unknown Kaieteur Falls will ensure that Guyana will leave a lasting impression.
With a number of set departures throughout the year and a minimum group size of two, this tour is almost sure to run and perfect for those looking for flexibility in dates of travel combined with the camaraderie and cost savings of travelling in a group led by experienced, local naturalist guides.
Arrive Georgetown, Guyana. Met on arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel.
Staying at Cara Lodge. Includes In-flight Meals.
Today we transfer to the Eugene F Correia airport to take a scenic flight to the impressive Kaieteur Falls.
With a drop of 741 feet the falls are five times the height of Niagara and benefit from few visitors. Many regard the falls as the most spectacular in the world. The falls have even produced a special microclimate that has resulted in a cloud forest ecosystem supporting the massive tank bromeliad and its charming resident, the endemic Kaieteur golden rocket frog. Return flight back to Georgetown.
Staying at Cara Lodge. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.
Early transfer to the Eugene F Correia International airport and take flight over miles of rainforest to the Fair View Airstrip. On arrival we will transfer by 4x4 or a Bedford truck to the Iwokrama River Lodge.
In the late afternoon, we will begin exploring the trails around the lodge with one of the local rangers and enjoy a night river trip to spot caiman and other nocturnal wildlife. Eight species of primate occur here and there are possibilities to see a wide range of birds including the bizarre capuchinbird at its lek (display ground), and other fauna.
Staying at Iwokrama River Lodge. Includes All Meals.
Early morning excursion by boat along the river to spot wildlife. Later hike to the summit of Turtle Mountain where there are sensational views over the pristine rainforest as far as the eye can see. Black spider and red howler monkeys, the rare orange breasted falcon and various macaws are frequently seen from here. After a picnic lunch on the mountain, return to the lodge and visit Kurupukari Falls to see the Amerindian petroglyphs, and then continue by boat to Michelle Island.
Staying at Iwokrama River Lodge. Includes All Meals.
Today we will start with an early morning walk in the forest to spot primates and birds. After breakfast we will then transfer along a forest road (looking for wildlife along the way) to the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway. We will then enjoy spending the afternoon looking for wildlife from the platforms. We can stay up on the walkway until dusk to watch the sunset and hopefully see the rare white-winged potoo after dark.
Staying at Atta Rainforest Lodge. Includes All Meals.
Today we have a full day to explore the rainforest from the lodge trails and also make early and late visit to the Canopy Walkway. We can walk many trails, some of which have the tree species described and there are many birds to look for here.
The crimson fruitcrow, black curassow, pompadour cotinga, blue-cheeked and dusky parrots and green aracari are among the highlight birds. Red howler and Guianan brown bearded saki monkeys are sometimes spotted in the canopy.
Staying at Atta Rainforest Lodge. Includes All Meals.
After a final visit to the canopy walkway, we will then visit a nearby Guianan cock-of-the-rock lek, one of the country's most beautiful birds. Later we transfer to the Amerindian village of Surama, set in a patch of savannah and surrounded by forest. There will be a warm welcome from the community and a tour of the village and perhaps a visit to the school. In the afternoon we will take an excursion with the local guides in search of forest wildlife followed by a night walk for nocturnal species.
Staying at Surama Eco Lodge. Includes All Meals.
Today we can explore the rainforest that surrounds the village of Surama. Perhaps rise before dawn for a walk across the savannah and then a challenging walk up to the summit oif Surama Mountain to watch the sun rise and see birdlife. Easier walks are also available.
After lunch back at the village, we can walk to the Burro Burro River and take canoes to search for wildlife from the river. Possible sightings include red-faced spider monkeys and scarlet macaws.
Staying at Surama Eco Lodge. Includes All Meals.
Today we can take a final forest walk or enjoy some time to relax around the village before we leave Surama after breakfast and travel by 4x4 or Bedford Truck to Rock View Lodge.
The lodge is a working ranch with comfortable accommodation and is surrounded by open savannah.
In the afternoon we can see how cashews nuts are roasted and also how some local handicrafts are made and maybe even try our hands at them too.
Staying at Rock View Lodge. Includes All Meals.
This morning we will explore the forested foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains. The nearby Panorama Trail takes us up a small hill, where there is a chance of seeing the striking black-and-yellow poison dart (or bumblebee) frog.
Later we will transfer south to Ginep Landing for a scenic boat trip on the Rupununi River to Karanambu.
After settling in at the lodge, we will set out in afternoon to travel by boat to look for wildlife which may include squirrel and capuchin monkeys, black caiman and if very lucky giant otters. As dusk begins to fall we will reach the ponds to see the giant Victoria Regis water lily, bloom at sunset. On the return trip back to the lodge we will spotlight for black caiman, Amazon tree boas and sleeping green iguanas among other creatures of the night.
Staying at Karanambu Lodge. Includes All Meals.
This morning we will make an early start to reach an area of rolling savannah, home to a population of giant anteaters. With luck we hope to locate one of these six-foot long animals excavating its breakfast from one of the red termite mounds that stud the savannah.
We will then spend the rest of the morning looking for wildlife around the environs of the lodge. There is a wide range of habitats around the lodge and fantastic birdwatching.
In the afternoon and evening we can explore more of the savannah for birds such as double-striped thick knee and several of species of nightjar.
Staying at Karanambu Lodge. Includes All Meals.
In the early morning we will perhaps travel out on to the savannah again to search for giant anteaters again or explore the gallery forest along the river for primates. After breakfast we will make our transfer out by boat, bird watching along the way, to the Amerindian village of Yupukari and Caiman House.
This journey offers chances to see Guianan squirrel red howler and capuchin monkeys in the riverside trees as well as many different birds such as jabiru storks and if lucky the stunning agami heron. We will arrive at our lodge, Caiman House in time for lunch and some time to rest during the heat of the day.
In the evening we can enjoy a nocturnal excursion on the Rupununi River, where (depending on local conditions) we have the unique opportunity to support and participate in an ongoing study of the black caiman.
Staying at Caiman House. Includes All Meals.
This morning we will transfer to Lethem airstrip and take our scheduled flight back to Georgetown. On arrival we can enjoy a tour of the city to appreciate the colonial architecture and learn about its history.
In the evening we have memorable and tasty farewell dinner at the wonderful Backyard Café.
Staying at Cara Lodge. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.
Today after breakfast we will transfer to the Georgetown International Airport to check in for your onward flight.
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Built in 1840, Cara Lodge is one of the oldest buildings in Guyana’s capital, Georgetown, and is steeped in history having hosted many world leaders, royalty and other dignitaries.
Built in the style of a traditional plantation house, Cara Lodge has spacious wooden verandas and large bedrooms with private facilities. There is a good restaurant serving good food, bar and comfortable communal area and the service is always attentive and friendly.
All rooms have air-conditioning, ceiling fans, cable TV, international direct dial telephones, minibars, hair dryers, tea and coffee facilities, private bathrooms with hot water and are decorated in colonial style. The rooms vary in size but all offer adequate space: some have verandas, and deluxe superior rooms are now available.
Restaurant and bar, 24-hour reception desk, internet access available: rooms have mini-bars, cable TV, direct dial telephones and tea and coffee making facilities.
City tours of Georgetown and birdwatching excursions to the nearby Abary River. Charter and scheduled flights to Kaieteur Falls can be arranged.
Iwokrama River Lodge
Iwokrama River Lodge is located right on the edge of the Essequibo River and is surrounded by huge swathes of pristine rainforest. The lodge was set up to provide a base for sensitive ecotourism to the Iwokarama Reserve.
Accommodation is in 8 detached, thatched roof, wooden cabins each with river-facing verandahs, hammocks and a private bathroom (cold water showers). Electricity in the cabins is provided by solar panels and diesel generators and free Wi-Fi is available in the main communal building with limited connection in some rooms.
The meals are served in the large central building, which also offers good wildlife viewing over the surrounding forest. The food is usually locally sourced and served in a buffet style. There is a bar, small gift and snack shop and conference room in the building. A wide selection of natural history books to browse and some computers are available for guest use.
There is an excellent trail network from the lodge with many interpretative labels next to the key tree and vine species. A capuchinbird lek is found on one of the trails just 20 minutes from the lodge. Other excursions include boat trips along the Essequibo River and to see Amerindian petroglyphs, rapids and Michelle Island. A highly recommended but strenuous excursion is the hike to the top of Turtle Mountain: handrails and steps have been created to make the walk easier and the views of pristine rainforest as far as the eye can see are well worth it. The summit is also a good vantage point for viewing feeding monkeys and macaws, and birds of prey including the elusive orange-breasted falcon can be reliably seen.
The lodge can be reached by a 2-hour road transfer from the Annai airstrip.
The Iwokrama forest was established to protect and manage a huge, one million acre rainforest reserve. The lodge is surrounded by pristine rainforest, home to a staggering diversity of plants and animals. The area holds world records for the number of bat (90) and freshwater fish (420) species recorded and is home to the arapaima – the world’s largest species of freshwater fish. Over 500 species of birds have been recorded including 5 species of macaw, 24 species of hummingbird and 29 species of raptor (including harpy eagle, crested eagle and osprey). Mammal highlights include 8 species of primate (including white-faced saki and golden-handed tamarin), 2 species of sloth, giant anteater, giant otter, Brazilian tapir, giant armadillo, brocket deer, peccary, various cats and bush dogs.
Private bathrooms with cold water showers and flushing toilets, electricity supply in rooms, free Wi-Fi in the main communal room.
Black spider, red howler, brown and weeping capuchin and white-faced saki monkeys are frequently seen in the forest close to the lodge (particularly when a tree is in fruit) and on trails and boat trips. There is an exceptional diversity of birds seen around the lodge and on trails including capuchinbird, Guianan toucanet, green aracari, Amazonian antshrike, macaws, red-fan parrot and macaws. Black caiman, tree boas, anacondas, tiny tree and leaf frogs, huge Bufo marinus toads and dazzling blue morpho butterflies can also be seen.
There is bountiful wildlife to be seen and many trails to explore around the reserve. The most popular excursions are a walk to the top of Turtle Mountain for a 360-dgree view of rainforest as far as the eye can see, and boat trips along the Essequibo River with visits to Kurupukari Falls to see Amerindian Petroglyphs and Michelle Island.
Atta Rainforest Lodge
Atta Rainforest Lodge has 8 simple en suite rooms set within a clearing in the wildlife rich Iwokrama forest and close to the base of the impressive Iwokrama Canopy Walkway. The lodge was built to provide guests with a base from which to access the canopy walkway at dawn and dusk when birds and other wildlife are most active. The setting for Atta Lodge is perfect for keen birders and naturalists as it is completely surrounded by dense rainforest bursting with biodiversity and frequently visited by red brocket deer, red-rumped agouti and the black curassow (a Guiana Shield endemic).
The Iwokrama Canopy Walkway is a series of suspension bridges and decks up to 30 metres in height and 154 metres in length that pass through an excellent stretch of rainforest. It provides a memorable view of the mid and canopy levels of the forest and affords excellent bird and wildlife viewing. Many canopy level specialist birds, including several Guianan Shield endemics, are commonly seen from the walkway, with the magnificent harpy eagle now being seen more regularly.
The main building houses the restaurant as well as a small bar and gift shop, lounge and collection of natural history books: there is some limited wireless internet access too.
The meals at Atta Lodge are particularly varied and tasty, always freshly prepared using local produce. Vegetarian and special diets can be catered for and one can visit the kitchen to see how the meals are prepared. The meals are usually buffet style and served under candlelight, creating a warm and cosy atmosphere. Power is provided by a generator that can be a little noisy. Note: the power is switched off between 10pm and 6am. The lodge has a sightings board and has deployed camera traps to record the exciting wildlife found close to the lodge.
The rooms have mosquito nets, torch, insect repellent, electricity (6am -10pm), private bathrooms (cold water showers), dining room, lounge with a small bar and library, sighting board and limited free Wi-Fi in the main building.
Birds regularly seen from the canopy walkway and surrounding trails include crimson and purple-necked fruit crow, pompadour cotinga, green aracari, Guianan toucanet, painted parakeet, red-and-green macaw, white-winged potoo and (with luck) the awesome harpy eagle. Mammals are more rarely observed but red howler, brown and weeping capuchin and even white-faced saki monkey can sometimes be seen. A staggering diversity of reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies are observable from the walkways and trails. The trans-national road to the lodge is one of the best places for sightings of jaguars and ocelots in Guyana. Some of the notable tree species include the bullet wood tree, greenheart and waramadan (which is endemic to this forest).
Excursions along the canopy walkways, walking the trails through the forest and off-site excursions to see the lek of the Guianan cock-of-the-rock. By special request, nocturnal drives or walks along the main road can be arranged.
Surama Eco-Lodge is a rustic but comfortable property within the Makushi community village set in savannah bordered by beautiful virgin rainforest.
The Eco-Lodge and its activities are managed and operated solely by the Makushi people. Over 70 people in the community are employed either directly as hospitality staff, guides, cooks, artisans and driver or indirectly as farmers, hunters, fishermen, and construction and maintenance workers. Roughly 60% of the community’s income is now sustainably generated through tourism-related activities, and guests are treated as though they are staying in one of their homes.
There are 4 traditionally built benab buildings and 4 newer cabins that offer slightly more space. There are private bathrooms in each with cold-water showers, flush toilets and twin or triple beds.
Traditional home-cooked meals using locally grown and harvested ingredients are served in the main benab, where tea and coffee and filtered water are always available.
There is solar-powered electricity available in the central building for charging of batteries, but only a very limited internet service in the village office, which is a 40-minute walk from the lodge. A new option is the possibility to camp in hammocks in an open air wooden shelter next to the Buro Buro River while the guides prepare food and drink and demonstrate survival skills.
Rooms have private bathrooms with cold-water showers and flush toilets, dining room with electricity outlets, gift shop, bar and communal lounge area.
The Buro Buro River and the rainforest close to the lodge can produce sightings of black spider, red howler, weeping and brown capuchin monkeys and occasionally even tapirs. The area is fantastic for birdwatching with scarlet and red and green macaws, white-throated toucans, black-necked aracari and large birds of prey commonly seen. Many Guianan Shield endemics can be tracked down in the forest and a huge diversity of snakes, lizards and tree frogs can be seen in the area. Surama Mountain is another hotspot for primates, in particular black spider monkey, red howler and two species of capuchin.
Excursions include boat trips along the Buro Buro River, treks across the savannah and forest to see wildlife, a pre-dawn trek to the top of Surama Mountain to see the sunrise and informative tours within the village including visits to the school and other points of interest. Another activity offered is a walk through the forest with demonstrations of local plant use.
Karanambu Eco Lodge
Karanambu Ranch is the family home of Diane McTurk who founded the Karanambu Trust and is the world expert on giant otters and their rehabilitation. Karanambu is a leading center for the recovery and rehabilitation of injured or orphaned giant river otters and has attained worldwide recognition for its conservation work.
Over the years Karanambu has been visited by Sir David Attenborough, the late Gerald Durrell (Three Singles to Adventure), National Geographic and the BBC’s Really Wild Show. As well as tame resident individuals, wild otters are frequently seen here. The rainforested banks of the Rupununi River are also home to large numbers of birds, squirrel and capuchin monkeys and plenty of other forest wildlife. Diane sometimes has resident orphaned otters and it may be possible to help her as she tends to them. Diane now takes a back seat and the lodge is currently managed by Andrea and Salvador of American and Guyanan descent who make wonderful hosts.
Karanambu Ranch was previously a huge cattle farm and now covers 100 square miles of protected wetlands, rainforest and savannah.
Away from the river there are vast tracts of savannah, home to endangered giant anteaters which are commonly seen by guests in the early morning.
The lodge has twin-bed clay, brick and thatched roof cabins, 5 of which accommodate up to 2 people and one for families of up to 4, with private bathrooms (cold water only) and flushing toilets, comfortable beds, verandas and hammocks.
Drinking water, a laundry service, solar powered electricity (available 6am and 10pm) and a complimentary supply of rum punches are also provided. The main building houses the dining room, communal lounge area and a small library. The service and locally produced food is of high standard and hand-made snacks, water, juice and rum punches are always readily available both at the lodge and on excursions.
Private cabins and bathrooms with cold showers only. Dining room, laundry service, drinking water, generator-supplied electricity, complimentary rum punches, hammocks and turn down service.
Both wild and orphaned giant otters can be regularly seen. Giant anteaters are frequently encountered on the savannah close the lodge. In the gallery forests surrounding the river and oxbow lakes red howler, common squirrel and brown capuchin monkeys and a wide diversity of birds are often spotted. Nocturnal boat trips reveal a high density of black caiman and snakes including the spectacular Amazon tree boa.
Fruiting mango trees around the lodge attract the elusive tayra in the early mornings and paca after dark. With luck a tapir, herd of collared peccary, armadillo or one of the six species of cat present in the area can be encountered.
Excursions along the river by motorised boat during the day and night. Treks across the savannah and through the gallery forest. Fishing. Camping.
Caiman House is the hub of several participatory development projects including the introduction of classrooms and libraries in all 3 village schools, an internet-enabled public library, and a non-profit job creation scheme for the local villages, involving tuition in craft skills and furniture building.
Accommodation is in 4 simple but large and comfortable rooms with en suite bathrooms (cold water showers only). The rooms are situated around the large central building. There is solar-powered electricity, US-style power outlets in all the rooms and wireless internet access throughout the lodge.
There is a lovely open sitting room inside and an open deck. All furniture at the lodge is made by local craftspeople. Meals are served in the dining room and women from the local village prepare the food. Caiman House offers a truly indigenous village experience, giving guests an interesting insight into locals’ lives combined with a fascinating and unusual wildlife experience.
There is an ongoing study of the black caiman around the lodge. The black caiman is the largest member of the alligator family and an endangered species found only in the Amazon basin. The caiman are captured, weighed, measured, sexed and tagged before being released back into the river (capturing the caiman is more difficult during high water periods). Guests are invited to watch or participate in this activity if they wish.
Restaurant and communal area, private bathrooms, electricity and Wi-Fi.
Wildlife found along the river includes black and spectacled caiman, giant otter, Brazilian tapir, opossum, Guianan squirrel, red howler monkey and reptiles including Amazon and emerald tree boas, anacondas and green iguanas. Trails through the forest offer good birdwatching and a chance to see some of the smaller wildlife such as tree frogs and butterflies.
Walking trails through the forest and boat trips along the river including participating with the capture and data collection of black caiman.
Rock View Lodge
Rock View Lodge is located in part of the Pakaraima Mountain range, surrounded by savannah and rainforest-topped hills,.
It is a working ranch which offers comfortable accommodation, swimming pool and lush, wildlife-filled gardens. The lodge is nestled between the Amerindian villages of Annai and Rupertree and many good birding locations and indigenous Makushi communities can be easily visited from the lodge. Local children pass though the lodge grounds each morning on their way to school.
There are 8 rooms, all with private bathrooms, hot water showers and electricity outlets in each room. There is free satellite Wi-Fi available at the lodge and electricity in the rooms is supplied by generator between 8am and 10pm. All the rooms have running water sourced from an underground well.
The main ranch house has a good collection of artwork, a library and some music is usually playing. Three delicious buffet meals a day are provided under the shade of a mango tree or within the main ranch house. The meals are particularly well presented and use local ingredients to create the traditional dishes.
Restaurant, hammocks, swimming pool, electricity outlets, Wi-Fi internet, generator supplied power, TV and computer room, gift shop, bar, snack shop, vegetable garden and laundry service.
The surrounding habitats are home to over 300 species of bird. The savannah offers good chances to see burrowing owl, double-striped thick knee, nacunda nighthawk, south American snipe and collared plover. A small population of giant anteater is present in the area, occasionally seen at dawn or dusk on the savannah behind the lodge. The nearby Panorama Nature Trail leads up the hill on the edge of the village and offers good birdwatching with a chance to see striking black and yellow banded poison dart frogs and red howler monkeys.
Birdwatching, mammal spotting, horse-riding, hikes across the savannah and boat trips along the nearby Rupununi River and its oxbow lakes. Annai village is just a short walk from the lodge and enables visitors to experience the way of life of the community.
Are International Flights Included?
No. Please contact us for a quote if required.
International flights are not included in the above tour cost. Please contact us for international flight prices and potential overnights en route.
February to November
Are you ATOL Registered?
Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.
This tour can also be taken on a Tailor-Made basis and extensions are available to other lodges in Guyana such as Rewa Eco Lodge or to Trinidad and Tobago or the Kabalebo Nature Resort in Suriname. Please ask us for details.
If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965
WILDLIFE: EXCELLENT Giant anteater swimming across the river. Number of bird species in Trinidad and the tarantula! The otters of course! And a baby anteater which unfortunately died. At least 4 species of monkey. Amazonian water lilies. Bat hanging from shower head! Golden frog in bromeliad. Cane toad, boa constrictor, jaguar tracks in sand.
GENERAL COMMENTS: We saw an extremely varied range of landscapes, plants, animals. We met a lot of very friendly and very interesting people. We have travelled extensively and this was one of the best trips we have ever had. Guyana was special as it is one of the most unspoilt wildernesses we ever visited. We never reached the stage where we felt ready to return home and have found it very difficult to adjust to our normal lives. Apart from in the hotels, the food was excellent – a good range, well cooked using local ingredients imaginatively! We appreciated Delice’s visits to the hotel at both ends of the Guyana visit. The Asa Wright Lodge was extremely well run, with outstanding attention to detail. Keep finding people like the McTurks for us to visit!