Private Journeys

Signature Guyana – Wildlife and Waterfalls

12 days from £5,510pp

(based on two people sharing & excluding flights)

Guyana

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

Fly to Georgetown and transfer to your hotel.

Fly from London to Georgetown (via a short touchdown in St Lucia) and transfer to your hotel.

Georgetown Guyana

Stay at - Cara Lodge

Day 2

Georgetown walking tour and market experience, with breakfast and lunch.

Rise early and join a neighbourhood celebrity chef for breakfast at one of the local food stands. Afterwards he will guide you around Bourda Market, the largest in Georgetown, where you will meet some of the vendors and learn about the customs, flavours and medicines of this extraordinary corner of South America. You will have an opportunity to see, touch and taste a variety of fruits and vegetables, some of which are unique to the region, and select a few ingredients for the chef to take away and start preparing your lunch, while you continue with the rest of your guided walking tour.

Glimpses of Guyana’s complex and intriguing history can easily be found in its bustling capital, Georgetown. You will visit the Stabroek Market – known as a “bizarre bazaar”, St George’s Cathedral – one of the world’s tallest freestanding wooden buildings and the city hall. Then head to the national museum – which is home to the remains of a now extinct giant sloth, and the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology – where you will find a large number of artefacts and relics that help tell the story of the country’s indigenous population.

After your specially prepared lunch, head to the botanical gardens to see an extensive collection of tropical flora, and the zoo – which has evolved into a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre for hundreds of species of tropical fauna. Finally, pay a visit to one of the nearby ponds, where it is possible to feed endangered West Indian manatees.

market tour Georgetown

Stay at - Cara Lodge

Day 3

Visit Kaieteur Falls.

Take a flight over the Demerara and Essequibo rivers and extensive unbroken rainforest, to Kaieteur Falls, the world’s largest single drop waterfall. First “discovered” by Europeans in 1870, the falls drop 741 feet (5 times the height of Niagara), down into a deep gorge and combine with the surrounding woodland to create a perfect postcard scene that has long been the subject of local myths and legends. You will have plenty of opportunity to listen to some of these tribal tales, as well as explore, take photos and search for some of the plentiful wildlife – including the golden rocket frog (found no-where else on Earth), Kaieteur swifts and the iconic cock-of-the-rock – before your flight back to Georgetown.

kaieteur falls

Stay at - Cara Lodge

Day 4

Fly to the rainforest.

Fly south to Fair View Airstrip and transfer by 4×4 vehicle to the Atta Rainforest Lodge. Keep your eyes peeled as, despite providing the only land based north/south access in Guyana, this road is rarely used by vehicles, making it a popular trail for wildlife including agoutis, tayras, tapirs, black curassows and the elusive jaguars that inhabit the region.

jaguar

Stay at - Atta Rainforest Lodge

Day 5

Wildlife spotting on canopy walkways and nature trails.

Before dawn, head to the canopy walkway, located near the southern boundary of the Iwokrama Reserve. The walkway consists of four suspension bridges which perch approximately 30 metres above the ground, giving you an incredible close encounter with some of the creatures that live amongst the tree branches. Bird watchers should be on the lookout for the rufous-throated sapphire, green aracari, pygmy antwren, Guianan toucanet, buff-cheeked greenlet, and many other rare and magnificent species. Apes are also present here, with red howler and black spider monkeys often visible from the walkway’s vantage points.

Away from the elevated bridges, there are many nature trails you can follow to search for more wildlife at ground level. As darkness envelops the forest, you can also head out on a night walk to see some of the animals that become more active after the sun goes down, including the six different cat species that occupy the reserve.

Atta Lodge

Stay at - Atta Rainforest Lodge

Day 6

Canopy walk and transfer to Karanambu

Head back to the walkway to await the dawn chorus from the waking jungle, then enjoy a short trail at Corkwood, where your guide will be helping search for birdlife and will explain how native plants are used by the locals as medicines, fabrics and for other ingenious applications.

Continue to Aranaputa, where you will stop at a peanut factory run by a co-operative of local women. This is followed by lunch at the Pakaraima Mountain Inn, hosted by local character Charlie De Freitas. Upon reaching the Ginep Landing, you will take a boat trip on the Rupununi River to Karanambu. When river conditions are favourable, this journey offers a chance to see some of the giant otters that have benefitted from the work of famous local conservationist Diane McTurk. The region’s location, which encompasses vast wetlands, large riparian forests and an expansive savannah, mean that it is one of the most ecologically diverse places on the continent, with at least 600 species of birds, over 200 species of mammals and approximately 700 species of fish, all found here. There is also a rich human history, with evidence that people have been part of this thriving eco-system for more than 7,000 years.

In the late afternoon you will again head out by boat, keeping watch for giant otters. But as the light begins to fail it is the giant Amazonica waterlilies that will likely capture your attention. Their mesmerising colourful pads will bloom incongruently into life while dusk slowly falls around you. On your way back, use spotlights to aid your search for black caiman and other creatures of the night.

Karanambu

Stay at - Karanambu Ranch

Day 7

Savannah and river or birdwatching excursions.

Spend the morning in the savannah trying to locate one of the giant anteaters that will be excavating its breakfast from the termite mounds that dot these rolling grasslands.

In the evening you can either choose to do another river excursion or explore a number of land-based habitats in search of birds such as the agami heron, seven different species of nightjar, and the double-striped thick-knee.

Giant Anteater

Stay at - Karanambu Ranch

Day 8

Morning savannah or river excursion and boat transfer to the Caiman House Field Station.

This morning you have another chance to go in search of giant anteaters or otters before departing by boat to the nearby Amerindean village of Yupukari. Here you will visit the Caiman House Field Station which plays an important part in the community. Not only is it the hub for several participatory development projects (funding school libraries and teaching and showcasing key craft skills), but it is also heavily involved in a number of research and conservation programs along the river. Among these is a scheme in which rangers dig up turtle eggs that would otherwise have been vulnerable to the changing environmental conditions and rebury them at the field station where they hatch, are nurtured for a few months and then released by local children back into the river. You will also have the opportunity to support and participate in a study into the endangered black caiman – the largest member of the alligator family.

Black Caiman

Stay at - Caiman House

Day 9

Transfer to Waikin Ranch via Lethem.

Travel overland to Lethem on Guyana’s western border for a guided tour and a chance to cross the Takatu Bridge into Brazil. Then continue for a further 30 minutes to Waikin for an opportunity to experience life on a working ranch.

Waikin Ranch

Stay at - Waikin Ranch

Day 10

Guided walk and cooking class

Enjoy a guided walk around the ponds and bush islands that are strewn across the ranch’s many trails, searching for birds such as: Muscovy ducks; great horned owls; buff neck ibis; herons; sun parakeets; and many others. You can then join the kitchen staff to learn some local cooking skills and help prepare a meal. Later you can take an optional excursion to Nappi (at additional cost). Known for its highly skilled craftsmen and women, the village is the perfect place to purchase some gifts and souvenirs, or simply peruse the shops and admire the traditional artisan techniques being used.

Guyana Heron

Stay at - Waikin Ranch

Day 11

Fly to Georgetown.

Journey through the savannah to the airfield – being sure to look out for ocelots, anteaters, armadillos, capybaras, deer and jaguars on the way – then fly back to Georgetown for your final night in Guyana.

Sun Parakeet

Stay at - Cara Lodge

Day 12

Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or extend your stay in Saint Lucia

If you are flying with British Airways, you may wish to add a few days of relaxation in Saint Lucia.

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