Guyana Exploration Tour - 9 Days
A short but rich tour into the nature and culture of Guyana’s interior. Travel inland to the Rupununi region of Guyana, stopping at a major caiman research project and help trap animals with a research team. Then its on to Karanambu where hospitality, passion-fruit rum, giant river otters, and sundowners on the lilly pond are a way of life. Then a stop at Surama Village to learn about Amerindian heritage before returning to Georgetown for an in-depth city tour. And a few hours at the remote Kaieteur Falls, an adventure that will stay with you forever.
Day 1 - Friday
Arrival at Cheddi Jagan International Airport and transfer to the Grand Coastal Hotel. This hotel is a boutique international hotel with local flavors and offers a safe and secure environment with excellent services and accommodation along with restaurant and bar, gym and pool. Overnight in a deluxe room at Grand Coastal Hotel. (Check in time 1600hrs, Check out time 1100hrs)
Day 2 - Saturday
Pickup and transfer to the Airport to take a scheduled flight over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and hundreds of miles of unbroken tropical rainforest to land at Kaieteur Falls, the world's largest single drop waterfall by the volume of water flowing over it.
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 micro environment with Tank Bromeliads, the largest in the world, in which the tiny Golden frog spends its entire life and the rarely seen Guiana Cock- of-the-rock nesting close by. The lucky visitor may also see the famous flights of the Kaieteur Swifts or Makonaima Birds which nest under the vast shelf of rock carved over millions of years by the water of the Potaro River.
This includes a trip to Kaieteur Falls. Sometimes this trip may include an extension to Orinduik Falls or Baganara Island Resort, at no additional cost.
Condition of Sale :
Flights to Kaieteur and Orinduik 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 12 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, operator 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 endeavor to reschedule the flight during your itinerary. If this is not possible then a full refund on the flight will be made.
Pickup and transfer from the International Airport to your hotel. Overnight in a deluxe room at Grand Coastal Hotel. B
Day 3 - Sunday
Pickup and transfer to the Airport from Grand Coastal Hotel.
Board a scheduled flight for a journey to Lethem over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and hundreds of miles of tropical rainforest. Transfer by 4x4 from Lethem across the savannah to Yupakari.
At the edge of Yupukari Village in the Central Rupununi is Caiman House Field Station, a combination guest-lodge and education center focused on research and conservation projects along the nearby Rupununi River. The Field Station is the hub of several participatory development projects, including the introduction of classroom libraries in all three village schools and an Internet-enabled public library. Visitors may have the opportunity to meet local craftspeople, including the furniture builders at Yupukari Crafters, a nonprofit venture to create village jobs and generate income to sustain educational development.
Four modest but comfortable guest rooms are situated around a central lounge area in the lodge behind the research centre. Guest rooms feature comfortable beds and ensuite bathrooms with flush toilets and running water. Other rooms are available in the annex building, two with ensuite and one with a shared bathroom. Caiman House Field Station and the Guest House are powered 24 hours a day by a large solar array. The entire station is served by wireless internet access.
As a guest you have the unique opportunity to support and participate in an ongoing field study of the Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger), the largest member of the alligator family and an endangered species. You are invited to accompany the indigenous crew as they search for and capture Black Caiman on the river. Guests will observe the capture from a separate boat, but will be offered the opportunity to assist in data collection. Caiman are weighed, measured, sexed and tagged before being released back into the river. The research has already discovered interesting information on caimans’ nests that was previously unknown.
After dinner take a boat trip with an experienced guide to spotlight along the banks for wildlife. You will most certainly see Black Caiman, as this river has South America’s second largest population of the species. During periods of high water it is difficult to capture Caiman so you will have chance to enter the nocturnal world of the Rupununi River and associated gallery forests which offer an experience, and world of wildlife entirely different than those viewed on a day trip.
Skilled guides will expertly escort visitors to meet elusive denizens of darkness by outboard powered boats, while interpreting the sights, and sounds of Guyana after dark. Just after darkness settles on the river many creatures emerge such as black caiman (to over 12 feet), spectacled caiman, tree boas, iguanas, frogs, and many fish species such as arrawana and piranha. Sleeping birds may include kingfishers, nightjars, potoos, boat-billed herons and other aquatic birds. You may see bats, spiders, insects, moths which can be closely approached in way not possible during the hours of light. Less likely, but not rare inclusions for night viewing include possums, tree dwelling rodents, capybara and sleeping monkeys, especially squirrel monkeys, amongst other mammals. Few nights pass without some unusual offering. Overnight at Caiman House. BLD
Day 4 - Monday
Guests will be escorted with skilled guides who will go paddling or with an electric motor on the Awariku Lake. The ride on this huge lake takes you through a creek in some lowland forest and comes out into the Rupununi River. Once on the river, you will drift down to the main landing and then come back up to Caiman House. In low water you will paddle back to the landing where you embarked. This is good for bird watching and Egrets and ibises are regular sightings along the lake and possibility of seeing Giant River Otters, Black Caiman.
Explore the Rupununi River in search of wild Giant River Otters, Black Caiman, Arapaima and bird watching along the way whilst being transferred by boat to Karanambu Lodge.
Karanambu, a 110-square mile former cattle ranch, was the home of the late Diane McTurk, conservationist and a world-renowned expert on giant otters. Karanambu is located in the North Rupununi, a region of south-western Guyana known for its expansive wetlands and savannah, as well as its biological and cultural diversity. Settled in 1927 by Tiny McTurk, Karanambu was once a working cattle ranch and Balata collection station. It is now an eco-tourist destination known as The Karanambu Lodge. Karanambu encompasses savannah, marshy ponds, riparian forest, and a 30-mile stretch of the Rupununi River.
The North Rupununi of southern Guyana is an extraordinary natural and pristine area. The landscape is an integration of four ecosystem types: wetlands, savannahs, rivers, and forests. The number of species found here is much higher than expected given its size. There are at least 600 species of fish, along with 600 species of bird, and over 200 species of mammals. Karanambu is located roughly in the middle of this beautiful and fascinating biological hotspot where endangered species like the Giant Otter, Black Caiman, Jaguar, Giant Anteater, and Arapaima can be found. The seasonally flooded savannahs and forests also draw substantial fish migrations. There may be as many as 700 species of fish at Karanambu — more than anywhere on Earth.
This region is rich in history, too. The North Rupununi is the homeland of the Makushi and earlier peoples dating back almost 7,000 years ago. Village neighbours include the Makushi villages of Kwaimatta, Massara, Yupukari, Toka, and Simoni. Several prominent explorers and naturalists have written about their experiences here, including Robert and Richard Schomburgk, Charles Waterton, Evelyn Waugh, Gerald Durrell, and David Attenborough. Lake Amuku, not far from Karanambu, was once considered by Sir Walter Raleigh, and later by Alexander von Humboldt, and others to be the location of Lake Parime on whose banks the golden city of “El Dorado” was said to be located.
The romance of the Rupununi pioneers lives on at Karanambu. The compound has the flavour of an Amerindian Village. Because of the remoteness of Karanambu, staff live on site and the children can be seen and heard on the weekends and holidays when they come “home” from schools in the nearby villages of Yupakari, Kwaimatta and Massara. This feeling of community is further enhanced by the accommodations, which are traditionally made clay brick cabins. Each private cabin can accommodate two people and includes private bathroom and Veranda with hammocks.
With both the river and the savannahs close at hand there is a wide variety of activities to be enjoyed at Karanambu. You are free to determine what you want to do based on your interests, the time of year and whether the guides have found anything especially unique and interesting to see. Two guided excursions are provided each day — one early in the morning and another late in the afternoon and into the evening. As well as being the coolest times to be out, these are usually the best times to see the different birds and animals. Trips may be on the river by boat, on the savannahs by Land Rover or along forest trails on foot to the different ponds in the area.
Late in the afternoon we will travel by boat to look for wild Giant River Otters and as dusk falls to the ponds to see the giant Victoria amazonica water lily, bloom at dusk. On the return trip we will spotlight for Black Caiman and birds and creatures of the night. Overnight at Karanambu Lodge. BLD
Day 5 - Tuesday
This morning we may make an early start to reach an area of rolling grasslands, which is home to a population of giant anteaters. With luck we shall locate one of these six-foot long animals excavating its breakfast from one of the red termite mounds that stud the savannah. The giant anteater, also known as the ant bear, is a large insectivorous mammal native to Central and South America. It is recognizable by its elongated snout, bushy tail, long fore-claws and distinctively 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, aggressive interactions between males, and when mating. Mother anteaters carry their offspring on their backs until weaning them.
An evening visit to a nearby pond to see hundreds of Ibis, Anhinga, Heron and Egret roosting (only in rainy season) is a highlight. If you are interested in bird watching you can explore woodland patches or gallery forest along the river where we’ll hope to find such species as Spotted Puffbird, Striped Woodcreeper, Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, Golden-spangled Piculet, Bearded Tachuri and Capuchinbird. A feature bird for the area is Agami Heron. An evening walk along the airstrip offers seven species of nightjar and among the grasslands the Double-striped Thick-knees. Overnight at Karanambu Lodge. BLD
Day 6 - Wednesday
In the event you did not see a giant anteater the previous morning, there is time to travel out to search the savannah again. Or explore the Rupununi River in search of wild Giant River Otters, Black Caiman and Arapaima, making a boat journey along quiet stretches of river. Return to the lodge for breakfast before departure.
From Karanambu we take a boat trip on the Rupununi River to Ginep Landing. Depending on the river level, this trip offers an excellent opportunity to look for Giant Otters as there are several family groups which live along this stretch of the Rupununi River.
Travel north by road from Ginep Landing to the community of Surama. The Amerindian community of Surama is located in the heart of Guyana. The village is set in five square miles of savannah which is ringed by the forest covered Pakaraima Mountains. Surama’s inhabitants are mainly from the Macushi tribe and still observe many of the traditional practices of their ancestors.
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 rain forest, and have an incredible understanding of nature and how to utilize 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. Make sure to bring your flashlights to look for the eyeshine of the creatures of the night. Overnight at Surama Eco-lodge. BLD
Day 7 - Thursday
Rise before dawn for a walk across the savannah and then climb up Surama Mountain for incredible views across the village and savannah to the Pakaraima Mountains. This is not a technical climb but can be arduous, especially after rain, and not for everyone. Your guides will happily offer alternative activities if you prefer not to do this climb.
Return to the lodge for lunch and then take a three mile walk across the savannah and through the rainforest to the Burro Burro River. Your guides will then paddle you on the Burro Burro River for opportunities to observe Giant River Otters, Tapir, Tayra, Spider Monkeys and many more species. Return to the lodge for sunset. Overnight at Surama Eco-lodge. BLD
Day 8 - Friday
Enjoy dawn breaking across the rainforest. You can choose from a forest walk to look for wildlife and birds or relax around the lodge before breakfast and departure. Transfer to the airstrip to board a scheduled flight for journey over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and hundreds of miles of tropical rainforest to land at Eugene F. Correia International Airport. Pickup and transfer to the Grand Coastal Hotel.
You have an opportunity to do an optional city tour at extra cost
Day 9 - Saturday
Pickup from your hotel and transfer to Cheddi Jagan International Airport for departing flight.
2019 RATE (Per Person), double occupancy, in US$:
1 person = $4900, 2 people = $3440, 3 people = $3250, 4 people = $3035. Single supplement = $179
- airport transfers
- double or twin accommodation
- meals as listed
- limited local bar at Karanambu Lodge
- all road and river transfers
- internal flights in Guyana
- activities as described
- local guides
- Kaieteur National Park fee
- Iwokrama Forest User Fee
- Iwokrama Canopy Walkway fee
Not Included :
- items of a personal nature
- alcoholic drinks except where mentioned above
- departure tax
- international flights
Optional Georgetown City Tour:
1 person = $130, 2 people = $69 per person, 3 people = $113 per person, 4 people = $85 per person
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 crisscross the city. Your Guide will explain the unique geography of Georgetown. Being six feet below sea level Georgetown depends on the canals and Kokers for its survival.
Many 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 trimmed eaves and windows. Main Street, Georgetown provides several excellent examples of old colonial homes. Prime examples being both the Prime Minister’s residence and the State House, built in 1852.
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 building was designed by Sir Arthur Bloomfield. The story of the cathedral is told on the interior on tablets and memorials of a historical and sentimental nature: it is the tale of the history of Guyana in general and of the Diocese in particular.
At the beginning of the Avenue of the Republic stands the Public Library housed in the Carnegie Building. Other historic buildings along this promenade are the Town Hall, a splendid example of Gothic architecture, and further along are the Victoria Law Courts and St. Andrews Kirk. St. Andrew’s is the oldest surviving structure of any church in Guyana.
The famous Stabroek Market, once described as a “bizarre bazaar”, contains every conceivable item from house hold goods and gold jewellery to fresh meat and vegetables brought to town on the river daily. The clock tower can be seen for miles around and is a famous landmark.
No trip to Georgetown would be complete without a visit to the Botanical Gardens and zoo. The Botanical Gardens houses one of the most extensive collections of tropical flora in the Caribbean and are laid out with ponds, canals, kissing bridges and bandstand. It houses an especially interesting collection of palms including a unique branching palm. Over the years the zoo has become a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre and houses over one hundred different species of tropical wildlife.
We will also pay a visit to a pond either in the gardens or the National Park, to feed some Manatees. The West Indian Manatee is on the endangered list in many places, but Guyana has a very healthy and growing population.
The National Museum which contains a broad selection of our animal life portrayed in Taxidermy in beautiful old glass cases, should not be missed, nor the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology, which explains Amerindian history and life style, and houses a wonderful collection of artifacts.
The tour will include walking along the Avenues with an experienced guide who will give you the history, rumor 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.
BODY WEIGHTS : Please be advised all customers must provide us with body weights of passengers booked to travel on tour to Guyana for all internal flights. We appreciate some people are sensitive about providing their body weights, but all customers and their baggage are weighed at check-in. This is procedure by the airline so as to ensure that the weight of the load is within the payload limit for the aircraft. All passengers are subject to removal of themselves or luggage from the flight if over the weight they provided and/or over the baggage allowance. Passengers are advised to provide a body weight with clothing similar to that which they would expect to travel in on the flight. We cannot be held responsible for any passenger denied boarding or luggage not transported if they are over the weight provided. Weights supplied are provided to the airline in advance to ensure the flight is within the allowable payload.
A WORD ON VISAS : The requirement for a visa can change at any time and without notice. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the necessary visa for each country. We recommend you check the visa requirements for each country included in your itinerary. We are happy to provide advice on current requirements and even assistance in obtaining a visa on arrival or tourist cards. If you are unsure of requirements please contact us for assistance.
CONDITION RESTRAINTS : You have selected a tour that is, in part, in remote areas. This adds to the adventure and opportunity to enjoy a true nature experience. However, due to the nature of the terrain, weather, road conditions, and other elements beyond our control, some elements of tours may have to be altered. Times of some activities may need to be changed or even cancelled due to the conditions. If an activity is cancelled it will be replaced with an alternative activity that is more appropriate for the conditions. Advance notice will be given for any changes where possible, although at times changes may be made whilst the tour is in progress.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
AUTHORITY ON TOUR At all times the decision of the company or its representative will be final on all matters likely to endanger the safety, well-being and enjoyment of the tour. Clients must at all times strictly comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited. Should the client fail to comply with the above or commit any illegal act when on tour or, if in the company’s opinion, the client's behavior causes or is likely to cause danger, distress or annoyance to others we may terminate that client’s travel arrangements without any liability on the company’s part.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS - The Client must be in possession of a valid passport (valid 6 months past the return date), visa (where necessary), permits and certificates including vaccinations certificates, insurance policies required for the journey – the client accepts responsibility of obtaining these. Any information or advice given by the company on visas, vaccinations, clothing, special equipment, baggage, climate, etc. is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of the company.
You have selected a tour that is, in part, in remote areas. This adds to the adventure and opportunity to enjoy a true nature experience. However, due to the nature of the terrain, weather, road conditions, and other elements beyond our control, some elements of tours may have to be altered. Times of some activities may need to be changed or even cancelled due to the conditions. If an activity is cancelled it will be replaced with an alternative activity that is more appropriate for the conditions. Advance notice will be given for any changes where possible, although at times changes may be made whilst the tour is in progress.
WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS - With any trip involving wildlife it is impossible to guarantee a sighting, but each trip is designed around known habitats. Operator will make every effort to ensure a sighting, but cannot be held responsible if no sighting is made due to the wildlife itself, weather, or any other elements beyond our control.
LOCAL CULTURE - Many of the areas to be visited are remote and cultures of the people most likely different to what you are accustomed to. These communities welcome visitors under the conditions that their customs, habits and rituals are respected at all times. Operator will endeavor to provide appropriate guidance to visitors as to correct behavior whilst in these communities. The company reserves the right to cancel a visitor’s tour, at any time, should their behavior be inappropriate and offensive to the local communities.
ACCEPTANCE OF RISK & RESPONSIBILITY - Nature and adventure travel is by character, an activity that requires travelling in areas that are often remote and the terrain difficult. Whilst every precaution is taken to ensure the comfort and safety of our customers, these trips do have elements of risk. By taking part in this tour you acknowledge that there are inherent risks and that you are fully aware of the conditions of travel, accommodation and activities offered. You accept that operator, its staff and sub-contractors cannot be held liable for any accident, illness or similar occurrence. You hereby accept all such risk and release the company from all claims and causes of action arising from any injuries or damages resulting from these inherent risks.
FORCE MAJEURE - The company will do its best to minimise the effects of matters outside its control but cannot accept liability of these matters which include political disputes, industrial action, refusal of visas, border closures, unforeseeable climate, delayed or cancelled flights etc.
TRAVEL INSURANCE - It is the client’s responsibility to obtain adequate personal travel insurance. This insurance should, as a minimum, cover personal accident, medical expenses and repatriation expenses. It is recommended that the coverage extends to include loss of effects, curtailment, cancellation and all other expenses which might arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, delay or inconvenience occurring to the client.
PAYMENT - All rates are quoted in US dollars, unless otherwise stated. Rates are correct at the time of publishing, but are subject to change without notice. Due to fluctuating world fuel prices internal airfares cannot be guaranteed and rate is therefore subject to change. Every effort will be made to maintain quoted rate. A deposit of 20% is required to confirm any booking and balance of payment is due 30 days prior to commencement of trip.
CANCELLATION BY THE CLIENT - Any cancellation by the client must be in writing and acknowledged by opertor. The date on which the correspondence is received will determine the loss of any monies applicable.