Guyana and Suriname - rainforest, savanna and coast
A visit to one of the world’s last great wildernesses: a spirit of adventure will be rewarded!
8 – 25 October 2020
To be confirmed
Return flights: London Heathrow to Paramaribo. Local transport as specified in itinerary including internal flights. Fourteen nights’ accommodation, full board basis.
Drinks and refreshments. Gratuities. Travel insurance.
To be confirmed.
A visit to one of the world’s last great wildernesses, the unspoilt rainforests and savanna of Guyana, combined with time in little-visited Suriname: a spirit of adventure will be well rewarded!
This trip will explore different habitats to provide a spectacular variety of wildlife. We will visit the wonderful Kaieteur Falls, and enjoy a tour of Guyana’s capital Georgetown to see the distinctive wooden colonial style buildings that give the city its unique character.
During the trip we will find a wealth of birds including parrots, toucans, hummingbirds such as the beautiful Crimson Topaz and perhaps the magnificent Harpy Eagle. Mammals that we can hope to come across include howler and spider monkeys, White-lipped Peccaries, Giant River Otter and Giant Anteater.
We will spend time at the Iwokrama Research Station, which sits at the centre of a million acres of rainforest; Surama community lodge which is run by the Macushi Tribe; and Karanambu Ranch, home of the late Diane McTurk who has done much to protect and rehabilitate Giant River Otters in Guyana.
This holiday offer the opportunity to visit one of the last great wilderness areas on the planet. The infrastructure is not so developed as other South American countries and away from the coastal area there are few roads so transport is often by boat and small plane. Where we travel by vehicle the roads are mainly tracks. The accommodation is basic but clean, the food is excellent and the people are wonderful.
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Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.
Day 1 Fly from the UK via Amsterdam arriving in Paramaribo in mid afternoon, transferring to Marienburg and crossing by boat to Frederiksdorp.
Day 2 An opportunity to explore Frederiksdorp and learn more about its history and culture. After lunch we will take a boat trip to Margaretha, looking out for the pink-bellied Guiana Dolphins that live in the waters here.
Day 3 We sail back to Marienburg and transfer to the airport for our flight to Georgetown in Guyana. This afternoon we take a scheduled flight over hundreds of miles of unbroken tropical rainforest to the magnificent Kaieteur Falls.
Day 4 We fly south to Fair View and transfer to Iwokrama River Lodge set overlooking the Essequibo River amid a vast rainforest wilderness of one million acres. We explore the local trails looking for many interesting birds including some true specialities of the Guianas. After dark we will take a trip on the river looking for caiman, owls, potoo and nightjars.
Day 5 We have an early start to take a trip along the Essequibo River. We then travel towards Turtle Mountain where we have the option to walk up to enjoy the views over the canopy. Alternatively a boat trip can be taken to Stanley Lake to search for Giant River Otters. During the afternoon we will visit Kurupukari Falls by boat.
Day 6 Today we set off in 4×4 vehicles along a road where birds such as Guianan Puffbird, Crimson Topaz and Green Oropendola can be found. This is also a good area to spot Jaguar (fingers crossed!), along with other mammals including Tayra and Tapir. Finishing our journey at Atta Rainforest Lodge we will have time to explore the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway.
Day 7 An early start brings us back to the canopy for dawn, before a day of exploring the trails around the area where we hope to encounter birds, amphibians and mammals including Black Spider Monkey, Tapir and Agouti. There is also a walk here with the trees named and information about how they are used by the Macushi people who have lived in these forests for thousands of years.
Day 8 We have another opportunity to enjoy the dawn chorus from the canopy before we set off along a short trail to look for Guianan Cock-of-the-rock. We will then transfer to the Amerindian community of Surama, set among savanna.
Day 9 An early start for anyone that wishes to climb up Surama Mountain to enjoy views over the savanna and the Pakaraima Mountains. After lunch at the lodge we walk across the savanna and through the rainforest to the Burro Burro River, where we will paddle out looking for Giant River Otters and other mammals.
Day 10 Following breakfast we transfer to Ginep Landing to join a boat trip on the Rupununi River to Karanambu Lodge. The expansive wetlands surrounding the lodge are a hotspot for wildlife with over 200 species of mammals and 600 species of birds.
Day 11 Today we visit an area of rolling grasslands where we hope to find Giant Anteaters ambling among the termite mounds. In the evening there will be an opportunity to look for night birds: on a good evening it is possible to see seven species of nightjar and nighthawk, as well as Double-striped Thick-Knee.
Day 12 There will be an opportunity to revisit the savanna before our departure to nearby Yupukari village. Our new home is Caiman House Field Station where we have an opportunity to participate in field study on the endangered Black Caiman.
Day 13 We transfer by vehicle to Lethem and then on to the Ireng River. Our day will include a 4×4 journey to search for Hoary-throated Spinetail and Rio Branco Antbird in the gallery forests alongside the Rio Branco, before we fly back to Georgetown.
Day 14 An early start sees us travelling east along the Atlantic coast to the Mahaica River where a journey out on the river gives us a chance to spot Blood-coloured Woodpecker and Guyana’s national bird: the prehistoric-looking Hoatzin, found in abundance along this river system. During the afternoon we will cruise along the Demerara River to an area of mangroves used by roosting egrets.
Day 15 Today gives us an opportunity to explore Georgetown with a market and city tour to learn more about the local history and culture before lunch, followed by a visit to search for West Indian Manatees.
Day 16 This morning we see dawn rise over the extensive and beautiful Guyana Botanical Gardens. Red-bellied and Red-shouldered Macaws can be found in the gardens, along with a host of parrots including Orange-winged, Yellow-crowned and Festive Parrots. We then fly from Georgetown back to Paramaribo.
Day 17 An opportunity to take a guided tour of Paramaribo before our evening flight back to the UK (arriving Day 18).
Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities at the discretion of the leaders.
Accommodation at the lodges is clean and comfortable, with en-suite facilities and very good food: however, in comparison with lodges in more developed countries such as Costa Rica you should be prepared for the accommodation to be a little more basic.
Iwokrama River Lodge has wooden lodges based around the grounds with a restaurant and study area. Atta Rainforest Lodge is a small centre where the accommodation has been built in the last five years. Surama Eco-Lodge was built and is run by the Amerindian Community and you will stay in traditional round wooden lodges. Caiman House is a combination guest-lodge and education centre, with rooms situated around a central lounge area and in an annex building. Karanambu Lodge has wooden lodges with a lovely central area to eat and some very tempting hammocks! Cara Lodge is a comfortable hotel, in one of the oldest buildings in Georgetown. Single rooms are available at all lodges except possibly Karanambu Lodge (two nights). The SRS does not take into account a single at this lodge. Single availability here will only be known when final group numbers are known and, if available, there may be an extra charge. Singles are limited at all other lodges too so please talk to us if you want a single room. We will discuss the options for sharing with you.
Group flights are with KLM via Amsterdam, as follows:
8th October depart London Heathrow 06.30, arrive Amsterdam 09.00, depart Amsterdam 11.15, arrive Paramaribo 15.15 (9th)
24th October depart Paramaribo 17.55, arrive Amsterdam 07.50 (25th), depart Amsterdam 10.15, arrive London Heathrow 10.45
It may be possible to fly from other regional airports, including Bristol and Manchester (prices may differ): ask us about options.
We will fly between Suriname and Guyana on scheduled flights with Gum Air/Trans Guyana Airways, who run daily flights between the two capitals.
Guyana is four hours and Suriname three hours behind the UK.
You must have a valid passport for this trip, valid for at least six months from the date of your final entry into Suriname (23rd October). British nationals do not need visas to visit Guyana. Visitors are generally given 30 days to remain in Guyana, although you may be asked to show evidence of return/onward travel.
You will need a visa to enter Suriname. Alternatively, if you’re travelling for the purposes of tourism, you can get a tourist card for stays of up to 90 days. As of April 2019, you can apply for an e-visa or e-tourist card via the official Suriname e-visa website before you travel.
For holders of other passports please check with your embassy.
We will be travelling in the ‘dry’ season and therefore should expect clear days with little rain. Temperatures are nearly constant all year, around 28-29C in the day and 22-24C at night. However, this is a tropical country, we may experience a mixture of weather conditions. We will adapt our itinerary to the weather as much as possible.
You need to have a reasonable level of general fitness to be able to participate in this holiday.
Although most of the walks are not long, you need to be comfortable to be out for 3-4 hours in tropical conditions and heat. The climb up to Turtle Mountain (optional) may be a little strenuous, although the view is worth it at the top! You should also feel comfortable about walking on a safe aerial walkway (optional). Lightweight walking boots are highly recommended for all excursions.
Malaria is present throughout Guyana. The area we visit in Suriname is currently classified as low risk for malaria. You should speak to your GP about anti-malarial prophylaxis for the duration of your stay in Guyana.
There is a risk of Yellow Fever transmission throughout both Guyana and Suriname. A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required when arriving in Guyana from Suriname and vice versa.
Dengue Fever and Zika Virus are also both present in the areas we visit, and you should take precautions against mosquito bites throughout the holiday.
You should consult your GP at least eight weeks before departure about travel inoculations, including typhoid and hepatitis. General inoculations for overseas travel are recommended. You must drink only purified drinking water at all times.
We will be walking for at least some of each day, as well as taking excursions by safari vehicle. You need to be able to get in and out of small boats and planes comfortably and the holiday is therefore not suitable for people with significantly limited mobility.
This holiday offers a fantastic opportunity to see one of the last pristine rainforest areas in the world but a spirit of adventure is needed to take part. The weather and general nature of the country might involve changing plans and itineraries, but anyone prepared to accept unforeseen situations will be rewarded with a truly memorable experience.