Grand Guyana Adventure
This Grand Guyana Adventure showcases all three ‘Guianas’ - Guyana (formerly British Guiana), Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana) and French Guiana. These countries represent one of the last frontiers of South America and boast great rum, cricket and music. It’s also the land of cowboys (vacqueros) and has a high diversity of bird and animal life. All of these lie on South America’s North Atlantic coast, with one of the largest unspoiled rainforests in South America.
Begin with a tour of Georgetown in Guyana, the only English speaking country on the continent. Take excursions to view Kaieteur & Orinduik Falls, then transfer to Paramaribo in Suriname. Cruise on the Commewijne River past Old Dutch colonial plantations before transferring to French Guiana, an overseas department of France. Colourful Creole houses with wrought-iron balconies surround the palm-filled main square. Nearby, are the ruins of the French colonial Fort Cépérou.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS ON THIS 14-DAY GRAND GUYANA ADVENTURE…
And, visit Devil’s Island, where Papillion was famously incarcerated.
Guyana, Suriname & French Guiana
(14 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive
Georgetown Meet and greet in Guyana and transfer to Georgetown, the chief port and capital, situated on the banks of the Demerara River Estuary. The Dutch fortified this location to guard their early settlements and also largely designed the city in a rectangular pattern with wide tree lined avenues and irrigation canals that crisscross the city.
Stay at Cara Lodge, one of the oldest wooden buildings in Georgetown which has become the best known hotel in the country. Former guests include President Jimmy Carter and HRH Prince Charles.
Overnight: Cara Lodge
Day 2 – Nature & Wildlife Tour
Karanambu Ranch Fly from Georgetown to Karanambu Ranch in the North Rupununi savannahs. This is the home of Diane McTurk, widely known for her work in rehabilitating orphaned, giant river otters to the wild. A Mecca for naturalists, Diane’s father has been associated with David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell. The settlement has the flavour of an Amerindian village, with its clay brick and palm thatched cabanas set in a compound between the bush and the open range. Guyana's best inland fishing is close by at Simoni Pond, where Peacock Bass is a favourite catch. Boating through the flooded forest offers unparalleled opportunities to observe the unique ecosystem. Excellent bird watching is available on the savannah, in the gallery forest and in particular in Crane Pond.
Today’s generation of Edward and Melanie McTurk are your hosts, leaving Diane more time developing the Karanambu Trust, work with her otters and her writings. She will however join you for dinner to share stories of her family’s remarkable work and the Rupununi Savannahs.
Overnight in Karanambu Ranch. (B, L, D)
Day 3 – Nature & Wildlife Tour
Karanambu Ranch Diane sometimes has resident orphaned otters and you can help her as she tends to them and today you have the option to visit nearby ponds for bird watching and to view the Victoria Amazonica, the world’s largest water lily and Guyana’s national flower. Explore the Rupununi River in search of wild Giant River Otters, Black Caiman and Arapaima. An evening visit to Crane Pond to see hundreds of Ibis, Anhinga, Heron and Egret roosting is a highlight.
Overnight in Karanambu Ranch. (B, L, D)
Day 4 – Culture Tour
Surama Travel by boat along the Rupununi River, then by 4WD to the Amerindian community of Surama, 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.
On arrival in Surama receive a welcome from a village counsellor and settle into your accommodation. 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.
Overnight in Surama Eco Lodge. (B, L, D)
Day 5 – Explore the Rainforest
Surama Enjoy a day exploring the rainforest, mountains and savannah around Surama. Rise before dawn for a walk across the savannah and then the gentle climb up Surama Mountain in the cool morning air. This is the best time to observe bird life along the trail. Breakfast will be served at a lookout point which affords incredible views across the village and savannah to the Pakaraima Mountains.
Return to village 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, Tira, Spider Monkeys and many more species. Return to village before sunset.
Overnight in Surama Eco Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Try Canopy Walkway
Georgetown Pre-dawn departure to the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway to welcome the dawn chorus from 35 metres up in the tree tops. Breakfast is at the Canopy walkway before departing by 4WD for Annai. Lunch at Rock View Lodge before an afternoon flight to Georgetown.
Overnight in Cara Lodge (B, L)
Day 7 – Kaieteur & Orinduik Falls
Georgetown Morning flight to Kaieteur Falls, situated in the heart of Guyana on the Potaro River, a tributary of the Essequibo. The water of Kaieteur, one of the worlds natural wonders, flows over a sandstone conglomerate tableland into a deep gorge – a drop of 822 feet or 5 times the height of Niagara Falls. See if you can spot the tiny Golden Frog which spends its entire life in the world’s largest bromeliads in this unique micro environment. You 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.
The trip then continues onto Orinduik Falls where the Ireng River thunders over steps and terraces of solid jasper, a semi precious stone. With a backdrop of the rolling grass covered hills of the Pakaraima Mountains, this is truly one of the most beautiful locations in Guyana’s hinterland. The Ireng River forms the border between Brazil and Guyana. In contrast to Kaieteur, Orinduik is ideally suited for swimming and you will find natural Jacuzzi’s as the falls tumble down the steps of Jasper.
Overnight in Cara Lodge. (B, L)
Day 8 – Transfer
Paramaribo/ Suriname Enjoy a morning Georgetown city tour, highlighting the extraordinary wooden architecture and to shop in its exciting markets and craft shops.
The tour will continue with a visit of the Cathedral, the tallest wooden building in the world, the museum and other historic buildings. Afternoon flight to Paramaribo, the capital and largest city of Suriname, located on the banks of the Suriname River.
Overnight in the Eco Resort Inn (B)
Day 9 – Cruise Commewijne River
Paramaribo Today you cruise on the Commewijne River past Old Dutch colonial plantations of which some are still active. You will visit the Nieuw Amsterdam museum; Marienburg, the oldest sugar-cane plantation in Suriname, fishery and Agricultural projects and you will see fishermen in the area pull in their shrimp nets.
Overnight in the Eco Resort Inn. (B, L)
Day 10 – Blakawatra Recreation Resort
Jodensavanne This morning you will travel approximately 70km to the south of Paramaribo, where on the bank of the Suriname River, lies Jodensavanne. This former Jewish settlement was named after the people who settled in this savannah area around 1650. It has the ruins of the most ancient synagogue in all the Americas. Not far is Blakawatra, a recreation resort with swimming facilities in the refreshing creek which is rich in minerals.
Overnight in the Eco Resort Inn. (B, L)
Day 11 – Transfer
Kourou/ French Guiana Travel along the coast from Paramaribo to the French Guiana border. Welcome at customs in St Laurent and travel to Kourou, 60 km northwest of the Capital Cayenne at the mouth of the Kourou River on the Atlantic coast. Take a short city tour of St. Laurent du Maroni and visit the church in Iracoubo.
Overnight at Hotel des Roches (B,L)
Day 12 – Kourou Space Centre
Kourou Transfer to Kourou to visit Space Centre. Tour the main installations before visiting the museum. Lunch at the Relais Spatial, near the Spatial Center.
Overnight at Hotel des Roches. (B, L)
Day 13 – Devils Island
Kourou Depart from the hotel for a full day excursion to Devil’s Islands, site of some of the most infamous prisons in history, by schedule Catamaran. Visit St Joseph and Royale Island and lunch at the guest house at the latter. Guided visit of the island exploring the museum, main buildings, children’s cemetery, convict building, guards house, jails, etc. Return to Kourou by Catamaran at 1700.
Overnight in Hotel des Roches. (B, L)
Day 14 – Depart
Cayenne Take a private transfer to the Cayenne airport and connect with your onward flight. (B)
Make this your holiday
Getting There There are no direct flights to Guyana from the UK; all flights from Europe are routed through the Caribbean, Suriname or the USA. It’s possible to fly from Europe to Guyana via Trinidad or Barbados, hence it is easier to combine a Caribbean stay with your trip to Guyana. Travelling from South American countries to Guyana (except Suriname and northern Brazil) is difficult. As strange as it sounds, all flights entails transferring through Trinidad, Barbados or the USA.
When to go The best time to visit Guyana is during the dry season that occurs between February-April and July-November. Late August is a good time to see Kaieteur Falls, as the discharge of water over the falls is greatest. Inland in the higher plateaux areas there is less rainfall and generally there is a single rainy season from April to September, although all months get some rain. Guyana, along with Surinam and French Guiana have coastlines on the Atlantic, which are open to the influence of the moist northeast trade winds bringing the heaviest rains in the months of May to June and November to January with an average rainfall of about 90 inches.