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Three Guianas Experience (19 days / 18 nts)

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Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock | Three Guianas Experience

Places Visited:
v/   Paramaribo
v/   Georgetown
v/   Kaieteur Falls
v/   Essequibo
v/   Orinduik Falls
v/   Karanambu
v/   Iwokrama
v/   Surama
v/   Commewijne River
v/   Devil´s Islands
v/   Kourou
v/   Cayenne
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A marvellous trip embracing the three Guianas, each quite different, in a comprehensive tour that takes in the wildlife, culture and scenery of each country. Can be done as a regular group tour (min 4 passengers) or privately.
Day 1:Paramaibo, Suriname (Tue)
Day 2: Georgetown, Guyana (Wed)
Day 3: Kaieteur Falls (Thur)
Day 4:Rupununi savannah (Fri)
Day 5:Rupununi savannah (Sat)
Day 6:Rupununi savannah (Sun)
Day 7:Rupununi savannah - Iwokrama (Mon)
Day 8:Iwokrama - Surama (Tues)
Day 9:Surama - Georgetown (Wed)
Day 10:Paramaribo, Suriname (Thur)
Day 11:Awarradam (Fri)
Day 12:Awarradam (Sat)
Day 13:Awarradam (Sun)
Day 14:Awarradam - Paramaribo (Mon)
Day 15:Commewijne River (Tues)
Day 16:French Guiana - St Laurent du Maroni - Kourou (Wed)
Day 17:Devil Island (Thur)
Day 18:Arian Space Centre (Fri)
Day 19: Cayenne (Sat)

Day 1:  Paramaibo, Suriname (Tue)
Arrive in Suriname and transfer to Paramaribo.  Overnight at Eco Resort Inn.

(Included meals : N / A)
Day 2:  Georgetown, Guyana (Wed)
Transfer to the airport for flight to Guyana.  Transfer to Georgetown.  Check into hotel.  Enjoy an afternoon 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. Overnight at Zoom Inn.

(Included meals : Breakfast)
Day 3:  Kaieteur Falls (Thur)
This morning depart for a flight to Kaieteur Falls which is 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.  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 by the centuries of water, hidden behind the eternal curtain of falling water.  The trip then continues onto Orinduik Falls is 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 at Zoom Inn. 

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 4:  Rupununi savannah (Fri)
This morning transfer to the Ogle Airport for a flight to Karanambu airstrip.  Pickup and transfer by vehicle to the Amerindian village of Yupukari and Caiman House.  Caiman House 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. 

Tonight enjoy a foray on the Rupununi River from Caiman House Field Station.  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. 

During periods of high water it is difficult to capture Caiman so you will have another 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( i.e arrawana, piranha). Sleeping birds (kingfishers, small perching birds) nightjars, potoos, Boat-billed Herons and other aquatic birds, bats, (harmless) spiders, insects, moths, and more 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 (esp. squirrel monkeys) amongst other mammals. Few nights pass without some unusual offering.  Overnight at Caiman House. 

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5:  Rupununi savannah (Sat)
This morning we will have some time to visit the village, to learn about their way of life.  After breakfast transfer by boat to Karanambu Ranch.  This is the home of Diane McTurk, widely known for her work in rehabilitating orphaned, giant river otters to the wild.  Diane and her otters have appeared on National Geographic, Jeff Corwin Experience, Really Wild Show (BBC) and the Calgary’s “Zoo World”.  Karanambu has a long history of visiting naturalists and Diane’s father, Tiny McTurk, has welcomed David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell (Three Singles to Adventure). 

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 Regis waterlily, bloom at dusk.  On the return trip we will spotlight for Black Caiman and birds and creatures of the night.  Dinner with Diane will include stories on the history of the family and the Rupununi Savannahs.  Overnight at Karanambu Ranch.

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6:  Rupununi savannah (Sun)
Diane sometimes has resident orphaned otters and you can help her as she tends to them. Optionally you can visit Simoni Pond for some of the best inland fishing in Guyana including Peacock Bass or explore the flooded forest or savannah. Visits can be made to nearby ponds for birdwatching 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. 

If you are interested in birdwatching 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.  When water levels are appropriate a wooded swamp near the ranch is the site of a surprisingly large colony of Boat-billed Herons, as well as several species of Egrets, Anhingas and Wattled Jacarnas. A feature bird for the area is Agami Heron. Overnight at Karanambu Ranch. 

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7:  Rupununi savannah - Iwokrama (Mon)
This morning travel out onto the savannah to search for a Giant Anteater.  After breakfast we travel slowly on the Rupununi River by boat and this should give us another excellent opportunity to look for various river-edge, wetland and open country bird species.  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.  Both Black and Spectacled Caimans also inhabit the river and several species of monkey including Red Howler, White-faced Saki and Squirrel Monkey can be found in the riverside trees. 

Eventually we reach Ginep Landing and transfer by vehicle to a trail in the Iwokrama Forest to hopefully see the amazingly brilliant Guianian Cock-of-the-rock.  It is an easy 20 minute walk, to hopefully have a great view of the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock.  Most trips see at least one male and often the female or even a juvenile on the nest. 

Then continue our journey to the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway which allows you to view the forest from 35m up in the canopy.  Although the forest around Atta Rainforest Lodge is excellent for birds, the major attraction here is a 154 metre long canopy walkway which is only 750m from the lodge.  The walkway has four platforms, the highest of which is over 30 metres above the ground, and these will allow us to get great looks at a range of canopy species, many of which we would struggle to see well from the forest floor. 

Amongst the likely highlights are Painted, Brown-throated and Golden-winged Parakeets, Caica Parrot, Guianan Puffbird, Waved and Golden-collared Woodpeckers and Spot-tailed, Todd’s and Ash-winged Antwrens.  The walkway is also an excellent place to look for various species of cotinga including the poorly known and range-restricted Dusky Purpletuft and if there are any suitable fruiting trees nearby, we stand a good chance of seeing this bird, as well as the more widespread Purple-breasted Cotinga. 

Experience the activity in the mid and upper canopy of the forest and see darkness settle over the forest.  From this tree top vantage you can sometimes see Red Howler Monkeys and Black Spider Monkeys.  As darkness falls on the Canopy Walkway, we will hope to see the White-winged Potoo.  Overnight at Atta Rainforest Lodge. 

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8:  Iwokrama - Surama (Tues)
Welcome the dawn chorus from the canopy walkway.  Short-tailed Nighthawks settle in for the day, Swifts take to the sky, White throated and Channel-billed Toucans yodel, and Barred Forest Falcons call.  The unusually timid Black Curassow can also be seen as at least one family party has become habituated and regularly feeds in the clearing of Atta Rainforest Lodge.  Another area where we will want to spend some time is the clearing around the lodge, as this is one of the best places to see another of Guyana’s “must see” birds, the Crimson Fruitcrow.  This species is seen here on a reasonably regular basis, as it often comes to feed in some of the nearby trees. 

After breakfast we will travel along the road through the heart of the Iwokrama Forest, where there is a good chance to see the elusive Jaguar. The Iwokrama forest is rapidly gaining an international reputation for its healthy jaguar populations that seem not to be troubled by the appearance of curious humans. No promises, but many have been lucky!  We will then visit a nearby Harpy Eagle nest. 

The nest itself is located in a huge emergent tree only a couple of miles from the village and if we are extremely fortunate, we may see one of the adult birds bringing a sloth or monkey to the nest to feed their chick.  The trek into the nest site is about an hour each way on a reasonable trail.  The journey continues by road to the Amerindian community of Surama.

Surama village is set in five square miles of savannah and surrounded by the densely forested Pakaraima Mountains. Surama’s inhabitants are mainly from the Macushi tribe and still observe many of the traditional practices of their forebears.  On arrival in Surama receive a welcome from a village counsellor and settle into your accommodation.  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. As the afternoon cools a local guide will escort you for a short walk on trails to observe the forest and bird life.  See the forest through the eyes of your indigenous guide and learn about the medicinal plants and their uses in the Amerindian culture.  Tonight enjoy an educational walk to observe wildlife and experience the mystique of the forest after dark.  Overnight at Surama Eco Lodge. 

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9:  Surama - Georgetown (Wed)
Rise before dawn for a walk across the savannah and then 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 look out point which affords incredible views across the village and savannah to the Pakaraima Mountains.  After breakfast transfer to Rock View Lodge at Annai.  After an early lunch take a flight back to Georgetown.  Overnight at Ocean Spray Hotel. 

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 10:  Paramaribo, Suriname (Thur)
Transfer to the airport for Blue Wings flight to Zorg-en-Hoop Airport in Paramaribo and transfer to Eco Resort Inn.  This afternoon we take you on a Paramaribo City tour.  By bus and on foot you will visit one of the most attractive cities of South America, Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname with its magnificent architecture, which is a World UNESCO site. During this tour you will visit the Fort Zeelandia museum, the Palm Gardens, the Waterfront and the Central Market.  Naturally, you will also see the many historical buildings like the recently renovated Presidential Palace, the Mosque and Synagogue next to each other and the magnificent Hindi Temple.  Overnight at Eco Resort Inn. 

(Included meals : Breakfast)
Day 11:  Awarradam (Fri)
This morning transfer to the local airport for a chartered flight to Kayana airstrip, approximately 60 minutes southwards by airplane from Paramaribo. Upon arrival a hearty welcome from the Maroons who will guide you to the dugout canoe for a trip on the Gran Rio River, past the farthest village in the area, to your destination. 

Awarradam Jungle Lodge located on a small island, at the foot of the Awarradam Rapids, is reached after a 30 minute journey by dugout canoe. After your check-in and meeting with the personnel at the jungle lodge, you will enjoy lunch after which, in the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to explore the resort and relax in the rapids.

You will soon discover the eco tourism starting points of our resort: the personnel consists of friendly Maroons from the Saramaccan tribe and your jungle lodge is built in the traditional style. The cool evenings make air-conditioning or a fan redundant but you will enjoy the comfort of a mosquito net. The evenings are spent in an atmospheric ambiance with kerosene lamps and the meals are prepared in the local manner with primarily local ingredients. On your first night the guide will provide information about the Saramaccan culture.  Overnight at Awarradam Jungle Lodge. 

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 12:  Awarradam (Sat)
After breakfast, we take you on an informative and adventurous “jungle walk”. While you are enjoying the environment in the pristine tropical rainforest, the guide provides information about the various trees and plants and how you can recognize animals by their sounds and footmarks. After a sturdy walk back at the jungle lodge, lunch will be served after which you have the opportunity to enjoy leisure time by swimming in the rapids, peddle in a dugout canoe or relax in a hammock. In the afternoon, departure by dugout canoe to Stonhuku, the farthest village in the living area of the Saramaccan, followed by a walk in the jungle via various villages to Kayana village.

During this trip you have the opportunity to get to know the local people, their culture and lifestyle. Upon arrival in Kayana, meet and greet by the village authority and invitation to enjoy dinner and a performance of cultural singing and dancing. The guide will explain the songs and the dancers will greatly appreciate it if you try out their dance style yourself! After the cultural evening, departure by dug out canoe, for the return trip, under the starry sky, to Awarradam.  Overnight at Awarradam Jungle Lodge.

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13:  Awarradam (Sun)
A full day for an adventurous trip on the river awaits you. After breakfast, all necessary goods for the trip are loaded in the dug out canoe and you depart to Gran Dam, the largest rapid, north of Kayana. You have the opportunity to relax in the magnificent seething rapids, take beautiful walks in the area and more adventurous travelers may try to prove themselves in the rapids (depending on the water level).

After enjoying this impressive morning, lunch served on location will be the perfect closing of the trip. During the return trip, you will get a chance to see some of the animal inhabitants of the forest such as the howler monkey or arras, parrots or toucans flying over. Maybe you will even see a caiman basking in the sun on one of the riverbanks. Overnight at Awarradam Jungle Lodge.

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 14:  Awarradam - Paramaribo (Mon)
Morning free with opportunity to paddle in a dug out canoe, swim or take a short walk in the forest or just relax and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the rainforest. The personnel will say goodbye to you in their traditional manner. You will depart with the dug out canoe to Kayana for your lunch and return flight to Paramaribo.  Overnight Eco Resort Inn. 

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 15:  Commewijne River (Tues)
Today we take you 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; Rust en Werk; the Thilapia fishery and Agricultural projects in Alkmaar, Katwijk and surroundings. You will see fishermen in the area pull in their shrimping and you will visit the fish-smokery. Overnight Eco Resort Inn. 

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 16:  French Guiana - St Laurent du Maroni - Kourou (Wed)
Transfer by road along the coast to the French Guiana border in a private bus.  Cross the border by small boat.  Welcome at customs in St Laurent.  Mini city tour of St. Laurent du Maroni with a visit of the church in Iracoubo. Continue on by private bus to Kourou.  From the original village of 600 inhabitants 40 years ago, Kourou has turned into a town of 20,000 people, the second largest town in French Guiana. Even if only 1,500 people are working at the space center (more than half of them are natives), almost all the activities in the town are related to the space center.  About one third of the population is European, mainly from France. Overnight at Hotel des Roches. 

(Included meals : Breakfast)
Day 17:  Devil Island (Thur)
Depart from the hotel for an excursion to Devil Island by scheduled Catamaran for a visit to St. Joseph and Royal Islands.  Located at about 15 km in open sea from the coast of Kourou, Royal Island, the island of St Joseph and Devil Island itself together constitute the archipelago of the Salvation Islands. These islands were the headquarters of the penal colony. On Royal Island, many old buildings from the penal administration are still standing from 1946 when it was last used as a prison.  The old Commandant house has been restored as a museum by the French administration and presents a many historical documents relating to this period. 

Part of the buildings, for example the guards houses, have been renovated as part of the Inn providing accommodation for visitors.  The old Officers Mess is now the restaurant, with views over Devil Island itself.  A guided tour of the island includes the museum, main buildings, children cemetery, convict building, guards house, jails, etc.  Transfer by boat to Saint Joseph Island which accommodated the penal reclusion cells, for the most dangerous prisoners, or those who tried to escape.  Devil Island itself was dedicated to political prisoners (Dreyfuss was the most famous), and its access, very difficult, is strictly forbidden.  It can be viewed from both St. Joseph and Royal Islands.  Afternoon Catamaran back to the mainland. Overnight at Hotel des Roches. 

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 18:  Arian Space Centre (Fri)
Transfer to Kourou to visit the Arian Space Centre. Tour the main installations from 0800 to 1100, followed by a guided visit of the museum. Lunch in Kourou.  Transfer to Cayenne. Overnight at Hotel Amazonia in the heart of the city. 

(Included meals : Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 19:  Cayenne (Sat)
Enjoy a city tour of Cayenne, which is the administrative and commercial center of French Guiana.  At the same time, it is a typical creole town with about 50,000 inhabitants, half of the entire population of the country.  The Fort Cépérou, the Place Léopold Heder, the hotel of the Jésuites, the Place de Grenoble, the Place des Palmistes, the colonial hospital, the Franconie Museum, the town hall and the city center are the gems of Cayenne.  We will also visit of the traditional market, full of exotic odors, as well as an opportunity for shopping.  Transfer to the airport for departing flight from Cayenne.

(Included meals : Breakfast)
Trip type:
  Private service
   Tuesday or anyday if private Departures 2011
4 to 22 Jan
3 to 21 May
2 to 20 Aug
6 to 24 Sep