UK – Guyana
From London you’ll fly directly to Georgetown to be met and driven to your hotel.
Stay: One night in a double room at Cara Lodge.
A short flight will take you from the charming bustle of Guyana’s largest city to the stunning countryside of North Rupununi. You’ll be staying in what was once a working cattle ranch but is now a handsome lodge offering easy access to a whole range of diverse environments.
Wildlife-rich wetlands, river systems, forests and rolling savannah will be on your doorstep – giving you a marvellous opportunity to see and photograph a huge range of indigenous creatures. In the North Rupununi region alone there are over 200 types of mammal, including jaguars, giant otters, black caiman, giant anteaters and arapaima.
Birdwatchers will be delighted to know that the region features spotted puffbird, striped woodcreeper, pale-bellied tyrant-manakin and golden-spangled piculet amongst its 600 recorded species of birds. And the river system has the world’s greatest range of fish.
Stay: Two nights in a standard room at Karanambu Lodge.
Now the Rupununi River becomes your highway as you cruise off to Surama Eco-lodge, watching out for giant river otters, caiman, arapaima and exotic birds along the way. You’ll disembark at Ginep Landing to be driven to the lodge on the edge of the charming Amerindian village of Surama.
During your stay you’ll witness the unchanged lifestyle of the Macushi people of rural Guyana, as well as venturing into the forest with experienced locals who’ll show you the indigenous plants used for medicinal purposes by the villagers. Night walks will give you another perspective on the forest and its various nocturnal creatures, whilst expeditions across the savannah will lead you to the slopes of Surama Mountain, and through the rainforest to the Burro Burro River.
Stay: Two nights in a standard room at Surama Eco-Lodge.
After Surama comes a venture deep into one of the largest of the world’s last remaining pristine tropical rainforests – the Guiana Shield. You’ll travel by 4×4 into the unrivalled Iwokrama conservation area to brave a 154 metre canopy walk. Designed to put you at the same level as the birds and howler and spider monkeys that inhabit the treetops the canopy walk is – literally – a highpoint of your holiday.
Stay: One night in a standard room in Atta Rainforest Lodge.
Rock View Lodge
Riparian woodlands, rolling plains punctuated by the towering natural architecture of termite mounds, vast grasslands of the Rupununi savannah and traditional cattle ranches parade past you as you drive towards your next stop; Rock View Lodge.
Stay: One night in a standard room in Rock View Lodge.
After the endless vistas of the savannah, the lively city of Georgetown will provide you with an interesting contrast. Your city tour will take you along handsome boulevards, Amsterdam-style canals (Georgetown was settled by the Dutch in the 18th and 19th centuries) and tree-lined avenues lined with quaint wooden buildings.
Later you can browse through the Roy Geddes Museum, followed by an evening of culture and dining. In the morning there’s time to explore more of the city or take a trip to see Kaiteur Falls – the world’s highest, free-falling waterfall.
Stay: Two nights in a double room in Cara Lodge.
Now one of South America’s most attractive cities awaits. You’ll fly to Paramaribo – the capital of Suriname – and a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll be shown around the Presidential Palace, mosque, synagogue, Palm Gardens, the waterfront and central market.
Not to mention Fort Nieuw Amsterdam museum, the Peperpot Plantation, Marienburg Museum and the confluence of the Commewijne and Suriname Rivers. A spectacular sunset cruise, possibly accompanied by smiling dolphins, brings your stay to a perfect conclusion.
Stay: Two nights in a double room in the Torarica Hotel.
Anaula Nature Resort
Today you set off for Atjoni, for a river cruise to Anaula aboard a corial – a motorised dugout boat. You’ll sail past Maroon riverside villages and the highly photogenic Jaw Jaw Rapids before reaching the nature reserve. As night falls another boat ride takes you to see caiman and nocturnal riverside creatures.
The following day you have the options of experiencing cultural workshops, forest walks and canoe trips to meet the locals. The nearby mission station and Gunsi village also make interesting excursions, whilst traditional dance and cultural performances by the local Seketi, Awasa and Bandamba people will enliven your evening.
Stay: Two nights in a double room at the Anaula Nature Resort.
It’s time to return to Paramaribo but before setting off you can chill in a hammock or spend your time rambling though the forest and local farmlands.
Stay: One night in a double room in the Torarica Hotel.
Now for something completely different. French Guiana presents you with an altogether more history-focused experience. Your tour of St Laurent de Maroni, for example, will encompass the Transportation Centre – an evocative place since it was once a stopping off transit point for slaves heading to the sugar plantations of South America and the Caribbean.
Next is the wreck of the Edith Cavell steamer, followed by Kourou. The following day you’ll see the infamous Devil’s Island and sail aboard a catamaran to historic Ile Saint Joseph with its ancient prison blocks and dormitories – themselves now imprisoned by living tree roots.
Stay: Two nights in a double room in Hotel des Roches.
The Guianas’ Experience is nothing if not surprising. Your next tour takes you to Center Spatiale Guyanaise – a working space station so large you need a coach to cross it. After viewing the control centre and the assembly buildings it’s time to leave French Guiana for Suriname.
Stay: One night in a double room in Paramaribo’s Torarica Hotel.
Paramaribo – Georgetown - Miami - London
Take a morning flight from Paramaribo bound for Georgetown to meet your connecting flight to Miami. Your evening flight to London will land early the next day.
Rob was always quick, efficient, charming and helpful- CH, Burma, 2013