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Guyana: Giant River Otters and Wilderness

Explore Guyana's vast, pristine wilderness, see abundant wildlife, and visit vibrant indigenous cultures on this expedition to one of the wildest places on Earth.

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Overview

  • Explore Guyana's vast, pristine wilderness with visits to Amazonian rainforest, savannah, wetland, river, and grassland ecosystems.
  • Enjoy photo instruction from award-winning conservation photographer Pete Oxford.
  • Visit Amerindian communities and learn about Guyana's cultural history.
  • Look for primates, giant anteaters, endemic birds, giant river otters, colorful frogs, tropical plants, and much more.

Home to vast expanses of wilderness, Guyana is a biodiversity hotspot harboring countless species, including many found nowhere else. By visiting this "off the beaten path" destination, travelers are rewarded with one of the best terrestrial wildlife experiences in the world.

Our trip explores Guyana's unspoiled interior with a focus on close-up wildlife observation. Guided by award-winning conservation photographer Pete Oxford, we will visit spectacular Kaieteur Falls, the Amerindian villages of Rewa and Surama, Iwokrama Forest Reserve, and the famous Karanambu Lodge, where giant otters are rehabilitated. In the many ecosystems we explore, we will have opportunities to see several species of monkeys, diverse birds including the Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock and possibly the majestic Harpy Eagle, giant anteaters, river otters, tapirs, colorful amphibians, and much more.

Trip participants will benefit from Pete's many years of experience photographing in and guiding expeditions to Guyana.

This is an amateur naturalist's dream trip!

Trip Dates & Cost

2018: April 8-18. $6,850 per person.* Group limit 10.

* Single supplement fee $500; limited quantity available. Trip price does not include international airfare. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions.

Photos
Naturalist

Pete Oxford works in some of the world’s most pristine and remote wildlife and cultural destinations as a full-time professional photographer. His images have appeared in major magazines including National Geographic, Time, Outdoor Photographer, and Smithsonian, and have been featured ten times in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards. Pete and his wife Reneé also lead expeditions to some of the world’s richest cultures and most biodiverse areas of our planet.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Georgetown
We will pick you up at the airport, and then transfer you to Cara lodge, where you will stay overnight. Cara Lodge was built in the 1840s and originally consisted of two houses. It has a long and romantic history and was the home of the first Lord Mayor of Georgetown. Over the years, the property has been visited by many dignitaries including King Edward VII who stayed at the house in 1923. Other dignitaries have included President Jimmy Carter, HRH Prince Charles, HRH Prince Andrew and Mick Jagger.

Day 2: Kaieteur Falls – Rupununi River – Rewa
Fly by chartered aircraft to Kaieteur Falls, the longest single drop waterfall in the world, plummeting 224 m (741 feet). Kaieteur supports a unique micro environment, and you will see tank bromeliads (the largest in the world), in which the tiny golden frog spends its entire life, as well as carnivorous plants. We will also look for the rare Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, which nests close by.

We then continue to the village of Apoteri and then travel along the Rupununi River with opportunities to see wild giant river otters and black caimans. Arrive in Rewa and spend the afternoon exploring the forest in search of brown capuchin monkeys, capybara and many bird species including limpkin, wattled jacana, black-collared hawk, green kingfisher and Guianan puffbird. As dusk settles watch the flower of the giant water lily (Victoria amazonica) bloom. Overnight at Rewa Eco-Lodge.

Day 3: Rewa
Enjoy a full day exploring the diverse habitats of the Rupununi River and the surrounding Amazonian rainforest. This may include a visit to an oxbow lake and a hike up Awarmie Mountain. We will be on the lookout for black spider monkeys, red howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, brown capuchins, and other primates, as well as many birds species including white bellbird, ornate hawk-eagle, black curassow, red-fan parrot, Guianan puffbird, Todd's antwren, spotted tanager, and bay-headed tanager. The area also has a high density of macaws including scarlet, blue-and-yellow and red-and-green. We may also have the opportunity to walk through the community of Rewa and visit villagers' homes where you can experience their everyday life and see activities such as grating cassava, weaving baskets and tending kitchen gardens. Overnight at Rewa Eco-lodge.

Day 4: Rewa - Surama
In the morning depart Rewa and travel by river to the Amerindian community of Surama, 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 forebears. We will enjoy a guided hike and a tour of the village. Overnight at Surama Eco-Lodge.

Day 5: Surama
A full day exploring the savannah, mountains and rainforest with the opportunity to climb up Surama Mountain for incredible views, and to paddle on the Burro Burro River in search of giant river otters, tapirs, spider monkeys and many more species. Overnight at Surama Eco-lodge.

Day 6: Surama - Iwokrama
Transfer by 4 x 4 through the rainforest to the Iwokrama canopy walkway (with a chance to see the Guianian cock-of-the-rock en route). The walkway has five suspension bridges leading to four platforms, the highest of which is over 30 meters above the ground, and these will allow vistas of a range of canopy species. Amongst the likely highlights are painted, brown-throated and golden-winged parakeets, caica parrots, Guianan puffbird, waved and golden-collared woodpeckers and spot-tailed, Todd's and ash-winged antwrens. Overnight at Atta Rainforest Lodge.

Day 7 : Iwokrama
Explore the forest with an early morning return to the canopy walkway for birding, guided hiking opportunities, and possible nighttime walks. Overnight at Atta Rainforest Lodge.

Day 8: Iwokrama - Karanambu
Transfer by 4x4 and boat along the Rupununi River to Karanambu Lodge. 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. Karanambu Lodge is a 110-square mile former cattle ranch and the home of Diane McTurk, conservationist and a world-renowned expert on giant otters. In the afternoon we will travel by boat to look for wild giant river otters and as dusk falls we will watch the giant waterlilies bloom. On the return trip we will spotlight for black caiman and birds and creatures of the night. Overnight at Karanambu Lodge.

Day 9: Karanambu
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. 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 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. Overnight at Karanambu Lodge.

Day 10: Karanambu - Georgetown
In the morning fly from the Karanambu airstrip over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and hundreds of miles of tropical rainforest to land in Georgetown and transfer to the Cara Lodge. After lunch enjoy a guided tour of Georgetown, the chief port, capital and largest city of Guyana. Overnight at Cara Lodge.

Day 11: Fly home
You will be transferred from the Cara Lodge to the airport in time for your flight home.

Accommodations

For the duration of the trip, guests will enjoy accommodations in a variety of eco-lodges, which are designed to provide both comfort and convenience for guests. These will include Cara Lodge, Rewa Eco-Lodge, Surama Eco-Lodge, Atta Rainforest Lodge, and Karanambu Lodge. See the above itinerary for a list of accommodations by day.

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