A taste of the awesome nature, birds and wildlife of Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago
This is the ideal itinerary for those who would like to have a small taste of the awesome nature, birds, wildlife and culture of Guyana in South America, as well as seeing some of the best that the islands of Trinidad & Tobago have to offer. There are some amazing trips included, such as Kaieteur Falls, but also plenty of time to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Accommodation is very comfortable throughout and travelling is done at a leisurely pace.
Arrive in Guyana, where you will be met and transferred to Georgetown for two nights at Cara Lodge.
This morning we make an early start to have breakfast at one of the local stands at Bourda Market with our host, guide and culinary master, Chef Delven Adams who will guide us around the largest of the four markets in Georgetown. We will start our tour at the Guyana Shop which has all the local products produced and packaged in Guyana, before heading over to the market where we will meet some of the vendors who Chef buys from daily.
We will visit the fish market, the meat section and the haberdashery section – where one can find anything you can think of from thread to bolts of all kinds of fabric. Dry goods like rice and of course demerara sugar are abundant. A stop at the bush medicine stalls is always educational. Heading outside you can see, touch and taste a variety of local fruits and vegetables unique in this part of the world. The chef will make his purchases with your suggestions of what you would like to try and will then head home to start preparing while we continue on a tour of the city of Georgetown with an experienced guide who will give you the history, rumour and facts on Georgetown and its citizens.
During your visit to Georgetown, there are a number of interesting sights that should not be missed such as Stabroek Market – once described as a “bizarre bazaar, and St. George’s Cathedral which is one of the world’s tallest free-standing wooden buildings. Other historic buildings along this promenade are the Public Library, City Hall, the Victoria Law Courts and St. Andrews Kirk. Visit the National Museum, which contains a broad selection of our animal life portrayed in taxidermy in beautiful old glass cases, and the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology, which houses a wonderful collection of artefacts and explains the Amerindian history and lifestyle.
After our city tour, we will go to the Backyard Café for lunch. This, as the name suggests, is a backyard that Chef has turned into an exclusive little hidden gem of a restaurant. You can sit under the arbour and sip unique blends of juice or enjoy a cold beer while taking in the sounds and smells of a delicious meal in the making. Once he is ready, we will start eating our way through the courses, remember to pace yourself as you will want to try it all.
After lunch, we will visit the Botanical Gardens, home to an extensive collection of tropical flora, and the Zoo which has become a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre that houses over one hundred different species of tropical wildlife. We will also pay a visit to a pond either in the gardens or the National Park, to feed the endangered West Indian Manatees.
This afternoon we will take a drive through the heart of the city to the Stabroek Market area. Here we will join the afternoon commuters using the old ferry stelling to board the river taxis which are used to cross the Demerara River. The river taxis are an alternative route to using the Demerara Harbour Bridge. As we slowly cruise along the bank of the Demerara River your guide will give a brief history of the famous buildings along the waterfront. We then continue our trip to see the Demerara Harbour Bridge, once the longest floating bridge in the world at a total length of 1,851m long. We will cross under the bridge and tie up our boat near a mangrove that is the nightly roost for a variety of birds. As the sun sets over the river we will have a cold drink and some snacks (or cutters as we call them here in Guyana) as we enjoy flocks of brilliant Scarlet Ibis and three kinds of Egrets as they fly across the sky and settle into the mangroves for the evening. Soon after the sun sets we return to the ferry stelling while enjoying the city and ship lights from the river. Second night at Cara Lodge.
After breakfast you will be taken to the Ogle airstrip for a flight over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and hundreds of miles of unbroken tropical rainforest to land at Kaieteur Falls, the world’s highest free-falling waterfall. At 228 meters, Kaieteur is nearly five times the height of Niagara Falls.
There are no other falls in the world with the magnitude of the sheer drop existing at Kaieteur. Amerindian legend of the Patamona tribe has it that Kai, one of the tribe’s chiefs (after whom the falls is named), committed self-sacrifice by canoeing himself over the falls. It was believed this would encourage the Great Spirit Makonaima to save the tribe from being destroyed by the savage Caribishi. 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 over millions of years by the black water of the Potaro River.
Re-boarding the plane, you will travel on to Baganara Island Resort, a haven of 187 acres of lush green foliage and colourful tropical flowers, where you will spend the next three nights. Five miles south of Bartica, it is the gateway to the unspoilt rainforest of Guyana and is at the junction where the great Essequibo and Mazaruni River meet.
After breakfast we will depart Baganara Island Resort for Bartica, the hub of the mining community in the north west of Guyana, the town is a hive of activity as the miners pass through on the way to their claims further in the interior. The township is located at the junction of the Essequibo and Mazaruni Rivers and most travel is done by boat. You will stroll down the main avenue for a glimpse of Bartica life. At Bartica the pioneer atmosphere is still strong and it is often compared to a Wild West town.
We now enter the Mazaruni River to see Kyk-Over-Al (See Over All) which was once the Dutch seat of government in the county of Essequibo. Now all that remains on this island are the ruins of the former stronghold which guarded the junction of the Mazaruni and Cuyuni Rivers. Further on up the Mazaruni River we reach the wild Marshall Falls, with its own natural Jacuzzi. From here a short hike into old growth rain forest brings us to two small falls, both spectacular in their natural state, and perfect for swimming.
This afternoon you can answer the call of the wild along the jungle walk, where you’ll find many different species of flora and fauna or you can try your hand at a variety of other outdoor activities including canoeing, fishing, volleyball, table tennis, or simply sunbathing, swimming or swinging in a hammock. Second night at Baganara Island Resort.
As day breaks over the rain forest take a kayak to experience the sights and sounds of the Essequibo River as you paddle around the island or into the neighbouring Squarerbanabu Creek. Along the way enjoy bird watching and you may even see some monkeys or a sloth.
As dusk draws in we travel to Parrot Island to views hundreds of parrots as the fly in to roost on this island. Overnight at Baganara Island Resort.
After Breakfast depart the resort by boat down the Essequibo River, stopping to visit Fort Island to see the ruins of the old Dutch Fort, before continuing on to Rod en Rust, at the mouth of the river. From here, you will travel by bus along the coast to Georgetown, breaking the journey at the quirky Guyana Heritage Museum which is full of unusual memorabilia from around Guyana. This is a beautiful private home that has been turned into a museum. On returning to Georgetown, you will overnight at Cara Lodge once again.
This morning, transfer to the airport for departing flight to Trinidad and then transfer to the world famous Asa Wright Nature Centre for four nights. Surrounded by rain forest, with superb views across the Arima Valley, this is a non-profit making Wildlife Sanctuary and a world-class destination for birdwatchers. Over 170 species have been recorded at this former coffee, cocoa and citrus plantation, many of which can be seen from the wonderful verandah of the Lodge. A network of well marked trails meander through the 200 acre conservation area and there are natural pools for bathing.
The day will begin with a guided tour of the various trails. Later on you may explore them on your own, take a dip in a refreshing natural pool or simply enjoy watching the birds from the magnificent verandah. Later in the day, there will be a trip to Caroni Bird Sanctuary, an extensive area of mangrove swamp and lagoon where you will take an evening boat tour to see the breathtaking sight of flocks of stunning Scarlet Ibis returning to their roosting areas.
This morning, there will be a walking trip to visit Dunston Cave, where you can see the most accessible colony of Oilbirds in the world.
Today there will be a full day excursion to Nariva on the Atlantic East Coast, which is home to more than 200 species of birds as well as a variety of small mammals including anteaters, porcupines, monkeys, the endangered ocelot and manatee.
A short morning flight to Tobago and transfer to The Blue Waters Inn for four nights. Situated on the quiet northern point of the island with incredible views all around, this is the ideal choice for nature lovers. The hotel is secluded in the privacy of its own stunning bay and provides immediate access to some of the very best diving and bird watching in Tobago.
Newton George, our Tobago guide, will take you on a walk along the Gilpin Trace of the Tobago Forest Reserve, which is the oldest protected rainforest in the Western hemisphere and a haven for 210 bird species. There will also be an opportunity to visit the Argyll Falls or the Northern coastline.
A full day round the island tour with your guide, which will include visits to various sights of natural, cultural, historical or birding interest with lunch in a local restaurant.
This morning, you will depart from the jetty in front of your hotel by glass-bottom boat to Little Tobago Bird Sanctuary. You will cross pristine coral reefs on the way and there will be a chance to snorkel at Angel Reef and see the world’s largest Brain Coral. Depending on the time of year, you will explore the island for nesting colonies of many sea birds.
A last free day to enjoy the idyllic location before it is time to transfer to the airport for evening flight back to the UK.
Arrive back in London early in the morning.