How do I redeem my voucher? Is my departure guaranteed?
To redeem your voucher, please reach out to Wilderness Explorers as instructed in your confirmation email. Departures are subject to availability of rooms at the lodges and require a minimum of 2 people to operate. Wilderness Explorers will do whatever they can to secure your desired dates. Please wait to make travel arrangements until you receive confirmation from Wilderness Explorers. Voucher expires December 1, 2019.
What is the best way to get to the trip start location in Georgetown, Guyana?
There are a number of options when traveling to Georgetown from North America:
• From Miami, American Airlines and Suriname Airways offer direct flights to Cheddi Jagan International Airport (GEO) in Guyana.
• From JFK, American Airlines and Caribbean Airlines offer direct flights as well as connecting flights via Port of Spain, Trinidad.
• From Orlando, Caribbean Airlines offers connecting flights via Port of Spain, Trinidad.
• From Toronto, America Airlines offers connecting flights via JFK and Miami and Caribbean Airlines offers connecting flights via Port of Spain, Trinidad.
• Copa Airlines also has an extensive network throughout North America with connecting flighta via Panama City.
Once you arrive, a tour representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel accommodations.
What are the accommodations like?
You'll be staying at three different lodgings during the tour: Cara Lodge in Georgetown, Surama Eco-Lodge, and Atta Rainforest Lodge.
Cara Lodge was built in the 1840's 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 VIII who stayed at the house in 1923. Other notable guests have included President Jimmy Carter, HRH Prince Charles, HRH Prince Andrew, Channing Tatum, and Mick Jagger. This magnificent wooden colonial home turned hotel offers the tradition and nostalgia of a bygone era, complete with service and comfort in a congenial family atmosphere. (Check in time 2:00 pm, Check out time 12:00 pm).
Surama Eco Lodge
Accommodations at Surama Eco-Lodge are simple, basic, clean, and comfortable. Set at the western edge of the main village, Surama Eco-Lodge is perched atop a meadow facing a thick forest wall, creating a perfect opportunity to view birds, monkeys, and even the occasional jaguar. The majestic Pakaraima Mountains, often shrouded in mist, rise above the canopy and are a striking contrast against the pure forest air. There are four traditional cabins and four rooms in a separate building. All are ensuite.
Atta Rainforest Lodge
Atta Rainforest Lodge is located in the heart of the Iwokrama Rainforest Reserve and offers comfortable, private-room accommodations with ensuite bathrooms, delicious home-cooked meals, and traditional Amerindian hospitality. The lodge is completely surrounded by tropical rainforest which offers a complete immersion in the rainforest experience. The main building is open sided with views across the gardens to the towering forest on all sides and houses the bar, dining area and kitchen.
Can solo travelers get their own room? Is there a single supplement fee?
Single supplements are available and are $298 per person.
How large is each travel group?
Group sizes can range from 2 to 12 people. Because of the limited rooms at the lodges you can be sure to have a true small group experience.
What kind of shape do I need to be in for this trip?
Anyone in good health and average physical condition should be able to enjoy this tour to the fullest. Most hikes are fairly easy and there is a great amount of freedom most days to choose your own activities.
What is the weather like in Guyana?
Guyana has a warm, tropical climate with high rainfall. Average shade temperature is 80°F/ 27°C. The average high is 88°F / 31°C and the average low is 75° / 24°C. The heat is greatly tempered by cooling breezes from the sea. There are two wet seasons in the north of the country, from May to June, and from December to January. The south and the Rupununi region receive one wet season from May to July. All wet seasons may extend into months on either side. Rainfall averages 90 inches / 2,300mm a year in Georgetown.
Are meals included? What is the food like?
While at the Surama Eco-Lodge and Atta Rainforest Lodge all meals are included. In Georgetown most meals are at your own expense to give you a variety of dining options. In Georgetown, clients can choose from a menu which includes local and international cuisine. In the interior region, meals prepared are creole and indigenous cuisine with an international twist. The blend of different ethnic influences – Indian, African, Chinese, Creole, English, Portuguese, Amerindian, North American – gives a distinctive flavor to Guyanese cuisine. Whilst on tour, the food is of a very good standard with fresh beef, chicken and fish and plenty of vegetables and fruit. Special diets can be accommodated, but please inform Wilderness Explorers in advance so that appropriate food can be supplied.
Is it safe to drink the water?
The water from the tap is often brownish in color, which comes from plant tannins in the water, and not polluted. However, it is recommended that bottled water, which is readily available, is used for drinking. Remember to drink plenty of it to prevent dehydration. Normally a complimentary bottle or two is offered at the lodges and any additional bottles cost extra.
How much extra money should people budget?
In Georgetown, credit cards can be used in most places except in local markets or small stalls on the streets. In the interior, credit cards cannot be used but there is little to buy. Alcoholic drinks are not included and beers are about $3 USD. Local currency is complicated as it is two hundred to one US dollar. US dollars are accepted everywhere and for tipping, smaller bills are better. $100 extra in cash should be fine for the duration of your trip.
What should people bring? Do you have a packing list?
In the interior, wear casual, comfortable clothing. A shirt with a collar and log sleeves helps protect you from the sun, and a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses are vital. For casual activities during the day, shorts and a t-shirt are fine. In the evening, you would want long trousers and a shirt with long sleeves. There is no need to dress up in the interior. You can leave any travel or city clothes in your Georgetown hotel when you are traveling around the interior. Also, remember to bring comfortable walking shoes or boots and sandals. See below for a suggested packing list from Wilderness Explorers:
- Long sleeve shirt
- Long pants
- Sport sandals (Teva, KEEN, or similar)
- Hiking boots
- Hiking socks
- Light raincoat
- Anti-malarial pills
- Insect repellent
Are there weight restrictions on flights?
Local domestic flights have weight restrictions as the planes are small. Your combined body and baggage weights are calculated to ensure the flight does not exceed the maximum load. The airline will weigh you and your luggage at check-in. Each customer is allowed only 9 kg (20 lbs) of baggage. Whilst this may seem small, you don't need a lot for the interior and most properties provide a laundry service, often complimentary. The airlines will accept excess baggage, subject to availability, at check-in. Cost is approximately $1 per pound.
Are there additional activities that customers can purchase?
There are several optional activities offered throughout this trip for an additional charge:
Day 7 - Demerara River sunset boat tour
Price is per person, based on number of participants.
Rates are $106 (2 people), $79 (3p), $66 (4p), $53 (5p), $46 (6-7p), $40 (8p)
As you slowly cruise along the bank of the Demerara River your guide will give you a brief history of the famous buildings along the waterfront. You'll see the Demerara Harbor Bridge, once the longest floating bridge in the world at a total length of 6,073 feet long. Commissioned on July 2, 1978, it was only designed to last for 10 years, yet it is still going strong. As the sun sets over the river you may witness flocks of brilliant Scarlet Ibis and Egrets as they fly across the sky and settle into the mangroves for the evening, a really wonderful sight as the setting sun’s rays hit the brilliant scarlet color of the Ibis. Soon after the sun sets you'll return to the ferry stelling while enjoying the city lights from the river.
Day 7 - Dinner at Aagman Indian Restaurant (including transfers to/from the restaurant)
Rate per person: $69
Aagman’s name is derived from ancient Indian Sanskrit, meaning "arrival" or "beginning." This restaurant was a start-up by budding entrepreneurs, Dr. Raj Rishi Meena and Mrs. Neha Asthana Meena, who were inspired and fascinated by Guyanese people and culture. Aagman Restaurant is fully air conditioned with a well-stocked bar and can comfortably seat 93 guests. The seating has been categorized into General, VIP, and a one-of-a-kind "Kohinoor Lounge." The Aagman food philosophy is driven by a desire to present a multi-sensory dining experience with an eclectic and expansive Indian repertoire, bursting with flavors and originality. Experience the epicurean Mughlai Cuisine and enjoy the authentic flavors achieved through the use of the finest ingredients and cooking techniques, all in elegant surroundings.
Day 8 - Birding in Georgetown's Botanical Gardens (3 hours)
Price is per person, based on number of participants.
Rates are $49 (2 people), $46 (3p), $35 (4p), $52 (5p), $44 (6p), $38 (7p), $33 (8p)
Choose from a 5:45 am or 3:00 pm pickup and transfer to the extensive and beautiful Georgetown Botanical Gardens where, if you're lucky, you might spot the Blood-colored Woodpecker. This astonishingly colorful Veniliornis is found only in the Guianas and, even there, almost wholly limited to the narrow coastal plain. The gardens host a variety of avian life, including Snail Kite, Gray Hawk, Pearl Kite, Carib Grackle, Red-bellied Macaw, Red-shouldered Macaw and more. You'll walk on trails in the back of the gardens and may see Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Black-crested Antshrike, Silver-beaked Tanager, Buff-breasted Wren, Golden-spangled Piculet and Ashy-headed Greenlet. You may even want to take a break from birding to feed some manatees in one of the nearby ponds. Following this excursion, you'll be transferred back to your hotel.
Day 8 - Kaieteur Falls day trip
Rate per person: $235
From the Eugene F. Correia International Airport, take a scheduled flight over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and fly over hundreds of miles of unbroken tropical rainforest to land at Kaieteur Falls, the world’s highest free-falling waterfall. First seen by a European on April 29, 1870, these falls are situated in the heart of Guyana on the Potaro River, a tributary of the Essequibo. The water of Kaieteur flows over a sandstone conglomerate tableland into a deep gorge - a drop of 741 feet, 5 times the height of Niagara Falls. Amerindian legend, of the Patamona tribe, says 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. 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.
Condition of sale: Flights to Kaieteur Falls are operated on chartered aircraft and all flights have a minimum passenger restriction. Therefore, any booking to Kaieteur and Orinduik Falls is subject to a minimum of 12 passengers being available to travel. In most cases, Wilderness Explorers is able to fill flights, especially if scheduled for a weekend. However, in the rare case that they cannot meet the required numbers, they will reschedule the trip to another day during your stay, if this is possible. Wilderness Explorers retains the right to reschedule a flight as a first option. If they cannot reschedule the flight, they will guarantee a flight, with a minimum of 2 passengers, to Kaieteur Falls only. If a flight is cancelled due to circumstances beyond their control, such as weather, they will attempt to reschedule the flight during your itinerary. If this is not possible, then a full refund on the flight will be made.
Do you have additional information on traveling to Guyana?
Attitude: To enjoy destinations like Guyana you need to come with the right attitude! This is a developing country and you'll be traveling in very remote areas, so expect things not to work like clockwork all the time. If things don’t work 100% of the time, just relax and go with the flow and enjoy the friendly, laid back atmosphere! That said, Wilderness Explorers does everything they can to ensure that everything works according to schedule, and 9 times out of 10 it does. If you hit the 10th time and have a delay or problem, then use the opportunity to do some birdwatching, have a rum, or relax in a hammock whilst your hosts rectify the situation.
If issues arise: If you have any problems at all, from illness to displeasure with the service, Wilderness Explorers strongly suggests you talk with your hosts at each location. It will make your holiday so much more enjoyable if you can allow them to rectify any issues there and then, rather than being disappointed at the end of the trip, when it may be too late for them to solve the problem. Many of your hosts are from Amerindian communities and they are offering their services with the best intentions. However, they live isolated lives and do not always understand your expectations or notice your problem. If you tell them about your issue they will try their best to help you or fix the problem.
There may be times when your hosts simply cannot fix your problem or address your issues adequately. In most locations there is internet available, and you are urged to contact the Wilderness Explorers office so that they can try to assist. During working hours, you'll generally be able to contact the office via Skype on wilderness guyana or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The duty officer for after hours can be called at 592-624-2225. You'll receive a welcome pack that includes a handy card with these contact details that you can easily carry with you.
Safety: Like any city, certain areas of Georgetown are not particularly safe, especially after dark. Ask hotel reception or ground handlers (Wilderness Explorers representative) for guidance on these matters if you wish to explore the city on your own. In general you'll find Guyanese to be extremely friendly and helpful. Don’t be surprised if you find local people wishing to talk to you or offering assistance. The interior and resorts are secure and safe and you will be able to completely relax without any concerns.
Malaria regime: Many visitors are surprised at the lack of bugs and mosquitoes in the dry season. Quite often tourists mention that they have more at home. Most of the areas you'll visit in Guyana’s interior will have no malaria. However, it is recommended to take malaria Prophylactics as a precaution. Consult your physician prior to your departure regarding malaria prevention and any recommended vaccinations. All beds in the interior are netted with specially fitted mosquito nets. It is advisable to use an insect repellent and wear long sleeves and long trousers at night. The mosquitoes are at their worst at dusk and dawn. There is also a small black sandfly in some places along the river in the Rupununi, so use repellent near the river as well.
Money concerns: The local currency is the Guyanese dollar. There are notes for $20, $100, $500, $1000 and $5,000. Coins are for $1, $5 and $10. In the interior you'll need Guyana Dollars or US Dollars (small bills). You can change money at your hotel or, if your itinerary allows, your guide can arrange for you to visit a bank or cambio. The exchange rate is adjusted regularly and rates vary from hotels to banks to cambios. The average rate for 2019 is $1 USD = GY$200. Cash and travelers checks can be exchanged in hotels, banks and cambios and cambios normally offer the best exchange rate. Wilderness Explorers can assist in identifying the best cambios to use.
ATMs: Holders of Cirrus cards can obtain cash from ATM machines in Georgetown only. Master and Visa cards work at Scotia Bank, a maximum of GY$30,000 can be withdrawn at a time, but you can reinsert your card several times.
Credit cards: Credit cards are not widely accepted and you should check prior to using the service. Most major hotels and some restaurants will accept credit cards. Kindly note some places have a service charge on credit cards.
Leaving Guyana: Departure tax is GY$6,000 (approx. $30 USD). This can be paid in Guyana Dollars, US Dollars and Pounds Sterling. As of 2017, this is included in all airline tickets purchased.
Interior transportation: Guyana has very few sealed or dirt roads. This can make travel into the interior difficult and challenging as the roads can be extremely difficult and seem impassable. However, the drivers are very experienced and are normally able to pass through flooded creeks and seemingly undriveable stretches of road. Consequently, due to the conditions, the 4x4s range from excellent condition to battered old Land Rovers. Inevitably, from time to time vehicles do break down, but the drivers are masters at fixing them on the spot and they are prepared for repairs. In many cases the travel can be in hot and dusty conditions. So come prepared for some adventurous transfers during your trip. Long distances are often covered by small aircraft which make journeys quick, comfortable and an adventure.
Internet: Surprisingly, you'll have quite a bit of internet access as you travel around. These remote locations use satellite internet for communications. Just ask at each location if they have internet and how to access it. Some places have a public computer for guests to use. But be mindful that there is limited bandwidth and you may be using what the locals need themselves. At times, due to lack of power or technical difficulties, the internet may not be available or very slow. It is only to be used to send and check a quick email and not for downloading large files which will use up the very expensive bandwidth. Don’t be frustrated, it is a modern miracle they even have internet. Up until recently all communications were by letter or HF radio.
Electricity/power: In Georgetown, it is predominately 110 volts, though some areas also have 220 volts. In the interior, power is by generator or solar only and is 110 volts. In general, generated power is only supplied from sundown until 10:00 pm or 11:00 pm. You'll be able to charge batteries at most locations. Some locations have little or no power and use lanterns in the evening.
Shopping: Guyana offers wonderful gold and diamond jewelry at very attractive prices, which will be available in Georgetown. There are a variety of interesting handicrafts that make great souvenirs including wooden carvings, tibisiri baskets and placemats, pottery, and art. Bargaining is not the custom in Guyana.
Tipping: Tipping is not expected, but appreciated if you are happy with the service. As a guide, a 10% tip is adequate. In the interior it is suggested that tips are given to the manager or village captain for equal distribution amongst all involved. In the interior a tip is better in Guyanese dollars rather than foreign currency, as there are no facilities for exchanging money.
Time Zone: Guyana is four hours behind GMT; five hours during UK Daylight Savings. It is one hour behind EST USA time and the same time during daylight savings.
Taxis: An "H" on the number plate identifies taxis and most taxis are also painted yellow. Taxis do not have meters, but have set fares for a route. A short trip around Georgetown should cost approximately $2 or $7.50 an hour and short drops are usually $2 to $2.50. It is recommended to have the hotel reception arrange a taxi from a reputable company.
Should I purchase travel insurance? If so, do you have a recommended provider?
Travel insurance is highly recommended for this adventure. It allows you to seek reimbursement if you are forced to cancel your trip for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to cover medical help, emergency transport, and/or theft or accidental damage while traveling. We recommend World Nomads as a provider.
Can I cancel the trip?
Book confidently with Free Cancellations within 72 hours of booking. After 72 hours, cancellation fees will apply. Cancellations are subject to the full discretion of Wilderness Explorers. For more information on our Travel Cancellation Policy please Click Here.