The Three Guianas: Guyana, Suriname & French Guiana


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    Discover one of the few remaining unexplored destinations

    Join us on this remarkable adventure discovering one of the few remaining unexplored destinations, the three Guianas: Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The Guiana Shield is one of the regions of highest biodiversity in the world. It is home to endangered species such as jaguar, giant anteater, giant river otter, tapir and so much more. Beginning in Suriname, discover the Danpaati River Lodge, a remote and tranquil oasis in the heart of nature. Experience wonderful traditions of the Maroon culture brought from Africa to Suriname and discover the secrets of the rainforest during our guided walks. Visit the Guyana Space Centre in French Guiana and explore French history on ‘Devils Island’. While French Guiana is a Department of France and French speaking, Guyana is English speaking. It comes with an irresistible combination of breathtaking natural beauty and rich heritage. Journey through unspoiled rainforests and meet locals for an immersive experience that few travellers get to know. Relax at the ATTA Rainforest Lodge and explore the Iwokrama Rainforest, one of the world’s most prolific ecosystems, teeming with birds and mammals. Fly to Kaieteur Falls, considered to be one of the highest single drop water falls in the world, seen by only a handful of intrepid visitors. This memorable adventure involving walks in wildlife rich virgin forest, taking time to observe the forest, wildlife and bird life.

    Highlights

    • Visit one of the last really remote and untouched areas in the world
    • Marvel at the spectacular Kaieteur Falls, the highest single drop waterfall in the world
    • Explore the Iwokrama Rainforest, one of the world’s most prolific ecosystems
    • Enjoy walks in pristine environments with breathtaking views, while birdwatching and searching for monkeys
    • Be amazed at the Space Centre in French Guiana
    • Learn about the cultures of the region with visits to Amerindian and Maroon communities
    • Discover one of the greatest untouched, undisturbed tropical rainforests
    • Experience the local culture and discover local lifestyles and local heritage

    Itinerary

    Day 1 Join Paramaribo, Suriname
    You will be picked up at the JA Pengal International airport and transferred to your hotel. Formerly a townhouse that has been transformed into the most charming lobby of one of Paramaribo’s most favoured hotels with numerous eco-friendly features.

    Day 2 Paramaribo to Danpaati River Lodge
    This morning we start our nature and cultural experience as we depart from Paramaribo and travel to the village of Atjoni. At the port of Atjoni we board a motorized canoe, where our skilled personnel will navigate their way up the Upper Suriname River, which is famous for its breath-taking rapids, to the Danpaati River Lodge. The Danpaati River Lodge is an exceptionally remote and tranquil oasis in the heart of nature, welcoming adventurous visitors in search of an escape from modern stresses and distractions. The lodge features a welcoming and breezy lounge facing the river, a large pool surrounded by a hardwood yoga deck, and easy access to one of the few portions of the Suriname River where it is actually safe to swim. Accommodations are in spacious A-frame style cabins with carefully appointed amenities including fresh coffee service in the mornings, and unbeatable views into the dense surrounding Rainforest. Our day comes to an end with an exciting cruise on the river, looking for caiman lying on the riverbanks. (B, L, D)

    Day 3 Danpaati River Lodge and Maroon village visit
    Today we will visit one of the 12 villages that are affiliated with Danpaati. We will have a guided tour through the village and you will be introduced to the wonderful traditions brought from Africa by their ancestors. After the tour we will visit the Maroon museum Saamaka which is dedicated to the cultural heritage of the Saramak Maroon population. Pikinslee is located 30 minutes by boat from Danpaati. In the museum you will learn about the Maroon’s history, and their ancient traditions and crafts. After the tour we will return to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, we will discover some of the secrets of the rainforest during our walk in the woods. Afterwards you could choose to enjoy a massage done in a combination of traditional and Western techniques. Possibilities to explore the surrounding area are also available; fishing or taking the dugout canoe around the island. After dinner you can enjoy a traditional and cultural dance performance. (B, L, D)

    Day 4 Danpaati River Lodge to Paramaribo
    This morning we still have some time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and take pictures. After saying goodbye to the staff, we depart by dugout canoe from Danpaati to Atjoni. From Atjoni we will continue our journey back to Paramaribo by vehicle. This evening, we will make our way to the pier at Nieuw Amsterdam where we will be picked up for the Sunset Dolphin Tour. While having a drink we enjoy the cool breeze and river views, meanwhile the captain searches the horizon for the dolphins. Normally we see them swim by in groups of up to 20. Sometimes they’re very curious and if we are lucky they will jump and play close to the boat. After having enjoyed this playful company we part for former plantation Johan and Margaretha where we will enjoy freshly made local snacks like barra, baka bana or eggroll while experiencing the beautiful sunset. All this takes place in a relaxing atmosphere on a wooden deck near the waterfront of the Commewijne River. After the sun has set we will get back on board, pour another drink, and slowly make our way back to Leonsberg. Transfer back to Paramaribo to your hotel. (B, L)

    Day 5 Explore Paramaribo
    Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname, has been placed on the UNESCO “World Heritage” list of historical monuments since 2002. You will receive a guided tour, by car and on foot, along the most prominent historic locations in downtown Paramaribo during which you will be impressed by the unique architecture. The tour takes us along the former colonial plantations, most of which are now abandoned. We will stop at plantation Peperpot where the old coffee and cocoa factory, deputy-director’s house and the old office are located. From Peperpot, we visit the mini-museum of Marienburg, a former sugar plantation before enjoying a delicious lunch in a typical Javanese restaurant (warung) in Tamanredjo. We then continue to the confluence of the Commewijne and Suriname Rivers at Nieuw Amsterdam. Here we will visit the outdoor museum Fort Nieuw Amsterdam. The large fortress was built as a defence for the crop fields that were situated along the upper parts of both rivers. After the tour you will be transferred by car or bus to Paramaribo. (B, L)

    Day 6 Paramaribo to Kourou, French Guiana & Space Centre visit
    After breakfast we will have an early start today, to comfortably pace ourselves through the journey. The first leg of our travels takes us eastbound along Suriname’s coastal road, to Albina border station. Once the formalities are completed we find ourselves on the Ferry crossing the Maroni River headed for French Guiana or “Guyane” as it is frequently (and confusingly) called locally. Arrival at St. Laurent du Maroni is relatively uncomplicated, and our French guide will be on hand to help us navigate the usual customs and immigration formalities. Guyane Francaise is a Department of France, so technically you have entered the EU. Evidence of this connection to the “1st world” is immediately evident: every car seems to be a late-model Mercedes, Volkswagen or Peugeot, the roads are in near perfect condition, espresso coffee is on tap nearly everywhere, and the Euro is the currency. We will continue our journey to Kourou and visit the Center Spatiale Guyanaise (Guyana Space Center) for a tour. Launch schedules are a closely-held secret so our schedule today may be amended on short notice. The usual tour includes a motor coach tour which criss-crosses the centre’s mammoth facility, including stops at various assembly buildings, launch pads and control centres. The entire tour is offered in French, but your guide will supply translations as often as possible. (B, L)

    Day 7 Sightseeing on Devils Island and to Cayenne
    What is commonly referred to as “Devils Island” is really a triangle of three islands – Îles du Salut, or the Salvation Islands – seven miles off the coast of Kourou. After a breakfast buffet at the hotel, we set sail aboard a fine motorized catamaran towards our first stop, Île Saint-Joseph. The islands played a central role in French history as far back as 1792 when they were first employed as a transit point, first for explorers, then slaves and later for political prisoners and convicts. Île Saint-Joseph is the southernmost island and was known as the silent island as inmates were not allowed to speak with other inmates or the guards. Île Royale is the site of the oldest buildings on the islands, featuring an old church, administration buildings, officers’ quarters, and today, a good restaurant, café and lodging facilities. Ironically, the actual Île du Diable (Devil’s Island) is inaccessible to visitors due to dangerous shoreline conditions. This is the island where the prison’s best-known occupant, Alfred Dreyfus, was famously secluded and where Papillion said he was able to escape on a coconut raft. You will spend most of the day on Ilse Royale. We will visit the children’s cemetery behind the old hospital which was used for the children of the guards. Land was at a premium so only the children were buried. The inmates were buried at sea to encourage the sharks as a deterrent to prisoners wanting to swim off the island. Keep an eye out for sea turtles that like to scavenge among the rocks by the dock. We will return to Kourou by Catamaran and transfer to Cayenne and to our hotel. (B, L)

    Day 8 Explore Cayenne and to Paramaribo
    After breakfast you have time to explore Cayenne on your own before our mid-morning transfer to the border of St. Laurent du Maroni. On our way we will make a brief stop in St Joseph’s church, in Iracoubo. Upon arrival of St. Laurent enjoy a mini city tour of St. Laurent du Maroni where we will pay a brief visit to the well-preserved Transportation Centre. Continue to the immigration and then cross by Pirogue to Albina and onwards to Paramaribo where we spend the night. (B)

    Day 9 Fly to Georgetown and sightseeing
    Today you will be picked up early from your hotel and transferred to the local airport Zorg-en-Hoop for your flights to Georgetown. You will be picked up and transferred from Eugene F. Correia International Airport Georgetown to your hotel. Our host, guide and culinary master, Chef Delven Adams will guide us around Bourda Market, the largest of the four markets in Georgetown. 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, rumours and facts on Georgetown and its citizens. We will also pay a visit to a pond either in the gardens or the National Park, to feed the endangered West Indian Manatees. 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. 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 take a drive through the heart of the city to the Stabroek Market area. Here you will join the afternoon commuters using the old ferry stelling to board the river taxis which are used to cross the Demerara River. 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. 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 the boat near a mangrove that is the nightly roost of about nine different kinds of birds. As the sun sets over the river we will have a cold drink and snacks or cutters as we call them here in Guyana while 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 you return to the ferry while enjoying the city and ship lights from the river. (B, L)

    Day 10 Fly to Kaieteur Falls
    At 11.30hrs we will be picked up and transferred to Eugene F. Correia International Airport. From the Eugene F. Correia International Airport we will take a scheduled 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. We will then re-board the plane for the return flight to Georgetown. Pickup and transfer from Eugene F. Correia International Airport to Georgetown. (B)

    Day 11 Walk to Turtle Mountain, Iwokrama Canopy Walkway and Atta Rainforest Lodge
    It is an early breakfast as the morning starts with a transfer to Eugene F. Correia International Airport, to board scheduled flight for a journey over hundreds of miles of tropical rainforest to land at Fair View Airstrip where we will be transferred to the Iwokrama River Lodge. After your orientation you will depart the lodge by boat, birdwatching along the way, for the hike to Turtle Mountain for breath-taking views over the forest canopy. This trail is also a great location for seeing Black Spider and Red Howler Monkey. We return to the lodge for lunch and then transfer by 4 x 4 along the trail that is one of the best places to see the elusive Jaguar. The journey concludes at the Atta Rainforest Lodge home of the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway. The walkway has four suspension bridges leading to three platforms, the highest of which is over 30 metres above the ground, and these allow great looks at a range of canopy species, many of which you would struggle to see well from the forest floor. (B, L, D)

    Day 12 Amerindian village visit, to Surama Eco-Lodge
    Before dawn we return to the canopy where you will welcome the dawn chorus. From this tree top vantage you can sometimes see Red Howler and Black Spider Monkeys. We return to the lodge for breakfast before departure. Transfer from Atta Rainforest Lodge is by 4 x 4 vehicle through the rainforest to Corkwood in the Iwokrama Forest. Here there is a comparatively short trail to hopefully see the amazingly brilliant Guianan Cock-of-the-rock. This trail is through interesting and pristine rainforest and the guides can explain how the plants are used for medicine and other purposes. We then continue the journey to the community of Surama.  Surama’s inhabitants are mainly from the Macushi tribe and still observe many of the traditional practices of their ancestors. On arrival in Surama you will receive a warm welcome and settle into your accommodation at the lodge. A guide will escort you for a short walk on trails to observe the forest and bird life. As the afternoon cools your guide will take you on a tour of the village. You will visit the local school, medical centre and church along with some of the village houses. Tonight enjoy an educational walk to observe wildlife and experience the mystique of the forest after dark. (B, L, D)

    Day 13 Burro Burro River & explore around the Surama Eco-lodge
    Rise before dawn for a walk across the savannah and then climb up Surama Mountain for incredible views across the village and savannah to the Pakaraima Mountains. Return to the lodge for lunch and then take a walk across the savannah and through the rainforest to the Burro Burro River. Your guides will then paddle you on the Burro Burro River for opportunities to observe Giant River Otters, Tapir, Tayra, Spider Monkeys and more species. We will return to the lodge for sunset. (B, L, D)

    Day 14 Surama Eco-lodge to Georgetown
    Enjoy dawn breaking across the rainforest. You can choose from a forest walk to look for wildlife and birds or relax around the lodge before breakfast and departure. We will be collected from the Surama Eco Lodge and transferred to the airstrip. We board a scheduled flight for a journey over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and hundreds of miles of tropical rainforest to land at Eugene F. Correia International Airport. From Eugene F. Correia International Airport you will be taken to your hotel. (B)

    Day 15 In Georgetown, trip concludes
    Pickup in Georgetown and transfer to Cheddi Jagan International Airport for your departing flight. (B)

    Inclusions

    • 14 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 5 dinners
    • Accommodation on a twin share basis
    • Internal flight to Kaieteur Falls
    • Internal Flight to Iwokrama Reserve
    • Flight from Paramaribo to Georgetown on day 8
    • All road and river transportation
    • Sunset Dolphin Tour
    • Expert local guides
    • National Park fees

    WEX- GSF