Georgetown - Lethem Road: Guyana 24 hour min bus trip
Travelers be aware of time constraints - they recommend flying...
Travelers be aware of time constraints - they recommend flying...
It was about a forty minute minibus ride from Georgetown to the river access point off the Georgetown/Timehri Highway, just past the entrance to the Soesdyke/Linden Highway, on the Demerara River then it was about a two hour speed boat ride to the Mission. On the way there we saw school children as young as 4 years old and upward either rowing or manning speedboats on their way to school, along with monkeys, loggers, pontoons with logs and large areas of quiet, untamed jungle all around. Civilization seemed far far away, especially when the speedboat driver turned off the engine for us to appreciate the local flora and fauna up close.
I entered Guyana through the backdoor so to speak. After visiting the Tepui and Penan Indians and spending delightful days in the small bordertown of Santa Elena de Uiaren, crossed into Brasil to spend a quiet weekend in Boa Vista. From there a bus takes you through cattle country and isolated Indian villages to the river that divides Brasil from Guyana. A boat will take you across and you go to the loca police station to announce you are there. The change is dramatic, not in the scenery, but the people. More dramatic than leaving Portugal and arriving in England, the former colonial masters. Stayed in a delightful hotel and had guyanese curry chicken. What was interesting is to visit the Macusi Indians. As is the case with Indians who live along the borders (recent political ones for them), they consider themselves neither Brasilian or guyanese but Macusi. Being with them for an afternoon I was so reminded of the Indian communities in North America and the common belief and ethical system they share. I cant find an image of a Macusi child from Guyana so I will upload a picture of the Tepui which is now under custodianship of the Penan indians.. bordering Venezuela, Brasil and Guyana
Lived in Guyana for about 15 years. The Interior (Bush) is amazing. A lot of untouched Jungle and some great waterfalls due to the escarpment. There is also a large savanna area on the Brailizan border.
Just walking down the street in a part of Georgetown tourists don't travel, you come across this lost treasure. This lighthouse was built in 1830 and the unusual thing is that it is located in the middle of a city blocks from the water!
Went night fishing in the Rupununi River with a local Amerindian from the Annai Village - it was an half motorcycle ride from Annai and we went out in a dugout canoe.
Any Guyana adventure should include a visit to Kaieteur Falls, a one-hour flight from the capitol, Georgetown. At 741 feet, this spectacular falls is the largest single-drop waterfall in the world – and flying above the edge in a 5-seater plane is a dizzying, jaw-dropping experience. During the wet season, the water thunders down with amazing volume and power, while the smaller flow during the dry season means visitors can walk right up to the edge (no guard rail here). Along with this natural wonder, Kaieteur National Park contains rare species like the Guianan cock-of-the-rock and the tiny, brilliantly colored golden dart-poison frog. Yet the area is still largely undiscovered – as the only visitors, we had the falls to ourselves.
The million-acre Iwokrama Forest is one of the most pristine jungles in the world and one of the best places to spot a jaguar. Iwokrama Research Center was established in the mid-90s to study sustainable management of the forest, but for the last several years it’s also been an eco-lodge – a very appealing one. There are eight thatched-roof bungalows, all with ensuite bathrooms and breezy private verandas that face the Essequibo River, along with an open-air bar and dining room in the octagonal main lodge. Activities include jungle walks, wildlife excursions on the river, a trip to the local village of Fairview (where we watched local women prepare cassava) and a hike up 1,000-foot Turtle Mountain (very hot, but we were rewarded with spectacular views and spider monkeys at the top).
The first of its kind in Guyana, the Canopy Walkway is series of platforms connected by suspension bridges, all 100 feet above the forest floor. From this vantage point, you can look out into the trees instead of craning to look up, and have a much better view of the brilliantly colored tropical birds foraging in the branches. The walkway is part of the experience at Atta Rainforest Lodge, in the heart of the Iwokrama forest about 75 minutes from the Iwokrama River Lodge and 50 minutes from Rock View. Atta has 8 simple but comfortable rooms and four shared bathrooms with private, open-air showers.
The best-established of the lodges in the Rupununi region is Rock View Lodge. While not ultra-luxurious, it is resort-like, with landscaped grounds, a vast library, and a swimming pool where we wallowed like hippos to escape the heat. Jungle walks are available on the nearby Panorama Trail, accompanied by one of the lodge's knowledgeable guides. Much of the success of ecotourism in the Rupunini can be credited to Colin Edwards, the charismatic owner of Rock View. Edwards came to Guyana from the UK in 1969 as an agricultural volunteer and never left. Over the years, he has transformed Rock View from a working cattle ranch to a self-contained village, with fruit trees, gardens, a tilapia pond, hens and cattle producing most of its own food as well as providing supplies for the other lodges. A gracious and gregarious host, he is personally involved with most of the local community development projects.
Karanambu Ranch is the family home of Diane McTurk, famous for her work rehabilitating orphaned Giant River Otters. Located on the edge of a vast savannah, the ranch is remote and rustic but admirably self-sufficient, with five thatched-roof brick cabins and a large, ramshackle main lodge. Morning and evening activities include boat excursions to see the giant Victoria amazonica lily and spot native birds and animals; nature hikes accompanied by the lodge's semi-tame raccoon, Bandit; and trips out to the savannah, where you can track giant anteaters with the help of the local vaqueros. But the highlight of any visit is spending time with Diane and the otters under her care. Twice a day she takes them down to the river for a swim, helping them learn to fish with the hope of later reintroducing them to the wild. When we were there, she was working with Buddy, a year-old otter who had been in an accident that left him partially blind. Nonetheless, he did catch some fish, frolicked with the village children, and leaped like a puppy onto Diane, who crooned to him in her husky voice. She reminded me of Katherine Hepburn by way of the Discovery Channel, and is a local legend.
Before you join the rat race, cement the bonds with an exploration designed to test your mettle. Black Tomato sent a group who had just passed the bar exam into Guyana’s remote Amazon, where they lived with Amerindian tribes, trekked through the jungle, and learned survival skills without the help of Siri. By Lisa Trottier. This appeared in the August/September 2015 issue.
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