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'Birds of the Guiana Shield'

Itinerary map for Guyana 'Birds of the Guiana Shield' holiday

Designer's notes

Guyana offers rich rewards for those who enjoy the challenge of birding off the beaten track on the relatively unbirded species-rich habitats of the Guiana Shield.

The majority of Guyana is covered by the Guiana Shield's white sand rainforest with a mouth-watering list that includes Harpy Eagle, toucans, parrots, macaws, hummingbirds, trogons, jacamars, tanagers, woodpeckers, antbirds, tinamous, curassows, guans, chachalacas and trumpeters. The normally dry savannas are home to raptors, quail, finches, tanagers and flycatchers and when flooded (normally June-August) they are joined by storks, ibises, ducks and other waterfowl.

Many of the most sought-after birds of the neotropics are found in Guyana: Blood-coloured Woodpecker, Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Toco Toucan, Crimson Fruitcrow, Caica Parrot, Little Shearwater, Little Chachalaca, Sun Parakeet, Red-shouldered Macaw, Roraima Screech-Owl, Scissor-tailed Nightjar, Racket-tailed Coquette, Black-spotted Barbet, Guianan Piculet, Rio Branco Antbird, Guianan Streaked Antwren, Olive-green Tyrannulet, Guianan Red Cotinga, Crimson-hooded Manakin, Cayenne Jay, Finsch's Euphonia, and Rose-breasted Chat Warbler.

It is possible to shorten this itinerary and reduce the cost by returning to Georgetown from Karanambu on Day 9, or simply skip Day 10.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Birds of the Guiana Shield'

DAY 1

Georgetown

You are met on your arrival at the airport and driven into Georgetown to stay for two nights at Cara Lodge.

DAY 2
BL

Your guide collects you before dawn to bird Abary Creek Trail, home to Blood-coloured Woodpecker and Rufous Crab-Hawk, White-bellied Piculet and Guianan Gnatcatcher. You take a boat trip on the Mahaica River for hoatzin and others. Continuing into the afternoon you visit the Botanical Garden for Snail Kite, Wing-barred Seedeater, Gray Hawk, Pearl Kite, Carib Grackle, Brown-throated Parakeet, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Great Horned Owl, Red-bellied and Red-shouldered Macaw, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Black-crested Antshrike, Silver-beaked Tanager, Buff-breasted Wren, Golden-spangled and White-bellied Piculet, Ashy-headed Greenlet and a second opportunity for Blood-coloured Woodpecker.

DAY 3
BLD

Iwokrama Reserve

Today you fly over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and hundreds of miles of tropical rainforest to Lethem where you are met and driven by 4WD through savanna to the southern border of the half million hectare Iwokrama Rainforest Reserve where about 450 bird species have so far been recorded. This is a great location for larger fruit-eating birds: cracids, cotingas and parrots. You visit the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway a 150m walkway of 4 platforms linked by suspension bridges 33m above the ground. From this vantage point it is possible to see Guianan, White-necked and Pied Puffbird, Guianan Streaked-Antwren, Spot-tailed, Todd’s and Pygmy Antwren, Painted Parakeet, Waved Woodpecker, Green Araçari, Dusky Purpletuft and Purple-breasted Cotinga. At the base look for Red-and-black Grosbeak and Black-throated Antshrike. Stay 2 nights at Atta Rainforest Lodge, in private en-suite rooms surrounded by forest, just 500m from the walkway. Crimson Fruitcrow and Black Curassow are regularly seen in the clearing around the lodge.

DAY 4
BLD

Highly productive dawn birding on the canopy walkway. During the course of today perhaps see Eastern Long-tailed Hermit, Crimson Topaz, Buff-cheeked Greenlet, Pompadour Cotinga, Slate-coloured and Yellow-green Grosbeak. At ground level look for White-plumed and Spot-winged Antbird, Ash-winged and Long-billed Antwren, McConnell’s Flycatcher, Gray-crowned Flycatcher, Plain Xenops and Wedge-billed Woodcreeper.

DAY 5
BLD

Surama

Return to the canopy for a final dawn chorus or bird around the lodge itself. Other possibilities here include Blue-cheeked and Orange-winged parrot, Flame-crested Tanager, Golden-winged Parakeet, Slender-footed Tyrannulet, Purple-breasted Cotinga, and Black-capped Becard. Then travel by 4WD to a short trail which leads to a Guianan Cock-of-the-rock lek. (A two hour hike leads to a site for Harpy Eagle; an option if the nest is active at the time of your visit.) Travel onwards to stay at Surama where a key objective is Rufous-winged Ground-cuckoo. Night birding here can produce Lesser Nighthawk, Great and Common Potoo, White-tailed Nightjar, Northern Tawny-bellied and Tropical Screech-Owl.

DAY 6
BLD

A morning birding at Surama for Guianan Warbling Antbird,Pale-throated Barbthroat, Lilac-tailed Parrotlet, Red-legged Tinamou,Painted Parakeet, Dusky Parrot, Lemon-chested Greenlet, Finsch’s Euphonia,White-browed Antbird, Rufous-bellied Antwren, Northern Slaty-antshrike, Great and Paradise Jacamar and Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant

DAY 7
BLD

North Rupununi Savanna

Today you are driven across the savanna to the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains. Keep an eye out for Jabiru along the way. Then by boat on the Rupununi River to Karanambu for 2 nights. The habitat here is largely grassland and gallery forest. Look for Bearded Tachuri, Crestless Curassow, Spotted Puffbird, Striped Woodcreeper, Saffron-crested and Pale-bellied Tyrant-manakin, 8 species of nightjar, Boat-billed Heron plus the Giant River Otter for which Karanambu is world famous.

DAY 8
BLD

Full day birding the various habitats around Karanambu Ranch, traveling by boat and 4x4 to forest patches for Blue backed Manakin & Capuchinbird, on the savannah for Double-striped Thick-knees and Blue Ground-Dove and to the ponds, with their Victoria Regina waterlilies for storks, ibis and other waterbirds.

DAY 9
BLD

Brazilian border area - Karrasabai

Today you travel to the region between the Pakaraima Mountains and the Rupununi grasslands where you have a good chance to see the endangered Sun Parakeet. Stay for 2 nights in the Lethem area.

DAY 10
BLD

Set out very early for a 3h 4WD drive to a site for the endangered Red Siskin. This beautiful bird is our main quest for the day, but there are also chances for Yellow-bellied and Plain-crested Elaenia, Red-breasted Blackbird, Red-bellied Macaw, Buff-necked Ibis, Pale-tipped Inezia, Burnished Buff Tanager and Amazonian Scrub Flycatcher.

DAY 11
BL

Ireng River

This morning travel by 4WD to the dry scrub and grasslands bordering the Ireng and Takatu rivers (tributaries of the Rio Branco) in search of Hoary-throated Spinetail and Rio Branco Antbird. Return to Lethem to fly back to Georgetown where you spend the night.

DAY 12
B

Georgetown

In the morning you are collected from your hotel for your chosen international flight home, or onwards to Trinidad, etc. You could extend your trip by one night to make a visit to Kaieteur Falls (see opposite page), where you should also see White-chinned and White-tipped Swifts, Orange-breasted Falcon and Guianan Cock-of-the-rock.

Guide prices for 'Birds of the Guiana Shield'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide price: 11 night full version includes Red Siskin site 2 people sharing £4,750
Guide price: 10-night version (no Red Siskin site) 2 people sharing £3,985
Guide price: 9-night version (no Brazilian border area sites) 2 people sharing £3,395
Prices are per person and include:
  • all transport within Guyana
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • all the excursions described in the day-by-day itinerary
  • services of local resident English-speaking bird guides in the different localities
  • Iwokrama Forest User fee
  • Iwokrama Canopy Walkway fee
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc

Customer reviews for 'Birds of the Guiana Shield'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average

Seasonal information for 'Birds of the Guiana Shield'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Birds of the Guiana Shield'

Days 1 - 2

Cara Lodge

Downtown Georgetown
rating

Average rating 4.8 (12 ratings)

This is a very characterful wooden gingerbread style hotel.   It is one of the oldest and grandest structures in Georgetown.

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. Famous guests include: Edward VII,  President Jimmy Carter, HRH Prince Charles and Mick Jagger.

 All rooms have: Demerara shutters and polished wooden floors, private bathroom, a/c, mini bar, cable TV, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, complimentary tea and coffee

Standard Rooms:  Gallery Rooms and Verandah Rooms which overlook the gardens.

Executive rooms and suites have internet access and open out onto a veranda that overlooks the Mango Tree Patio.

It has a business centre and a restaurant open daily, except Sundays.

Cara Lodge
Exterior
Days 3 - 4

Atta Rainforest Lodge, Iwokrama Canopy Walkway

Iwokrama Canopy Walkway
rating

Average rating 4.8 (8 ratings)

Located 500m from the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway the main building is open sided with views across the gardens to the forest which is just 25m away. It houses the bar, dining area and kitchen.  There are 8 new rooms with private bathrooms   The two older accommodation buildings which are open sided to provide natural cooling. These rooms have two beds and there are four shared bathrooms situated between these two older accommodation blocks. The shared bathrooms each have a flush toilet, wash basin and shower which is open topped to the elements and gives a views of the forest. Visits to the Canopy Walkway (suspended 30m heigh above the ground and 154m in length) are scheduled during your stay at Atta Rainforest Camp. Normally there is a visit that leaves the camp before dawn so that you can welcome the dawn chorus from the canopy. Then again as the afternoon cools you can return to the walkway to experience night falling and the canopy after dark. Additional visits are available outside these scheduled trips. All visitors to the walkway are accompanied by local guides. Apart from the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway itself you can enjoy wildlife and birdwatching walks on the trails around the area. For those interested in botany many of the trails have the key trees species marked.

Atta Rainforest Lodge, Iwokrama Canopy Walkway
Lodge
Days 5 - 6

Surama Village Eco Lodge

Surama
rating

Average rating 4.4 (5 ratings)

Surama Village Eco Lodge
Days 7 - 8

Karanambu Lodge

Rupununi
rating

Average rating 4.8 (11 ratings)

Settled in 1927 by the McTurk family Karanambu remains a working cattle ranch on its 125 square miles of savannah land, worked by traditional vaqueros. The meat produced is completely organic and is either sold locally or consumed on the ranch.

In 1983 Diane McTurk started the Karanambu Lodge eco-tourism resort allowing visitors to experience the tranquility and abundant wildlife that are key features of this part of the Rupununi. Guests are welcomed on to the ranch, share meals with the family and enjoy guided tours according to their interests. Typically there are two guided excursions each day. One early in the morning and another late in the afternoon and into the evening.  Trips may be on the river by boat, on the savannahs by Land Rover or along forest trails on foot to the different ponds in the area.

There are 5 simple clay brick thatched cabins each with private toilet and shower, verandah with hammock. Please note facilities are primitive. Water for bathing is provided from overhead tanks filled from the river. Electricity is generated from 18.00h-20.00h only. Four of the cabins have twin beds and accommodated 2 people. The Fifth cabin can sleep up to 4 people in two bedrooms sharing one bathroom.

Karanambu Lodge
Days 9 - 10

Rupununi Eco Hotel

Lethem area

Rupununi Eco Hotel
Day 11

Cara Lodge

Downtown Georgetown
rating

Average rating 4.8 (12 ratings)

This is a very characterful wooden gingerbread style hotel.   It is one of the oldest and grandest structures in Georgetown.

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. Famous guests include: Edward VII,  President Jimmy Carter, HRH Prince Charles and Mick Jagger.

 All rooms have: Demerara shutters and polished wooden floors, private bathroom, a/c, mini bar, cable TV, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, complimentary tea and coffee

Standard Rooms:  Gallery Rooms and Verandah Rooms which overlook the gardens.

Executive rooms and suites have internet access and open out onto a veranda that overlooks the Mango Tree Patio.

It has a business centre and a restaurant open daily, except Sundays.

Cara Lodge
Exterior