Are departures guaranteed?
Departures are based on the availability of rooms at the lodges and require a minimum of 2 people to operate. Please wait to make travel arrangements until you receive confirmation from Wilderness Explorers.
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 two different lodgings during the tour: Cara Lodge in Georgetown and Baganara Island Resort
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).
Baganara Island Resort
Baganara Island is pre-eminent among the three hundred and sixty-five islands in the mighty Essequibo River. This wonderful little island paradise has one hundred and eighty-seven acres of lush green foliage and colorful tropical flowers. Located five miles south of Bartica, it is the gateway to the unspoiled rainforest of Guyana and the junction of the great Essequibo and Mazaruni Rivers. While on Baganara Island you'll stay in Noordenbeck House, whose name pays homage to the Dutch ancestry who once occupied the island. The house offers 10 comfortable rooms with ensuite, all sporting a scenic view of the mighty Essequibo River. You’ll have lots of space to relax, socialize or just be alone with nature. You can sit on the balcony and simply enjoy the view, or take a long walk along the pristine white sand beach as the cool river waters gently lap at its shores.
Can solo travelers get their own room? Is there a single supplement fee?
Single supplements are available and are $357 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 / 2,300 mm a year in Georgetown.
Are meals included? What is the food like?
All meals are including during your stay at Bagnara Island Resort. 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- Shorts- 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 2: Excursion from Baganara Island Resort to Parrot Island
Number of people: 2 to 8
Rate per person: $20
At dusk you'll take a boat trip to Parrot Island to view hundreds of parrots as they fly in to roost on this island. Drift silently just offshore and watch the horizon as hundreds of parrots return from feeding in the forest to roost nosily in the trees on this small island.
Day 3: Excursion from Baganara Island Resort to Bartica
Number of people: 2 to 8
Rate per person: $99 (2 person), $66 (3 person), $82 (4 person), $66 (5 person), $55 (6 person), $47 (7 person), $58 (8 person)
Depart Baganara Island Resort for Bartica, the hub of the mining community in the Northwest of Guyana. This 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'll 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. Close by is Kyk-Over-Al, once the Dutch seat of the former stronghold which guarded the junction of the Mazaruni and Cuyuni Rivers.
Day 5: Demerara River Harbor Tour
Number of people: 2 to 8
Rate per person: $106 (2 person), $79 (3 person), $66 (4 person), $53 (5 person), $46 (6 person), $46 (7 person), $40 (8 person)
Take a drive through the heart of the city to the Stabroek Market area. Here you'll 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 Harbor Bridge. 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 then continue your trip to see the Demerara Harbor Bridge, once the longest floating bridge in the world at a total length of 6,072 feet long. It was commissioned on July 2, 1978 and 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.
Day 5: Dinner at Aagman Indian Restaurant
Rate per person: $64
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.
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.