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Guyana: Pristine Rainforest, Savannah, and Wetlands

Explore Guyana's vast, pristine wilderness, see abundant wildlife, and visit vibrant indigenous cultures on this expedition to one of the wildest places on Earth.

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  • Explore Guyana's vast, pristine wilderness with visits to Amazonian rainforest, savanna, wetland, river, and grassland ecosystems.
  • Learn from renowned photographer and Guyana expert Pete Oxford.
  • Visit Amerindian communities and learn about Guyana's cultural history.
  • Look for primates, endemic birds, colorful frogs, giant river otters, giant anteaters, tropical plants, and much more.

>> See trip leader Pete Oxford's 2018 expedition report and photos.

Home to vast expanses of wilderness, Guyana is a biodiversity hotspot harboring countless species, including many found nowhere else. By visiting this "off the beaten path" destination, travelers are rewarded with one of the best terrestrial wildlife experiences in the world. For our 2020 itinerary, we have planned to make this expedition more adventurous and expeditionary as we explore three main destinations: Kaieteur Falls, the pristine rainforest along the Mapari River, and the Rupununi region.

Our expedition begins with a visit to Kaieteur Falls, the tallest single drop waterfall in the world and one of Earth's most awe-inspiring places. We will spend a night near the falls, which means that, unlike the standard middle-of-the-day two-hour visit, we will be at the falls in the evening and morning with no one else around–a truly magical experience.

>> Don't miss: 7 Giant Reasons to Visit Guyana

Our next destination is a remote area on the Mapari River in the pristine rainforest. We sleep in hammocks under a large roof. Food is great and wildlife spectacular. We hope to see Harpy Eagles, various monkey species, paca, ocelot, Goliath bird-eating spiders, and possibly tapir, and we'll even get to snorkel in the clear river. We will be truly "out there."

Next we'll move from rainforest to savanna at Caiman House Field Station. This is a combination guest-lodge and education center focused on research and conservation projects along the nearby Rupununi River. The lodge is next to Yupukari Amerindian Village and we’ll spend time with the local craftspeople and learn about village life.

Our trip explores Guyana's unspoiled interior with a focus on close-up wildlife observation. Guided by award-winning conservation photographer Pete Oxford, trip participants will benefit from Pete's many years of experience photographing in and guiding expeditions to Guyana.

Offered in partnership with Pete Oxford Expeditions.

Trip Dates & Cost

2022: April 2–13. $7,730 per person.* Group limit 8. Contact us for details.

* Limited single supplements are available for a fee of $500. Trip price does not include international airfare. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions.


Pete Oxford works in some of the world’s most pristine and remote wildlife and cultural destinations as a full-time professional photographer. His images have appeared in major magazines including National Geographic, Time, Outdoor Photographer, and Smithsonian, and have been featured ten times in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards. Pete and his wife Reneé also lead expeditions to some of the world’s richest cultures and most biodiverse areas of our planet.


Day 1: Arrival in Georgetown
We will pick you up at the airport, and then transfer you to Cara lodge, where you will stay overnight. Cara Lodge was 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. Over the years, the property has been visited by many dignitaries including King Edward VII who stayed at the house in 1923. Other dignitaries have included President Jimmy Carter, HRH Prince Charles, HRH Prince Andrew and Mick Jagger. Our accommodations tonight are at Cara Lodge.

Day 2: Kaieteur Falls
After breakfast we transfer a short distance to the Eugene F. Correia International airport to board our flight to the spectacular Kaieteur Falls, the longest single-drop waterfall in the world, plummeting 224 m (741 feet) and set in the middle of stunning rainforest. Kaieteur supports a unique micro-environment where you will see giant tank bromeliads (the largest in the world), in which the tiny golden frog spends its entire life, as well as some carnivorous plants. We will also look for the rare Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, which has a lek close by. One of the highlights of this trip is the fact that we have included an overnight’s stay at Kaieteur Falls. It is totally awesome to be there on our own in the evening and again in the morning with coffee in hand to a privileged point on the falls that regular visitors are not allowed to access. Sleeping is rustic in either a bed or a hammock but we will be taking with us good food, a chef, and a sense of adventure. It is totally worth it! Overnight at Kaieteur Guest House.

Day 3: Kaieteur - Rupununi
This morning we will be down at the edge of the falls enjoying the early morning on our own. We will also get the chance to look for the Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock again which is often easier to find in the early morning. After our breakfast and exploration of the falls we will board our chartered flight to an airstrip in the Rupununi Savanna where vehicles will meet us and drive us for our overnight stay at Caiman House in the village of Yupucari. This evening we intend to do a nocturnal boat ride with the chance of being able to assist in an ongoing research project where we can catch black caiman on a scientific tag and release project. Overnight at Caiman House.

Day 4: Rupununi - Mapari Creek
Leaving Caiman House early, we’ll board our comfortable aluminum skiffs and head south exploring the diverse habitats of the Rupununi River and the surrounding savanna then primary rainforest until we arrive at Mapari Creek. We will have a picnic lunch along the way. Leaving the white water Rupununi River, we now head into the much narrower, clear, cool black water creek that drains the nearby Kanuku Mountains. Along the way, dodging under fallen trees and possibly even portaging our boat we keep our eyes open for any of the multitude of birds and animals that we might see which could include the Guianan red-faced spider monkey, macaws, toucans, and even tapirs. We arrive to our campsite where we will sleep in hammocks with mosquito nets in a permanent open-sided building. This is truly a wilderness experience and we will be literally in the middle of nowhere. Overnight at Mapari Creek.

Days 5-7: Mapari Creek
We spend a full three days based out of Mapari Creek hammock camp. Food will be good. The toilets are tented long-drops and we will be bathing in the river next to the camp. This however is genuinely wild and pristine. Our activities will include hikes in the forest, boat rides and silent boat drifts down river, both in the day and at night. We'll go snorkeling in the river, which could be incredible. It is very rare to be able to snorkel in clear water Amazonian rivers. Some of the target species that we hope to see while we are there are Harpy Eagles (there is a nest very close by and if it is active we have an extremely good chance), tapirs, various monkey species, macaws, toucans, raptors, anaconda, ocelot, jaguar and, last but not least, the Goliath bird-eating-spider (the largest spider in the world) of which there is a good concentration in the area. Overnights at Mapari Creek.

Day 8: Mapari Creek - Rupununi
We'll enjoy a hearty breakfast and make a final morning visit to the forest before drifting as far as we can back down the creek before starting the engine and heading slowly towards Caiman House where we will arrive in the late afternoon.

Caiman House is located in the North Rupununi, a region of south western Guyana known for its expansive wetlands, savanna, marshy ponds and riparian forest. It is an extraordinarily rich and diverse area with at least 600 species of fish, along with 600 species of birds, and over 200 species of mammals. Located roughly in the middle of this beautiful and fascinating biological hotspot where endangered species like the giant otter, black caiman, jaguar, giant anteater, and arapaima can be found.
This region is rich in history, too. The North Rupununi is the homeland of the Makushi and earlier peoples dating back almost 7,000 years ago. Neighbors include the Makushi villages of Kwaimatta, Massara, Yupukari, Toka, and Simoni. Several prominent explorers and naturalists have written about their experiences here, including Robert and Richard Schomburgk, Charles Waterton, Evelyn Waugh, Gerald Durrell and David Attenborough.
 In the afternoon we will travel by boat to look for wild giant river otters. On the return trip we will spotlight for black caiman, birds and creatures of the night. Overnight at Caiman House.

Day 9: Rupununi
This morning we make an early start to reach an area of rolling grasslands, which is home to a population of giant anteaters. With luck we shall locate one of these six-foot-long animals excavating its breakfast from one of the red termite mounds that stud the savannah. An evening visit to a nearby area to see water-loving birds including ibis, anhinga, herons, jacanas and egrets is a highlight. If you are interested in birdwatching you can explore woodland patches or gallery forest along the river where we’ll hope to find a host of local bird species such as Spotted Puffbird, Striped Woodcreeper, Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin and Golden-spangled Piculet. Overnight at Caiman House.

Day 10: Rupununi
With both the river and the savannas close at hand there are a wide variety of activities to be enjoyed. We are free to determine what we want to do based on our interests, local conditions, and whether the guides have found anything especially unique and interesting to see. Two guided excursions are provided each day — one early in the morning and another late in the afternoon and into the evening. As well as being the coolest times to be out, these are usually the best times to see the different birds and animals. Trips may be on the river by boat, on the savannas by Land Rover or along forest trails on foot to the various eco systems.
 Overnight at Caiman House.

Day 11: Rupununi - Georgetown
In the event we have not yet seen a giant anteater we have time to travel out to search the savanna once more for another try! After breakfast we then take our charter flight from the private Karanambu airstrip over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and hundreds of miles of tropical rainforest to land in Ogle Airport, Georgetown and transfer to the Cara Lodge. After a late lunch enjoy a guided tour of Georgetown, the chief port, capital, and largest city of Guyana. Overnight at Cara Lodge.

Day 12: Fly home
You will be transferred from the Cara Lodge to the airport in time for your flight home.


Guests will stay in a combination of hotels, eco-lodges, and rustic hammock camps throughout this expedition. See the above itinerary for a list of accommodations by day.

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