Don’t Put Off Guyana Travel For Wild, Unspoiled Birding and Nature

Guyana travel offers a lush, tropical paradise where Naturalist Journeys guests often see 300-plus species during the course of our 13-Day, 12-Night tours.

One of the last truly untamed places on Earth, this South American jewel is home to some 800 birds and more than 1,100 animals, many requiring enormous unspoiled territories, like the Harpy Eagle, Giant River Otter, and Giant Anteater.

  • Guyana travel offers great opportunities to see Giant Anteater
  • Guyana travel offers opportunties to see Giant River otters

Geologically ancient, Guyana is part of the 1.7 million-year-old “Guiana Shield,” along with neighboring Suriname, French Guiana, and parts of Venezuela and Brazil. Some 1,000 bird species call this region home, nearly 8 percent of which are endemics. Some of our most sought-after species in Guyana are the colorful Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, whose mating dances we may see and the costumed Hoatzin, whose spectacular plumage is hard to forget.

  • Guyana Birding offers opportuntiies to see the Guianan Cock of the Rock

Nearly 90 percent of the country’s inhabitants live in the capital, Georgetown, where we bird the coast and its famed botanical gardens. We fly over rather than drive the country’s single mostly-unpaved two-lane highway to the interior. There, our ecolodges are run by Amerindians sustainably preserving their ancient way of life and guiding our guests to its wild secrets. 

Along the way, we land the plane to admire Kaieteur Falls, the tallest single-drop waterfall of the world, which you’ve only never heard of because it is only accessible by bush plane. Though Venezuela’s Angel Falls is greater in total height, its filamentous drop occurs by stages, whereas Kaieteur is a single massive, thundering cascade up to 100 meters wide, created as the Potaro River makes a sheer drop of 228 meters—nearly five times the height of Niagara Falls.

Kaieteur Falls. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Guyana travel, at least up to this point, is a bit on the adventurous side, said Dave Mehlman, who is leading the second of three small-group tours we have scheduled for 2022, which have a maximum of 8 guests:

In the ecolodges, our meals consist of wonderful native cuisine that is the definition of fresh and hyperlocal and made in time-honored tradition. Our lodging is rustic but comfortable.

Those who choose to wait to visit may find a more luxe form of Guyana travel in the future, but it will never be less crowded, more wild, more biodiverse, or more magical. 

“Now is a good time to visit for birders who want to get in on the ground floor of a new birding destination,” said Dave, who has led tours for Naturalist Journeys for several years here.

“Unlike Costa Rica, or some of the more developed birding destinations, you don’t have to contend with large groups of international tourists,” Dave said. “We are often one of just a few tour groups in the entire country.”

Our tours are designed to visit as many of its pristine habitats as are accessible to humans:

  • In the rainforest, we frequently find mixed-species flocks of up to 50 types of birds feeding together, associated with army ant swarms or fruiting trees, occupying different layers of the canopy.  Ant-birds, ant-wrens and ant-thrushes cover the ground. One layer up, woodcreepers mine the trunks, one layer above them, flycatchers and tanagers flit about in the understory, topped with canopy birds sometimes close enough to see with a scope. “It’s mind-boggling, really,” Dave said.
  • Guyana travel offers the opportunity to see Guianan Antbird
  • Guyana travel offers the opportunity to see Guianan toucanet
  • Savannah wetlands offer the prospect of three massive stork species, the Jabiru, Maguari Stork and Wood Stork, and also highly localized flycatchers like the Bearded Tachuri and the White-headed Marsh Tyrant. It’s here we often see the charismatic Giant Anteater.
  • Guyana travel offers the opportunity to see Jabiru, a giant stork
  • Guyana travel offers the opportunity to see Jabiru, a giant stork
  • Guyana travel offers the opportunity to see Jabiru with Wood storks
  • Guyana Travel offers the opportunity to see Maguari Stork. Photo Credit: Lip Kee Yap via Wikimedia Commons
  • Guyana travel offers opportunities to see White-headed Marsh Tyrant
  • We often spot cotingas, swifts, hawks and perching birds as we walk along the main road, which creates an edge vantage point back into the forest.
  • Guyana travel offers opportunities to see Pompadour Cotinga
  • Guyana travel offers opportunities to see Capuchinbird and other species

And if none of these natural wonders convinces you the time is now for Guyana travel, recent developments have added some uncertainty to the future of this wild place. 

Large oil discoveries off the coast of Guyana portend change to the country’s economy and lead to development.

“That is going to change the country as it has in virtually every country in the world where oil has been discovered,” Dave said. “Whether that’s for good or bad remains to be seen.”

Colonized by the British, Guyana is the only South American country with English as its official language, and culturally is more like Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean than its neighbors. The Brits relinquished the territory in 1966, but left a few things behind. Guyanans still drive on the left, play cricket, and boast a spectacular rum tradition.

Because it is English speaking, it is the easiest of the three Guianan Shield countries to navigate, Dave said.

“Guyana travel has a lot to offer in terms of birds and birding,” he said. “I have traveled extensively in South America, and I can tell you there really isn’t another place like it.”

  • Guyana travel offers looks at Jaguar
  • Guyana travel offers looks at Jaguarundi
  • Guyana travel offers looks at Margay
  • Guyana travel offers looks at Ocelot
  • Guyana travel offers looks at Oncilla
  • Guyana travel offers looks at Puma

Because there is so much wild and contiguous forest, six species of wild cats call Guyana home (though they are furtive, nocturnal, and we would be very lucky to spot them.) You’ve heard of Jaguar, Puma and Ocelot, but what about Jaguarundi, Ocilla and Margay? Another reminder just how much new there is to see with Guyana travel!

Join Naturalist Journeys’ Southeast Alaska Cruise To Glacier Bay JULY 2 – 9, 2022 For Unrivaled Natural Beauty

Peg Abbott guides our intimate small-ship cruise to Southeast Alaska’s Northern Passages

Guided by Naturalist Journeys’ founder Peg Abbott, our July 2-9 Southeast Alaska Cruise to Glacier Bay will be an intimate experience on a well-appointed ship that holds just 36 passengers! Built for close encounters with some of the most charismatic animals found anywhere in North America, the Safari Explorer is designed to go where mega cruise ships simply can’t.

Charting our path amid Southeast Alaska’s island archipelago, we are all but certain to see Humpback Whales, Orcas, Sea Lions and seals, seabirds, shorebirds and many other species.

On the 2021 dates of this cruise, Peg Abbott’s group were mesmerized by cooperative bubble feeding by Humpback Whales that she described this way in the trip report:

“This fine evening was one we will all have indelibly inked into our brains, full of beauty and wonder…We entered what was described as “whale soup”, an area of so much concentrated food that multiple Humpback Whales converged there. It would not be an exaggeration to say we saw over thirty to forty individuals surrounding the boat, with some at very close range, and others in the distance. Fish were boiling to the surface, and we could see streams of them moving and glittering in the light, at times looking like a river. We could see whale blows erupt like small geysers, often six or seven in a small area, some distant and some close, often in an alignment so you’d take in ten or twelve at one time.”

In addition to our small, fully vaccinated group and crew, our ship, the Safari Explorer also carries kayaks and skiffs, which we use to get into even more shallow waters closer to shore. Our ship is equipped with a wonderful feature that allows guests to get into and out of their kayaks on the ship.

  • Naturalist Journeys' Uncruise Alaska guests staying high and dry into and out of their kayaks on the ship's stern

Moving closer to shore, we are able to take in animals that roam or frequent the shoreline, including seabirds, shorebirds and mammals such as Grizzly Bears, which our 2021 guests did see this year from a skiff!

Some of the wonders are on and not off the ship! Cocktails and wine are included along with the spectacular food that awaits our guests.

Here, written by your Southeast Alaska tour guide and Naturalist Journeys Founder Peg Abbott, are some reasons why cruising is a wonderful way to travel:

Why Cruise with Naturalist Journeys?

Cruising is convenient. There’s a magic to unpacking once and  having everything taken care of. All you have to do is immerse  in the experience. But there is so much more to it! It’s simply  the best way to experience destinations that can’t be seen as  well by land.  

Our Naturalist Journeys Cruise to Southeast Alaska includes kayaks!

Cruising takes you to magical coastal landscapes. These  landscapes have shaped and transformed vibrant cultures for  centuries, and they are key to so many dynamic species of  wildlife. For birders, a trip along a coastline affords plentiful  seabirds and access to far-away places where stunning species  reside.  

This fresh and briny kelp tasting was a hit!

Cruising makes you feel so free. Casting off is something to be  celebrated! You participate in true expedition exploring. Our  cruises are chosen for the experience, and aboard the ship  we work hard to make you as comfortable and catered to as  possible. But for us, it’s really about seeing the places that we  cruise through—nature’s star performers of flora, fauna, and  landscape.  

Cruising lets you be you. You can be super social and have a  great time at night in the lounge trading stories, playing music,  and savoring great meals. Or, you can find a quiet spot on  the ship to cozy up with a book, or perhaps even work on your photography with an onboard expert.  

Our carefully chosen partners are masters at the logistics  of making the most of your time on land and at sea, where  experts give lectures to prepare for the next exciting landing. 

I invite you to join us to discover places that are simply Better by Boat! 

Peg Abbott