Suriname, French Guiana & Guyana
March 10 to 20, 2019
The northeast corner of South America is the continent’s least-explored territory. Suriname – formerly Dutch Guiana – is located on the Caribbean coast of South America between Guyana and French Guiana. It is a heavily forested country covered by large areas of biological diversity. Most of Suriname’s small population speaks Dutch and lives in the coastal area in and around the capital city. Suriname’s interior forest is occupied by very small populations of Amerindians and descendants of African slaves – the Maroons – who live scattered along its major rivers.
French Guiana is known to Francophiles and locals as Guyane and yes, this causes no shortage of confusion with similarly-named Guyana a few hundred miles to the west. Nonetheless, French Guiana is a singularly unique place from a political point of view. Its 84,000 km² (32,500 square miles) is a department of France and this territory is legally part of the European Union. President Emmanuel Macron is the head of state, French is the lingua franca, and transactions are handled in Euros. Espresso and wine are in ample supply.
Guyana has preserved the vast majority of its rainforest in pristine form, replete with all the creatures, big and small, who call it home. This presents an opportunity for first-hand exploration found in few other places on Earth. No touts; no tour bus traffic jams; even postcards and souvenirs are in short supply. When you visit Guyana, you encounter something that’s hard to find these days: a magnificent, untrammeled place.
Per person sharing in double occupancy (Land Only): $5,995.00
Single Supplement: $800.00
Price based on a group size minimum of 6 and maximum of 12 participants
Please contact our office for your flight needs
Your tour does not include
- International flights from/to USA.
- Items of a personal nature: beverages, laundry, phone calls, email, souvenirs, etc.
- Hotel accommodations necessitated by changes in air schedules or misconnections.
- Visa for Suriname ($159.00)
- Travel protection insurance (highly recommended).
- Tips to guide, drivers, hotel & restaurant staff and porters.
Your tour includes
- Airport/hotel/airport transfers in every city.
- Accommodation at hotels mentioned or similar.
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B: breakfast, L: lunch and D: dinner).
- All visits to sites, villages, monuments and museums.
- Transportation in 4x4 vehicles.
- English speaking guide and Local guides at various villages.
- Internal flights in Guyana
II Active – Some hikes, slightly more demanding walks at or to sites, few elevations, comfortable but busy schedule and some long rides.
*** Superior: Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined service and comfort level acceptable to western standards. (3 or 4 stars)
View Tour Itinerary
Sunday, Mar 10
US – Georgetown (Guyana)
You will be met upon arrival at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and transferred to Cara Lodge (or similar) for your overnight. Built in the 1840’s, the lodge 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 “famous folk” have included President Jimmy Carter, HRH Prince Charles, HRH Prince Andrew and Mick Jagger. This magnificent home turned hotel offers the tradition and nostalgia of a bygone era, complete with service and comfort in a congenial atmosphere.
Monday, Mar 11
After breakfast meets your guide, Master Chef Delvin Adams, who will escort you around Bourda Market, the largest of the four markets in Georgetown. Begin at the Guyana Store which has all the local products produced and packaged in Guyana. Visit the fish market and open-air market. Head off on a tour of Georgetown, the chief port, capital and largest city of Guyana. Situated on the right bank of the Demerara River estuary, it was chosen as a site for a fort to guard the early settlements of the Dutch, the first colonizers in the area. Most of the buildings in the city are wooden with unique architecture dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. During your visit to Georgetown there are a number of interesting sights that should not be missed: the most famous being St. George’s Cathedral. Consecrated in 1892, it is one of the world’s tallest free standing wooden buildings. Continue on to the public library, the Town Hall and St. Andrews Kirk. End this morning’s tour at the Backyard Café where you will have lunch before returning to the hotel. Later in the afternoon, head out through the heart of the city to explore the Stabroek Market area. Here you will join the afternoon commuters using the old ferry. Soon after the skies begin to darken you return by ferry taking in the city lights from the river. Overnight at Cara Lodge or similar. (B, L)
Tuesday, Mar 12
Georgetown – Kaieteur falls – Georgetown
Spend the morning touring the extensive and beautiful Georgetown Botanical Gardens. With a bit of luck you may spot the Blood-colored Woodpecker. Return to your hotel, the meeting point for your transfer to Eugene F. Correia International Airport. Depart on a scheduled flight over the Demerara and Essequibo rivers and hundreds of miles of unbroken tropical rainforest to land at Kaieteur Falls, the world’s highest free-falling waterfall. Explore the area before your return flight to Georgetown and your hotel for your overnight. (B)
Wednesday, Mar 13
Village of Santa Mission
Travel overland along the east bank of the Demerara River to the Arrowpoint Marina. Board a boat for a short ride across the river to the mouth of the Kamuni River and onwards towards Pokero Creek, a smaller “black water” tributary which is quite a contrast after the muddy brown waters of the Demerara. You will stop at the village of Santa Mission, a community of Arawak and Carib Amerindians, where you will be able to experience village life and purchase local handicraft made from materials of the rainforest before continuing your journey. Spend the day enjoying a variety of physically challenging outdoor activities including walking or mountain biking along well marked jungle trails, beach volley ball, swimming, canoeing, riding the surf bikes or simply relaxing in a gently swaying hammock. Retrace your steps by boat to the Arrowpoint Marina and by vehicle to the city. Return to the hotel for your overnight. (B, L)
Thursday, Mar 14
Return to Eugene F. Correia International Airport for your departing GUM Air flight to Paramaribo, Suriname. You will be met upon arrival at the local airport and transferred to Paramaribo to begin your tour of the city. Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname, was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list of historical monuments in 2002. See Fort Zeelandia, the Presidential Palace and the many monuments of Independence Square. Afterwards, transfer to the Eco Resort Inn or similar for your overnight. (B)
Friday, Mar 15
After breakfast head out for a tour of the Commewijne district which is situated to the east of Paramaribo across the Suriname River. You will pass the former colonial plantations, most of which are now abandoned. Stop at Peperpot Plantation, site of an old coffee and cocoa factory where you will see the deputy-director’s house and office. Stop at the mini-museum of Marienburg, a former sugar plantation before enjoying a delicious lunch in a typical Javanese restaurant (warung) in Tamanredjo. Continue to the confluence of the Commewijne and Suriname rivers at Nieuw Amsterdam where you will visit the outdoor museum Fort Nieuw Amsterdam. From here you will head to the pier for the Sunset Dolphin cruise. Let the cool breezes and a thirst quenching drink refresh you as you take in the river views and search for dolphin. Back on dry land you will head towards Frederiksdorp, a meticulously restored plantation. Take the opportunity to sample some of the freshly made local snacks like barra, baka bana or eggroll while gazing at the beautiful sunset. Return overland by vehicle to your hotel in Paramaribo for your overnight. (B, L)
Saturday, Mar 16
Brownsberg Nature Park
Early morning departure from Paramaribo for Brownsberg Nature Park which is located in the midst of the jungle on the Mazaroni plateau at a height of 500 meters with a unique view of the mountain range and the Van Blommenstein Reservoir. Several trails through the impressive highland forest lead you to idyllic waterfalls and mountain streams. Spend the day hiking through the reserve as you enjoy the unique jungle-sounds. Return to Paramaribo. Have dinner at Miroso, a stylish Indonesian restaurant. Overnight at the hotel. (B, L, D)
Sunday, Mar 17
St. Laurent du Maroni (French Guiana)
Depart early to set a comfortable pace for the journey. Cross the Maroni River in a Piaka canoe headed for St. Laurent du Maroni in French Guiana or "Guyane" as it is frequently (and confusingly) called locally. French Guyana is a Department of France, so technically you have entered the EU upon landing here. Enjoy a brief tour of Saint Laurent Du Maroni and Camp de la Transportation. The facility once served as the transit point for slaves and indentured servants brought in from overseas and destined for plantations throughout South America and the Caribbean. A hard-to-miss curiosity just offshore is the shipwreck of the British steamer Edith Cavell. Depart overland, traveling east to Kourou, your rest stop for the night. The journey will take approximately 2 and 1/2 hours. Upon arrival, check into the Hotel des Roches (or simiar) for your overnight. The hotel rests on a tiny finger of sand jutting into the Kourou River where it meets the Atlantic Ocean.(B, L)
Monday, Mar 18
After breakfast you will head to the pier for an excursion to what is commonly referred to as Devil’s Island. It is really a triangle of three islands, Îles du Salut, or the Salvation Islands which are seven miles off the coast of Kourou. Set sail aboard a fine motorized catamaran towards your first stop, Île Saint-Joseph. This is the southernmost island and is home to the most striking incarceration facilities that made up this notorious penal colony. Île Royale is the site of the oldest buildings on the islands, featuring a church, administration buildings, officers' quarters, and today, a good restaurant and lodging facilities. The prison buildings here are quite well preserved, and you can meander at will through the cell blocks, dormitory buildings, and other structures. If your walking tour wraps up early, there are plenty of shady trees under which you can catch a cool breeze, or you can dip your toe in one of the shallow tide pools on the north side of the island. Take the catamaran back to Kourou and return to your hotel for your overnight. (B, L)
Tuesday, Mar 19
After breakfast depart for Kourou to tour the Centre Spatiale Guyanaise (Guyana Space Center). Launch schedules are a closely-held secret so your schedule today may be amended on short notice. Board a motor coach to explore the center's mammoth facility, including stops at various assembly buildings and control centers. Afterwards return by vehicle to Cayenne where you will enjoy an afternoon tour of this capital city. While it is the administrative and commercial center of French Guiana it is also a typical creole town with about 50,000 inhabitants, half of the entire population of the country. The Fort Cépérou, the Place Léopold Heder, the Hotel des Jésuites, the Place de Grenoble, the Place des Palmistes, the colonial hospital, the Franconie Museum, the town hall and the city center are the gems of Cayenne. Time permitting, visit the traditional market, full of exotic odors, as well as an opportunity for shopping. Your last night will be spent at the Royal Amazonia or similar. (B)
Wednesday, Mar 20
Cayenne – USA
Transfer to the Félix Eboué International airport for your flight to the US.
We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed