Bridges are often just large tree trunks placed on top of a metal frame. Sometimes with cross planks, sometimes just the logs. As we are nearing the bridges I am wondering why the driver doesn't slow down. Has it not seen the bridges? Should I say something? Surely he is going to slow down any minute now? At the very last minute, he appears to notice the bridge, slams his breaks on, and then skids - travelling sideways towards a narrow bridge with no supporting edges on almost totally bald tyres! I quickly become a nervous wreck, and regret voluteering to sit in the front seat!
Travel into the interior of Guyana can be tricky and air travel is the only certain means of transport. I was taken aback when I first saw the small size of the aircraft we would be using to transport 12 individuals and all our supplies. No wonder they kept weighing us and our gear. I was further taken aback when I saw that the interior looked like a plywood box. Nevertheless, I jumped onto the plane through the back, and unfolded my (lawn?) chair. In spite of my doubts, it was a smooth 1 hour ride to Paramakatoi and I fell asleep after about 5 minutes in the air. The return flight was just as smooth. Our flights were actually organized through the Guyanan government and we traveled on one of their military planes with military pilots.
Georgetown's 2 airports: Cheddi Jagan International and the smaller Ogle Aerodrome offer flights into the interior. Trans Guyana Airways and Roraima Airways are 2 companies with schedules flights. It is also possible to charter and take advantage of tour packages using these companies.
Usually people go hiking because they want to. To travel between remote villages in the interior of Guyana, you have to. But what a way to explore this incredible country! Over a 10 day period, we included 5 hikes varying in time from 3 hours to 8, and included rain forest, savanna, crossing rivers and climbing up and down mountains.
This is an activity that should never be done without a guide. For most of our hikes, our lead guide carried a rifle.
There are a number of websites that offer hiking tours, but if you're able to hire guides privately,
negotiate a firm price before setting out. We were more than happy with our guides. They were not only helpful and informative during our treks, they helped whenever they could while our clinics were on. I especially appreciated the guides when we had to cross rivers that had tree trunks for bridges. I always froze as soon as I approached them and the guides were always excellent helping me across.
The overland route from Suriname makes a crossing by ferry over the Berbice River. The ferry terminal is lively and we encounter the first road salesmen we've seen on this trip.
The ferry is full of school children, it seems strange to us to have to catch a ferry to go to school.
All the tourist buses here are made in Japan for Japanese - in other words, the seat pitch is somewhat cramped for the larger European frames!
The aircon is good though, but I'm not sure about the driving! We had two near misses and one hit on the way from the border to Georgetown.
First, do you have a Visa for Suriname?! See my Georgetown tip for the Suriname Embassy.
To reach Paramaribo the same day you have to leave Georgetown by 5 am latest and most of the transport will be leaving around 4 am. Otherwise if you are starting anywhere else along the way, just intercept the following route as needed.
The reason is the rivers and ferries, first you have to wait for a ferry at New Amsterdam, then catch the ferry from Guyana to Suriname. On the Suriname side everything is pretty straightforward, just ~4.5 hours or so of fairly straight road.
You can either buy a ticket for the whole trip including ferries and everything (easier) or save a little money by buying separate tickets for the each section (only cheaper by a few dollars), it's up to you.
If you happen to miss the official ferry you could also take a motorboat across, the way many of the locals do, but you wouldn't go through customs or immigration and you would be in the country illegally. Can't really recommend that.
From Georgetown, it is a bit over an hour to Rosignol. It is necessary to take a ferry over the river here. After ferry at Rosignol, you are in New Amsterdam. From there, you are ~1.5 hours to Corriverton and the Suriname boarder.
The Rosignol ~ New Amsterdam ferry operates about every 30 minutes all day. The boarder ferry operates only once daily at 11am.
Bus 63 goes direct between Georgetown and Corriverton (Molsen Creek). Price should be 2500 GYD. Bus 63 typically waits at Ave of the Republic & Commerce St (across from City Hall). Recommended departure before 6:30am to reach the boarder ferry in time.
Guyana/Suriname Ferry costs 2000 GYD one-way or 3000 return (26 & 39 SRD respectively). Ferry allows 30kg (66 lbs) free and charges US $1 for every kilogram over.
From the Suriname ferry (in Southdrain) to Paramaribo, expect about a 4 hour drive. Cost should be no more than 50 SRD.
If starting in Paramaribo, pick-up times vary between 3:30 ~ 5:00 for a 5:00am departure.
If you want to prearrange transport, one such operator can be reached at:
Suriname: (+597) 456593 / 8844880 / 8507731 / 8900843
Guyana: (+592) 6217286
As there wasn't enough room in the bus for us and the luggage, our bags travelled seperately in a truck. It is a good idea to place as much of your stuff in the luggage truck as possible, as even hand luggage takes up fat too much room in an already cramped bus!
At Kurupukari we cross the Essequibo River by pontoon. Once our three vehicles have loaded, the operators try to start the engine. No joy. After many, many attempts, I join two other girls for a pee-excusrion back on land, as this could be a lenghty procedure.
Eventually, after about 20 minutes, they manage to get the engine going. Just as we have set off from land, another couple of vehicles arrive, and we return to pick them up. By this time the light is fading.
Once outside Georgetown, the road becomes a sandy logging track. Wide in some places, it becomes more narrow and less smooth, the further into the forest you get. There are many potholes to avoid, but fortunately very little traffic.
Once off the main logging track, the "road" takes many different guises. Part of our journey is along a track of soft sand. The vehicles travel at an amazing speed, and slide from side to side along the track.
This really is great fun, especially following the other trucks, seeing them waltz along the track, like little ballerinas on ice.
In the next section the track is made from sticky brown mud, and again we silde about all over the place. The drivers blame the logging trucks for ruining the track with their enormous lorries.
There are many large puddles to negotiate too, and it is quite amazing the angle the vehicles can go at without tipping over! LOL
In the villages, there may not be any other transportation available, or suitable, for ferrying goods and / or passengers to some of the more outlying places.
Sitting on the back of the tractor was fun, when it was empty you were sliding all over the place on the bare metal, when it was full of goods, you bounce about on top of the bags!
The main transportation is by aeoroplane. There is Guyana very own airline, GA2000 flying out of New York and Toranto and BWIA which links to major destinations worldwide. Get on board and take a trip, you can't afford to miss this, make Guyana your next vacation stopover.
You can rent a car while in Georgetown to move around, or go the local way and travel by mini-bus...
You will likely fly in by airplane to Timerhi which is about an hour ride to Georgetown (depending on the number of cows you dodge on the way in). Try to arrive in day light and get to Georgetown before dark. The highway is two lanes with one lane heading either way. Road accidents and bandits are common.
You will likely take a taxi. They are cheap but make sure it's a hotel taxi or otherwise reliable. There are route taxis in the form of small vans which I have never figured out. Driving at night can be an adventure as street lighting is often poor
Rock View itself may be reached by air or by road from Georgetown, Guyana's capital.
This is The Rock View Lodge, nestled between the Amerindian villages of Annai and Rupertee on the North Rupununi Savannahs where the foothills of the Pakaraima mountain range meet the tropical rainforest of Guyana, South America. The Iwokrama International Rainforest Programme Research base camp, the twelve villages of the indigenous Makushi people of the North Rupununi and the Karanambu cattle ranch are all easily accessible from Rock View. They have a Land Rover, a four-wheel drive Bedford Truck, horses, bicycles and boats for your transportation needs and desires.
65 Anira & Peter Rose Sts, opposite the Brazilian Ambassador's Residence, Georgetown, Guyana
Good for: Couples
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