Iwokrama is a vast, protected, wilderness covered with lowland tropical forest. Activities here include boat trips and guided walks to see such wildlife as black caiman, and a variety of birds including the iconic Guinanan cock-of-the-rock and scarlet macaw.
The Iwokrama International Centre and surrounding reserve protects one million hectares of virgin rainforest and has become an important base for conservation, scientific research and ecotourism. The centre and adjacent lodge are positioned on the banks of the river, and activities include boat trips and guided walks, during which visitors learn about rainforest conservation and the importance of protecting this fragile environment.
These include: night time boat trips to spot black caiman and other nocturnal species such as tree boas, pacas, nightjars and hula tree frogs; guided nature walks near the Field Station in search of the screaming piha, grey chinned hermit and black-necked aracari; and a longer, more challenging hike to the summit of Turtle Mountain for spectacular views. You can take a dawn boat trip around Indian House Island to see butterflies, snakes and macaws, or choose an early morning trek to see the Guianan cock-of-the-rock that nests in nearby caves.
Nearby Kurupukari Falls have some well-preserved Amerindian petroglyphs, and the canopy walkway allows you to see mid-level canopy some 30 metres above the forest floor for the best chance of seeing birds such as the aracari, scarlet macaw, Guiana toucanette and channel-bill toucan, as well as red howler monkeys.
Located where the ranges of Amazonian and Guyanan flora and fauna coincide, the Iwokrama ecosystem is extremely rich in species diversity, and is home to several animals that are threatened – or even extinct – across much of their former geographic range, such as the giant anteater. It is richer in fish (more than 420 species identified so far) and bats (90 species) than any area of comparable size in the world. It also has extraordinarily high bird diversity (more than 500 species), and has been identified as a global hotspot for several plant families, including Lecythidaceae and Chrysobalanaceae. Iwokrama is considered one of the best places on earth to spot the elusive jaguar in the wild, and a high percentage of visitors have seen these magnificent cats at either dawn or dusk.
Situated close to the southern boundary is the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway, a series of aerial walkways and platforms suspended 30-odd metres above the ground, which offers access to part of the rainforest that could otherwise be seen only from a distance. Birding from the walkway is excellent, particularly when the neighbouring trees are fruiting and you can see red-and-green macaw, red-billed toucan and even harpy eagle. The canopy plants are equally impressive, with epiphytes such as orchids and bromeliads, the parasitic ficus plant, the endemic greenheart tree, the waramadan (endemic to Iwokrama Forest), and the poisonous aromata.
The development of ecotourism is an important part of Iwokrama’s strategy for financial self-sufficiency. The forest, along with the neighbouring Rupununi wetlands and savannah, offer an exceptional opportunity to experience nature and culture in an educational context. The protected area is the homeland of the Makushi indigenous people who have who have lived here and used the forest for thousands of years, and Iwokrama's success is based on combining the skills and efforts of these local communities with those of external specialists. Your stay contributes to building a sustainable future for those communities that live in – and depend on – the forest.
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