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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. 

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: red howler monkey, red-and-green macaw, Guianan cock-of-the-rock, black caiman, black spider monkey
  • Where: Central Guyana, Guyana

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Rainforests, Savannahs & Wetlands

Guyana is a tiny but wildlife rich country containing pristine rainforest. Giant river otters, caiman, extraordinary flora and lekking sites for the spectacular cock-of-the-rock all combine to make this two-week small group itinerary the perfect introduction to bird and wildlife watching.

  • When to go: Nov
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,095 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Caribbean Wilderness

Journey to the Caribbean to explore untouched rainforest, sprawling savannahs and tropical reefs that offer a variety of captivating wildlife encounters and incredible nature experiences. This itinerary combines birding in Trinidad with the diverse wildlife and scenery of Guyana, before a few days relaxation in Tobago.

  • When to go: Sep-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 19 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £7,645 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Guyana: A Land of Giants

This exceptional adventure penetrates the densely forested interior of Guyana, the ‘land of many waters’. Staying in Amerindian villages and former cattle ranches, you will travel by light aircraft, four-wheel-drive vehicle, dugout canoe, and on foot, discovering the rich and colourful birdlife and searching for jaguar.

  • When to go: Sep-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,395 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Ultimate Guyana Nature Experience

This expertly guided group adventure takes you deep into Guyana’s pristine interior to explore its rainforests, rivers and savannahs, and see a remarkable variety of wildlife. Travelling by air, land, river and on foot, you’ll stay in Amerindian villages, research stations, ranches and jungle lodges.

  • When to go: Mar-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 15 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,175 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Atta Rainforest Lodge

Surrounded by rainforest, this rustic lodge is just 500 metres from Iwokrama Canopy Walkway, one of Guyana’s best birding spots. Experience traditional Amerindian hospitality, before falling asleep to the sounds of the forest and waking to the call of howler monkeys in the morning.

Iwokrama River Lodge

Iwokrama River Lodge offers accommodation in the heart of the Iwokrama Rainforest, on the banks of the mighty Essequibo River. There are eight large timber and thatch cabins, with private facilities and solar powered electricity, plus hammocks on the verandahs for guests to enjoy the excellent birdwatching.