Cookies

At Journey Latin America we use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on our website.
Find out more


2013 and earlier

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

After an hour of boating on Guyana’s Rupununi River, I had written two barely discernable scribbles in my notebook, an attempt to capture a trip that I knew would soon be relegated to memory.

A large osprey skimmed the tops of towering palm trees, a wriggling fish in its talons. My eyes darted down to tangled mangroves and a brilliant agami heron. We rounded a bend, and smooth-billed annies were above us, gliding past two jabiru storks on a sandbank below. Meanwhile, the snake-like head of an anhinga poked through the clouds, reflecting off the inky black water.

Another bend and a blue heron narrowly evaded a black caiman. A black-collared hawk gazed towards a troop of brown capuchin monkeys.

All the while we were floating in such flawless scenery that I was having trouble absorbing it all.

My location; Karanambu Ranch, dates back to 1927 when Tiny McTurk, an immigrant to Guyana from Scotland, homesteaded the area. In 1983, Tiny’s daughter Diane opened the ranch as an eco-lodge to fund her work rehabilitating orphaned giant river otters. Diane’s work brought international attention and in 1997, the Karanambu trust was formed and a private protected area was established for the conservation of Karanambu’s unique habitats and endless flora and fauna.

Even with years of talk about Guyana - South America’s only English-speaking country - becoming the next big eco-tourism destination, visitor numbers remain surprisingly low. Once you get away from the coast, where 90 percent of the country’s 750,000 inhabitants live, it’s mostly you, unpopulated rainforest, and wide-open savannas. But Guyana isn’t a secret, it’s just overlooked.

Take Iwokrama Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development. Within its boundaries, 200 mammals, 500 birds, 420 fish, and 150 species of amphibians and reptiles live on, in, under, and around the 1,500 species of flora.

On my first morning there, the air was filled with the screeches of red and green macaws and the call of red-billed toucans, and images of Iwokrama’s elite bird species filled my head: harpy eagle, crimson topaz hummingbird, hoatzin, rufous-winged ground cuckoo, Guianan cock-of-the-rock, crimson fruitcrow.

Much of Guyana is unspoiled nature. It’s a rarity in today’s world, and history has shown that it won’t last forever.

Post a comment

Upcoming Events

See full Event Listing
Journey with the UK's NO1 specialist in travel to latin america

We Love Latin America

  • A passion for the region runs through all we do
  • All our Consultants have lived or travelled extensively in Latin America
  • Up-to-the-minute knowledge underpinned by 35 years' experience

Full Financial Protection

  • Fully bonded and licensed
  • ATOL-protected
  • On your side when it matters
  • Book with confidence, knowing every penny is secure 


The Real Latin America

  • Our insider knowledge helps you go beyond the guidebooks
  • We hand-pick hotels with character and the most rewarding excursions
  • Let us show you the Latin America we know and love
Wanderlust

Wanderlust Reader's Travel Awards - Top Ten Tour Operator 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015

Latin American Travel Association – Award for Customer Service 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Specialist Tour Operator 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Best Value Tour Operator 2011

Sunday Times Travel Magazine - Editor's Award2013

British Travel Awards – Best Small Tour Operator Central & South America 2011, 2012

Condé Nast Traveller – Top Ten Specialist Tour Operator: 2010, 2011, 2012

Guardian and Observer Travel Awards– Top Ten Small Tour Operator: 2009, 2010, 2012

Page Full Path: /sitecore/content/JLA/Home/travel-inspiration/travel/close-encounters-of-the-bird-kind

Page ID: {9DD3C4D6-7B95-4346-8E19-B19D13851270}

Page Name: close-encounters-of-the-bird-kind

Page Display Name: Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

Page Template Name: T031-PapagaioBlogPost

Page Template ID: {ECC6A232-9784-4CC7-BA26-18421546B8F5}

Parent ID: {DC65CFB2-D81C-4A04-A7F8-0A1B3D88E7EB}

Parent Name: travel

Parent Display Name: Travel

Parent Template Name: T029-PapagaioCategoryListing

Parent Template ID: {4D163066-ED7E-48E6-AF31-34B6C47536CD}