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Travels in Guyana

Just for fun, no business here....

Three pals decided to disappear into one of the massive tracts of pristine rainforest systems that comprises the Guiana Shield of northeastern South America. Ecotourism guru David Banchich was the brain behind this venture. He personally planned every detail of the trip that could have been planned in advance.

When David was still in high school, he threw himself into Borneo as his first solo trip. Next, he dove into Rwanda. David has since organized numerous Eco and Anthro-themed trips to countries like Cameroon, Egypt, Australia and one of his favorites; Albania. When David isn't traveling, he writes freelance, discovers valuable artifacts where nobody thinks to look for them (like a special antique sitar in a neglected attic) and saves for his next adventure. David lives in Buffalo, NY where he cares for a collection of exotic animals and orchestrates outreach programs.

If your desire is this: to travel beyond the beaten path, if you intend to learn all that you can, if your budget is modest and your preference is to return home in one piece but with amazing stories, then David is absolutely your guy.

After three full days of flying, worrying, a broken jungle bridge in the night, a river crossing at dawn, three confusing police checkpoints and 12 hours in the back of a crowded van, followed by a hapless, mapless, clueless journey on foot hauling all our gear through the rain, it is finally time to hunt.

Location: Surama Village, Rupununi Savannah.

Phyllomedusa bicolor! The frog producing the whining, sighing call is a species of Tungara frog (Physalaemus). Here, the whine is not followed by a "chuck!" as it is in some other Tungara species.

A Phyllomedusa bicolor. The find of the night. Found in the early AM, while waiting for a northbound van driver to awaken from his hammock nap, in the hopes that he would carry us the short distance to the Atta Eco Lodge. We learned that there wasn't any room in the van. We took our own hammock naps, waking up from time to time to send "ride needed" messages back to the to the Surama Lodge via bicycle and motorcycle riders. About an hour after dawn, I hoisted my backpack, ready to travel about 9 km (backward) to where the nearest vehicle was, to start asking around again, when Makushi naturalist Ron Allicock arrived in a snorkel-equipped 4x4. "Need a ride?". Yes Ron! Thank you Ron! Awesome.

Location: Hwy Junction at Surama Village outpost, Guyana. 3:00am. June 2014. Rainy season.

Capybara dive! On the Burro Burro River. Guided by Makushi men from the Surama Eco Lodge.

Location: River Camp, Surama Village, Rupununi Savannah.

My two companions, Micaela Byrne and David Banchich. Replenishing during one of the many pit stops that the public vans make when traversing Guyana's singular highway. The highway runs more or less N and S and aside from trekking or flying in a bushplane, it is the only pathway into the interior. On the road, unexpected travails and triumphs are almost guranteed...

In the dawn hour, 'Guy-Braz' successfully maneuvers the first vehicle over a bridge after making repairs in the dark for several hours. It does not get stuck. We ramble on.....

Location: Somewhere on the highway to Lethem, Guyana.

Once back in the capitol, I had to check out the National Museum. I was unable to convince the staff to let me take photos inside but it was very cool to see. Not half as hokey as one guide book described it to be. Some beautifully done skeletons and birds.

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