The Guiana Shield made up of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana is a 1.7 billion-year old Precambrian geological formation in the northeast of South America and one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Home to 1400 vertebrate species and 1680 bird species, it is overlain by the largest expanses of pristine rainforest in the world. On this tour, marvel at Kaieteur Falls, the highest single drop waterfall in the world and discover one of greatest untouched tropical forests left. Spot jaguar, giant anteater, giant river otter, tapir and more. Learn about the cultures of the region and visit local Amerindian and Maroon communities. Visit French Guiana's Space Centre and relive the story of Papillion at Devil's Island.
Day 1 Depart the UK today and fly to Paramaribo via Amsterdam. You will be met at the JA Pengal International airport and transferred to your hotel in Paramaribo. Formerly a statuesque townhouse, the Eco Resort Inn has been lovingly renovated while maintaining the authenticity of its exquisite colonial architecture. It has been transformed into the most charming lobby of one of Paramaribo’s most favoured hotels with numerous eco-friendly features. Located within a 5-minute walk of the historic centre of Paramaribo and the tantalising city life, rooms offer either a breath-taking view of the Suriname River or a beautiful view of the lovely garden. The hotel is simply ideal for guests who want to visit Suriname to relax and unwind. Overnight at Eco Resort Inn
Day 2 This morning start your nature and cultural experience as you depart from Paramaribo. Travel approximately 190 km to reach the village of Atjoni. At the port of Atjoni board a motorised canoe, where skilled personnel will navigate their way up the Upper Suriname River, which is famous for its breathtaking rapids, to the Danpaati River Lodge.The Danpaati River Lodge is an exceptionally remote and tranquil oasis in the heart of nature, welcoming adventurous visitors in search of an escape from modern stresses and distractions. The lodge features a welcoming and breezy lounge facing the river, a large pool surrounded by a hardwood yoga deck, and easy access to one of the few portions of the Surinam River where it is actually safe to swim. Accommodations are in spacious A-frame style cabins with carefully appointed amenities including fresh coffee service in the mornings, mosquito nets, and unbeatable views into the thick, surrounding nature. The day comes to an end with an exciting cruise on the river, looking for caiman lying on the river banks. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Overnight at Danpaati River Lodge
Day 3 Today visit one of the 12 villages that are affiliated with Danpaati. Enjoy a guided tour through the village where you will learn about the unique way of life of the local population and the wonderful traditions brought from Africa by their ancestors. After the tour visit the Maroon museum Saamaka which is dedicated to the cultural heritage of the Saramak Maroon population. Pikinslee is located 30 minutes by boat from Danpaati. In the museum learn about the history of the Maroon’s, their ancient traditions and crafts. After the tour return to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, discover the secrets of the rainforest during a guided walk in the woods. Afterwards, time is at leisure. You could choose to enjoy a massage done in a combination of traditional and Western techniques. Alternative possibilities to explore the surrounding area are available; fishing or taking the dugout canoe around the island. After dinner watch a traditional and cultural dance performance. Traditional dances such as the Seketi, Awasa and Bandamba will be performed by the local population. Your guide will explain the cultural significance of each dance. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Overnight at Danpaati River Lodge
Day 4 This morning you still have some time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and take pictures. Depart by dugout canoe from Danpaati to Atjoni. From Atjoni continue the journey back to Paramaribo by vehicle. There is an optional sunset dolphin tour. Breakfast and lunch Overnight at Eco Resort Inn
Day 5 Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname, has been placed on the UNESCO “World Heritage” list of historical monuments since 2002. On a guided tour explore the most prominent historic locations in downtown Paramaribo and discover its unique architecture. Learn about the former “Fort Zeelandia”, the Presidential Palace, the Independence Square and many other monuments. The monumental buildings are a true representation of the colonial history of Suriname. After a stroll pass the Waterkant, along the bank of the Suriname River and through the Palms Garden, also enjoy other interesting sites such as a mosque right next to a synagogue. Proceed to the Commewijne district which is situated to the east of Paramaribo across the Suriname River. The tour takes you along the former colonial plantations, most of which are now abandoned. Stop at plantation Peperpot where the old coffee and cocoa factory, deputy-director’s house and the old office are located. This former plantation is one of the oldest plantations in Surinamese history. Peperpot was established by the English and already existed before Suriname was conquered by the natives from Zeeland under command of Abraham Crijnssen in 1667. This is one of the last plantations still in its former original state. On the plantation you can still see coffee and cocoa plants as well as an ancient shed and factory, the manager’s residence and a kampong (workers’ living area). Peperpot is renowned for the many birds which can be spotted. From Peperpot, stop at the mini-museum of Marienburg, a former sugar plantation before enjoying a delicious lunch in a typical Javanese restaurant (warung) in Tamanredjo. Continue to the confluence of the Commewijne and Suriname Rivers at Nieuw Amsterdam. Here we will visit the outdoor museum Fort Nieuw Amsterdam. The large fortress was built as a defence for the crop fields that were situated along the upper parts of both rivers. Breakfast and lunch Overnight at Eco Resort Inn
Day 6 With an early start, the first leg of the journey will take you eastbound along Suriname's coastal road, a throughway that is intermittently getting a much-needed facelift, to Albina border station. Via a Ferry crossing the Maroni River, head for French Guiana or "Guyane" as it is frequently (and confusingly) called locally. Arrival at St. Laurent du Maroni is relatively uncomplicated, and your French guide will be on hand to help navigate the usual customs and immigration formalities. French Guyana is a Department of France, so technically you have entered the EU upon landing here. And, evidence of this connection to the "1st world" is immediately evident: every car seems to be a late-model Mercedes, Volkswagen or Peugeot, the roads are in near perfect condition, espresso coffee is on tap nearly everywhere, and the Euro is the currency of choice. Continue your journey to Kourou. Visit the Center Spatiale Guyanaise (Guyana Space Center). Launch schedules are a closely-held secret so the schedule today may be amended on short notice. The usual tour includes a motor coach tour which criss-crosses the centre’s mammoth facility, including stops at various assembly buildings and control centres. The entire tour is offered in French, but your guide will supply translations as often as possible. Breakfast and lunch Overnight at Hotel Atlantis.
Day 7 What is commonly referred to as “Devil's Island” is really a triangle of three islands - Îles du Salut, or the Salvation Islands - seven miles off the coast of Kourou. After a breakfast buffet at the hotel, we set sail aboard a fine motorised catamaran towards the first stop, Île Saint-Joseph. The islands played a central rol...
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