Note: The information presented below has been extracted from our formal General Information for this tour. It covers topics we feel potential registrants may wish to consider before booking space. The complete General Information for this tour will be sent to all tour registrants and of course supplemental information, if needed, is available from the WINGS office.
ENTERING AND LEAVING GUYANA: Citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada do not need visas for visits up to 90 days. Every visitor must, however, have a passport valid for more than six months after your scheduled departure from Guyana and with at least one blank page for entrance and exit stamps.
COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/guyana.html, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Guyana at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gy.html.
PACE OF TOUR: Our tour will have occasional long days and several walks of a few miles or more on trails that may be uneven, muddy or hilly. Participants should be reasonably fit and expect to be on their feet for fairly long periods of time – a folding stool might come in handy.
We’ll make early starts most days so as to be in the field in the coolest part of the day. Our earliest day will most likely be Day 2 (leaving the hotel at 4:30am). For the rest of the tour, our standard breakfast time is 5:30am. In most areas we’ll bird all morning, usually returning to our lodging for lunch and a mid-day break during the slower and warmer hours. We’ll then make an afternoon outing, by foot, boat, or vehicle, before returning to our lodge about an hour before dinner and checklist. The tour visits only lowlands, and we remain below 2,000’ elevation for the duration of the tour.
HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure.
Yellow Fever: The Centers for Disease Control recommends yellow fever vaccination for all travelers to Guyana. The Guyanese government requires proof of yellow fever vaccination from all travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is present.
Malaria: There is a risk of malaria in some parts of the country, and resistance to Chloroquine has been reported.
The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/guyana?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-single-001
Leishmaniasis: This is a rare but present disease in the areas we visit. The only way to prevent leischmaniasis is to avoid insect bites (in this case sand flies) using long-sleeved shirts, pants, and insect repellent. The probability of getting leischmaniasis during a short trip to Guyana is quite low.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a nonsmoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail.
Miscellaneous: Biting insects are not very numerous, but this depends on recent weather conditions and there can be areas with mosquitos and small sand flies. Chiggers can be especially troublesome. Note that chiggers especially are difficult to avoid, and are almost inevitable at some point on a tour in Guyana. They seem to be most likely on our first day of birding along the coast, but are possible elsewhere. We recommend tucking pants into socks, or wearing rubber boots, and spraying insect repellent around your ankles and legs.
Several species of biting insects act as vectors for parasitic agents in Guyana, and the prevention of bites is the best remedy possible. A can of spray repellent should provide adequate protection against the mosquitoes, sandflies and black flies, while chiggers and ticks can normally be avoided by staying out of the grass on the trails and road. If you are especially sensitive to insect bites, bring an antihistamine.
Tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water is widely available.
CLIMATE: Guyana’s dry season lasts from October to April. Temperatures in the Guyanese lowlands can reach the 90’s (°F) at mid-day and humidity can be high. Rain can occur at any time, and you should have an umbrella and waterproof footwear with you at all times.
ACCOMMODATION: Our hotel in Georgetown is modern and contains all of the usual amenities of a standard resort hotel. The Iwokrama River Lodge is well appointed (electricity 24H, Wi-Fi, cell phone signal). The facilities at Atta, Surama, and Caiman House are more rustic, with basic but comfortable accommodations. Note that at the more remote lodges electricity might not be available 24h after the generators are turned off for the night or when the solar batteries are emptied because of lack of sun or too much use by the guests. Wi-Fi internet access using satellite connections is available at most of the lodges and is usually charged around 5 USD for one hour. Hot showers are only available at our hotel in Georgetown. All the other accommodations used during the trip only have cold water (but it is warm enough not to need hot water!). All of the lodges provide mosquito netting over the beds.
FOOD: Guyanese food is a wonderful mix of Caribbean, Indian and indigenous tastes, with excellently flavored sauces, vegetables and rice and meats. The constant supply of fresh tropical fruits and amply apportioned dinners are a great bonus as well.
Food Allergies: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions.
Drinks: Bottled water or a soft drink or a beer is provided at lunch and dinner, as is coffee or tea. All other drinks or ‘personal’ drinking water for use in your room, etc., are the responsibility of the individual. We also keep bottled water on the coach for “emergency” use during the day. As it can get hot during the day, we recommend that you bring a large, good-quality water bottle and keep it topped off.
TRANSPORTATION: We will employ a variety of transportation methods during this tour, including modern passenger buses, high-speed and small watercraft, small aircraft, jeeps, pickup and even ex-British military trucks! Participants should be able to ride in any seat in our tour vehicles.
Updated: 07 February 2017