Guyana collage

 

Ibike: Guyana (Guiana)

 

Guyana: Many Peoples, Many Waters
(extraordinary, nature and Amerindian cultural immersion bike and boat tour through Guyanese savannah, Amazon rainforest and river estuaries.)

Guyana is like a leachy fruit; maybe not the prettiest item on the fruit stand, but peel off the shell and nothing is sweeter!

Features of this extraordinary program:

  • Multiple varieties of macaws, toucans, parrots and dozen of other species.
  • Personal, gentle hospitality in farming and fishing Makushi and Arawak (Amerindian) communities.
  • Canopy walk in Amazonian rainforest and interpretive walks on the flora, fauna and fascinating ethno-botany.
  • Howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, anteaters, sloth, capybara, bats, and other mammals, if lucky, the elusive jaguar.
  • 4000 year old petroglyphs.
  • English speaking with adult literacy rate of 98.6%.
  • Option to visit Kaieteur Falls: the world's highest single drop falls, crimson bird of the rock, gold frogs and worlds largest specie of bromeliad.
  • Nesting and hatching of endangered sea turtles. (seasonal optional extension)

DESCRIPTION:

Guyana draws part of its culture from the exuberant Caribbean, Africa, and Asia, its anthropology 10,000 year old cultures, and its ecology from South America biodiversity.  To help people discover, learn about and enjoy this rich mix of life, in collaboration with United States Peace Corps Volunteers working on sustainable development and Amerindian communities in Guyana, the International Bicycle Fund is sponsoring a very unique, two-week, cultural and environmental immersion, bike and boat program in Guyana.  Program participants have opportunities to see Georgetown, the capital, with its rich in Dutch and British colonial architecture; to meet Makushi, Arawak and other indigenous people; and to explore an incredible diverse variety of unique ecological zones (savannah, Amazon rainforest and coastal estuary.)  We will explore the forest canopies, see a hundred varieties of birds, learn about conservation and sustainable development programs, wander in local markets, enjoy the extraordinary friendliness of the people and bike and boat in this pristine, unspoiled, inspirationally beautiful country.  The rich cultural and natural history of the Guiana is an under appreciated treasure.  Guyana can be described as "Costa Rica 30 years ago."

IBF sponsors educational programs for those who want to learn more about the people of the world, as well as see the beautiful sights. The primary mode of travel is bicycle. The cycling varies from program to program but is generally easy to moderate.  Side trips are available for those with extra energy. Accommodations are a mix from western-style hotels to hostels and local housing. All participants receive comprehensive pre-departure materials with detailed instructions on setting up their bicycle, packing, training and other information for tour preparation. The program is ideal for the realist who appreciates the world and the wonderful rewards gained for the modest rigors of bicycle touring.

The fifteen day Guyana: Many Peoples, Many Waters programs begin in Georgetown. The price includes accommodations, two meals a day, boat and van transfers and variety of activities along the way.  The group is limited to 8 people so early registration is recommended.

Guyana Cultural Bicycle Tour handout (PDF - Print two-pages back-to-back and cut into thirds -- the text is the same on each panel.)

Photo Essay of Many Peoples, Many Waters program
Comments and Testimonials from Past Participants
Registration Information
Guyana Bibliography
Have doubts? Here is: Why you should take an Ibike Tour!

 

 

 


photo by Kevin Deame

Fun Fact: "Guyana" probably comes from the Arawak (Amerindian) "wai ana" which means "land of many waters."

Clarifying "Guiana"
If you are a little confused by "Guiana," you are not alone. There were once three "Guiana's" in South America: British Guiana (now Guyana), Dutch Guiana (now Surinam) and French Guiana (still a colony).  They are often confused with the three Guinea's in Africa: Guinea Bissau (former Portuguese colony), Guinea Conakry (former French colony) and Equatorial Guinea ( former Spanish colony).  To confuse matters more, there is also Papua New Guinea in Asia.

Context of Jonestown
The infamous Jonestown was in Guyana, but its only connection to anything Guyanese people is geography.  The camp or settlement, of estranged Americans, was an very isolated outpost accessible only by small plane, 150, mostly uninhabited miles, from the capital.  There were no roads to it.  It had no political, economic, cultural, social, philosophical or religious connection to Guyana, so it falsely taints the country.  The "town" has now been reclaimed by the forest.

Guyana Doll Furniture
Wakapoa Barbie doll chair
Doll furniture from Wakapoa Ada Mekeabo Workshop. ("Ada Mekeabo" is Arawak for wood work)


FACT SHEET: Guyana: Many Peoples, Many Waters *

Schedule: Usually March or October (full schedule and status)
Program Price (lodging, two meals/day, transfers, guide, museum fees and more): US$1990 (less than six people add $100) (airfare is not included). Average out of pocket expenses per program $120 plus or minus $50.
Description: Day 1-2: orientation, acclimatization, and exploration of Georgetown. Day 3-6: Explore the Essequibo estuary by bike and boat, stay in Arawak (Amerindian) community, and learning about sustainable development projects . Day 7-8: Travel to the west.  Day 9-12: Visit Makushi (Amerindian) communities, explore Iwokrama Forest, watch bird and wildlife, take canopy walk and cycle through the lush heartland of Guyana. Day 13-14: Return to Georgetown.
Features:  Small group, cultural and environmental immersion bicycle and boat tour.  Visit with and gain a better understanding of the lifestyles, history, politics, social institutions and economics of the Amerindian Guyanese.  Visit the savannah, rainforest and beach for a variety of bird watching and natural history activities. On a ongoing basis, there will be discussions on culture, ecology and a wide variety of other aspects of Guyana.
Starting/Ending Point: Georgetown, Guyana
Skill Level: Suitable for fit beginner, intermediate or experts travel, bicycle touring experience is not essential, see cycling conditions.
Mileage Daily / Total: 30-80 km, 20-50 miles per day, starts with lower mileage / 420km, 250 miles total.
Cycling Conditions: 60% dirt roads with some sandy sections. Mostly flat with a few hilly in sections.
Accommodations: Small hotels, guest houses, and rustic village housing.
Meals: Two meals per day (sometimes three), generally breakfast and dinner (typically rice, chow mien, bora, greens, pumpkin, pepper pot, cassava bread, more chicken than fish).
Other Activities: Discussions, visits, bird walks, wildlife viewing, canopy walks, short hikes, canoeing, boat excursion.
Bike: Mountain bikes are recommended. 
Bike Rental
: not available.
Van Support: no support vehicle.
Basic Route Map


* Itineraries, fares and dates subject to change.  20% of the land portion is U.S. tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law for those registering directly with IBF.

Registration: It is easiest, and saves paper, if you register online. Or, you can register by mail by downloading and printing the Registration Packet (PDF file). Or, you can begin the registration process by sending your name, address, phone number, name of the program(s) and a deposit of $300 (of which $100 is a non¬≠refundable registration fee) to ibike. Deposit and payment may be made by check, money order, credit card or PayPal. Upon receipt of your this information a the registration packet will be forwarded to you.  It must be completed, signed and returned before your registration is considered complete. Registrations submitted less than 60 days prior to departure should include the full fee. Registrations received less than 30 days prior to departure will be accepted subject to availability and a late fee of $50. Payments within 30 days of departure must be by cashier's check, credit card or electronic transfer. Early registration is encouraged. Due to limits on group size and the advisability of starting the reading list, registrations at least 90 days prior to the departure date is suggested.

Full Payment: Due 60 days prior to departure. If payment has not been received and no special arrangements have been made, we reserve the right to assume withdrawal and fill the space.

Withdrawals: To receive a refund if withdrawing, submit a letter of withdrawal in writing to ibike. Our policy is as follows: (1) A $100 registration fee is forfeited for all withdrawals. (2) A fee of $300 is assessed for withdrawals within 60­30 days prior to departure. (3) The full price of the land costs is assessed for withdrawals initiated less than 30 days prior to departure. Changes in medical circumstances are not considered as exceptions to our normal refund policy. Insurance coverage for trip cancellation/interruption is available from several companies.

 

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