Surama – How To Get Here
The Amerindian community of Surama is located in the heart of Guyana. The village is set in five square miles of savannah which is ringed by the forest covered Pakaraima Mountains. Surama shares a common border with Iwokrama International Centre for Conservation and Development along the Burro- Burro River. Click the map for an interactive Google Map.
Minibus service from Georgetown offers an economical – if not luxurious – option for travellers. 8-passenger vans depart GT at roughly 10pm for the 4-8 hour journey along Guyana’s sole trans-national highway. The route is not paved and even during dry conditions this can be a challenging journey due to potholes and irregular maintenance.
Commercial and passenger vehicles making the southward journey queue up overnight on the banks of the Essequibo River at Kurupukari crossing, waiting for vehicle ferry to begin service at sunrise. Depending on what time you arrive (usually between 2 and 6am) you can buy snacks or hire a hammock and catch a few winks at the roadside stand.
The entrance to Iwokrama Rain Forest is on the far side of the river at Fair View Village, so if you wish to visit the nearby Iwokrama River Lodge, you may wish to stop here first before proceeding to Surama. You will also pass the entrance to the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway shortly before arriving at Surama Junction.
From Kurupukari, it’s another 60-90 minutes to the Surama junction where you will need to ask the driver to stop and let you exit. Don’t arrive here without notifying us ahead of time, otherwise we won’t know to come and meet you. There are no phones here at Surama. Depending on timing and group size, we will collect you at Surama Junction by motorbike, 4X4 Toyota HiLux, or our Bedford lorry.
Daily IntraServ coach service between Georgetown and Lethem was suspended in 2011 and we do not know if – or when – that service will be reinstated.
Northbound minibus service from Lethem runs daily between all points along the main transnational highway. Your lodge needs coordinate travel arrangements with us so we know where and when to pick you up. See the maps on this page to orient yourself to the area
Many visitors are dismayed by the high costs of ground travel around Guyana’s interior. A 4X4 transfer between Iwokrama and Surama might cost in the neighborhood of $200 USD for example, which is extremely high when compared to ground transport costs in other parts of South America.
A combination of practical realities imposed by our remote location, expensive fuel quotas, and restrictive automobile import policies upheld by the central Government severely limit the number of vehicles available to provide tourist transportation in the heart of Guyana. Even utilizing affordable long-distance minivans to traverse the transnational highway is an incomplete solution since most of the lodges you want to visit are beyond walking distance from the main road. It’s a longstanding problem we and our tourism partners have been working on for years.
What can you do to control your transport costs when visiting Guyana? Traveling as a group allows you to split the cost of any given transfer to a manageable sum, and spending more time at fewer locations can cut down on the number of expensive transfers required by your itinerary.
Surama by Air
Surama re-innaugurated its airstrip in 2012 and welcomes small aircraft arrivals during daytime hours. The Surama Eco-Lodge is a 10 minute drive from the airstrip. Daily TransGuyana Airways (TGA) flights from Georgetown will land at Surama if prior arrangements are made with the airline. Although this is expensive by comparison to minivan service (one way fares are approximately $150 USD) and scheduled flights may impose weight restrictions on your baggage, you will tie up significantly less time in transit. Charter flights with any of Guyana’s air carriers are a popular option for small to medium sized groups who wish to build a stop at Kaieteur Falls into their flight to or from Georgetown… it’s a short 40 minute hop from Kaieteur to Surama.
TGA flies at least once daily to the Annai Airstrip, immediately adjacent to Rock View Lodge, where ground transportation is available to Surama (a 45 minute drive). Due to the distances involved, a scarcity of vehicles, and limited communication infrastructure, advance arrangements for all regional ground transfers are essential.
Iwokrama River Lodge
The road between Surama and Iwokrama River Lodge is known for its ample jaguar sightings. Riverfront cabins, Turtle Mountain hike, sundowners on Michelle’s Island, a sustainable forestry initiative, on-site scientific staff, nightspotting on the Essequibo all make for a great nature experience. Website
Iwokrama Canopy Walkway
Atta Rainforest Lodge at the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway is centrally located along the main Rupununi Road that crosses through the Iworkrama Rain Forest. The Canopy Walkway is slung 30 metres above the forest floor and gives visitors a new view of the mid and upper canopy of the forest. Website
Rock View Lodge
Rock View Lodge offers comfortable lodging, outdoor and cultural activities, authentic Amerindian hospitality, and the Rupununi’s only pool. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with hundreds of palms, fruit and flower trees that enhance the natural beauty of the rolling hills and savannahs. Website
Bina Hill Institute
The Bina Hill Institute works to develop training, research and other resources in the North Rupununi. Its training programs include natural resource management, traditional knowledge systems, and building capacity for occupational and economic development. Website
Rewa is a good base for three or four days of rainforest and river exploration: numerous day hikes are available, as are fishing expeditions, canoe trips, birdwatching treks (a harpy eagle nest is regularly active in the area), and nature spotting expeditions of all sorts. Website
With a bird list of over 600 species, Karanambu is a birdwatcher’s paradise. The Lodge provides excellent viewing opportunities of giant river otters, black caiman, giant anteaters, and evenings are spent watching Victoria amazonica lilies flowers open at sunset. Website
Caiman House Field Station is the hub of several participatory development projects, including building classroom libraries in nearby village schools. Guests have a unique opportunity to participate in an ongoing field study of the black caiman, the largest member of the alligator family. Website
Maipaima EcoLodge is nestled amidst the towering rainforests in the Kanuku foothills of central Guyana. A community-run project of Nappi Village, the EcoLodge is a secluded gem that offers hospitality, unspoiled nature, rich wildlife, a dizzying array of birds, and a chance to see the rarely-visited Jordan Falls. Website
Dadanawa Ranch is the perfect base for expeditions in search of Harpy Eagle in the rainforest and Amerindian paintings and petroglyphs on the savannah. Dadanawa is also the jumping off point for boating and trekking adventures into the pristine wilderness of the Kanuku Mountains. Website