Venture into the Andes and Amazon, travelling overland from Cayenne to Boa Vista

Whether you’re a wildlife photographer, twitcher, all-round nature enthusiast or simply an adventurer looking to delve into the Amazon Rainforest, this is a journey not to be missed. A trio of tiny countries on the North coast of Brazil – Suriname, French Guiana, and Guyana – are awash with natural wonders and largely unspoiled. Explore laidback Georgetown and Paramaribo on foot, visit the space station in French Guiana, take a boat cruise around the famed islands of Papillion, and penetrate the dense wilderness of the Amazon in search of pink dolphins. A winning combination of beach, jungle and wildlife is only bolstered by a relative lack of tourists, so if you’re looking for destinations that are all the more incredible for being “not so hot” – look no further.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Cayanne, Guyana
Finish
Boa Vista, Brazil
Countries
Brazil, Guyana, Suriname
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland
Code
GDVD
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 22

Why we love this trip

  • Visit the exotically located Guiana Space Centre, the massive spaceport where France dreams of Europe being a world space power

  • Take a boat trip to the infamous Iles du Salut (Devil’s Islands) to explore the local history, snap photos of native wildlife and even take a swim in the convict’s swimming pool

  • Escape to a private island in Upper Suriname on an exclusive two-day rainforest retreat, surrounded by the buzz and twitter of the Amazon Jungle

  • Guided walks get you closer to the heart of destinations, from the colourful backstreets of Cayenne to the suspended canopy bridges of the Iwikrama Forest

  • With a village eco-camp your base, take your time exploring the diverse Rupunini Savannah, with some hiking, biking or canoeing among some 9,000 species of wildlife

Itinerary

Welcome to French Guiana! Today there is an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please meet for it in the hotel reception. Other than that, the day is yours to explore Cayenne as you please. Consider a two-hour kayaking trip to the Iles Dupont, exploring sea islets positioned less than a half-mile off the beach of Cayenne’s Grand Hotel de Montabo. This site is perfect for the observation of sea turtles and dolphins. Alternatively, perhaps take an afternoon and evening trip in a pirogue (dugout canoe) up the Kaw River to view the flora and fauna of the marshes, keeping an eye out for caiman.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a half-day walking tour around Cayenne. This three-hour hike takes you to the important historical and cultural spots around town, and up Cepenou Hill to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Depending on timing of a given departure, we may choose to visit the Space station at Kourou this morning; otherwise this excursion will happen on day 3 or 4.
Travel to the town of Kourou. This is where the European space station is found, and it's the starting point for boat trips around the former penal colony on Devil’s Island (one of the infamous Iles du Salut off the coast of French Guiana). The ordeal of Frenchman Henri Charriere, who spent 12 years here, would later inspire the book Papillon.

Today's approximate driving time is 2 hours.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you'll visit the European spaceport (Guiana Space Centre) near Kourou, en route to the town of Saint Laurent du Maroni. Enjoy a boat trip to the Iles du Salut, the Devils islands; explore the old church, school and hospital of Ilhe Royale, photograph the native wildlife and even take a dip in the convicts swimming pool.

Today's approximate driving time is 3 hours.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day to explore the border town of Saint Laurent du Maroni, located on the Maroni river. It's got an interesting and very dark history as an arrival point for prisoners during the 19th century. You might like to take an optional tour to the 'Ile Portal' river island, to the Amerindian village of Biguiston and its polishing stones, and finally to the Wacapou creek.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel by ferry across the Maroni River to Albina in Suriname. At certain times of the year, it may be possible to arrange a local boat to take us to the turtle nesting site of Galibi further north. (Note: if this is not available due to local circumstances or the timing, we may choose to head directly to Paramaribo).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Continue the journey west to the lively town of Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname. This evening, enjoy a sunset boat trip in the hope of seeing some dolphins playing in the Suriname River (snacks and drinks are included on the tour). In Paramaribo you'll stay in a locally owned hostel in dorms and twin rooms with shared bathrooms.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day to explore Paramaribo's historic inner city and the Commewijne area. You can easily explore the historic centre on foot, visiting Fort Zeelandia and the Suriname museum, and enjoying the fantastic architecture of Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral, one of the largest wooden buildings in the western hemisphere. Alternatively, hire a bike and take a boat across the river to cycle the peaceful Commewijne Plantation Loop, or visit the star shaped fort at Neiu Amsterdam. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from too. A good optional activity is to take a tour to explore the historical timeline of Suriname and learn about its bittersweet past of sugar and slavery. Another option is a day tour filled with authentic Maroon culture, art, music and dance.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave the truck behind and embark on an unforgettable adventure into the interior of Suriname. First you will travel by minibus (for approximately 190 km) to the port at Atjoni; from there, hop on a boat for an one-hour trip along the Suriname River. This leads deep into the rainforest, and your base for the next two nights is an exclusive private island. Be sure to pack light for this excursion, as there will only be space to take a small bag. The cabins are comfortable, and there's a pool to enjoy. All meals are provided during your time here, but you will need a small amount of money for drinks and tips for the local guide. During this stay you're free to either relax and unwind, or take part in various activities such as cultural workshops, forest walks, canoe trips or visit the local population. The pristine rainforest, turbulent rapids, beautiful flora and fauna, idyllic islands and the fascinating Maroon culture make for an unforgettable experience.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Perhaps visit some local villages on a walk around the island, keeping an eye out for some of the furry inhabitants of the area. You could also learn about medicinal local plants, spot caiman on a night-time canoe trip, or take a dip in the river at the Ferulassi rapids (a natural jacuzzi). Otherwise, kick back, relax and soak up the ambience of the Amazon.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Spend this morning however you wish: explore, swim, or relax. After lunch, take a transfer back to Paramaribo. Consider an optional evening tour to see turtles in the their natural habitat.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Paramaribo and its surroundings definitely deserve at least one more day for exploration. Why not take a boat trip to Jordensavanne, take part in a Moengo Cultural experience, go walking in the Peperpot Nature reserve or Brownsberg Nature Park, learn the art of Surinamese cookery, take a boat trip to the ruins of Jodensavanne, or visit the partly renovated plantation Peperpot and take a walk in the nature park.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Settle in for the long drive to Guyana's capital city, Georgetown. You'll cross the border by ferry. Georgetown is known as the 'Garden City' of the Caribbean, despite actually being on the Atlantic. It's wide, tree-lined avenues and canals follow the layout of the old sugar estates. There are stunning colonial buildings everywhere, as well as botonical gardens and even a National Park, where you can visit the resident Manatees who live in the lakes here. From Georgetown it's possible to take a light aircraft to visit the magnificent Kaieteur Falls, one of the highest single drop waterfalls in the world, and home to incredible wildlife such as the stunning, orange Cock of the Rock and the tiny Golden Frogs. Your accommodation is basic but cosy – a locally run hostel with shared bathrooms in a combination of twin and dorm rooms.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a morning tour of the city. This includes the old canals and great sea wall, the incredible wooden cathedrals and the huge market. Try to spot the manatees swimming in the National park's lake along the way. Georgetown is a busy place, and feels happily free from mass tourism. Be sure to take your camera!
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a second free day in the city. Perhaps one of the greatest highlights of Guyana is the spectacularly remote and impressive Kaieteur Falls, one of the tallest single drop waterfalls in the world, reachable only by light aircraft. Take a half-day flight to the falls, then enjoy a walking tour to the falls and search for the tiny golden rocket frogs, hiding in the tank bromeliads leaves, as well as an impressive variety of butterflies. Consider a full day trip to the Arrowpoint Nature Resort.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today the adventure really begins. Embrace an early start and travel south into the Guyanan Interior. Enjoy the comforts of a tarmac road for around 120 km, as far as the town of Linden; after that the dirt road begins. It's the only road that connects Georgetown to Brazil, and at some times of the year it becomes impassable due to the rains, but most of the time you'll find trucks and minibuses happily bumping along the road transporting people to and from Lethem. Many people choose to fly to the jungle resorts, but as an overlander you'll get to enjoy the pristine rainforest. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive jaguar which are known to be spotted crossing the road from time to time. Tonight you'll bunk down in a room in the Iwokrama Forest with basic amenities.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Deep in the Guyanan rainforest, in one of the most pristine and untouched eco-systems in the world, there are some unique wildlife spotting opportunities. Head out walking, bird watching, canoeing, searching for nocturnal wildlife at night – even a spot of swimming (if the water is low enough). While you're here you'll experience the Iwokrama Forest Canopy Walkway; set 30 metres above the forest floor, it allows you to experience the jungle's mid-level canopy through a series of suspension bridges and decks. Visits during dusk or dawn are best for bird spotting of macaws and toucans. You may even be lucky enough to see a red howler monkey or two.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave the dense rainforest behind and head towards a village eco-camp in the Rupununi Savannah area of Savannah. Here you'll camp or stay in a hammock, and all meals are included. Enjoy a village walk, go wildlife spotting and birdwatching, hike up the nearby mountain, or take a canoe trip – all great ways to soak up the natural beauty that surrounds.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Head further south and into the more open savannah area, where there are further opportunities for spotting wildlife, snapping photos of the landscape, walking and cultural activities. Today you'll camp with basic facilities. Optional activities include a half-day horse riding adventure, a full-day bicycle hire to explore on two wheels, or a guided hike.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
On your final day in Guyana, head south past the town of Lethem and on to the city of Boa Vista in Brazil.

Today's approximate driving time is 5 hours.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is the final day for passengers finishing their trip in Boa Vista. If you are finishing in Boa Vista, you will most likely exit Brazil at Boa Vista-Atlas Brasil Cantanhede International Airport.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
There is no accommodation included on the trip tonight, so please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking an extra night of accommodation in order to fully explore the area.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Overland expedition vehicle, 4x4, Public bus, Boat, Canoe

Accommodation

Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night), Camping (with facilities) (17 nights), Hotel (2 nights)

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Cayanne to Boa Vista trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman.
2. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.