After seeing a parade of beautiful exotic birds on the drive into the Iwokrama Rainforest and discovering that Guyana is an elite birding destination, I was expecting more of the same on the Canopy Walkway. We arrived at the Atta Rainforest Lodge, which is home to the trails where the Canopy Walkway is located.
Related: Guyana travel warning
Greeted by my namesake
I was greeted by Ted the baby sloth and a tame black currosow who roamed the grass around the lodge. A couple of cups of coffee and after getting a tour of the lodge, it was time to hit the jungle and see more birds and with hope, monkeys and mammals. Although rarely seen, the Iwokrama Rainforest is home to a healthy jaguar population.
Wildlife views few and far between in the mid afternoon heat
Unfortunately, it was not to be as far as the wildlife was concerned. It was past 7 a.m. when we got started as we had stopped many times coming into the jungle to see and take pictures of macaws, toucans, and other birds along the Georgetown-Lethem Road on the way from Rock View Lodge to the rainforest.
Related: Bird paradise rainforest in Guyana
Once the jungle heats up, the birds and mammals lay low. It does not mean you will not see anything, but the pickings get slim during the middle of the day. We did see two green-winged macaws on a dead tree before hitting the Canopy, but that was just about it.
Enjoying the Iwokrama Rainforest from the canopy walkways
The Canopy is five platforms located way up in the trees connected with steel hanging walkways. The walkways are not heavily enforced, so one person at a time is the limit between the platforms. It did not matter to me that we did not see much wildlife as the view from above the tree line was stunning.
We could see the tree covered hills in the distance as well as the trees and vegetation directly below us. It was a different perspective from what one usually sees from the ground. I can imagine it would normally be a great place to spot wildlife a little earlier in the morning.
This is not to say we did not see anything. We saw a few birds on top of the canopy including purple-throated fruitcrow and down in the jungle we saw some lizards and one interesting camouflaged spider. The spider was the same color as the tree. When we purposely spooked it, it went directly to another spot on the tree that was the same shade as the spider. It is interesting how they know where to sit on the tree in order to hide themselves.
Back to Rockview Lodge
While walking through the jungle I got to hear stories from my guide Gabe who routinely takes people through this rainforest. He has seen tarantulas, fer-de-lances, and sometimes even jaguars in the past.
Too soon it was back to the car and back to Rock View Lodge. One regret from this trip is I did not make arrangements to stay at Atta Lodge. If I stayed here I could have awoken at first light and hit the canopy when it would certainly be alive with birds and monkeys. I could have then relaxed away the day at Atta in a hammock hanging out with Ted the sloth and waited till evening and hit the jungle again.
How to get there
There are three ways to get to the Atta Rainforest Lodge. You can either fly into Annai and arrange transportation with Rock View Lodge. This will be expensive if you travel solo. Another option is to fly into Annai and take a maxi-taxi back to Atta. More adventurous and brave travelers might consider hitchhiking. The Amerindian villages in the interior of Guyana are completely safe. You can also take a maxi-taxi from Georgetown. In the future, there may be air-conditioned buses driving visitors on the Georgetown-Lethem Road, so this could be a potential fourth way to get there.
Just let Atta know you are coming and they will pick you up at the road. Best to book in advance as I was there during a slow time for travel in Guyana and Atta was booked.
There is a fee for accessing the Canopy Walkway. It is $25.00 per adult and $13.00 for a child and rates include a guide, entrance fees to Iwokrama, and a user fee for hiking the Canopy Walkway.
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