If you add together expanses of rainforest, mountains and a liberal splash of rainfall, you produce large rivers. The Essequibo River in Guyana begins in the Acarai Mountains on the border with Brazil. It flows through rainforest and savannah for 1,010 kilometres (630 miles) to the Atlantic where it is a 32 km (20 ml) wide estuary with low fertile silt islands. Georgetown, the capital, is located 21 km (13 ml) upriver from the sea. View more
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Pickup at the port and depart Georgetown for a 1:15 drive. Start by crossing the Demerara Harbour Bridge, one of the longest floating bridges in the world, travelling along the coast passing rice fields and numerous old sugar plantation villages on the way to the Essequibo River, the third largest river in South America.
Board your small boat for a 30 minute ride, stopping first at Fort Island, the best kept Dutch ruins in the country. Fort Island, formerly known as Flag Island is located 16 kilometres from the mouth of the Essequibo River and was the second capital of the colonies of Essequibo and Demerara during its early occupation by the Dutch. During the 17th century, Essequibo developed from a trading post to a colony and planters began to migrate to the mouth of the Essequibo River for more fertile land. Fort Zeelandia was built in 1744 and the Court of Policy was built eight years after, now a Dutch Heritage Museum. In the early days, the Court of Policy building served as a church, court house and investment office. The brick building is reputedly the oldest non-military structure in Guyana. Today, the sparsely populated island, about three square miles in length and a mile in width, is far from the busy trading post it was in its early colonial days.
Continue by boat for 20 minutes to Baganara Island Resort for a delicious local lunch and to explore this wonderful little island full of of lush green foliage and colourful tropical flowers.
After lunch depart Baganara Island Resort travelling 20 minutes across the Essequibo River to Bartica, the hub of the mining community in the north west of Guyana. The town is a hive of activity as the miners pass through on the way to their claims further in the interior. The township is located at the junction of the Essequibo, Mazaruni and the much larger Essequibo rivers. The stelling (wharf), market, and boardwalk are a few of the colourful and exciting locations you will see here along with the pioneer atmosphere, still strong and often compared to a wild west town.
We now enter the Mazaruni River to see Kyk-Over-Al (See Over All) which was the first European seat of government in Guyana. Now all that remains on this island are the ruins of the former stronghold which guarded the junction of the Mazaruni and Cuyuni Rivers. About 30 minutes further up on the Mazaruni River we arrive at the wild Marshall Falls. From here a short hike 1.5 hour into old growth rainforest brings us to two small falls, both spectacular in their natural state and perfect for swimming if you feel like taking a dip!
Visit to the local Amerinidan village of Fall Mouth watching how they process cassava root to eventually make cassava bread, a staple of their diet. We will also see some local handicrafts and baskets.
Rejoin our boat for a 1 hour transfer to Roed-en-Rust, where we will join our vehicle back to Georgetow, a 1 hour drive to the port.