Ecotourism is one of the important components of Iwokrama's strategy for financial self sufficiency. The Iwokrama Forest and the Rupununi Wetlands and savannahs offer visitors the opportunity for an exceptional natural and cultural experience set in a learning context.
Iwokrama is a place for all ages and all interests and you choose what you want to do. By staying at Iwokrama you are directly contributing to the communities in and surrounding the forest and to the conservation of what lies within. You will also contribute towards the development of an eco-friendly sustainable tourism model which can be shared locally, nationally and with the international community.
Field Station Facilities
The Iwokrama River Lodge provides a truly unique environment for not only tour groups, but also for many types of events such as conferences, weddings, and educational seminars. There are indoor and outdoor spaces for large gatherings, opportunities for adventure and exercise, and of course incredibly beautiful views of the Essequibo River and the Iwokrama Forest.
The Field Station can accommodate over 100 dining guests and 50 overnight guests. Dining is on the upper level of the Round House and our kitchen can cater to special dietary requirements. Visitor cabins have beds for up to 15 persons while the staff dormitory can sleep 3 couples and 4 singles. Until our new cabins our constructed, the balance of guests would be accommodated in hammocks - possibly a fun alternative for children and the more adventurous guests.
The Fred Allicock Training Centre is a 9,000 sq. ft., octagonal 2-storeyed building with two scientific labs, a business centre with internet access, a small store, a modest but expanding reference library, and a visitor lounge and bar. The building also houses administrative offices and offers event facilities like training and other meeting spaces.
In addition to the many comforts available at the Iwokrama River Lodge and Science Centre, the amenities now include a new bar area in the Fred Allicock Building. With panoramic views of both the Iwokrama River Lodge and Science Centre and the mighty Essequibo, relax and enjoy a cool tropical drink or sample world famous Guyana Rum!
Iwokrama can assist you with group transportation needs. In addition to the Field Station's 2 4WD's 1 Pick-up Truck, 1 Bedford Truck, and 4 Boats, additional land and water vehicles could be rented from the North Rupununi District Development Board and/or Rock View Lodge.
Accommodation at The Field Station
There currently are 5 beautifully situated river facing cabins with balconies for visitors, they are all self contained. For your convenience there is electricity and light supplied by solar power. They can comfortably can sleep three persons.
Unique in design the hammock pods offer an economical alternative to the cabins, with mesh 360 degrees around, you can wake to the beautiful view of the river and sounds of the forest after experiencing a night close to nature. For your convenience they are all solar powered.
More adventurous groups can take advantage of the six satellite camps that are scattered throughout the Forest. Turtle Mountain Camp is a very modern facility, opened in April 2003, and has wooden open-air sleeping huts, a dining hut, and flush toilets. The other camps are open-sided buildings with zinc roofs, separate cooking areas and pit latrines, and are all close to a permanent waterway. Visitors to satellite camps sleep in hammocks with specially designed mosquito nets.
Activities Within the Iwokrama Forest and North Rupununi
GUIDED NATURE WALK
Explore one of the nearby wildlife trails near the Field Station with an experienced Iwokrama Guide. Ask your guide about the Mora, Soft Wallaba and Wamara trees and the Screaming Piha, the Grey Chinned Hermit and the Black-necked Aracari.
NOCTURNAL WILDLIFE SPOTTING BY BOAT
Just imagine yourself cruising on the Essequibo River through the black of night, maybe lit only by a pale moon. Your guide shines the spotlight and there it is... the red-eye glare of the Black Caiman! Frequently and closely seen lying on the river banks, the worlds largest of the alligator family grows to 6 metres (20 ft.) long. A boat ride at night may also introduce you to other nocturnal creatures such as Tree Boas, Pacas, Nightjars, and Hula tree frogs.
NOCTURNAL WILDLIFE SPOTTING BY FOOT
Take a nocturnal guided nature walk from the Field Station; things to look out for are nocturnal creatures such as Boas, Pacas, Nightjars, and Hula tree frogs, bats and many other animals of the night.
INDIAN ISLAND SUNRISE BOAT RIDE
At dawn you can take an early morning boat trip round Indian House Island. Ask your guide to show you the butterflies, snakes and macaws as they come out to have "breakfast" on the edge of the island.
NOCTURNAL WILDLIFE SPOTTING BY VEHICLE
Sunrise or dusk activity along the trail in search of wildlife. The Iwokrama Forest is rapidly gaining an international reputation for its healthy Jaguar populations that seem not to be troubled by the appearance of curious humans. No promises but many have been lucky.
A trip to Iwokrama is not complete without a hike to the summit of Turtle Mountain for a stunning jungle vista. The journey may also reward you with sightings of monkeys such as Red Howlers, Wedge-capped Capuchins and Black Spiders. Consider staying at the modern and nearby camp with running water and comfortable Hammock accommodations (Please see rates for overnight excursions).
Opened IN 2003, the 154 metre (505 ft.) state-of-the-art Canopy Walkway envelopes you in the jungle's mid-level canopy from heights of up to 30 metres (98 ft.). If you visit at dusk or dawn, you'll have the best chance to see birds like the Green Aracari, Scarlet Macaw, Guiana Toucanette or Channel-bill Toucan. Red Howler Monkeys may also be observed. Check out the epiphytes such as orchids and bromeliads, and look for the amazing parasitic Ficus plant as it engulfs another tree. Ask your guide to show you the endemic Greenheart tree, the Waramadan (endemic in Guyana only to the Iwokrama Forest) and the poisonous Aromata! You can also spend the night at the nearby satellite camp and experience the "art of survival" with our knowledgeable guides.
COCK OF THE ROCK TRAIL
This morning trek on a well maintained trail through virgin rainforest to a lek of Guianan Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola), to view them in their natural habitat. You have the opportunity to see them nesting in caves, performing their mating dance on the lek, bathing in pools and perched in trees for perfect viewing. The tour is a community based project managed by the Indigenous Community of Wowetta.
Take a thirty minute drive from the Field Station to arrive at the waterfall trail. Along the way your guide will point out some of the biggest trees in the forest, this trail is also excellent for bird viewing. Local legend states that this pool was an ancient source of water for the Makushi during the 18th Century when they were forced to take refuge in the Iwokrama Mountains and kept them supplied with water even when the creaks were no longer running in the dry season, hence it was given the name Turu (Reservoir) which is the name it keeps today. Cool off from the walk and enjoy a swim. Relax enjoy your picnic and then return to the Field Station.
Learn the Amerindian technique of using a bow and arrow and enjoy demonstrations from our Rangers and Guides.
THE BUTTERFLY FARM
The Butterfly Farm is situated at Fairview Village within the Iwokrama Forest, visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the farm, viewing at least 10 species including butterflies from the Morphidae Brassolidae and Papilonindae Family. You will learn about the lifecycle, ecology and the international butterfly market, whilst contributing to the livelihoods of the communities and ongoing research in this area.
READ AND RELAX
Some guests want to spend a portion of their adventure simply enjoying the peace and quiet of a pristine forest environment or taking advantage of Field Station amenities. You can enjoy the sounds and sights of birds and monkeys or reflect upon the dark and mysterious Essequibo River. Take a nap or read in one of the hammocks. There is also a small but expanding reference library and a PC lab with internet access.
With over 500 species of birds in the Forest, bird watchers are sure to be rewarded with a visit to Iwokrama Forest. In addition to the many species that can be heard and observed throughout the Forest, four bird feeding stations/platforms have been installed at the Field Station and are currently attracting over ten species of birds. Furthermore, Iwokrama Guides are now recording local bird songs to enhance bird identification skills, please feel free to ask your guide if you would like a bird identified.
Take a jungle trek with a well-informed guide along one of our walking trails:
* Screaming Piha Trail
* Cock of the Rock Trail
* Wood Creeper Trail
* Giaconda Trail
* Bush Master Trail
* Prince Charles Trail
* Iwokrama Mountain Gorge Trail
* Turtle Mountain Trail
* Canopy Walkway Trail
As the first three trail names suggest, the first three trails, all near the Field Station, are noted for their abundance of Screaming Pihas (Lipaugus vociferans), Cock of the Rocks (Rupicola rupicola), and Wedge-billed Wood Creepers (Glyphorynchus spirurus) - all highlights for beginning or expert bird watchers. Early in the morning or on a quiet afternoon stroll, you may also be lucky enough to view Capuchin Monkeys, White-faced Saki Monkeys and Red-rumped Agoutis (see primates and large rodents in the online mammal guide).
For enhanced natural history interpretations by Iwokrama Guides during hikes through the Forest, unique and common trees on the trails are being labeled. There has also been made an extension to the Canopy Walkway Trail that now offers visitors a "bottom-top" view of the state-of-the-art facility. Field Station-based hiking opportunities have been expanded by extending the Prince Charles Trail and linking it with the Cock of the Rock Trail. This has greatly improved the number of species that can be experienced on the trek. All trails are also being mapped using a GPS, and then will be overlaid over the Iwokrama Reserve digitized map. Finally, and most importantly, all the trails now undergo routine maintenance and clearance.