Maybe it’s not the same for everyone, but I think that living in certain places can sometimes make you take it for granted. That’s happened to me even though I live in Guyana, which has a wealth of natural beauty and continues to be an emerging eco-tourism destination. It’s easy to dream about far off places, daring sword fights, a prince in disguise! And if you don’t that reference, I’ll HELP YOU OUT *throws you out of the pub* Still don’t get it? Sorry, we just can’t be friends.
Anyway, back to the point. Sometimes we don’t see the beauty of our home until someone visiting points it out. Maybe it’s the vicinity that makes you think it’ll always be there so you can theoretically always plan a trip, maybe your frustration with the less than ideal parts of the country can blind you to the ideal parts, or maybe you’re just too busy with life to really stop and look around. I’ve fallen into that trap many times before for each of those reasons. In 2017 when I made my travel bucket list, I aimed to add at least one item that I could do in Guyana. I ended up with about 5, and the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway was at the top of the list.
First opened in 2001, the Walkway is located within the 371,000 ha Iwokrama Forest Reserve and consists of suspension bridges with 4 viewing platforms. The Walkway is located 33m / 100 feet off the forest floor, so while you’re high up among the branches, it somehow doesn’t feel too precarious.
You begin at the Atta Rainforest Lodge, about an hour’s drive away from the Iwokrama River Lodge. Both Lodges are highly recommended. The walkway is a short 15 minute hike through the forest from the Atta Lodge (there are some steps, so don’t get cocky and start talking at the beginning of the hike only to grunt towards the end because that’s all you can literally do apart from harshly judging yourself for getting out of breath over such a short and easy walk – also, I’m out of breath just rereading this sentence). *Inhales deeply*
The Walkway is owned by Iwokrama but is managed by CATS – a Community and Tourism Services group. It is comprised of the Indigenous Makushi Community, Iwokrama and two private Companies.
Getting to the Lodge itself is a bit of a trip – you can drive (which is my preference but isn’t for everyone – it’s a rough 8 hour drive on unpaved road) or fly in to the village of Fairview, which is the only village within the Iwokrama Reserve. The Iwokrama website has all of the information needed as well as the activities available.
It is recommended that you go earlier in the morning (like 6:00 a.m.) if you want to increase your chances of catching a glimpse of some wildlife or bird species. Guyana is quickly earning a reputation for being a worthwhile birding destination, and the Walkway is a great place to do some bird watching. We did see one bird but he flew away too quickly to really identify him. It may have also been because we were talking about how we should be quieter. We did see a Tapir (Tapirus terrestrius) on the drive heading back, so I don’t feel too badly about talking (because if I had to feel badly about how much I talked, I’d never be able to feel any other emotion).
Have a great week and happy adventuring!