Guyana's Nightlife

You don't think of Guyana as a place with a swinging night-time scene? Let me tell you why I’ve been staying out so late on so many nights!

On our first night, at Iwokrama River Lodge, we went out by boat. I guess I’m not much of a romantic, but I think it was my first night-time boat ride, at least the first nocturnal boat-ride like this! Highlights were a big Black Curassow (normally seen by day) perched in a tree, a couple of Boat-billed Herons (also treed), and several Blackish Nightjars on sand bars.

If night one was by river, night two was by land – we went out on Jaguar Road (no, we didn’t see one). We saw several more Blackish Nightjars, but our biggest reward was White-winged Potoo, a species very rarely seen in the wild!

Night one was by river, night two by land, and night three was up in the air! We were on the Atta Canopy Walk, high in the treetops, on one of four platforms connected by suspended walkways. Our reward was our second White-winged Potoo in as many nights!

The first three nights were for birds, but on night four we met the Surama community through songs and poems. Four young men sang in a band, while four young women danced. Their performances alternated with a group of pre-teens who sang and recited poems. What a great way to mingle with the locals!

Night five was Brazilian barbecue, and we were too busy digesting to do much else.

You may think our nights were fun, but not too exciting, but then we went alligator wrestling – well, not alligators, but their relatives, black caimans. The boys at Caiman House have been catching and tagging caimans for a little more than three years now, and we watched them catch ##501 and 502. #501 was a small three-year old. It was measured every way you could imagine, and a pit tag was inserted for individual identification that should last a lifetime. (I’m pretty sure a lifetime for a black caiman can be more than 50 years, but we’ll know more fifty years from now!) #502 was a six-footer, and he put up quite a fight. The next night there was a ten-footer, but we only heard about that experience. We also got a close-up look at a six-foot tree boa (snake) while we were out on the river.

On night 7, we drove along two airstrips at Karanambu and found two Least Nighthawks and a couple of small nightjars of unknown identity. Unfortunately, the OTHER group saw the two Crestless Curassows along the river as night was falling.

At the Baganara Resort on the Essequibo River, the main action was at dusk as we watched more than 500 Orange-winged Parrots descend on the tall trees on a nearby island.

The city of Georgetown offers some more traditional night-time pleasures, but I’ll take the back-country nightlife every time.

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