Sometimes when you travel you just feel like you’ve stumbled on something special, Annai, Guyana is one of those places. Situated in the North Rupununi of this tiny South American country the area around Annai has a feel to it like nowhere else in South America. The situation feels African in many ways. Unlike the rest of the country which is sheltered by thick and largely inaccessible rain forest, Annai finds itself on an open savanna where wildlife spotting is the name of the game. The actual village of Annai is off limits to stay the night, without special permission, as is the case with most indigenous villages in the area. However, luckily for us there is the amazing Rock View Lodge adjacent which offers all the comforts you could ever desire. You won’t find many other tourists when you arrive here, but you are sure to leave wondering why you didn’t.
Time Needed: 3 days
Budget: 40$ a day
Things to do in Annai
- Bird Watching: There is a massive variety of bird near the town of Annai. If you ask at the Rock View Lodge they can organize a guide for you or there are a couple nearby trails that will allow you to go off on short hikes alone.
- Wildlife Spotting: The open plains of the Rupununi make wildlife spotting much easier than in the jungle. You have the chance of spotting tapirs and maybe even jaguars if you are very lucky. Up in the nearby mountains it is also possible to spot a number of monkey species, and some interesting smaller creatures like Poison Arrow Dart Frogs. Down by the river there are always large numbers of caiman floating through the waters.
- Visit to Annai: The Rock View Lodge can organize a tour into the village of Annai where you’ll get a first hand look at how the Amerindian people here live.
- Iwokrama Canopy: If you can find transport here the Iwokrama Canopy is an amazing place to spot bird life and if you’re lucky some primates as well. The trick is finding transport from Annai, although sometimes you can hire someone with a motorbike or a vehicle to make the hour drive.
Where to Eat in Annai
There aren’t a whole lot of options for eating in around Annai. If you’re staying at the Oasis, they cook up food right there and can even make your stay “all-inclusive” for about 25 dollars a day. If you’re staying at the much more extravagant Rock View Lodge your food will be included.
Where to Sleep in Annai
The common misconception about this part of the world is that there are no budget options, but that is simply not true. Along the main highway there are a couple places one can string up their hammock or be given a hut. Outside Annai the Rock View Lodge is your go to location. Right near the highway there is “The Oasis” which offers camping and hammock space for as little as 10$ a night. If you’re looking for a very nice place to stay consider spending your time at the Rock View Lodge itself where you’ll be treated like royalty (prices are about 100$ for a single and 150$ for a double). To contact Rock View Lodge you can visit their website here.
Getting in and out of Town
For me Annai was meant to be little more than a pit stop on the way to Brazil that ended up being one of the highlights of my time in Guyana. Getting to town is no easy chore. You can fly into nearby Lethem, but flights are usually jam packed and you’ll need to book well in advance (about 150$). There is a daily bus from Georgetown that can take between 8 and 16 hours depending on the road condition and will cost you about 50US$. That same bus continues on to Lethem which is another hour away.
To get to Brazil you’ll need to meet the bus to Lethem, clear customs there before taking a shared taxi across the border to the Brazilian immigration office. From there you’ll need to get to the town of Boa and options are quite limited. There is a bus that goes by irregularly, or you can jump in a shared taxi that will cost you about 30US$.
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