We split into two teams today for the Mahaica River tour and the 7 Curries Cooking Class.

It was an early start for the birders! The village of Mahaica was a 1.5 hour bus ride from Georgetown. Our birders crawled out of bed for a 4:30 am departure. We started early to maximise the cooler temperatures of the morning and to see the hoatzins and howler monkeys. From the buses, we watched the sunrise over fields with palm trees and colonial British houses.

We arrived to the Mahaica River and set off on four little boats. We quickly found Guyana’s national bird, the “stink bird,” also known as the hoatzin. They are one of my favourite birds due to their tree-dwelling, stinky unusualness. The river was quiet and bursting with birdlife. We saw ringed kingfishers, brown-throated parakeets, and an abundance of flycatchers, including fork-tailed and boat-billed flycatchers.

After our two hour boat cruise, we had breakfast in a local Hundu-Guyanian household. We stuffed ourselves with smoked aubergine, mackerel, and potato curry, using freshly made rotis to scoop up the deliciousness. Iguanas hung out in the trees, and our breakfast veranda overlooked the river.  

On the bus ride back to Georgetown, we spotted yellow-headed caracaras and the rufous crab hawk. In Georgetown, we took a short-city tour to see the mix of cultures in Guyana, including Indian, African, Spanish, English, and Venezuelan.

The 7 Curries Cooking Class included a visit to a busy local market with fresh daily produce to pick out key ingredients, followed by a cooking demonstration at a traditional Georgetown home in the garden. Guests mixed a seven-spice masala. They were shown how to make seven delicious curries and had the chance to try every single one.

Once back on ship, our amazing Costa Rican naturalist Max Vindas gave a phenomenal talk on, “Understanding the Tropical Rainforest.”

Now, we’re off to Suriname!