Rewa just may be the best place to explore Guyana's rich and biodiverse rainforest environment... its remote, riverfront location is the perfect jumping-off point for overland and river adventures into the heart of Guyana.
The EcoLodge has seen fewer than 200 tourists since it opened in 2006. It is a community-tourism project of the Amerindian village of Rewa, a Makushi tribe of 300 people living at the confluence of the Rupununi and Rewa rivers. A remote location and sparse tourism volume has left the natural environment here virtually untouched and marvelously pristine.
Rewa is a good base for three or four days of rainforest and river exploration: numerous day hikes are available, as are fishing expeditions, canoe trips, birdwatching treks (a harpy eagle nest is regularly active in the area), and nature spotting expeditions of all sorts. An afternoon on Grass Pond is the ultimate in tranquility. If you thought the views from Turtle Mountain at Iwokrama were impressive, you'll be blown away by the scene at the top of Awaramie Mountain. Sundowners at Seawall with local story teller Rudy is a legendary experience - literally.
Rewa also serves as the jumping-off point for multi-day and multi-week expeditions up the Rewa River, where the wildlife is famously rich, dense, and diverse. Even if you don't have time or constitution for a prolonged river tour, ask about spending at least one night out on the river, camped on a sandy riverbank with a friendly crew of guides and support staff.
Walk just a few minutes from the lodge to find Rewa Village itself where residents are primarily engaged in sustenance agriculture (cassava is the predominant crop). Most people live in traditional wood and thatch-roof buildings scattered over several acres along with a new school building, health clinic, village office, wildlife club building and a few other communal structures. A stroll through the village and meeting local villagers is a terrific experience since the sight of western tourists is new enough that everything feels genuine, unrehearsed, casual, and substantial. You are likely to be personally greeted by the local chief (or "Toschao") who will tell you about village history and current goings-on. Remember, everyone here speaks english so you can really get to know people.
The village has placed caps on the number of visitors who may visit the EcoLodge each year, ensuring this unique authenticity will not be steamrolled by mass tourism. Out of respect for the close-knit community, visitors are asked to always bring a local guide with them when they enter the village.
The spectacular BBC special, Lost Land of the Jaguar, was largely filmed along the Rewa River, and in 2011 the Travel Channel series "Wild Within" will feature the Rewa area.
The Ecolodge consists of two circular benab buildings split into two guest rooms each. A central large benab houses the kitchen and dining area. Three separate shower & bathroom huts sit behind the round benabs. Three new single-room buildings with attached bathrooms are under construction in 2010, raising the total bed count for the lodge to about 16. Hammocks - a considerably cooler option for sleeping - are available on the benab porches and under the trees. Three sides of the facility are surrounded by rainforest; the fourth side faces the Rewa River and tall stands of thick rainforest foliage on the opposite bank. A small community garden next to the kitchen benab is the source of some of the food you will eat; all other provisions must be locally made or brought in by canoe.
Conditions at the EcoLodge are modest, rustic, and close to nature. Because the lodge is relatively new and staffed by villagers who have limited exposure to the outside world, expect homestay style guest service, warm hospitality, and casual comfort. The lodge is solar-powered, with a limited number of electrical outlets for charging your gear. Water is pumped from the river which is fine for bathing, but drinking water must be boiled or brought in bottled.
Expect ample critter life at the EcoLodge: big-eyed miniature frogs appear in the washbasins, lizards patrol the grounds, squealing river otters chomp fish in the late afternoon, leafcutter ants shamelessly dismantle your welcome flower bouquet, an occasional hairy spider may walk by, and fleets of macaws and crested oripendulas monitor the situation from above. This is not a sanitized or artificially groomed environment. You are definitely in the heart of the rainforest here!
Overnight river trips from Rewa are fully serviced: your crew will pilot your boat, serve snacks and water along the way, set up camp, hang a hammock with mosquito net, cook your meals, and regale you with countless and enchanting stories of life in the rainforest. Guests are encouraged to pitch in as part of the team - and fun. Toilet facilities are in nature. Those who haven't slept in a hammock before may need some practice getting in, out, and settled: however, most visitors quickly discover why everyone in the Amazon sleeps in one: they're definitely cooler and more comfortable than a bed!
Bites from mosquitos and chiggers are common annoyances in the rainforest so the usual precautions apply: keep covered, use repellent, and sleep under a mosquito net. Bring your favorite itch-relief creams for the unavoidable bites. Locals prefer crabwood oil for prevention and relief. Pick up a bottle as you pass through Bina Hill near Annai. Another popular product is the strong-smelling Shiu-Ling oil in the tiny bottle. Best to grab a bottle of that in Georgetown.
Getting to Rewa requires a powered canoe ride from Kwatamang Landing near Annai. The length of the trip between Kwatamang and Rewa depends on the river level, which varies significantly over the year. During the dry season, the ride can take up to 5 hours. When water levels are high, it can be a 2 hour float. Either way, plan ahead for exposure to the sun. Wildlife and birdspotting along the way are top-notch.
Those who go to the trouble to get to this out-of-the-way place will be richly rewarded for their trouble.
Itineraries featuring Rewa Eco-Lodge