Guyana is a country that is rich in adventure opportunities since 80% of the land is sparsely populated and mostly covered in rainforest.
Guyana is a country many know little about except for the Jonestown tragedy in 1978.
If you ask someone about Guyana most will immediately refer to Jim Jones. The Jonestown Tragedy was done by a cult from America and has nothing to do with the country itself. For such a beautiful untouched country, it is interesting more people know about a whacked out individual who died over thirty years ago than about the amazing adventure travel that can be found within.
Here are five locations in Guyana rich in adventure that should be on everyone’s radar if they are thinking of a South America adventure.
Kaieteur Falls is the Angkor Wat of Guyana. It is the one tour you have to take to see the largest single drop waterfall by volume in the world. Kaieteur is five times higher than Niagara Falls and the World Waterfall Database lists it as the second most beautiful waterfall behind only Iguazu along the Brazil Argentina border.
If you really want to maximize your adventure, do not book the two hour tour and fly in and fly out. There is a guesthouse in the national park where you can stay and hire guides to explore the surrounding rainforests and see the cock-on-the-rock bird, possibly jaguars, and giant river otters, and hundreds of other species of birds, mammals, and reptiles.
Along the Georgetown-Lethem Road, the only interior road in Guyana, lies the Iwokrama Rainforest. Visitors can either stay at the Atta Rainforest Lodge or the Iwokrama Rainforest Lodge. You can take a long shared taxi ride from Georgetown or you can fly into Annai to get to the Rainforest. The highlight of the rainforest is the amazing Canopy Walkway found at the Atta Rainforest Lodge.
Jaguars are seen along the road and sometimes in the forest if you have a trained guide who knows where to find them. The bird life is off the charts here with several kinds of toucans and macaws along with hundreds of other species.
The Rupunini is a dry arid savannah also along the Georgetown-Lethem Road just south of Iwokrama. Shared taxis from Georgetown or interior flights to Annai are the only ways to reach this swath of flatlands resembling the Serengeti without the teaming wildlife.
Rock View Lodge and the Oasis are great places to stay in Annai. You can ride horses over the savannah, visit Amerindian villages, canoe or boat the Rupunini River, and hike the Panorama Nature Trail in Annai.
Essequibo and Demarara Rivers
The word “Guyana” is derived from an Amerindian word that means “land of many waters.” The two major river arteries are the Demarara and the Essequibo. River tours can be arranged on either river in Georgetown. The Baganura Resort lies on an island in the Essequibo River and is a gorgeous place to swim, kayak, and enjoy the beautiful nature in a comfortable setting.
Many people who come to Guyana stop in at the capital and make a beeline for the interior. The interior is definitely the top spot for adventure, but the capital has an interesting flavor to it. There are a few spots definitely worth checking out like the Botanical Gardens and Zoo. The ponds that lie between the two are home to manatees who have lived here since 1885. This is a great spot to see these amazing creatures up close.
Inside the city is St. George’s Cathedral, which is a huge wooden church that looks like it has not changed a bit since the day it was built in 1899. Stabroek Market is a bustling market that is an interesting spot to walk around in and soak in the lively local produce.
Despite being a South American country, Georgetown and the coastal regions of Guyana are more allied with the Caribbean than the continent. I was immediately struck upon my drive from the airport to how much this capital reminded me of Trinidad.
Due to its Caribbean style, Georgetown has a fun and lively nightlife. Places like the Pegasus Hotel, Sheriff’s street, the Hibiscus, the Sidewalk Café, and the Oasis are fun places to drink El Dorado rum, Banks beer, and Caribbean drinks.
Be sure to bring your malaria pills if you are delving into the jungle interior. Georgetown and the Rupunini are safe.
Georgetown is relatively safe, but like any big city, be safe and aware of your surroundings. Definitely use taxis at night as the streets are not well lit at night. Taxis cost $1.00 for just about any trip in the city.
Currently there is no bus service along the Georgetown-Lethem Road, but rumor has it that a company is working on starting up an air-conditioned bus fleet along this route, which would be welcome news to budget travelers not wanting to spend almost $300.00 on a round trip flight into the interior.
Guyana can be difficult to travel without booking a tour. If you are only there for a week or shorter you will want to book a tour like the Kaieteur Falls overland tour or even the Kaieteur Falls two hour tour. If you have time and are a savy traveler, then you can book your own guides within the country as you travel, but this is not advised for those here only for a short time.
Travel tip shared by Traveling Ted