Destinations

Guyana

Few places on the planet offer raw adventure as authentic as densely forested Guyana. Its wonderful people are slowly turning the country into the continent's best-kept ecotourism secret.

Perched on the north-eastern corner of South America, bordering Venezuela to the east, Brazil in the south and Suriname to the east, Guyana is a trove of hidden delights. The country has preserved the majority of its pristine rainforest; unspoiled mountainous jungle, sweeping savannahs and meandering rivers make up the topography of South America's only English-speaking nation.

Emerging from a rocky political past, Guyana is fast becoming a leader in ecotourism The necessary forsaking of creature comforts reaps ample rewards for the intrepid traveller, away from crowds, tour buses and touts; few places can offer such raw, authentic experiences as the densely-forested Guyana.

Georgetown and the North Atlantic coast

Built with the profits of a once booming rum and Demerara sugar trade, the country's crumbling colonial capital is distinctly Caribbean in character. Georgetown is situated at the point where the Demerara river meets the Atlantic Ocean. By far the nation's largest city, the entire urban area is home to close to eighty percent of the Guyanese population. Charming if unkempt, behind the dilapidated wooden, stilted facades, the city has an alluring vibe, happening nightlife and some great places to eat. Markets are a lively place to experience the culture and see the amazing selection of fruits and vegetables grown in Guyana; two must-sees include the historic Stabroek Market and Bourda Market. Despite the relaxed atmosphere, Georgetown is far from a tropical backwater town, Caricom Caribbean Community headquarters itself here, placing the city at the centre of Caribbean economics. 

Kaieteur Falls

Move over Iguazú, Niagara and Victoria Falls! Watching 1140 metric tons of water shooting over a 250m cliff (the world's highest single-drop falls) in the middle of an ancient jungle alongside just a smattering of fellow tourists is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As well as the stunning falls, the park is home to a tiny population of Amerindians and the incredible biodiversity of the Guiana Shield.

Guyana's Amazon rainforest

Covering 80% of the country, yet home to just 2% of the population, Guyana’s rainforest is some of the most pristine on earth. In this well-preserved jungle there is a real chance of seeing wildlife that would be endangered elsewhere, such as jaguar, various monkey species, armadillos, tapirs and red-rumped agoutis. Local Amerindian villages have found that opening up to small-scale tourism can reap very real benefits for the community and provide authentic opportunities for cultural exchange with travellers.

The Rupununi savannah and the southwest

Stretching south from the Pakaraima mountains, the Rupununi is an endless savannah interspersed with rivers, whose banks are lined with gallery forest. The southern part of the Rupununi is the wildest, most remote and least developed part of the vast grasslands, and any trip here is a guaranteed adventure. Accommodation is in local homesteads, often ranches run by authentic cowboys. Aside from the local characters who are happy to share their traditions, travellers can hope to spot giant anteaters and giant otters, hike to local waterfalls, and enjoy the rich birdlife of this wilderness.

DID YOU KNOW?

Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest is home to more un-contacted tribes than anywhere else on earth. Around 80 isolated groups are believed to live in the forest, some of which are nomadic hunter gatherers, while others are more settled, living in communal houses and planting crops and fishing to live on.

Sample Itinerary for Guyana

Classic Guyana
Our best of Guyana! Combining colonial Georgetown, the impressive Kaieteur Falls, Iwokrama rainforest and the Rupununi savannah. this itinerary showcases the best of this wonderful nature destination. Seamlessly stitched with the best guides and activities the country has to offer.
13 NIGHTS / 14 DAYS • FROM US$5,800 PER PERSON
Days 1 & 2: Georgetown & Kaieteur Falls

Upon arrival at Cheddi Jagan International Airport you will be met by your private guide and transferred to Georgetown. Stay in a beautiful wooden colonial hotel which was once the residence of the first Lord Mayor of Georgetown, hotel of choice for many passing dignitaries visiting Guyana, the hotel exudes nostalgia of a bygone era.

The following day take a small plane over the Demerara, Essequibo Rivers and hundreds of miles of unbroken tropical rainforest to land at Kaieteur Falls, the world’s highest free-falling waterfall. Upon landing you can walk to the river's edge for fantastic close-up views. In the afternoon return, again by plane, for a second night in the capital.

Days 3 & 4: Iwokrama River

Fly to Fairview where you will be met for the short transfer to the Iwokrama Forest Reserve. The Iwokrama Rainforest is a vast wilderness of one million acres.  This protected area was established in 1996 as the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development.  It lies in the heart of one of four last untouched tropical forests of the world - The Guiana Shield of North-Eastern South America.

Spend two nights in comfortable yet rustic cabins on the banks of the mighty Essequibo river in the reserve, where guided tours take you into the surrounding rainforest. 

Days 5 & 6: Iwokrama Forest Reserve

Continue south by 4 x 4 on a road where wildlife is often seen. Your base for these two nights is just a short walk from the Iwokrama canopy walkway near the southern boundary of the reserve. The walkway, 30 metres above ground at its highest point, allows the opportunity to view a range of canopy species, many of which you would struggle to see from the forest floor.

There are many natural wonders awaiting you, here, deep in the rainforest. A wildlife walking safari – with an experienced naturalist guide  – will see you treading carefully through the realm of the jaguar, puma, tapir, agouti, tayra, and black curassow, as well as any number of interesting birds.

Day 7 & 8: Surama Amerindian Community

Leaving your jungle lodge you will travel through the rainforest to Corkwood in the Iwokrama Forest. Here there is a relatively short trail through pristine rainforest to hopefully see the amazingly brilliant Guianan Cock-of-the-rock. Continue your journey to the community of Surama.

The Amerindian community of Surama is on savannah ringed by the forested Pakaraima Mountains. Surama’s Macushi tribe inhabitants still observe many of the traditional practises of their ancestors. Stay in a lodge owned and operated by the community. The women have a successful cassava (yuca) factory. Daily walks or boat rides are arranged into the forest and across the savanna.

Day 9: Annai, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo

You will continue your journey across the savannah by road to Annai enjoying the picturesque landscape along the way. Travel around the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains and spot flocks of birds, including iconic jabiru storks. Set in tropical gardens with flowering trees, your lodge resembles an oasis in the savannah, and attracts many species of birds, particularly nectar feeders and frugivores. Most of the produce served is grown directly on the property.

At Annai you are deep in Guyana’s cattle country – visit working cattle ranches and local Amerindian villages to learn about a centuries-old lifestyle that has kept many of its local traditions and industries like cashew nut roasting.

Day 10 & 11: Rupununi Savannah

No trip to the Rupununi grasslands of Guyana would be complete without a stay in an authentic cattle ranch. From the nearby Ginep Landing, you will take a boat trip on the Rupununi River to an eco-lodge set on a former cattle ranch. Depending on the river level, this trip offers an excellent opportunity to look for Giant Otters as there are several family groups which live along this stretch of the river.

With river and savannah nearby, early morning and late in the afternoon/evening activities include river cruises, 4x4 game drives or walks along forest trails. A boat trip to see Victoria Amazonica lily at dusk is magical and giant anteaters are often seen in the early morning.

Day 12: Yupukari Village

Travelling further along the river, arrive at the local village of Yupukari. At the edge of Yupukari Village is Caiman House Field Station, a combination guest-lodge and education centre focused on research and conservation projects. The Field Station is the hub of several development projects and visitors may have the opportunity to meet local craftspeople, including the furniture builders at Yupukari Crafters, a nonprofit venture to create village jobs and generate income to sustain educational development.

As a guest you have the unique opportunity to participate in an ongoing field study of the Black Caiman, the largest member of the alligator family and an endangered species.

Day 13 & 14: Georgetown

Leaving the wilds of the Rupununi behind, you will be driven to Lethem and fly back to Georgetown for a final night.

Enjoy a tour of the city of Georgetown with an experienced guide who will give you the history, facts and anecdotes on Georgetown and its citizens. You will begin our tour at the Georgetown Seawalls before continuing into the heart of the city. During your visit there are a number of interesting sights that should not be missed such as Stabroek Market - once described as a 'bizarre bazaar', and St. George’s Cathedral which is one of the world’s tallest free standing wooden buildings. The following day you will be driven to the airport for international connections.

Recommended Extension: Suriname and French Guiana

Suriname's vibrant capital Paramaribo is home to the wide Commewijne river lined with old plantations and home to pink dolphins. The cultural draw to Suriname's wild jungles are the Maroons, descendants of escaped slaves who re-created an African way of life deep in the forest and were essentially forgotten for centuries. French Guiana is blessed with the highest standard of living in the region. Enjoy the French-Caribbean chic of its capital Cayenne by hanging out with a cold beer or café au lait at a colonial-inspired sidewalk bar. Out of town head to Îles du Salut off-shore islands known for their fascinating prison camps, the famed Île du Diable (Devil's Island).

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We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.