Guyana travel guide

Guyana is where the mighty Amazon rainforest meets the Atlantic by way of savannah a jumble of ecosystems that sees it brimming with wildlife, most notably 870 species of birds, plus tapirs, caimans and the elusive jaguar. There are people here, too but only 750,000, clustered mostly along the coast. Much of the interior remains uninhabited, save for a few Amerindian villages deep within the jungle; a snapshot of pre Columbian life. Here, far from human presence, the wildlife seems undisturbed by the occasional intrepid visitor.
Guyana is something of a South American enigma. Where is it? Does anyone live there? Do they speak Spanish? Or French? And what on earth is there to do there?
As this Guyana travel guide shows, those wishing to discover this enigma for themselves will encounter challenges starting with simply getting here. Traveling around could be euphemistically described as eventful, and hotels are replaced with rustic huts or swaying hammocks. But you dont come for the comforts you come for the astonishing nature, and the life-affirming experience of being surrounded by virgin rainforest in which few will ever have the chance to set foot.
Guyana is/isnt

Guyana is...

the size of the UK, with the population of Leeds.

Guyana isnt

Spanish speaking. English is the official language, with Creole widely spoken.

Our top Guyana Vacation

Guyanas adventure vacation, off the beaten track

Guyanas adventure vacation, off the beaten track

Explore the path less travelled in Guyana, Venezuela and Suriname

From 4402 17 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2019: 6 Oct
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Guyana map & highlights

The adventure begins as soon as you leave the capital, Georgetown. There are few roads in Guyana, and the ones that do exist are not paved so expect to fly, travel by river or offroad in 4x4s to explore deeper into the interior. This lack of development and infrastructure is all part of Guyanas appeal, of course, so do try and make the most of it while you are here and keep eyes peeled on long drives for creatures emerging from the jungle. The other way to travel is on two feet; trekking vacations here take you even further off the beaten track, for a real rainforest odyssey.
1. Caiman House
2. Georgetown
3. Iwokrama Forest
4. Kaieteur Falls
5. Karanambu Ranch
6. Surama village
Caiman House

1. Caiman House

A successful meeting of indigenous culture and conservation projects, a visit to Caiman House Field Station is both educational and exciting. Night cruises along the Rupunini with indigenous crew reveal the jungle after dark along with caimans, boas and iguanas. Day tours let visitors get involved in field studies of caiman. Nearby, Yupukari village promotes traditional crafts and furniture builders.
Georgetown

2. Georgetown

Founded by the Dutch in the 1700s, Georgetown passed through British then French hands, with each colony leaving its mark on the citys striking architecture, characterised by its hardwood Demerara shutters. Visit St Georges Cathedral, constructed of English oak, and get a taster of Guyanas natural treats at the Botanical Gardens, complete with monkeys, macaws and spice plants such as nutmeg.
Iwokrama Forest

3. Iwokrama Forest

Jaguars are notoriously elusive and the Iwokrama Forest is one of the best places to see them in their natural habitat. Iwokramas 30m-high walkway takes you over 150m through the jungle canopy, ideal for spotting birds such as trogons, parakeets and the sought-after pompadour cotinga, as well as the odd, lazy sloth. Look out for the river otters bathing in the creeks below.
Kaieteur Falls

4. Kaieteur Falls

The biggest waterfall youve never heard of, Kaieteur is the worlds largest single-drop waterfall by water volume. Its pretty tall, too at 266m, over four times higher than Niagara. The jungle walk to Kaieteur creates a thrilling build up, as you pause at ever-more dramatic viewpoints along the way, beginning with panoramic scenes and culminating in a rock platform less than a metre away from the falls.
Karanambu Ranch

5. Karanambu Ranch

Feted by National Geographic, Attenborough, Durrell and many wildlife TV programmes, Karanambu is a former cattle ranch-turned ecotourism and conservation site. The owner, Diane McTurk, has been rehabilitating orphaned giant otters in the Ranchs wetlands, while the savannah regions are home to giant anteaters and river trips reveal huge jabiru storks, vultures and crestless curassows.
Surama village

6. Surama village

Meet the Macushi tribe in the little village of Surama, tucked into a small patch of savannah surrounded by rainforest. Spend a night in a thatched cabin, called a behab, for a real cultural immersion that will see you heading out on educational night walks through the jungle, visiting local homes and canoeing along the Burro Burro River in search of giant otters, spider monkeys and the elusive tapir.
Written by Vicki Brown
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