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Bordering Venezuela, Suriname, Brazil and over 200 miles of the Atlantic Ocean, Guyana is a little-known gem in northeast South America, and one of the few Caribbean countries that isn't an island, giving it a fascinating blend of South American, Caribbean and Anglophone culture. From its vibrant colonial capital to its seemingly unending acres of unspoiled rainforests, golden beaches, stunning savannahs and truly outstanding wildlife and biodiversity, this off-the-beaten-track destination is undoubtedly one of the continent's best-kept secrets.
Beyond exploring the colonial charms, vibrant nightlife, stunning Botanical Gardens and many culinary gems of its capital Georgetown, this is a country for exploring nature - thanks to its exceptional biodiversity and over 70% of its natural habitat still remaining pristine. From soaking in the sights at the spectacular Kaieteur Waterfalls and the sweeping Rupununi Savannah, trekking through the Kanuku Mountains and encountering thrilling wildlife within the verdant Iwokrama Rainforest or turtle spotting on the incredible Shell Beach, this tropical corner of South America is a real treat for the more adventurous traveller.
Not sure how to choose which of Guyana's many highlights to fit into your trip? Don't worry, this is where Latin Routes can help! Our friendly Travel Specialists have travelled extensively through Latin America and know the continent like the back of their hands, so they will be able to make the perfect recommendations - and plan your perfect itinerary - based on all the things that are most important to you. We take care of all the little details as well as the big, meaning we'll create a Truly Individual Holiday to Guyana just for you, taking out all the worry and ensuring you're able to make the most of every moment.
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The Kaieteur Falls are on their own, reason enough for anyone to visit Guyana. Why? These falls are not only one of the tallest and most powerful waterfalls in the world, they are also the largest single-drop waterfall by volume on the planet. Impressive right? This is why most visitors say that the Kaieteur falls are the highlight of their Guyana trip as well as an overall must-visit when in South America.
To find the falls all you need to do is schedule a day to visit the Kaieteur National Park which is located in the Pataro-Siparuni region of Guyana. The park was created with the purpose of preserving the natural scenery of this area so even before you arrive at the falls, you can expect to see incredible natural beauty all around you. No wonder this is the case as the Kaieteur falls actually sit in a section of the Amazon rainforest!
Visits to the falls are usually made in small groups, which is great, as this means the area is never really crowded, giving you enough time to not only admire the beauty of the falls, but to also take as many photos of it as you would like (without being interrupted)!
Shell Beach is the country’s best-known and most beautiful beach. Still, this is not the most interesting aspect of this place. Truth is, most people come here not only to see a stunning beach but mostly to view one of earth largest reptiles: the leatherback turtle.
Surrounded by a beautiful mangrove forest, Shell beach boasts 90 incredible miles of pristine Atlantic coastline, located in northwest Guyana. It is a perfect place to relax and be in touch with nature especially because here can spot several endangered sea turtle species - the Green, the Hawksbill, the Leatherback as well as the Olive Ridley sea turtle.
Still, the one sea turtle that, naturally, is everyone’s favourite to behold on this beach is the leatherback turtle. These giants can weigh up to 750 kg and really are as impressive as they sound, so getting the chance to spot them is the cherry on top of every Guayana trip.
Sadly, an opportunity like this wasn’t always possible around here, as some time back in history, these turtles used to be slaughtered for their meat and eggs. Thankfully today, they are all under a non-governmental conservation program called ‘The Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society’ (GMTCS) founded by Dr Peter Pritchard and Romeo De Freitas. Dr Peter Pritchard relevant work and efforts to conserve the turtles in the region has been so crucial that he was even dubbed "Hero of the Planet" by Time magazine.
Another interesting fact about this place is that Shell beach is also one of the last remaining wild beaches not only in Guyana but also in the world! It only has a few small Amerindian settlements here, making it possible to maintain the area’s diverse ecosystem. Here you can spot a variety of birds such as flamingos and parrots; manatees; and monkeys. In fact, this place is still so pristine and wild, that jaguars still prowl on the beach at night!
Imagine a place with nearly one million acres where you are; surrounded by more species than you could ever count, more plants than you ever knew existed, and more fresh air than you ever imagined possible. Is there such a place? Yes. It is called Iwokrama Rainforest and it is one of the last four pristine tropical forests in the world.
Located between the beautiful Amazonian and Guyanan landscapes, the Iwokrama rainforest, is an extremely important corner of our world as it is home to a vast number of unique species. Examples of this are - the extraordinarily high bird diversity (more than 500 species have been found here); the several unique plant families (including Lecythidaceae and Chrysobalanaceae); as well as the easily spotted (be it at dusk or dawn) felines, among which - the jaguar - everyone’s favourite. Interestingly this rainforest is also famous for being richer in fish - 420 species have already been identified - and in bats - it counts 90 species- more than any other area of comparable size in the world. Isn’t it fascinating?
Due to its incredibly rich biodiversity, the Iwokrama Rainforest is the perfect set for anyone who loves nature, but also, for anyone who always loves making time for more adventurous activities while on holiday.
Guyana’s Botanical Gardens are just another landmark that you can’t miss. First established back in 1878, these gardens may be old (140 years old!) but surely aren’t boring. With an exceptional plant collection, stunning butterflies, unique bird species and, not forgetting, the endangered West Indian Manatee - these gardens - are a true treasure of this land.
While you stroll around these beautiful gardens you can relax at the sight of some of the most beautiful nature in the world. Here you can easily spot a vast array of tropical flowers, fruits, and plants (some of which are even of cultural significance). There are also several palm trees gracing the grounds, and at one point, it was even believed that these included more than 100 species.
Still, palm trees are not all that you can view here. Other tropical trees that can be found within the gardens include; the monkey pot species, the saman, the jacaranda as well as the night-blooming Water Chestnut (Pachira aquatic).
Nature is not the only interesting part of the gardens, housed in the compound of the gardens are several monuments such as a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, or the Arya Samaj Monument with was erected recently, in 2011. There are also several fountains, an arched walkway as well as the kissing bridge. - This bridge is one of two curved iron bridges which were imported back in 1884 to span both lakes in the gardens. Nowadays this bridge is quite a favourite among newlyweds as many brides and grooms have posed for photographers on this bridge after making their wedding vows.
It is easy to spend hours on these gardens and even easier to fall in love with all its details. Especially, the flowers. Amongst the gardens, the vast collection is lotus and the immense Victoria Regia Lily, which is Guyana’s national flower. Whatever you do, don’t forget to smell them. They are divine!
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