There are few places on Earth like Guyana. With 90% of its natural beauty left untouched, this tiny country on South America’s northern coast is fast becoming one of the continents premier eco-tourism destinations as a growing number of adventurous travellers are drawn to its pristine rainforests and natural sensations. Here we look at five of Guyana’s most treasured sites.
Of course we begin with Guyana’s most famous highlight. Whilst images of Kaieteur Falls can certainly impress with its mesmerising beauty until you stand at its base it is impossible to fathom the ambience created when 30,000 gallons of water thunder down a 250-metre cliff. The sheer size of the falls and its audacious power create an almost unnerving sensation as you feel the electrifying mist and hear the unapologetic roar of the force of nature, set to a spectacular backdrop of the ancient jungle.
Guyana’s hearty interior, or in-country as the locals call it, is almost entirely comprised of pristine jungle, and there is perhaps no better place to experience the rainforest so emphatically than at Iwokrama. A million acres are preserved by the brilliant research centre and the region is home to the elusive jaguar as well as the world’s highest recorded number of fish and bat species. The canopy walkway is unmissable to observe swinging primates and will provide your best opportunity to spot the brilliantly flamboyant Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock and Crimson Fruitcrow bird species.
Guyana’s charming capital is more than just a gateway to the natural wonders of the country, and it is difficult not to immersive yourself in its contagious rhythm. The city’s distinct Caribbean and South American heritage is felt empathetically through its people, its architecture and its cuisine and a day meandering through its characterful avenues is a day well spent. The colourful marketplace and verdant botanical gardens should both demand your attention, whilst a cruise on the Demerara River is idyllic at sunset.
A region where African-esque plains meet Amazonian jungle, the Rupununi Savannah’s vast grasslands are home to scattered Amerindian villages who thrive amongst the diverse eco-system and provide a refuge for visitors in community-led accommodation. Paddle through wildlife abundant rivers spotting basking caimans and giant otters and hike in the pockets of jungle observing the myriad of exotic bird species whilst engaging with the customs and traditions of your Amerindian hosts.
With only a few fishing huts and small hamlets to signify human occupancy, Shell Beach is one of the most underdeveloped sections of South America’s beautiful coastline. Getting here is part of the fun as you travel by boat through wildlife filled rivers, dense mangrove swamps and vast savannas. The adventurous journey is overwhelming worth it though to observe four of Guyana’s eight endangered sea turtle species nesting in the tranquil setting.