Escaping the gloom of wintry Alaska and connecting with pristine nature is every curious Alaskan’s dream. With that in mind, have you heard of Guyana? If not, it’s time you did. It’s an unspoiled wilderness filled with unparalleled wildlife, exquisite food, and a melting pot of culture that awaits.
Experience the Legends of the Lost World
Its forested highlands are virtually untapped, perfectly complimenting the vast interior savannahs and the wetlands of the coast. The coast boasts over 200 species of the most beautiful birds that often go overlooked. Primitive hoatzins can be easily found around the Mahaica River and even blood colored woodpeckers are regularly seen by the Abary trail. Moving south into the highlands, Harpy Eagles, Guianan Cock-of-the-Rocks and the Capuchins are just a few of the most exotic birds that can be found.
Guyana isn’t just home to impressive creatures. The majestic Kaieteur Falls, rivals Niagara Falls as one of the highest and most powerful single drop waterfalls in the world. Once you arrive on foot or by plane, your tour of the surrounding areas and the waterfall will be led by expert tour guides. Here, they will take you to various vantage points to witness the impressive views of Kaieteur. As you draw closer to the falls, an exhilarating vibe takes over. You will be left in awe at the smooth flow of the Potaro River as it transforms into a breathtaking force of chaos, plummeting 741 ft over the precipice.What’s even more impressive is that there are many massive waterfalls hidden throughout Guyana, especially amid the base of the mighty Mount Roraima.
A Nature and Wildlife Lover’s Dream
The Apoteri landing strip, conveniently located along the Rupununi River serves as a subtle reminder of home. The bright lines along the runway are reminiscent of rural Alaska with a serene wilderness extending beyond belief. During the dry season, the Rupununi River is breathtakingly shallow. But this did not deter from the vast number of wildlife spotted along the river. An overwhelming array of kingfishers and egrets were visible. For bird lovers especially, the Rupununi is a birder’s paradise! Come spot a few of your favourites before heading downstream deep into virgin rainforest.
You will soon find yourself at Rewa Eco-Lodge where hiking and catch and release arapaima fishing are the key activities offered. This community led and owned eco-lodge is conveniently located along the Rewa river, a tributary of the Rupununi River. The friendly indigenous people of Rewa have been maintaining preservation and sustainability of their ancestral land for millennia. Further up the river, at an oxbow lake you can spot the Victoria Amazonica – an enormous water lily, that can grow up to 8 feet long! The experienced and patient tour guides will provide excellent information on flora and fauna of the forest. Birds such as the Limpkin, Green Kingfisher and even the Guianan Puffbird are especially sights to behold!
On the river journey to Caiman House, you can spot the famous giant river otters basking in the sunlight on the shore or playing in the water. Caiman House has a fascinating history. Located in Yupukari village, extensive scientific research is done on the black caiman. If you’re lucky and curious enough, you could observe one of these studies. Participate in measuring, microchipping, tagging and determing the sex of the animal and observing it as it smoothly slitters away into the darkness once released.
The Karanambu Lodge, adjacent to the rainforest and the Rupununi River, is a famous rescue and rehabilitation facility for giant river otters. An initiative started by the late Dinane McTurk, the daughter of the original rancher, the Karanambu Trust rescues otters as young as six months old! Ranch vaqueros will also help you spot giant anteaters, the females are said to carry their babies on their back so make sure you take pictures if you happen to spot one.
Get Lost in the Rupununi Rodeo
At the Lethem/Brazil border, be prepared to experience an entirely different vibe. Lethem hosts the annual Rupununi Rodeo. This two day event in the interior savannahs embodies a wild, rustic vibe. You can enjoy bareback bronco, barrel races, and bull riding activities and a taste of the local cuisine such as tuma pot, cassava bread and farine as well as the Brazilian fares such as calabresa .
Winding Down Back to the City
Once the exploration is over, make your way back to the city of Georgetown. Take advantage of the colonial style heritage and melange of cultures that the city boasts. The St. George’s Cathedral, is one of Guyana’s most prestigious wooden structures and reputedly one of the tallest in the world.
Guyanese are always enthusiastic about sharing their culture – from the local dishes, to the holidays and festivities. This is the true essence of Guyanese hospitality – from the minute you step off of the plane right up until you depart. No matter your travel preferences, Guyana has an adventure waiting for you!
For more information, visit www.guyanatourism.com.