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First row seats to fun
You’ll understand in a short time why Georgetown has a reputation for being Guyana’s most fun city. Framed by the endless Atlantic Ocean to the north, it offers more than just a tropical welcome. It is the gateway to the country’s historical and natural wonders. Give yourself a couple of days in the capital for orientation before you deep dive into Guyanese adventures.
Explore the museums, monuments and markets or enjoy the simple pleasures of chatting with friendly locals to feel at home right away. Don’t forget to pay special attention to the architecture, especially the famous Demerara shutters and colonial influences. The other engineering genius is the web of sluices and canals from where the excessive water is daily drained out from the city and into the ocean. Wind down at the end of the day at one of the many bars, where the mood is alive till the wee hours of the morning.
The museum trail of Georgetown is the best way to find out about events and backgrounds that shaped the country. Be it extensive exhibits that showcase the life of Amerindians at Walter Roth Museum, or the beautifully preserved animals representing most of Guyana’s biodiversity at the National Museum. To know more about the African heritage, walk through the expertly curated sections of musical instruments, art and textiles at the Museum of African Heritage. While on the topic of arts, visit the Roy Geddes Steel Pan Museum. It is a haven for steel pan music lovers, where one can view photographs, drums and souvenirs that document the musician’s life around this one-of-a-kind music. Remember, if you’re visiting the National Gallery, you’d be walking inside the once home of President Forbes Burnham.
Once the tallest building in the city, the Lighthouse is now relegated to second spot after a hotel that’s taller. But it’s still one of the best places to get a bird’s eye view of Georgetown. From here you can spot the red-roofed bandstand near the Sea Wall, a 280-mile dyke constructed by the Dutch to prevent the Atlantic from spilling in. See if you can identify others like Umana Yana, a Wai Wai benab (hut) built by the Amerindians as a meeting place, and the African Liberation Monument to commemorate freedom fighters.
Churches of Georgetown
Being the capital, Georgetown has always been the epicenter for religious structures. Centuries-old churches bear a stamp of colonial heritage with Gothic architecture, but are constructed in local material, especially the Greenheart wood for flooring. The most iconic address in town belongs to St. George’s Cathedral – a 19th-century church that towers above the modern buildings in the heart of the city. Look up to see the high ceiling supported by arches and a dazzling chandelier, a gift from the Queen of England. Other spectacular churches include, St. Andrew’s Kirk (the only church where slaves were allowed to pray), Christ Church and the Brickdam Cathedral.
Nothing makes you feel more like an insider than jostling through the frenzied pace of local markets. As you step in to the Stabroek (partially hanging over the Demerara River) and Bourda Markets, a burst of colourful veggies, fruits, seafood, and all manner of wares meet the eye – and that’s just one stall. Peer into the network of alleys and you’ll find shops selling CDs, watches, clocks, clothes and what seems like everything under the sun. As you stroll through the markets, listen out for colourful Creolese language at play as punters and shopkeepers haggle over a purchase.
Parks and Promenades
The Botanical, Zoological and National Parks are the lungs of Georgetown. The zoo in Georgetown gives you an option to get up close to a jaguar, boa constrictor, a sloth and even a harpy eagle. For un-caged avian friends, walk along the Botanical Gardens and you could get lucky, spotting about 50 species of birds. Other enthralling creatures in the park are the manatees that live below the Kissing Bridge on a lake.
Not too far away is the Parade Ground, which was once an execution spot for the slaves. Right across this are the Promenade Gardens where fountains, manicured lawns, a bandstand and a bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi make for a more cheerful theme.
Guyana has always had a special affinity to cricket. Visit historic Bourda Cricket Ground that has hosted several International championships in the past. The new ground at Providence hosted the 2007 Cricket World Cup. Guyana’s love for sports spills over to football, with great fondness for their neighbours, Brazil.
Treat yourself to the captivating architecture of Georgetown by strolling past the most prominent buildings of the city. You can peek into the President’s house and see Italian influence in the Prime Minister’s home, albeit from the gate. The domed Parliament, City Hall and the Red House, where former Prime Minister Cheddi Jagan once lived are the other impressive structures. Once you’ve glanced at the statue of the Queen Elizabeth with a missing limb, steer the gaze beyond the garden, to the Gothic and Tudor architecture of the High Court.
Music lovers get a chance to peek inside the home of Eddie Grant, the Grammy winner who was first to put Guyana’s R&B music on the world map – remember ‘Gimme Hope Jo’anna’ and ‘Electric Avenue’? Other typical colonial buildings with Georgian windows and steep roofs belong to Austin and Moray House. More than a century old, the National Library contains shelf loads of books, and colonial architecture to marvel at.
Sugar Estate: Uitvulgt
Visit the Dutch-rooted Uitvlugt estate as homage to the flourishing sugarcane business that gave rise to the dark history of slavery in Guyana. The trip is poignant and at the same time captivates you, as you ride in a jeep to inspect lush fields as far as your eyes can see. The sugarcane-covered terrain is fractured by canals, where heavy loading boats glide through the water to carry the canes right to the factory.
Processing takes place over loud clanking machinery, so it’s best to listen to the guide before you step in. Wander inside the maze of machines to see the intriguing world of sugar and its by-products.
Sugar estate of Uitvulgt
Dining and Nightlife
Georgetown’s easygoing vibe makes way into every aspect– even dining and nightlife. The downtown area has a number of options from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants. Choose from the traditional indigenous ‘pepper pot’ to dishes that are influenced by the Indian, African and Chinese heritage of the country. Lately, new experimental chefs are giving the city’s culinary scene an edge by rooting their craft in fusion of local and International.
Guyanese take their fun seriously – and beer and rum feature high on the list for that. You can raise a glass to the country’s rum drinking tradition on an hour-long walk at Demerara Distillers Ltd. Here you can witness all the ‘behind the scenes’ action that goes into making the best rum in the world – El Dorado. Don’t forget to pick the 10 or 15-year-old classics on your way out. To complete the picture, a trip to Banks beer bottling factory is essential. The tasting session is the most anticipated part of the trip. Reserve evenings for the pubs where soca and chutney music complement the drinking scene.
Witness untamed wildlife in the rainforests
North Rupununi offers many travellers their first glimpse of the incredible untouched rainforests of Guyana. Hop between community-owned and operated eco-lodges located throughout the forested landscape, or find yourself in the middle of golden savannahs within just a few kilometres. Slow down and match rhythms to the beat of village life as you explore winding nature trails and enjoy the region’s pristine views and vibrant culture. At night, you can retreat to one of the naturally built accommodations, or get your hammock out and spend it below the Milky Way!
The iconic eco-lodges of North Rupununi will make you irreversibly fall in love with Guyana. The varied scenery and wildlife attractions in each lodge gives you ample reason to experience several of them during a single trip. Karanambu Lodge offers a peek into life of Diane McTurk, the legendary river otter conservationist. Caiman House’s caiman tagging river trips in Yupukari are a real adrenaline rush and educational at the same time, while the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway found at Atta Lodge is a must-do for all birdwatchers.
A short distance down Atta Lodge is the Iwokrama River Lodge where you can experience hiking the breathtaking Turtle Mountain. Surama and Rewa Eco-Lodges are based on community driven tourism, where the indigenous villagers manage and operate all tourism activities. More than anything else, both amateur nature lovers and seasoned wildlife enthusiasts will relish learning from the “PhD’s of the forest”.
Village life in the Rupununi
Ever tried eating crunchy farine made of cassava, caught a fish using a bow and arrow, or slept in a hammock? If not, then this is your chance to check these off your bucket list. Bring along your hammock and experience local life in the villages. Stay in breezy benabs (thatched huts), dig into steamy pepper pots or stroll around villages to experience the relaxed life of Rupununi. You can witness the locals engage in craft making, cassava bread making or even visit a village farm. Of course, you can add a little action with nature trails, hikes or just a swim in a creek to cool off.
It’s amazing how the simple villages of Rupununi offer such a spectacular and unforgettable experience. However, permission from the village should be sought before you enter.
Explore the pulse of Dutch history
Originating in the thick central rainforests of Guyana, the Demerara River flows more than 340km north to spill into the Atlantic Ocean. Georgetown occupies the left bank of the river during the last part of its journey to the sea. Tan in colour, the river is full of silt and tints the blue ocean for miles at its mouth. Along the way, it channels into different tributaries and creeks, creating islands that are inhabited by different communities. The banks of the river ring with birdcalls and local life, a mere sample of the rich inland biodiversity.
Want to pull the breaks on hectic sightseeing days to unwind? The retreats on the banks of the Demerara and its tributaries are perfect to ‘do nothing’ for a couple of days. You are smack bang in the middle of the rainforests in no time from Georgetown. Arrowpoint Resort is an eco-resort option perfect for nature lovers. During the day, guests can enjoy canoeing, walk through nature trails and visiting Santa Mission village close by.
The Pandama Retreat and Winery, on the other hand, is geared to excite wine connoisseurs. One can choose from the tropical flavours of Guyana and a host of other tonics, herbal wines and even natural vinegars – pineapple, jamoon, noni, cherry, malacca pear, duka and sorrel. In short, a healthier alternative to regular alcohol.
Know more about our resorts here.
Birding around Demerara
You don’t have to fling yourself into the thick rainforest to gaze upon exquisite birdlife of Guyana. Just travel 45 minutes to a tributary – Mahaica River – from where you can take a boat into nature’s wonderland – both rainforests and savannahs. The main draw lies in spotting Guyana’s national bird, the hoatzin, found near the banks. Even if you’re not an ardent birder, the green canopy and fresh air can never disappoint.
Plenty of Amerindian villages dot the banks of the Demerara and its tributaries. You can stop and chat with the locals, watch basket-weaving and stroll in the villages dotted along the river. For a close look at the life in a typical Arawak village, head south of Georgetown to St. Cuthbert’s Mission. Located at the banks of the Mahaica River, the 200-home village is blessed with the best of nature.
Demerara Harbour Bridge
As the main thoroughfare between the East and West banks of the Demerara River, this floating pontoon bridge is a staple on the itinerary during a trip to Georgetown. While travelling over the mile and a half long bridge, get on one side and see small and large vessels sail through. Retractor spans in the centre of the bridge open up and allow vessels to sail through. If you want to experience the bridge at its most atmospheric, try to visit it at dusk and see the Starbroek Market light up in the distance.
Linden & Around
Historically a bauxite-mining town, Linden’s travel draw lies in its vantage location. The town is the gateway to the central rainforest region of the country. As the second largest town of Guyana, it houses several interesting museums and spots of heritage value. The Linden Museum of Socio-Cultural Heritage is particularly good at throwing spotlight on the Amerindian life and the bauxite history of the region. Linden’s industrial heritage comes alive in the Christianburg Waterwheel. This was part of a hydro-powered sawmill to increase logging efficiency. Stroll through the town to gaze at the remnants of the colonial architecture in St. Mathew’s Church, Watooka House and St. Aidan’s Anglican Church.
The beguiling beauty of the blue lakes of Linden is not a secret to those who love nature’s drama. The region is dotted with several emerald water-bodies, thanks to the mineral rich composition of the terrain. Of these, the Wisroc blue lake has the closest access to Linden and is popular with local tourists.
Cruising along the Demerara also offers a peek into the history of the region. Stop to see the many monuments along the way that commemorate former slaves and freedom fighters of Guyana. The Enmore Martyrs Monument, Emancipation Monument, Plaisance Monument and Kuru Kururu Independence Monument are poignant reminders of the years of servitude and struggle that was spent by the African and Indian communities in the plantations.
Churches and Tombs
There are a number of notable churches and tombs situated along the Demerara which have become historical landmarks. The Wilberforce Congregational Church lies in the unforgettable location of Victoria, the first village in the country to be bought by former slaves in 1839. It was named after William Wilberforce, the abolitionist. The Hermanus Post Tomb is a memorial to the Dutch plantation owner, who opposed slavery and worked to provide education to the slaves.
Guyanese Heritage Museum
A window into Guyana’s history, Garry Serrao’s private museum is a passionate collection of utensils, stamps, Dutch and British glassware, books, objects of daily use and other artifacts. The two-floored museum makes you time travel to follow the trajectory of the country through the objects. Being located in a private home makes it all the more fun as you saunter around.
South And Central Rupununi
Endless rustic charm
How to make the most of your trip to Guyana? The easiest answer would be, ‘Visit Rupununi’. A dose of deep jungles and savannahs of North Rupununi offers only a glimpse of what’s to come. South and Central Rupununi offer travellers unending tracts of wilderness, unique animals and birds, along with an authentic taste of ranch life. Every hill and riverside throws up breathtaking scenery and the best way to take it all in is to travel slowly and to savour nature’s bounty.
Lethem and Around
Located at the border with Brazil, the town of Lethem is home to the annual Rupununi Rodeo that takes place on Easter weekend. The red laterite roads flanked with golden brown savannahs, massive termite hills and rainforests, make for a truly picturesque location. Use Lethem as the base to explore cattle-filled ranches, community led eco-lodges and indigenous villages. The wildlife here is equally unique, giant anteaters, red siskins, giant anacondas and a host of other animals and birds, makes this region an amazing place for wildlife enthusiasts.
If you haven’t already, add this to your wish list right away! Watching a vaquero show off his skills of saddle bronc or bareback riding will take you back to memories of films about the American Wild West. The two-day event is a throbbing party of cowboy hats and boots, beer and rodeo events that will enthral you. The Rupununi Rodeo is followed by the lesser-known Sand Creek Rodeo which takes place a day later. It’s a great way to extend an epic weekend and watch more barrel racing, tie down roping and, bull and horse riding.
Living The Ranch Life
Dust off your cowboy hat and boots, and saddle up! This is going to be a ride of a lifetime. Check-in at some of the oldest and most iconic working ranches in the South Rupununi to experience life in a typical cattle farm. Dadanawa used to be the largest ranch in the world at one point in time. The vast verdant landscape, vegetable gardens and cassava farmlands and the bounty of organic foods truly celebrate the fertile Rupununi landscape. Riding into the sunset may be on your mind but if you are staying here, then plan to get dirty – herd the cows back, clean them and feed the pigs and poultry. The ranch life is authentic as it gets on a trip to Guyana.
Get Lost in the South
Come back with some tremendous memories from the South Rupununi. Your list could include the “999-steps” hike to the Mountain plateau at Moco Moco Village, to dipping your travel-weary feet in the cool waters of Kumu Falls. In the deep south, Konashen offers close encounters with wildlife and birds and if you are lucky, you may be able to spot the iconic jaguar. This was Guyana’s first community owned and protected region where visitors can enjoy primary evergreen forests and golden savannahs, and an astounding variety of wild creatures. The rugged beauty and rustic charm of Rupununi is at full display here, so be sure to have time on your hands to take in all in.
Welcome back to nature
The hinterland of Guyana with its expansive primary rainforest and rugged mountain ranges, is the main draw for visitors to the country. Incredible wildlife majestic jungles, remote forests, rugged terrain and faraway villages all add a sense of mysticism to the land. This region of the world is ideal for intrepid travellers longing to explore the jungle on foot, canoe down the seldom-travelled rivers or cross the vast golden savannahs on an epic 4X4 safari drive. With surprises around every bend, Guyana is where your next adventure lies.
Guyana is blessed with four extraordinary mountains ranges. Rising 9,200 feet above sea level and shrouded in clouds, the flat top Mount Roraima makes you feel on top of the world. Geologically part of the Guiana Shield, the Pakaraima Mountains on the western edge of Guyana is the point of origin for many rivers, which form some of the most picturesque waterfalls. The Pakaraimas also offer the perfect setting for one of the most epic 4X4 expeditions in the world! Adventurers from across the globe visit the region to drive their 4X4 vehicles on week-long safaris across this diverse terrain. The adventurous days are perfectly complemented by the calm and tranquil nights, filled only by the sounds of nature around you and stories of some of the villages you meet along the way.
The dense green rainforest of the Iwokrama Mountains make up the heart of Guyana’s highland region. When exploring, you never know what wildlife you will come face to face with – so remain alert! The 3000-foot tall Kanuku Mountains in the south is one of the best place to go wildlife spotting in Guyana’s Rupununi. With more than 150 mammals and a bewildering number of birds, the Wapishana name of Kanuku, meaning ‘forest’, truly suits these mountains.
The majestic Kaieteur Falls will leave you awestruck. For most people is the highlight of their trip to Guyana! Following the course of the Potaro River, the Falls tumbles down 741 feet. Almost five times as tall as Niagara and twice as tall as Victoria Falls, Kaieteur is considered to be one of the most powerful single drop waterfalls in the world. That is why it has been rated #2 in the World’s Top 100 Highest Rated Waterfalls list. Your journey with Kaieteur Falls starts with an aerial view as your aircraft circles over the Falls and National Park before landing. The short nature trail with three vantage points affords you breathtaking views of the Falls, each better than the last and all a part of a one-in-a-lifetime experience. For these seeking a little more adventure, you can never go wrong with the 4-5-day overland trek to the Falls.
Orinduik Falls in the Pakaraimas is a wide, multi-tiered series of cascades. The Ireng River on the border with Brazil comes thundering over red jasper rock terraces making an impressive waterfall, one that is a highlight of any trip to the interior.
Located in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region and considered to be the sister waterfall to Kaieteur, Kumarau Falls has a spectacular sheer drop of 620 feet. Other spectacular falls include the 525-foot King George VI Falls and Amaila Falls, which drops over a series of cascades totaling around 1,200 feet.
Along the longest river of Guyana
The longest river in Guyana, the Essequibo, has a long and winding journey stretching 1,000 miles from the Acarai Mountains near the Brazil border to the Atlantic Ocean. En route, its many tributaries enrich an unrivalled ecosystem of countless waterfalls and thriving forests and wildlife. After circling around hundreds of islands, this remarkable river skirts the town of Parika for the last few miles before draining into the ocean at its 20-mile-wide mouth. The quiet strength and beauty of the river can be felt as you traverse along it.
Historical Pit Stops
The Essequibo’s massive water highway is littered with many of Guyana’s 365 islands along its path. Fort Island, built by the Dutch is ideal for a casual stroll. Visitors to the island should visit the museum housed in the 18th-century Court of Policy. A short walk from here is the well-preserved Fort Zeelandia, a brick fort on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list, which was one of the very first buildings constructed in the country by the Dutch.
Stop at the Hogg Island to see the 36-foot-tall windmill built with clay bricks on what used to be Plantation Luyksberg. At Leguan Island, the highlight is the 200-years-old St. Peter’s Anglican Church. Fort Kyk-Over-Al, the Dutch fort that kept its European rivals at bay, has now been reduced to a brick arch on a grassy patch of the island but is perfect to take in the views. A trip on the Essequibo is a great weekend getaway from Georgetown.
Numerous resorts occupy many of the islands on the lower Essequibo. Ideal for a weekend getaway from Georgetown, they offer options in pristine surroundings to suit any traveller’s taste. Stay in rooms that overlook the river, laze by the emerald-tiled swimming pools or get some exercise exploring the islands on foot. All the resorts offer multiple dining options and activities for kids. Adel’s Rainforest Resort, Baganara Island Resort, Aruwai Resort White H20 and Hurakabra River Resort are some of the most popular and definitely worth a visit.
For Nature Lovers
Some of the islands on the Essequibo are ideal for the nature lovers. The romantic Sloth Island on the Essequibo River is a perfect getaway for soft adventure. The days here are filled with birdwatching, nature walks, wildlife spotting, swimming in the creek, canoeing, fishing or just sinking in a hammock at Sloth Island Resort. Naturally, spotting one of the many pale-throated sloths is the top priority for most visitors.
Plan an evening visit to Parrot Island, to see thousands of colourful parrots come to roost here at night. The untouched forest of the small island, with ancient fruit bearing trees with thick canopies is a thriving nesting ground for the birds.
At Gluck Island find caimans lazing around on river shores, the Victoria Regia Water Lily ponds carpeted in the plant and over 200 species of birds on treetops.
The town of Bartica lies at the confluence of the Essequibo, Cuyuni and Mazaruni rivers. Often known as the “Gateway to the Interior”, Bartica is the first spot and entrance to the gold and diamond mining regions of Guyana. No wonder its main market street has entertainment hotspots in several pubs and shops for the mining community. Bartica’s standout event is the annual Easter Regatta where powerboat racing, street jams, music and a pageant make for a lively weekend.
Waterfalls, Lakes and Beaches
The county of Essequibo has an abundance of waterfalls to help cool you down all the exploration. Baracara on the namesake island and Marshall Falls close by, are a favourite with locals. It takes less than 30 minutes to reach these crowd-free falls and swim in soothing pools. Baracara is a tiered waterfall with a mellow mood, while Marshall Falls is slung over a 30 feet high escarpment. Both are perfect natural jacuzzis to cool off in the tropical weather.
One of the best swimming beaches along the Essequibo lies along Lake Mainstay – complete with white sand and inviting warm water. At Moro Point, the beach is secluded and ideal for couples to find romantic moments together.
Life Around The Essequibo
Atmospheric villages are scattered on the banks of the Essequibo. Explore Guyana’s largest weekly market at Parika or stop at Saxacalli to see cassava bread making. Stop at Rockstone to visit the handicraft centre and take in its rustic ambience. The backdrop of savannah glinting in the sun, ancient rainforest and riverside beaches are hard to resist at Capoey Lake and Mission.
If you’re on to hunt down the most faraway spots, then Charity should be on the list. Off-the-beaten-path Moruca is a fascinating cluster of several Indigenous villages. You can base yourself here for a couple of days and explore the local villages like Santa Rosa Mission, Kumaka and Kabukali. Only 10 miles from the Venezuelan border, the villages of Hosororo, Mabaruma, Kumaka and Warapoka are a great base to explore the hilly regions of northwest Guyana.
The town has the best of both waterfronts – the Atlantic Ocean along its eastern edge and the Essequibo running along the north. The breezy town is perfect for wandering around. Step out to explore the Anna Regina High Bridge built by the Dutch, a memorial to commemorate the arrivals of the East Indians and the 19th-century St. Bartholomew Anglican Church. Two memorials – Damon’s Cross and Damon Monument – pay homage to another hero of the slaves’ uprising of 1834.
Welcome to the ‘Ancient County’
The Berbice River cuts through its namesake region before rushing into the Atlantic Ocean. You can still see traces of its colonial history travelling through the countryside. Once the home to thriving sugar plantations, Berbice offers a unique mixture of easy country life and rich colonial heritage. Make New Amsterdam your base for exploring ocean-side villages, the endless flora and fauna of nearby forest, and the cache of historical buildings.
Historical Sites to Behold – New Amsterdam and Canje
From sugarcane and rice to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Along with the adjoining town of Fort Nassau, New Amsterdam is a haven of colonial architecture and history. Take a walk through the town and experience the scenery of the New Amsterdam Public Hospital, Town Hall, Mission Chapel Congregation Church and more. They are absolutely worth a visit.
The area near the Canje River has some notable monuments to stop by. Guyana’s former President, Cheddi Jagan and his wife, Janet, are laid to rest at the Babu Jan (John) Cemetery. The Rose Hall Martyrs’ Memorial and Town Monument recognise the struggles and sacrifices of generations of sugar workers whose contribution have brought about many positive changes in workers living and working conditions. A stroll by the 19th-century Cumberland Open Air Mosque is also recommended.
This Indigenous village provides visitors an opportunity to sample a flavour of local life in close proximity to flora and fauna. This is the perfect place to meet local people who coexist in harmony with nature. There are plenty of hiking trails to choose from to explore the region at your own pace.
Reserve ample time to take long boat trip to the Wanotobo Resort, the ideal spot to explore the forest and waterfalls or go for a dip in a local swim hole. Iguana Island is the highpoint for most, where you can see hundreds of the amphibians mating in September. For those interested in history, a visit to ancient Amerindian petroglyphs close by provides a rich insight into the history of the land stretching thousands of years back.
Cow Falls Resort
Glide in the Corentyne waters to reach the Cow Falls Resort for a complete ‘back-to-nature’ experience. Camping at Zambi Island, birdwatching, swimming in slim creeks, fishing for lukananis and exploring the forests around are the absolute highlights here.
The Magic of 63 Beach
Only one and a half hours from Georgetown, No. 63 Beach is a favorite with locals. This large swath of sand is the perfect spot for swimming, picnicking, water sports or simply soaking up the sun and lively atmosphere.