Guyana is home to vast, pristine rainforests that are home to an exotic and enviable diversity of wildlife, birdlife, plant species, and freshwater fish. For curious travellers, adventure seekers and scientific researchers, it is a haven for exploration and active discovery. The rainforest is also home to numerous Indigenous communities and villages who are responsible for the protection of the forests and have been for a millennia. Travellers have been fascinated with exploring jungle landscapes for hundreds of years from the lost city of El Dorado, the “City of Gold” and Lost World to wildlife spotting Guyana’s giants and mineral exploration for gold and diamonds in more recent times.
This fascination, however, does not come without its fair share of mishaps for the unprepared. So, whether you’re trekking through the Iwokrama rainforests in hopes of spotting the elusive jaguar or taking part in a five day excursion to Kaieteur, good preparation is key. While, the organizers of these wilderness tours provide certain items, for maximum comfort, it is imperative that you have your own personal items to ensure absolute preparedness. We want to make it easy for you, so we have prepared a list of things to pack for your next rainforest expedition in three main categories.
Appropriate Clothing and Protective Gear
You’re in the jungle. It’s going to be hot… really hot. Expect short but rain storms even in the dry season. It may even rain while the sun is out. See the conundrum? No need to worry though. You can ensure your comfort with a little advanced preparation. You’ll mostly want to bring versatile activewear that covers you from head to toe. Bring layers, breathable fabrics, and light-coloured clothing, including a few pairs of pants, long-sleeved shirts, and t-shirts. Pack a rain jacket that is lightweight, compact, and can easily be added to any outfit. This will protect you from the elements and pesky insects.
Comfortable hiking shoes or boots that are broken in are recommended. You’ll also need extra socks to keep your feet warm during the cool nights or to change out during the day if your feet happen to get soaked. Don’t forget a broad rimmed and peaked sun hats and a towel or bandana to protect the back of your neck from the sun. Make sure that you get a sun hat with a tie around your neck. This will prevent it from flying off when you’re riding in boats along riverways.
A bathing suit and a pair of waterproof sandals should also be a part of your list. You’ll likely want to take a dip in one or more of the many beautiful creeks, rivers, waterfalls you come across. Waterproof sandals are great for outdoor showers too.
Insect Repellent and Anti-Itch Cream
As beautiful as the rainforests are, it doesn’t take a scientist to let you know that there are an abundance of insects! Some are more annoying than others. You’ll be fine as long as you’re adequately prepared to ward off these pesky little creatures. Just remember to pack insect repellent and consider purchasing a local brand upon arrival in Georgetown. In the event that you do get bitten or unknowingly brush against an itchy bush, anti-itch cream and treatments such as calamine lotion should provide fast relief.
If you’re lucky enough to have a tour guide with experience and an extensive knowledge of the rainforest, they may be able to provide natural remedies from the plants that thrive in the rainforests. Many natural remedies have been proven to be just as good if not better than the conventional ones.
Personal Med Kit
Some people don’t react very well to climates they’re not accustomed to. If you’re one, then it is always good to be prepared. Motion sickness medication, sunburn salve, antibiotics (for travellers diarrhoea), ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory, and aspirin, bandaids, and of course good old pepto-bismol should be among any travellers’ go-to kit.
Antibacterial soap, and hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol should also be kept handy to clean out cuts and bruises which may be inevitable. And don’t forget to bring any prescription medications, which should be appropriately packaged and labeled, as they may be hard to find abroad.
Bring your favorite pair of sunglasses with polarized lenses to protect your eyes. A good pair of binoculars is indispensable as well. Wildlife and birds are unpredictable, and you don’t want to miss out on the perfect view.
You can never have too much water, which is why it is imperative that you pack a lightweight reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. Reusable plastic bags are also recommended to protect your phone, camera and other belongings from damp or wet conditions. Be sure to pack a battery back-up if you rely on your phone for photos. Many lodges are run on solar and generators, which means you can’t always charge your electronics overnight.
A flashlight or headlamp is absolutely indispensable as well, especially if you have to get up out of your tent/hammock during the night or if you’re taking part in nighttime wildlife spotting. Not only are these lights useful nighttime outings, but it’s imperative that you always check your boots for hidden friends – little critters tend to get comfortable in dark, cozy spaces – shoes being one of them.
Last but certainly not least, determine what size luggage you need based on your itinerary and the number of days you’ll be travelling. When flying to remote areas in small planes, there is usually a 40 pound weight limit for luggage – all the more reason to ensure you have packed exactly and only what you need.
Travel Better with Guyana: Guyana is working hard to conserve its vibrant wildlife and ecosystems and protect its culture and heritage. We realise that it is often difficult to understand how you can support these aims and make a difference when you travel. That’s why we’ve set out to help you by creating Visitor Guidelines For Sustainable Travel. All passionate globetrotters, curious culture seekers and bold adventurers are encouraged to do all they can to leave a positive impact on the people and places you visit in Guyana.