13th May, 2021
Looking for paradise? Guyana should be top of your list
Guyana is truly a wild experience. A land of waterfalls and rainforests, of coconut palms and old sugar estates, of pristine forests and a truly incredible array of wildlife. It’s a raw, authentic experience with a joy at its heart - and it’s all just waiting to be explored and enjoyed.
If you’re looking for a natural paradise with animal encounters a-plenty, then Guyana is the place to head. Find out more about this incredible destination and why it’s quickly becoming one of South America’s most popular untouched gems.
The story of Guyana
You can find Guyana on South America’s North Atlantic coast. The country is, to this day, influenced by its British and Dutch colonial past - with it currently being the only English-speaking country found in South America.
You can see this colonial heritage in the island’s architecture, particularly in the capital, Georgetown. Known as the Garden City of the Caribbean, Georgetown features tall, wooden houses raised on stilts and tree-lined avenues, and the cuisine is a mixture of delicious flavours and ingredients often found in West Indian, Portuguese, and Indian cuisines - with a penchant for dark rum as the staple alcoholic beverage.
Head inland away from the capital and you’ll quickly discover how deserted the interior of the country is. With a population of just over 786,000 people, equivalent to 0.01% of the total world population, Guyana is a thinly populated paradise - which is partly why so many incredible animals call it home instead. Much of the wild interior of the country is hard to traverse, which is where river travel comes into its own. Not only do you get to all of the otherwise hard to reach spots, but you also get to keep your eyes peeled for giant river otters, turtles, and even river dolphins on occasion. One thing’s for certain - getting around is something that’s definitely worth making a plan for, as the untouched wilderness of Guyana’s core is something that truly has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
Things to do
When it comes to Guyana’s rivers and water-based wonders, it’s impossible not to mention the truly majestic Kaieteur Falls. It’s five times the height of Niagara Falls, standing at 228m - giving it the title of the world’s tallest free-falling waterfall. It’s found in Kaieteur National Park, in the highlands of Guyana, the first national park in the Amazon region. As well as enjoying the magic of the Falls, you also get to explore the Guiana Shield - a geological formation packed with biodiversity and liberally covered in rainforests, rivers, and vast savannas. If you came to get the true picture of Guyana’s natural beauty, the Kaieteur Falls is an absolute must.
To get a bird’s eye view of Guyana’s incredible landscape, the canopy walkway in the Iwokrama Rainforest is an unbeatable experience. A series of walkways suspended 30m above the ground, the views are unparalleled - from standing amongst the ancient trees to witnessing the red howler monkeys on their turf. The Iwokrama Rainforest is also thought to be one of the best places in the world to see wild jaguars, the country’s elusive forest predator - and its national animal. If you are fortunate enough to see one of these creatures in the wild then it’s sure to be an experience you won’t soon forget.
You can still witness some of the country’s natural beauty from the capital, too. In Georgetown, head to the Botanical Gardens, where you’ll find an incredible variety of tropical flora and wildlife. In fact, there is also a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre, which now has over one hundred different species of tropical wildlife in its care. Walking on the trails through the gardens is a true sensory overload; budding bird watchers in particular should keep their eyes peeled, with the opportunity to witness everything from the blood-coloured woodpecker to snail kits and red-shouldered macaws.
While in Georgetown, take the time to explore the historic city and its magical streets. The country’s English history has meant it has long felt to have more of a Caribbean vibe than that of its South American neighbours, and this is particularly evident in the capital. From the fondness for cricket to the lively calypso music and delicious cocktails, an adventure in Georgetown is like a visit to a tropical Caribbean paradise - and the perfect start to an adventure in Guyana. To get a feel for the history, head to St George’s Cathedral, thought to be the tallest wooden building in the world, or visit Stabroek Market, an energetic market experience and a prominent landmark on the Georgetown hitlist.
Explore Guyana with Saga
Departing in January 2022, you can now explore the wild wonders of Guyana on one of our incredible Saga holidays. With a 15 night, all inclusive itinerary we’ll make sure you don't miss a moment of the magic. Find out more, and book your next adventure with Saga.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.
The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.
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