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Why you should go to Guyana

When you visit this vibrant South American paradise you’ll discover a small country that’s home to epic adventures

Image: © Guyana Tourism Authority

Written by Laura Mullan

Few places on the planet offer a real sense of escape quite like Guyana. Here, you'll find awe-inspiring scenery, a dazzling melting pot of cultures and some of the continent’s rarest creatures. It’s a mud-on-your-boots, get-off-the-beaten-track destination that’s ideal for nature lovers and adventure-seekers. So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to uncover one of South America’s best-kept secrets…

Image: © Kate McWilliams


After an exhilarating travel experience? In Guyana, you can explore untouched jungle on foot, travel along thrilling river rapids, cross vast golden savannahs in a 4X4 and much more.

At the top of your list should be a helicopter trip to Mount Roraima, which sits within the Pakaraima Mountains, one of Guyana’s four majestic mountain ranges. Soaring 9,200ft above sea level and shrouded in clouds, flying over it will make you feel on top of the world. If you prefer to explore the mountains on foot, however, then you should hike Mount Awarmie in the Rupununi region. Its forested slopes are home to a wealth of rainforest birds and other wildlife.

Another must-see is Kaieteur Falls, one of the world’s highest and most powerful single-drop waterfalls – it’s almost five times taller than Niagara Falls. And intrepid travellers shouldn’t leave without visiting the Iwokrama Rainforest or the Rupununi Savannah, both of which are largely untouched by humans.

Discover Guyana’s natural wonders

Image: © Kate McWilliams

Incredible wildlife encounters

It’s easy to see how this South American nation got its nickname ‘Land of the Giants’, as it’s home to the world’s largest rodent (capybara) and the largest scaled freshwater fish (arapaima), as well as giant anteaters and giant river otters.

Guyana is also part of the Guiana Shield, an ecological region that houses 18% of the world’s tropical forests and, accordingly, the responsible wildlife tourism market is growing here. The impressive wildlife – including jaguars, anacondas and black caiman – is plentiful and varied in most parts of the country, and you’ll find plenty of tours that will allow you to see it up-close.

Explore Guyana’s wildlife

Image: © FotoNatura

A birding haven

Home to more than 820 species of birds, Guyana is a bird watcher’s paradise. During your trip, you should keep your eyes peeled for the chestnut-coloured hoatzin, Guyana’s national bird, and other fascinating species such as the harpy eagle and Guianan cock-of-the-rock.

With a variety of tropical birds to see, even the most experienced birders can expect to tick off a wide variety of species. The best way to spot these brilliant creatures? Stay overnight at one of the many birding or wildlife lodges dotted across the country. Not only will you get to stay in an authentic Guyanese lodge, but you’ll also have the chance to truly immerse yourself in this wonderful landscape.

Discover Guyana’s exotic birds

Image: © FotoNatura

Live like a local

Guyana is the only country in South America that has English as an official language, so it’s easy for you to speak to the locals. Plus, the population is multi-cultural and made up of East Indians, Africans, Chinese, Portuguese, Europeans and nine groups of Indigenous Peoples. As a result, there is a selection of incredible community-based tourism projects that will allow you to experience the indigenous way of life first-hand.

You could stay in the community-run Surama Eco-Lodge, for instance. Here you’ll be able to sample the local cuisine, sleep in a benab-style hut and trek forest trails in search of wildlife. Santa Mission, meanwhile, is an Arawak village where you can observe weavers and other artisan crafters at work. You can also visit communities such as Rewa and Yupukari, to name but a few.

No visit to this mesmerising country would be complete without sampling the delicious food – from East Indian and African-influenced dishes to creole and indigenous food.

It’s also worth planning your trip around some of the country’s phenomenal parades and festivals. From the glitz and glamour of Guyana Carnival to the annual Rupununi Rodeo, there is something for everyone.

No matter what your itinerary, an authentic, one-of-a-kind experience awaits you in Guyana.