Guyana Travel Guide
I won't be surprised if you've never heard of Guayana. The little country is one of South America's best-kept secrets. While the low popularity of the country means it isn't on most people's itinerary, there are several rich rewards for those daring to visit.
Guyana has a wide variety of landscapes that includes highlands covered in rainforests, coastal plains, mountains, dusty savannah plateaus, meandering rivers, and golden beaches. The cuisine and culture of the country have also been fascinating to travelers.
Exploring Guyana requires you to have a strong sense of adventure. Below, you'll find the best places to visit in Guyana if you ever decide to travel to the country.
Capital city: Georgetown
Currency: Guyanese dollar (GYD). I USD = 209.20 GYD
Electricity: Power voltage is 120/240 Volts. Power sockets type A, B, D and G.
Languages: English is the official language of Guyana. This makes it the only South American country to have English as an official language. Portuguese is quickly becoming a second language due to the proximity with Brazil.
8 Handpicked Highlights of Guyana
Here’s a list of the best places to visit and things to do in Guyana:
Kaieteur Falls & the Potaro River
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been to Niagara Falls or Iguazu Falls. It doesn’t matter whether you aren’t a fan of waterfalls. You just have to see the stunning Kaieteur Falls which are the world’s highest single-drop falls.
The view is mesmerizing, the experience completely one of a kind. Kaieteur falls is on the Potaro River and is one of the largest – if not the largest – tourist attractions in Guyana.
Iwokrama Forest & Canopy Walkway
The Iwokrama forest is one of the most untouched rainforests in the world. As a lover of nature, you should include this magnificent ecosystem in your Guyana itinerary. To provide visitors with a unique view of the mid and upper canopy of the forest, a walkway (about 30 m in height and 154 m long) has been constructed. This allows visitors to view the wildlife in their natural habitat without disturbing them. The best time to visit the Iwokrama forest is October to March during the dry season.
Oh, my sweet summer child. The Rupununi Savannah isn’t for the faint-hearted. There aren’t any comforts in the savannah and no matter how experienced you are, you should sign up for a tour and have an experienced guide with you.
There are so many fun things to do in the Rupununi savannah, like driving an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV), horse riding in a cattle ranch, camping in the rainforest, and simply enjoying the feeling of being free and alone in the wilderness. However, the main highlight for you will probably be seeing Guyana’s gorgeous anteater which is the biggest of its kind in the world.
Spot the Andean Cock-of-the-rock
The elusive but beautiful Cock of the Rock is one of the most fascinating and spectacular birds in the world. As popular inhabitants of the Southern part of Guyana, visiting the country presents you with unique opportunities to see this rare and fascinating bird up close. So, when you are in Guyana, head to the Kanukus and the Wai Wai District of Konashen to see these amazing birds. There is also a nesting area near Kaieteur Falls.
The Kaieteur Falls isn’t the only waterfall you should visit in Guyana. Another waterfall, the Orinduik falls, also deserves your attention. Located amid the grass-covered hills of the Pakaraima Mountains, Orinduik falls is a spectacular scenery that allows you to appreciate Mother Nature. You can also safely swim in the Orinduik as it’s a wide, multi-tiered series of cascades.
It’s safe to say you can expect to see shells on a beach named Shell beach. There are literally zillions of shells on the beach. But the shells aren’t the true attraction of the beach. It’s the unique beauty of the beach and the opportunity to see giant leatherback turtles and other species.
Four of the world’s eight turtle species make their way to Shell Beach every spring to lay eggs before returning to the ocean. If you visit during this period, you’ll see lots of cool-looking turtles!
Georgetown & St George’s Cathedral
The capital city of Georgetown is the only closest thing to an urban experience you’ll get while in Guyana. The food is great, as is the nightlife. You’ll also have fun exploring the markets in the city.
Remember to visit St. George’s cathedral which is a beautiful old structure. It is said to be the world’s largest wooden building! Magnificent structure outside and inside and definitely worth a visit.
Exotic wildlife, welcoming community, and incredible scenery. These are the things you can expect from the Kanuku mountains. Located deep inside a protected dense forest, the Kanuku mountains are another vast range of untouched forest in Guyana.
The experience of exploring the Kanuku mountains is best experienced as words can fully capture the feeling. Just make sure you sign up with a good tour company and you will narrate your adventures to anyone who would care to listen.
Guyana's Geography & Landscapes
Guyana can be divided into three main geographical regions. They are:
- The coastal plain: a thin strip of land along the coast
- The white sand belt: a much wider strip of land coming after the coastal plains, covered with dense forests.
- The interior highlands: the largest of the three regions, with flat-top mountains, rocky plateaus, and savannahs.
As previously mentioned, the landscape of Guyana is diverse as it features highlands covered in rainforests, coastal plains, mountains, dusty savannah plateaus, meandering rivers, and golden beaches.
Best Time To Go To Guyana
Guyana has a tropical climate and temperatures don’t vary much throughout the year. There are two seasons – wet and dry seasons. However, Guyana has two wet seasons that run from December to early February and from late April to mid-August. If you want to see wildlife, it’s best to visit outside the wet seasons i.e during the dry season. Guyana is also prone to heavy flooding in the wet seasons, so that’s another reason to travel there in the dry season.
If you want to see Kaieteur Falls at full flow or almost full flow, you should go ideally right at the end of the rainy season. I visited in January and could enjoy the falls at about 75% of their maximum flow, which was already very impressive.
Traveling in Guyana
Crime levels are relatively high in Guyana and police capacity is low. Usually, the situation is blown out of proportion but you should be cautious in the country. Below are ways to stay safe in Guyana.
- Don’t go anywhere at night.
- Avoid traveling after dark.
- Ask your hotel management for areas to avoid.
- Confirm the local condition in your next destination in the country.
- Avoid minibuses if possible. They are involved in the majority of road accidents in Guyana.
- Don’t flaunt your belonging.
- Make copies of all important information and secure the original in your hotel room, preferably in a safe.
- Purchase good travel insurance.
- Don’t accept food or drink from strangers.
- Don’t fight back if you get robbed. Your life is more important than any valuables you may have with you.
- If you won’t do it at home, don’t do it in Guyana.
- Carry just enough cash you need for the day.
- The local water quality isn’t very good. Consider buying a filter water bottle if you want to save cash on single-use water bottle.
Getting to & Around Guyana
The main point of entry to the country is Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Georgetown. A couple of local airlines also operate in the country.
Minibuses are the most popular form of transportation. They are affordable but are slightly unsafe due to the bad roads and the high speeds drivers travel at. They are also pretty expensive. But they can’t really be avoided.
Taxis are easily available in Georgetown and a handful of other towns. It’s the safest way to travel but you have to book them in advance from reputable companies.
There are no trains in Guyana.
Accommodation in Georgetown ranges from scruffy flophouse to 4-star hotels. It depends on your budget. However, when you are out of the capital, your options reduce but you should always find a comfortable room to lay your head. Nothing fancy, though.