Epic landscapes, wild encounters and peaceful solitude
Perched in the northeast corner of South America, GUYANA boasts beaches in the north, staggering mountain ranges to the west, RAINFORESTS bursting with life and vast savannahs in the south. With breathtaking WATERFALLS, mighty rivers, unmatched wildlife and birds, Guyana — the only South American country where English is the official language — is an epic adventure waiting to be experienced.
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Iwokrama International Centre
The Iwokrama Forest is Guyana’s first sustainable development model. Located in the centre of Guyana, it referred to as the “Green Heart of Guyana” and is home to the “Giants of El Dorado”, categorically 13 of the World’s largest animals and 500 species of birds. Rated as one of the World’s Best Tree Top Walks in 2021, Iwokrama offers an excellent opportunity to experience sustainable tourism through its nature / adventure activities such as hiking, river tours, bird watching, fishing and more.
Tourism in recent years has been centred on local communities inviting, receiving and hosting visitors to drive positive social, economic, and conservation benefits at a community level. Additionally, Guyana has been making notable strides in its sustainable tourism journey. We do it by identifying and creating new nature and/or culture-based tourism products, conserving wildlife, maintaining cultural traditions, adopting renewable energy and educating travellers on how to positively impact the people and places they visit.
Guyana is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brazil to the south and southwest, Venezuela to the west, and Suriname to the east. Overland trip from these countries is the best way to begin your Guyana ecotravel. However, there is an exception from Suriname, where the Guyana-Suriname ferry service is the only option.
Both private and public transportation options are available to go around during your Guyana ecotravel. There are numerous taxi services that can be hired to take you to and from your destination or for personal rental purposes as you see fit. Mini buses, a much cheaper travel option, are also easily accessible, especially in the heart of Georgetown. In the rainforest and savannah regions, 4-wheelers, trucks, small boats or simply walking/hiking/trekking will get you to where you need to go.
Tourism & People
Sustainability is a way of life in Guyana. Nine indigenous nations have occupied Guyana’s interior regions for thousands of years, cultivating a close relationship with the forests and savannahs that sustain them. This is our core tourism product. The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) are currently implementing a 20-year national sustainable development plan: Green State Development Strategy (GSDS). It is aimed to maximise the positive socio-economic impact and conservation outcomes from the tourism industry.
Travel tips from our editors
Plan your trip to Georgetown
The capital city of Guyana, Georgetown, is the epicentre of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is where most restaurants, retail centres, financial institutions and government ministries are located. Traffic, particularly in the centre of the town, is very heavy. As in any city, instances of petty crime can occur but are easy to avoid if you take the usual precautions. Georgetown has a population of approximately 200,000, and on a daily basis, the city entertains many visitors who come for shopping, sight-seeing and business travel. However, if you want to experience the true nature of Georgetown, park your vehicle and take a stroll in town.
Travel safety in Guyana
While the interior is one of the safest places in the world, there is a need for travellers visiting Guyana’s capital city of Georgetown to take precautions when visiting downtown areas. Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs. Visitors are advised to change currency only at legitimate exchanges at hotels or airports and are discouraged from exchanging currency on the street. It’s important to be cautious, especially while travelling at night. Travel in groups and in general, avoid walking at night and opt to book cabs from designated service providers. Avoid travelling around with large amounts of cash, and do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewellery.
Visit the market in down time
The Stabroek and Bourda Markets in Georgetown are often bustling with people, and can be noise hubs. Constant chatter, traffic noise, loud music and random loud sounds emanating from generators can be heard here. If you’re sensitive to noise, only visit the markets at less popular times. Plan ahead to make the most of your Guyana ecotravel!
The World’s #1 Best of Ecotourism at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel and trade show (March 2019).
The #1 Best in Sustainable Tourism at the LATA Achievement Awards (June 2019).
The #1 Best in Destination Stewardship at the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Awards Programme (August 2019).
International Travel & Tourism ‘Silver Award’: the ‘Leading Sustainable Adventure Destination’ at World Travel Market (November 2019).
Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority
“It is indeed remarkable, although not surprising that Destination Guyana continues to excel within the tourism landscape despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This continuous opportunity presented by the Green Destinations’ Global Leaders programme has highlighted just how much potential this developing South American country has and this potential has been realised time and time again.
Through Indigenous communities such as Rewa, Destination Guyana’s sustainable Community-led and Owned Tourism (CLOT) is solidified. The impact of the strategic efforts of the Ministry of Tourism, Industry & Commerce through the Guyana Tourism Authority is tremendous and we will continue to provide the necessary support to these communities as we continue to safely welcome travellers to an experience of a lifetime!”
Impacts of the climate crisis
Guyana is sadly one of the places facing the impacts of the climate emergency. Antarctic ice melting is expected to take effect even in the Paris Agreement scenario of 2 degrees global warming, resulting in sea-level rise of up to about 2.5 meters, a process that will take more than 100 years. This is almost certain to be irreversible.
Suggested places to visit
Enjoy a calm stroll through the National Park, Botanical Gardens & Zoo or even the Promenade Gardens. The intriguing flora and fauna are true highlights. The Guyana Seawall is famous for being a cool spot in the city to relax after a long day. Or, why not visit the beach discreetly hidden behind the Guyana Marriott Hotel?
Culture & Heritage
Take a tour of the city and enjoy amazing historical sites, or savor our unique Creole-Caribbean fusion cuisine at the local restaurants such as the Backyard Cafe (an authentic, eco-friendly, locally sourced, in-home dining experience). The Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology will take you through the history of our Indigenous people. Or consider the National Museum for a more generalised history of Guyana. Mashramani, Carnival and Emancipation are just a few cultural events to experience.
SUGGESTED TRIPS & TOURS
"Tours by licensed tourism operators include the popular Market Tour, hosted by Delven Adams of Backyard Cafe. Travellers can also experience the Eldorado Rum Tour or the Georgetown City Tour"
Since the Essequibo is a braided river, several resorts and lodges have taken advantage of the more idyllic locations on the islands and along the banks of neighbouring rivers. They offer comfort in stunning, pristine surroundings. Expect rooms overlooking the river, day hikes and excursions, activities for kids, and hearty meals. Some of the popular accommodations includes: Baganara Island Resort, Lake Mainstay, Aruwai H20 Resort and Adel’s Rainforest Resort.
Culture & Heritage
Remnants of Guyana’s rich Dutch-colonial heritage can be seen at the museum housed in the 18th-century Court of Policy, the well-preserved Fort Zeelandia, a 36-foot-tall windmill built with clay bricks on the Hogg Islands, the 200-years-old St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Leguan Island and the Dutch Fort Kyk-Over-Al.
SUGGESTED TRIPS & TOURS
"Licensed tour operators in Guyana provide a number of exciting tour opportunities to experience the natural wonder of the Essequibo Circuit. Consider Odyssey River Tours, Evergreen Adventures, Old Fort Tours, and even Adventure Guianas and Hurakabra Resort."
Base yourself in one of the many conservation themed jungle lodges to get a glimpse of the rainforest’s shy inhabitants. Naturalist-led trips in boats and on foot through the jungle are the most exciting activities here. Some of the best lodges to experience the jungle are Karanambu, Atta Lodge, Surama Eco-lodge, Rewa Eco-lodge, Iwokrama River Lodge, Caiman House, Pakaraima Lodge and Rockview Lodge. A few of these lodges are owned and operated by local communities which means your visit can benefit entire communities and help them protect their natural and cultural heritage at the same time.
Nature & Wildlife
Surrounded by mountains like the Pakaraimas and carpeted in wild grasslands and massive tracts of shaded woodlands, the region is rife with wild inhabitants like the jaguar, caimans, tapirs, labbas, howler and saki monkeys and more.
SUGGESTED TRIPS & TOURS
"Wilderness Explorers, Guyana Truly Wild, and Bushmasters are just a few of the more popular tour operators that can arrange a flawless Rupununi experience for interested travellers."
Dadanawa Ranch isn’t just rich in vaquero history, it is also one of Guyana’s key birding hotspots. The low-lying forest along rivers and gullies attracts its own set of species. The red siskin, one of the world’s very rare species can be spotted here.
Home to some of the biggest ranches, like Waikin Ranch and Dadanawa Ranch, which was once the biggest in the world with thousands of cattle heads managed by vaqueros, the South Rupununi is surreal. Stay at one of the working ranches to experience cowboy life first-hand. The annual Rupununi Rodeo during Easter is another reason to visit the South Rupununi.
SUGGESTED TRIPS & TOURS
"Rupununi Trails, Bushmasters, and Wilderness Explorers are just a few of the more popular tour operators that can arrange a flawless Rupununi experience for interested travellers."