Tucked away in the northeastern corner of South America, Guyana is a country that remains relatively unknown to many travelers. However, this English-speaking nation, blanketed by lush tropical rainforests and pristine savannahs, offers a wealth of unforgettable adventures and unique experiences. From exploring the mighty Kaieteur Falls to encountering giant species in their natural habitats, Guyana promises an exhilarating journey through nature’s wonders. Here are the top 10 things to add to your Guyana bucket list.

Marvel at the Majestic Kaieteur Falls

Kaieteur Falls is undoubtedly Guyana’s most iconic attraction and a must-visit for any traveler. This colossal natural wonder is the world’s largest single-drop waterfall by volume, plunging an impressive 741 feet (226 meters) into the rainforest below. The thunderous roar of cascading water and the misty spray create an awe-inspiring spectacle that will leave you spellbound. Access to Kaieteur Falls is an adventure in itself, typically via a scenic flight over the verdant jungle canopy.

Encounter the Elusive Jaguar in the Wild

Guyana’s pristine rainforests are home to an array of fascinating wildlife, including the majestic jaguar – the largest cat in the Americas. With patience and the guidance of experienced local trackers, you may be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of this powerful predator prowling through the undergrowth or lounging in the branches of a towering tree. Spotting a jaguar in its natural habitat is an experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s majesty.

Explore the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway

Immerse yourself in the heart of the rainforest by traversing the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway, a series of suspension bridges and viewing platforms suspended up to 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground. This unique attraction offers a bird’s-eye view of the lush canopy, providing opportunities to spot a diverse array of avian species, including the striking Guianan cock-of-the-rock performing its elaborate mating dance. Time your visit for dawn or dusk to witness the forest come alive with the sights and sounds of its diverse inhabitants.

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Discover the Fascinating World of Giant Water Lilies

The giant water lily (Victoria amazonica), largest of the Nymphaeaceae family of water lilies, flourishes in the ponds and backwaters of southwestern Guyana. Flickr

Guyana is home to the Victoria amazonica, the world’s largest water lily species. These remarkable aquatic plants can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) in diameter, with leaves sturdy enough to support the weight of a small child. Venture into the tranquil lakes and oxbow lagoons to witness these natural wonders firsthand, and you may even catch sight of their vibrant flowers transitioning from white to deep red as they bloom overnight.

Stay in an Indigenous Eco-Lodge

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Guyana’s indigenous communities by staying at one of the country’s eco-lodges. These authentic accommodations, operated by local Amerindian tribes, provide a unique opportunity to experience traditional ways of life while minimizing your environmental impact. Engage with your hosts, learn about their customs and traditions, and participate in activities like cassava bread-making, basket weaving, and guided nature walks through the surrounding rainforests and savannahs.

Assist in Black Caiman Conservation Efforts

Join local researchers and scientists in their efforts to protect the endangered black caiman, one of the largest reptile species in the world. Embark on a nocturnal excursion along the Rupununi River, where you’ll have the opportunity to assist in catching, measuring, and releasing these magnificent creatures as part of ongoing conservation and research initiatives. This hands-on experience not only provides an up-close encounter with these impressive predators but also contributes to their long-term survival.

Fish for the Mighty Arapaima

Test your angling skills by trying to catch the arapaima, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. These massive creatures can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) in length and weigh over 400 pounds (180 kilograms). Guided by local experts, you’ll embark on a catch-and-release fishing adventure, using traditional techniques to reel in these prehistoric-looking giants. As you battle against their sheer power, you’ll gain a newfound respect for the remarkable biodiversity of Guyana’s waterways.

Hike to the Summit of Awarmie Mountain

Photo: Rewa Eco-Lodge

For those seeking a physical challenge amidst breathtaking natural surroundings, the hike to the summit of Awarmie Mountain is an unforgettable experience. This strenuous trek through the dense rainforest rewards you with panoramic vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. Along the way, you may encounter local Makushi people going about their daily routines or catch glimpses of vibrant bird species flitting through the canopy. Once at the top, set up camp and spend the night under a canopy of stars before descending the following day.

Witness the Nesting of Endangered Sea Turtles

Guyana’s Shell Beach is a critical nesting site for four species of endangered sea turtles, including the massive leatherback. Between February and August, these ancient mariners haul themselves ashore to lay their eggs in the protected sands. Join a guided tour at night, when the turtles are most active, and witness the remarkable process of nest construction and egg-laying firsthand. With responsible eco-tourism practices, you can contribute to the preservation of these magnificent creatures for generations to come.

Embark on a Culinary Adventure

No visit to Guyana would be complete without indulging in the country’s unique and flavorful cuisine. Explore the vibrant stalls of Georgetown’s Bourda Market, where you can sample exotic fruits, purchase freshly caught fish, and even try traditional remedies prepared by local vendors. Then, join a cooking class or dine at the renowned Backyard Café, where Chef Delven Adams will introduce you to the rich tapestry of Guyanese flavors, including the beloved cassava – a staple root vegetable used in breads, sauces, and beverages.

Guyana is a destination that promises adventures beyond your wildest dreams. From cascading waterfalls and lush rainforests to rare wildlife encounters and immersive cultural experiences, this South American gem offers a treasure trove of unforgettable moments. Embark on this journey, and you’ll return home with memories that will forever shape your appreciation for the natural world and its diverse inhabitants.

Photo of the portrait: Depositphotos