Guyana lies in far northeast South America. Its northern shore faces the Atlantic Ocean. The small country shares a border with Venezuela to the west and Suriname to the east. Brazil sits to the south. Guyana is the only South American country where English is the official language. The coastal belt stretches 270 miles along the ocean, and features a pristine beach and ecosystem. In addition, huge rivers flow from inland points to the Atlantic, and provide several beach options. The country lies in the tropics, enabling beach goers to enjoy warm weather activities all year.
Guyana’s well-known Shell Beach extends about 90 miles along undisturbed coastline in northwest Guyana. True to its name, the beach is covered with tiny shells. It is known for swimming, but more for turtle swimming, than for humans. Every year from early spring to mid-summer four of the world’s eight turtle species climb up the beach, dig nests among the shells, lay eggs and then return to the ocean. Some turtles lay as many as 120 eggs. Visitors to the area may accompany conservationists to view the nocturnal turtle activity. The area features mangroves interspersed with sandy beaches. The natural ecosystem also supports manatees, jaguars and monkeys. Small villages provide accommodations.
63 Beach Berbice
For more traditional beach activities, 63 Beach Berbice lies near Corriverton on the southeast Atlantic coast close to the Suriname border. The beach stretches for 10 miles, connecting several villages along the Corentyne River as it approaches the coast. The beach may be crowded, particularly on weekends. Beach activities include swimming, beach volleyball and fishing. Basic accommodation is available in Corriverton. New Amsterdam, about 60 miles from the beach, offers moderate accommodations.
Several rivers flow north from the rain forests to the ocean, and one entices beach goers. The enormous Essequibo River is South America’s third largest. As it nears the Atlantic, the mouth widens to 20 miles, and hundreds of islands dot the river landscape. The river offers three beach options, one close to the ocean, and two further inland. Bartica Beach sits on the north side of the river near its mouth. The area attracts many locals, and beach parties last until dawn. Further south where the river narrows, Saxacalli Beach boasts one of the finest beaches in Guyana, and is an easy day trip from Georgetown, Guyana’s capital. At Tiger Island’s popular Hamburg Beach, more than 15,000 celebrate Guyana’s Emancipation Day. The event occurs on the first Monday in August.
Guyana is an eco-tourist’s wonderland. Besides Shell Beach, several other areas attract visitors. The North Rupununi Wetland covers 54,000 acres, and is home to 400 species of fish. Untouched savannas support a wide variety of wildlife, including jaguars. Many tour operators offer tours to the area. River resorts provide fine amenities, some with private beaches.