Main Street Avenue
The prominent Main Street Avenue in Georgetown is a cultural relic of the city for many reasons. The 1909 built National Library, Bank of Guyana, the Walter Roth Museum, the Prime Minister’s House and War Memorial stand on this street. It was also the venue for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in June 1953, and still remains the main path for any parade and national celebration. While one side of the avenue is dotted with distinguished addresses, the other has a vibrant atmosphere with many restaurants, nightlife spots, and local vendors selling their art. The Main Street Avenue is a vivid representation of Guyana’s past and present.
Timings: 8am-5pm (Mon-Sat); Entry Fee: Free
National Art Gallery
The 19th century relic in the heart of Georgetown was once known as Castellani
House, named after the designer of this impressive building. Ceaser Castellani was
one of the most talented architects in British Guiana in the mid-1800s. This was
originally designed as a residence for the government botanist, George Samuel
Jenman, but later became the Official Residence for Prime Minister Forbes Burnham.
It reopened in 1993 as the National Gallery with more than 700 works of art from all
over the world.
Timings: 10am-4pm (Mon-Fri) Entry Fee: Free
Mainstay, Tapakuma, and Capoey Villages
The three lakes and the namesake Indigenous villages along the Essequibo Coast should be visited by travellers who want to experience the ‘off-the-beaten-path’ Guyana. A combination of water sports like kayaking and boating, along with backcountry trails rife with biodiversity make these three spots popular with travellers. The calming sprawl of the black waters of these lakes make for ideal spots to picnic, swim and unwind after a day of adventure.
Other villages that have set an example are:
- Yupukari Village
Yupukari village in North Rupununi is one of the best places to see conservation tourism in action in Guyana. It is home to the Caiman House Field Station where active research is focused on preserving and measuring the growth of the black caiman population in this part of Guyana. Caiman tagging is a favoured activity among travellers to the village. During your stay in the rustic chic accommodation with local made furniture and beautiful stone walls and bathrooms, you can also learn more about the community’s turtle conservation project and social enterprise that connects local artisans with IKEA customers. This is a popular place in Guyana for nature enthusiasts.
- Warapoka Village
Warapoka is nestled within rich greenery along the Waini River near the coast. Found an hour’s boat ride from the Shell Beach Protected Area, Warapoka is one of the newer communities to embark on community-led and owned tourism in Guyana. Its new ecolodge is quickly becoming known for its access to catch and release fly fishing activities, birding and wildlife spotting excursions. Several harpy eagle nests can be found not too far from the village, and if you’re lucky, one will be nesting during your visit. One thing you can guarantee is that your visit to this community will make a difference.
- Wakapou Village
For travellers looking for an even more intimate, authentic experience near Georgetown, the village of Wakapou delivers. This remote community is located in a scenic wetland and valley on a tributary of the Pomeroon River. It offers very basic lodging, swimming, and a hike to what are believed to be fossilized whale bones. Be sure to partake in samples from the small-scale coffee production enterprise as well.
- Victoria Village
Located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast of Demerara, Victoria is often synonymous with the history of slave uprising in the north. It was the first village in Guyana to be bought by former slaves who gained their freedom in the 1800s. The historic buildings in town and the diversity of bird species that can be found within the thick mangroves that surround the village are a highlight. A visit to the Victoria Honey House for a bottle of locally-made honey is recommended as well.
- Rockstone Village
Located outside of Linden, Rockstone village is known for its great fishing, but other outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and birdwatching make this village a must visit for travellers and locals looking for weekend getaways. The annual Rockstone Fish Festival is testimony to the village’s love for fishing. Rockstone is also a short distance away from Gluck Island, a key birding area on the coastland.
- Moraikobai Village
The two Arawak words, ‘Mora’ meaning tree and ‘Coba’ meaning stump, gave birth to the name of this village located along the Mahaicony River. As one of the newer communities embarking on community-led and owned tourism, Moraikobai offers rustic lodging and great cultural activities, birding, and recreational fishing experiences closer to Georgetown than its Rupununi and Essequibo counterparts.
- Masakenari Village
Home to the Wai Wais, Konashen is Guyana’s first community-owned conservation area, and Masakenari is in the heart of the protected area. This is one of the most thriving wildlife locations in the country where healthy population of rare species such as Harpy Eagle, jaguar, the giant river otter, blue poison frog, and emerald tree boa among others. Access to the community can only be done via light aircraft or day long jungle treks. While tourism is extremely limited, there are a couple operators who offer trips to Wai Wai country that combine boating, trekking and short flights to access the area. Contact Bushmasters and Rupununi Trails for more information.
- Karasabai Village
Located in the South Pakaraima district, Karasabai is one of the best birdwatching destinations in Guyana. The village and the mountainous topography surrounding it more for an excellent place to spot the golden sun parakeet, a star bird on most any birdwatcher’s list. Make sure that you are well prepared with binoculars, outdoor gear and a local guide to maximise your chances for spotting the more elusive bird species. After a full day of birding, you can stay at the community Guest House or Kezee Ecolodge found on the outskirts of the village. If you do, be sure to hike nearby trails and plan a trip up the Ireng River to spot wildlife.
- Aranaputa Village
Aranaputa offers rustic accommodation in the form of a small cabin that you can visit before and after your journey up the 1600-foot-high Clarence Mountain. Other highlights include a tour of the Women’s Cooperative Peanut Butter Factory (you can purchase the Aranaputa Peanut Butter in Georgetown as well), bird watching and wildlife spotting while hiking the seldom-visited Clarence Mountain Nature Trail.
If you are a nature-lover, then Rewa is your dream come true. Widely regarded as one of the best community-led and owned ecolodges in Guyana, Rewa lies in the heart of pristine rainforest at the confluence of the Rupununi and Rewa Rivers. The small population is passionate about protecting the rich biodiversity of their homeland and watershed. The arapaima, the largest scaled freshwater fish in the world, is one such protected species. When you stay at Rewa, you can enjoy piranha fishing or arapaima catch and release fly fishing. You can go wildlife spotting along the river or take a short hike up the Awarmie Mountain. Local guides will accompany you, help spot wildlife, and offer quick insights into some of the most daunting questions as well as take you for a tour of their village, accessible only by river. After an adventure-filled day, retire back to the lodge where you will enjoy delicious local cuisine and spend the night in one of the comfortable benab styled cabins.
Surama, one of the first Indigenous villages in Guyana to invest and embark on community-led and owned tourism, welcomed its first visitors in the late 1990s. The ecolodge and its four stilted cottages and block of four modern rooms lie at the edge of the Burro Burro River along with a landing that’s suitable for camping. There is a plethora of activities. You can take a village tour to learn more about Surama, stop by the local school and experience evening cultural presentations. The adjacent nature trail is good for birding and wildlife spotting. Deeper into the rainforest, jungle survival activities are offered. Take part in fishing on the Burro Burro River or travel to a nearby trail to spot the harpy eagle in its natural habitat. More adventurous travellers can go on a an extended dug-out canoe expedition along the Burro Burro River, camping on the riverbanks at night. From Georgetown to Surama Ecolodge via road, it is usually a 12-hour drive. If you want a faster option, a 1 1/2 hour flight can be booked with local air service providers, Air Services Limited or Trans Guyana Airways.
Rockstone Fish Festival
Every year, during the last weekend of October, the Rockstone Fish Festival is held in Rockstone, Linden. During the festival, you can take part in sport fishing activities, bird watching and relaxing tours around the village. Fishing enthusiasts travel from near and far to try their hand at catching the largest and heaviest types of fish in the river and food vendors will entice you with various fish dishes prepared in all kinds of ways. In the future, the village aims to add even more exciting events to their festival checklist.
The ‘festival of lights’, also known as Diwali, is a major event among both Hindus and the majority of the non-Hindu population of Guyana as well. Traditional oil lamps and diyas can be seen adorning houses throughout the country. This is also a time where family and friends get together and enjoy tasty sweetmeats – locally made sweet treats like mettai and gulab jamoon among others. The night before locals come out in numbers to enjoy the annual Diwali motorcade. Here, participants come together to create beautiful moving displays that capture and display the significance of the festival.
Indigenous Heritage Month
Indigenous Heritage Month is held every September to honour Guyana’s Indigenous Nations, who were the first peoples to settle in Guyana. This is a great time to see the far-flung villages of the country in the middle of vibrant festivities. The celebration always commences with an indigenous religious service on the last day in August followed by a week-long cultural extravaganza, featuring various indigenous groups showcasing their food, music, arts and crafts at the Whirlwind Village located in the National Exhibition Center in Sophia, Georgetown. Almost every indigenous village has a celebratory event, but only one village is selected by the Heritage Committee to host the annual Heritage Day celebrations on the 10th of September every year. You can learn more on the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs website.
Guyana’s love for music and dance is legendary, just like its Caribbean and Brazilian neighbours. Georgetown is the best place for hitting pubs and discos where one can party till the wee hours of the morning. Palm Court, Baroombar, Gravity Lounge, Bollywood Nightclub (link), Club RainArena and Latino Bar & Nightclub are some of the best nightlife places of Guyana. For music lovers, you can make your way to the Duke or Hard Rock Cafe for Wednesday night karaoke, the Ignite Bar at the Pegasus Hotel for live poolside music on the weekends, or the Strip at the Giftland Mall for local bands belting out popular music covers. A couple other major towns have nightlife spots that are popular among the locals and travellers alike. You can find more information under Cities and Towns.