Although Guyana is known to be relatively expensive compared to other South American countries, the cost largely depends on your needs and the time you have available. A number of flights and river systems connect the key wildlife areas of the country, but you need to plan this in advance. While travelling by road from Georgetown to the interior savannahs and rainforests is cheaper, it is more arduous and takes longer as opposed to travelling by air. This comes with a number of benefits though – you will be rewarded with excellent views of the beautiful landscapes and wildlife throughout your journey. A general rule of thumb would be US$150-300/day for a budget trip, US$300-600/day for a mid-range trip and US$600+ a day for a top-end trip.
What to See
You can plan your trip according to the specific species of plant life, wildlife, or marine life that you wish to see. For example, the Rupununi is great to spot giant anteaters, giant river otters, and black caiman. The Guianan Cock-of-the-rock and the Kaieteur Golden Rocket Frog can be spotted in the Kaieteur National Park and the Hoatzin is largely found in the Mahaica River basin. It’s best to discuss with local tour operators who can advise and make a plan as per your interest.
Time Based Itineraries
With just a few days in hand, you can experience the wonders of Guyana. With robust air, land and river transport systems, and 80% of the country being covered in rainforests, you can get your fill in just one weekend. If you want a longer experience, seven to ten days is the ideal time it takes to cover both the rainforests and savannahs of Guyana and get a 360-degree wildlife view of the country. Choose from itineraries here.
Best Time to Visit
The dry season is the peak season and is the optimal time to explore Guyana’s landscapes. Expect the days to be warm with the shade of the forest to keep things cool. On the coast this is between mid-July to mid-November and January to April, and between September to April in the rainforest and savannahs. Getting around the interior in the green season (wet season) can be a challenge as overland travel by road can quickly become a 4×4 safari. But the river ways are most always an option making this the best time to see the rain-washed forests that are home to beautiful waterfalls and the wildlife that are prevalent during this period. You should therefore time your visit based on the birds and wildlife you want to see.
Lodges & Ranches
Experience incredible grass-root experiences to truly fall in love with Guyana. The authenticity of the country’s tourism product can be felt in the many community-led and owned enterprises and lodges that dot the grasslands and rainforests. The lodges of Guyana are home to passionate people who have made tremendous efforts in keeping Guyana’s biodiversity protected and engaging in tourism to improve their livelihoods. You will find local knowledgeable guides who know the trails and the wild occupants really well, comfortable basic rooms, authentic cuisine and a chance to see adjoining villages at close quarters.
Some of the best lodges in Guyana in the North and Central Rupununi include Karanambu, Surama Eco-Lodge, Rewa Eco-Lodge, Atta Rainforest Lodge, Iwokrama River Lodge, Rock View Lodge, and Pakaraima Mountain Inn. Saddle Mountain Ranch, Dadanawa Ranch, Manari Ranch, Waikin Ranch and Wichabai in the South Rupununi each has its own personality. For some great wildlife experiences closer to the coast, Baganara Island Resort, Hurakabra River Resort and Sloth Island Resort on the Essequibo River and Arrowpoint Nature Resort on the Demerara River are great bases.
Animals in the spotlight
Most of the animals that are given the moniker of ‘giants’ naturally come under the spotlight for wildlife travellers, but there are others who are equally fascinating and elusive. Apart from the jaguar, giant river otter, giant anteater and the dozen other giants, other favourite animal species of Guyana include carnivores like the jaguarundi, ocelot and margay. Kids love to see the squirrel, red howler, white-faced saki, and spider monkeys. Three-toed and two-toed sloth are also popular. The best way to see these animals is with seasoned local guides who know the terrain like the back of their hand. Make ecolodges your base and explore the great wildlife regions of the country. Read more about exciting wildlife encounters here.
Other Waterfalls To Explore
- Kumu Falls
Join locals from Lethem as they take over the gentle Kumu Falls, found 48 kilometres from the town. The waters of the tiered falls that flows at the base of the Kanuku Mountains is one of the best places to enjoy a local beer and cool down. At the head of the falls, the water gushes over large boulders making a thrilling natural shower to bathe in. The true highlight of Kumu Falls lies in the adjacent picnic grounds where people can hang their hammocks, have an authentic cook-out or order specialty meals such as pepper pot from the small kitchen on-site.
- Marshall Falls
Located in the Mazaruni River, you can access Marshall Falls by river with a 30-minute boat ride from the town of Bartica. The giant boulders in the middle of the Mazaruni River create the effects of the Marshall Falls rapids. It is unbelievably scenic and the clear water below the falls are perfect for a relaxing dip after a long day of exploring.
- Kurupukari Falls
Visiting Kurupukari Falls, in the heart of the rainforest region of Guyana, is a good option for nature enthusiasts staying at Iwokrama River Lodge. While Kurupukari Falls on the Essequibo River is more of a rapid, seeking out the petroglyphs around them and a visit to the nearby Fair view Village make for a great way to spend part of a day.
- Amaila Falls
Waterfall lovers will be enthralled by this amazing waterfall flowing directly from the rushing Potaro River. Amaila Falls plunges down from a U-shaped cliff at well over 200 feet. The rush of frothy water, surrounded by the misty haze crashing down onto the rock below is a glorious sight to behold.
- Baracara Falls
Located on the mainland across from the Aruwai H2O Resort, Baracara Falls is a small tiered waterfall great for dipping into to cool down after a day on the river. From the shore, it is a 10 to 15-minute hike through the surrounding rainforest. One of the best ways to see this is by taking an Essequibo River Tour with Old Fort Tours.
- Kamarang Falls
Where the Kamarang River meets the Pakaraima Mountains, this 520-foot beauty is a unique spectacle for the few travellers that make it to the Venezuelan border. The breathtaking Kamarang Great Falls is a powerful force that will leave you mesmerised. It had the same effect on explorer, Paul A. Zahl, in 1935 who made note of the deafening noise of the powerful rush of water even before the falls were visible.
- King Edward VIII Falls
The Pakaraima Mountains make the perfect base for many rivers as they flow through its rocky landscape, resulting in impressive waterfalls. One such waterfall is King Edward VIII Falls, a staggering 840-foot single drop falls on the Semang River in the Potaro-Siparuni highlands. This falls is arguably one of the most beautiful sights in Guyana.
- Oshi Falls
Also known as King George VI Falls, this is a spectacular show of nature that will leave you amazed. It is a sheer drop of 525 feet. The falls was first documented in 1938 by a Danish explorer on the Kamarang River. Wedged within the stunning untouched deep south of the country, the falls are seldom visited, making it one of the best off-the-beaten path destinations in Guyana.
- Kumarau Falls
Flowing at a stunning 623 feet, the Kumarau Falls is revered as the sister falls of the famous Kaieteur Falls (link). Luckily for travellers, the base of these falls allows for a calmer experience where you can actually bask in the beauty of the falls – take cooling baths, or simply relax.
- Kurutuik Falls
Some of the best off the beaten locations of Guyana, can be found at the border of Brazil and Guyana and near Roraima Plateau. The Lost World region, as it is known, is home to numerous impressive waterfalls including the 328-foot Kurutuik Falls.
- Marina Falls
During the 1930s, colonial explorers identified and recorded a number of beautiful waterfalls. Marina Falls was one such discovery. Nestled within the Potaro-Siparuni region, this 500-foot waterfall is known for its bridal-veil like view and two distinct drops.
The Ireng River on the border of Brazil comes thundering over red jasper bedrock forming the impressive Orinduik Falls. This 25-metre-long, cascading, multi-tiered waterfall is an idyllic spot for a swim hole. You can easily access the bottom pool and enjoy a cool swim. A basic guesthouse by the falls serves as a good base for visitors to put up a hammock and spend an afternoon or overnight. Orinduik Falls can be reached via a 4×4 drive on a safari trip. You can even visit Kaieteur and Orinduik in one day during a day trip with Roraima Airways or Trans Guyana Airways via small Cessna planes. This makes it an easy weekend getaway from Georgetown.
Reptiles & Amphibians
Guyana has a unique herpetofauna with more than 324 species in total. Of these the caimans, golden frogs, cane toads, anaconda, and the turtles get the most attention from wildlife enthusiasts. Turtle species sought out include the elusive giant river Turtle, found in the interior and the hawksbill, green, leatherback and Olive Ridley turtles along the coast amid Shell Beach Protected Area. There’s a lot more to see though. Guyana is home to 137 species of frogs and toads, 11 caecilians, 4 crocodilians, 4 amphisbaenians, 56 lizards, 97 snakes, and a total of 15 turtles.
Known as the ‘Land of Many Waters’, Guyana has over 900 species of fish. This includes arawana, basha, himara, lukanani, pacu, payara, piranha, tiger fish, the famous vampire fish, and the prehistoric zip fish. The world’s largest scaled freshwater fish, the arapaima, is definitely at the top of both the wildlife lover and sport fisher’s list. The Rupununi, and Rewa Rivers are home to oxbow lakes and ponds which house a healthy population of these ‘giants’, which are known to come up for air every 10-20 minutes. Some of the more popular rivers to spot other fish species are the Essequibo, Abary, Mahaica, Apoteri and Burro Burro Rivers. Information on sport fishing can be found here.