The South Rupununi region of Guyana is the country’s answer to the Wild West. A historic area, it has been home to some of the world’s largest and oldest cattle ranches. The local vaquero (cowboy) culture and traditions still exist and, fortunately, you can be a part of it. Stay at one of the working ranches and saddle up to the help the vaqueros shepherd the cattle from horseback, clean and feed them, and work in the adjoining farms. It is the best way to temporarily detach yourself from city life and enjoy a different pace of life and the serenity of a working ranch, while improving your horse-riding skills.
Located on the Rupununi River in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo Region of Guyana, Dadanawa Ranch is the largest cattle ranch in Guyana. For a long time, the superlative held true at a larger scale as Dadanawa used to be the world’s largest cattle ranch. The remote ranch has over 5000 cattle and a prolific history of ranching and conservation. It has been the base of operations for many wildlife documentaries, from ‘Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom’ to the BBC’s ‘Lost Land of the Jaguar’. This rustic retreat is an excellent base to experience ranch life, bird watching and wildlife spotting.
Found just a 30-minute drive from the main town of Lethem, Waikin Ranch is a perfect introduction to the deep south. The beautiful setting, farm-fresh cuisine, and growing variety of activities make for a great escape from the city. Wildlife spotting, birding, and horseback riding are a few of the main activities. A swimming hole and spacious balconies complete with hammocks are favorite spots to cap off active days
Saddle Mountain Ranch
This off-the-beaten-path eight-room cottage is set in the middle of golden savannahs of the South Rupununi. This is the perfect location to live your Wild West dream. Tommy and Joan’s ranch lies is set at the base of Saddle Mountain and is one of the oldest in the region. Experience the life of a vaquero, help in the fields and help Joan in the kitchen, as she cooks up local delicacies, including the perfect ferine. Extra perks include anteater-watching, spotting anacondas and if you are lucky, you may even spot the rare Red Siskin.
Wichabai Ranch and Guest House
Escape to Wichabai Ranch to explore living cowboy culture and experience ranch living. Started by couple Justin DeFreitas and Erin Earl, a stay at Wichabai makes you feel like you have found a second home. Expect cozy accommodation, homemade meals on the open verandah, and a wide variety of outdoor activities through Rupununi Trails, the family tour operator and river trip business.
Manari Ranch is less rustic than the other ranches of the Rupununi. Located just outside Lethem, it is the perfect place to unwind and explore the savannahs that surround the property. Owned and operated by Lissa Orellana, you can expect warm hospitality, hearty home cooked meals, and self-contained guest rooms.