The best way to truly experience a place, is often by taking the road less travelled. So, while most travellers experience Guyana by land or air, think about exploring the country’s stunning natural beauty from the hundreds of rivers and streams that crisscross the country.
We’ve put together a list of some of the most fascinating river experiences in and around Guyana’s coastal region. Whether you’re looking for a long weekend getaway or the adventure of a lifetime, there’s a lot to discover.
Cruising down the Essequibo
A great day trip for the family, spend the hours on the largest river in the country, hopping between historical islands and the most relaxing spots along the way. The Essequibo trip starts at 8am, taking you from Roden Rust on the East Bank of the river through ex-Dutch strongholds of Fort Island, Fort Zeelandia, the mining town of Bartica and finally at Aruwai H2O Resort for lunch. From here, you can hit the pristine Saxacalli Beach or visit Baracara Falls, which is set amidst a lush green forest. Listen to the calls of toucans and parrots, spot monkeys and sloth on towering treetops and keep an eye out for legendary singer Eddie Grant’s home, right in the middle of a small island on the Essequibo. For more information and bookings, contact Old Fort Tours and Dagron Tours.
Small Ships for a Big Adventure
Small ships that can easily wend through the lower Essequibo circuit are a perfect way to explore the riverside wilderness, from the comfort of your cruise. The cruise lines make a few stops at the plush island resorts, before taking you to Bartica, the heart of mining region of Guyana. Bartica’s vibe is easy paced and relaxing, with soca and chutney music playing from music carts, with markets filled with colourful clothing and delicious local food. Miners from different parts of South America and the Caribbean have made it a hot spot and you can truly experience the rich cultural diversity of the town. The cruise liners’ sail along the Essequibo takes around two weeks to complete, offering travellers a truly immersive experience of Guyana. Ships that usually offer this experience are Minerva, Nobel Caledonia and Hamburg.
The Easter Weekend showcases Bartica’s pulsating side. The otherwise relaxed community begins to jostle with people, especially those who mill to the island to see the many power boat races. Apart from the main racing events, there is music, local food, and even a Miss Bartica contest. The events are best witnessed from the newly constructed waterfront beach boulevard at the Golden Beach. Not only the locals but travellers from around the world visit Bartica to enjoy two days of fun and excitement. The Bartica Regatta is a 60 years old event, and a source of real pride for the locals.
Need a day to just unwind with good friends, music and food? Hop on aboard a party boat for the day. Enjoy excellent local cuisine, fabulous music, while your liner glides through the Essequibo. The trips run through the year, but only during selected events such as Carnival. So whatever may be the occasion to celebrate finding a party boat is never a challenge!
With scenic riverside views and stunning sunsets that brush the sky with spectacular hues of orange, the Essequibo is perfect for a yachting trip. The smooth river waters are ideal for an easy cruise, and the amazing birdlife on the banks, makes it really exciting to be able to constantly spot new species from the deck. The yachts can also stop by to tour the nearby natural attractions like waterfalls, historic sites and surrounding indigenous communities like Falmouth Village. Most yachters also opt to spend some time in the various resorts along the river, such as The Hurakabra Resort, Baganara Island Resort, Sloth Island Nature Resort along with many others.
While not a river-based option, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Lake Mainstay in our short-list. August is the time the Mainstay Regatta that generates tons of excitement amongst locals and travellers alike, who are looking for something offbeat to do. During the Mainstay Regatta, jet boats from all over the country and the Caribbean take part in adrenaline pumping boat races, with wild crowds cheering their favourite team from the banks. Boat racing excitement apart, the regatta is also popular for cultural presentations from Indigenous groups, local cuisine stalls, music and water activities like swimming, kayaking and jet skiing.
If you are planning a trip to Guyana, then make sure to explore the rivers of Guyana. We are sure you will not be disappointed!