Things to do in Guyana
Although it shares the origin of its people and its rum with the Caribbean, Guyana is different in every other way. With an abundance of pristine Amazonian rainforests, immense waterfalls, and amazing wildlife it offers a truly authentic and unique experience.
Best things to do and see
SHOPPING AND DINING
Take a drive to Parika’s Sunday market (on Demerara’s west coast) where you will find a huge variety of products brought by boat from producers throughout the region. Stalls are piled high with all manner of fresh fruit and vegetables including cayenne, apple and sweet fig bananas and mounds of pineapples known locally as “pine”. It’s also good place to find beautiful Amerindian crafted items such as hammocks, bows and arrows, salad bowls, and pottery.
Diamonds and gold are mined in Guyana and are readily available. Guyana’s gold, known for its a red hue, is used to create intricate jewellery such as filigree bands and wedding rings. Most of these pieces are handmade by locals and sold in jewellery stores in Georgetown. Do take care when purchasing, and always obtain official receipts and other necessary documentation to avoid difficulties when passing through customs.
Sidewalk Café is the only jazz bar in Guyana. Located in the centre of Guyana’s capital it is a must-visit for anyone looking for a memorable night out filled with music and fun.
When eating out do try Guyana’s national dish Pepperpot. Made with cassareep, a molasses-like syrup made from yucca, this spicy meat stew goes brilliantly with hard dough bread or casava-bread – a must-try dish!
CULTURE AND HISTORY
Rise before dawn to walk across the savannah to make the exhilarating climb up Surama Mountain in the cool morning air. This is the best time to observe bird-life along the trail. Enjoy the incredible views across the village and savannah to the Pakaraima Mountains. After walking back to the village you might opt to rest and relax around the cabins.
Despite being in South America, Guyana is considered a Caribbean nation. The culture, particularly in the coastal areas, is quite similar to that of the West Indies. Cultural influences include Amerindian, Nepalese, Indian, Chinese, and African, as well as British, Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish elements.
Guyana is still home to 9 Amerindian tribes. In October 1992, a special Minister of Amerindian Affairs was appointed and ten Amerindian Members of Parliament elected to the National Assembly. In 1995, the government designated September as national Amerindian Heritage Month to focus on culture, sports and environmental activities in Amerindian communities and to showcase and promote Amerindian culture and its contributions.
WATER AND SPORTS
Head out by boat along the Rupununi River, into an oxbow lake then hike up Awarmie Mountain. The climb is steep in some sections but not too difficult. Along the way you will see and hear lots of birds and possibly get good close up views of black spider monkeys. There is good birding along the whole trail, with white bellbirds calling from the scrubby woodland at the beginning of the trail and again from the forests far below you when reach the summit
The Bartica Regatta is an annual affair where water sports activities, specifically Power Boat Racing, are the main attraction. These are held at the Golden Beach area and visitors are thrilled by the exhilarating Power Boat Races – competition is fierce and fans all root for their favourite boats and drivers.
NATURE AND WILDLIFE
There are no other falls in the world with the magnitude of the sheer drop at Kaieteur. The water of the Potaro River flows over a sandstone conglomerate tableland into a deep gorge – a drop of 251 meters – 5 times the height of Niagara Falls! Kaieteur supports a unique micro environment with tank bromeliads which trap water in their crowns to provide a habitat for salamanders, frogs and many aquatic insects and larvae. The tiny Golden Frog spends its entire life here. The rarely seen Guianan Cock-of-the-rock nests close to the falls and lucky visitors may also see the famous flights of the Kaieteur Swifts or Makonaima Birds. These nest under the vast shelf of rock carved by centuries of water, hidden behind the curtain of the falls. Because of its remote location, most visitors to the falls won’t see any other people during their visit.
Although the Iwokrama rainforest around Atta Lodge is excellent for birds, the major attraction here is a 154 metre long canopy walkway just 750m from the lodge. The walkway has four platforms, the highest of which is over 30 metres above the ground. These platforms allow you to view a range of canopy species, many of which you would struggle to see well from the forest floor. Likely highlights include; painted, brown-throated and golden-winged parakeets, caica parrot, Guianan puffbird, waved and golden-collared woodpeckers and spot-tailed, todd’s and ash-winged antwrens. The walkway is also an excellent place to look for various species of cotinga including the little-known dusky purpletuft and the more widespread purple-breasted cotinga. This is also one of the best places to see Guyana’s “must see” crimson fruitcrow.
Travel up the Rewa River to a location known as Seawall. This rock formation is a great place to fish or take in the beauty of the location. Visit sand banks where giant river turtles come to lay their eggs. Along the river banks you may see red howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys and brown capuchin. Talk to us about the many trips and excursions you can make with local experts.
St George’s Catherdral
St. George’s Cathedral is arguably the tallest wooden structure in the world and serves as a magnificent example of architectural heritage. The church was designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield and opened on 24 August 1892.
It is located on Church Street in Georgetown and has been designated a national monument by UNESCO.
Events and holidays
1 January – New Year holiday
23 February – Mashramani (Carnival with parades, calypso and soca music)
February or March – Holi
Easter – Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday.
Easter – Kite flying competitions.
1 May – Labour Day
5 May – Arrival Day – Religious and cultural festival in Indian community to commemorate their arrival in Guyana.
26 May – Independence Day
First Monday in July – CARICOM Day
First Monday in August – Emancipation Day
October or November – Deepavali
25-26 Dec – Christmas Holidays
EID-UL-FIT, EID UL AZAR, YOUMAN NABI – Muslim festivals celebrated on the island.
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