Giant Wildlife, Waterfalls, and a Canopy Walkway: 5 Epic Adventures in Guyana (Plus Where to Eat After)

Guyana Insider Guides
by Makayla Anderson May 20, 2024

Guyana goes by many names. One of the only countries in the Caribbean Community that’s not located in the Caribbean Sea, Guyana is often referred to as the “Land of Many Waters” owing to the numerous rivers that flow through its perch on South America’s North Atlantic coast. It’s also called the “Land of Giants” — an abundance of water and minimal human interference have preserved Guyana as a fertile, untapped country where large flora and fauna thrive.

In Guyana, you’re also likely to hear the motto “one people, one nation, one destiny.” While Guyanese culture draws influences from an array of backgrounds — Indigenous, African, Caribbean, and Asian among them — this national motto reflects the country’s proud and collective spirit.

To me, Guyana is a home away from home, a place where I have family and have visited many times. Yet each visit brings new experiences, from rainforest explorations and wildlife encounters to delicious bites of Guyanese cuisine. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning to dig a little deeper, these are some of the must-do experiences that showcase Guyana’s beautiful outdoors and culture.

Outdoor and wildlife adventures in Guyana

Kaieteur Falls


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A few years go, Guyanese-British Black Panther actress Letitia Wright posted a picture of herself in front of the most alluring waterfall I’ve ever seen. While I knew the photo was taken in Guyana, I struggled to conceptualize where in my home country this waterfall could possibly be located. Then, I visited Kaieteur National Park.

After taking a chartered flight from the interior to the landing of Kaieteur Falls, I was floored to realize that the mesmerizing attraction had eluded me for so long. After all, it’s the longest single-drop waterfall in the world, running an impressive 741 feet. Visitors to the national park where the waterfall is located will also be impressed by the native flora and fauna — various carnivorous plants, massive tank bromeliads, and a poisonous golden frog species included.

The park is committed to maintaining its ecological integrity. While everyone is welcome to admire the spectacle, my tour guide reminded my group of something that every traveler to Kaieteur Falls should remember — the only thing you can leave with are your memories.

Kaieteur Falls: Kaieteur National Park, Guyana

Caiman House Field Station


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Most of us grow up learning about reptiles such as alligators and crocodiles. Fewer of us learn about caimans, the largest members of the alligator family. Native to the marshy lands of Central and South America, caimans are among the many animals that explain Guyana’s nickname as the “Land of Giants.” But even though I’ve visited Guyana many times, visiting the Caiman House Field Station was the first time I ever learned about and encountered the animal.

Since 2005, the Indigenous team at Caiman House has been conducting a field study on black caimans, the largest caiman species. To get to the Caiman House, my group took a 1.25-hour flight on a small plane to Guyana’s interior, then drove a few hours on a red dirt road to the Yupukari Village in the Central Rupununi. On arrival, we were escorted to a boat where we joined the team in finding a caiman. The team then transferred the animal to a sandbank where it was weighed, measured, sexed, and released back into its natural habitat.

For animal lovers, getting to participate in a tagging experience through the Caiman House is a special opportunity to connect with Guyana’s wildlife beneficially and responsibly.

Caiman House Field Station: MJ6W+FVJ, Yupukari, Guyana

Karanambu Lodge


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The last thing I expected to see in the middle of the Rupununi Savannah was an anteater stopping to strike a pose for our group before retreating to find a place to sleep for the morning. My group’s journey into the savannah started at 4:45 AM when we hopped in one of Karanambu Lodge’s pick-up trucks and headed for the grasslands. Our goal was to track down a horse-riding cowboy who was tracking a six-foot anteater that had just finished eating for the day. Like the caiman, the anteater is an animal that gives Guyana its “Land of Giants” nickname.

While seeing an anteater in its natural habitat was undoubtedly the star of this experience, being awake for the early morning sunrise stole some of the focus from the excursion (in the best way possible).

Karanambu Lodge: Yupukari, Guyana

Iwokrama Canopy Walkway


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Another experience requiring a pre-dawn wake-up call is the captivating Canopy Walkway located in the middle of the Iwokrama Forest. Along the walkway, my group learned about various tree species, including purpleheart and greenheart trees (which is said to be able to help stave off malaria). After following the trail and hiking a few stairs, we arrived at the Canopy Walkway as dozens of birds welcomed us with their distinct calls. Although we didn’t spot them during our visit, black spider monkeys and red howler monkeys also inhabit the forest.

Iwokrama Canopy Walkway: Iwokrama Forest Reserve Lethem to Georgetown Road Mauisparu, Guyana

Guianan cock-of-the-rock trek


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It’s safe to say that I started this trip as a non-birder and ended it feeling as though I was at least an intermediate birder. Part of this is attributed to my group’s trek up a trail where we sat in silence for 20 minutes awaiting the famous Guianan cock-of-the-rock, a cotinga species that’s endemic to Guyana. The females of the unique bird species nest their eggs on the sides of large rocks while the bright orange males flaunt their colorful feathers through the trees of the forest. Visitors to Guyana are most likely to spot cocks-of-the-rock in lowland rainforest areas near the rock formations where they nest their eggs.

Where to eat and drink in Guyana

Waikin Ranch

Waikin Ranch is a farm and cattle ranch in Lethem that doubles as an excellent lunch spot. If you fly into the Lethem Airport, the ranch is roughly 30 minutes away by car. Covering 33,000 acres, Waikin epitomizes the farm-to-table ethos in its culinary offerings — 75 percent of the food you’ll enjoy comes directly from the family-owned farm. Waikin Ranch grows many of Guyana’s staple crops, including okra, plantain, callaloo (a leafy green), bora (a type of long bean), and pumpkin. The ranch is particularly famous for its crispy okra — with a well-balanced batter-to-okra ratio, the recipe avoids the questionable texture that puts some eaters off okra.

Waikin Ranch:Upper Takatu & Ireng River, Rupununi, Lethem, Guyana

Fresh Restaurant

Fresh is a more recent, modern-local restaurant in Guyana’s capital city, Georgetown, that’s co-owned by Michelle Howard. An Afro-Guyanese chef who recently re-migrated to Guyana, Howard uses local produce to blend traditional Guyanese flavors with a globally influenced twist.

Fresh Restaurant: RR9Q+P5M, Carmichael St, Georgetown, Guyana

Nigel’s Guinness Bar

Guyana’s coast is filled with numerous family-owned shops and street vendors who showcase the country’s most popular breakfast, lunch, and dinner cuisines. One of these street food options is Nigel’s Guiness Bar where you have the option to enjoy the beautiful warm climate with its outdoor seating. As a breakfast stop during your visit, a few of the must have meals include the bake and saltfish, boiled dumplings, ground provisions, and sweet plantains.

Nigel’s Guiness Bar: QVX5+XM4, Durban St, Georgetown, Guyana

Bourda Market

I’ve visited local markets in Georgetown for years, as my grandmother and I often travel from her village to pick up ingredients for that day’s meals. But on a market tour led by culinary master and chef Delven Adams allowed me to gain insights into the historical backgrounds and stories of the market sellers that I’d never experienced before. During the tour, you’ll taste local produce such as pineapple and papaya at various stands, encounter the holistic “bush” medicine stalls, and (if you’re lucky) taste a shot of the local rum, El Dorado — just be sure to carry a hat and water to get you through the journey under the hot morning sun.

Bourda Market: RR5R+WMH, Georgetown, Guyana

Backyard Cafe

My favorite part about coming back to Guyana is being able to stuff my face with the various spices, flavors, and ingredients of African, Indian, and Asian influence. After embarking on the aforementioned market tour, all of the fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and seafood that we hand-selected were transported back to the Backyard Cafe’s kitchen for preparation, as Chef Delven curated the ultimate home-away-from-home atmosphere. When you visit, I recommend ordering the vegetable chow mein and shark. But, really, Chef Delven has a knack for everything — even ingredients that may be considered an acquired taste like karila (bitter melon) and farine (flour made from cassava) — into crowd favorites.

Backyard Cafe: QRVR+2G9, Georgetown, Guyana

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