On the north-eastern coast of South America and one of the few Caribbean countries that is not an island, Guyana has preserved the vast majority of its rainforest in pristine form, replete with all the creatures, big and small, who call it home. This presents an opportunity for firsthand exploration found in few other places on earth. No touts, no tour bus traffic jams, even postcards and souvenirs are in short supply. When you visit Guyana, you encounter something that’s hard to find these days: a magnificent, untrammelled place.
As South America’s only English-speaking country, Guyana also offers something less dramatic but equally valuable to the curious traveller – opportunities to engage directly with the people
Kaieteur Falls is the world’s highest single drop waterfall, located on the Potaro River in the Kaieteur National Park, Guyana. Its first, single drop, is 226 metres high. It then flows over a series of steep cascades that bring the total height to 251 metres. Kaieteur is among the most powerful waterfalls in the world with an average flow rate of 663 cubic metres per second.
For comparison, Kaieteur Falls is about four times higher than the Niagara Falls Canada, and about twice the height of the Victoria Falls, on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Iwokrama Forest is a vast wilderness of nearly one million acres – a protected area and homeland of the Makushi people. A unique blend of technology, ancient culture, and traditional knowledge, Iwokrama fulfils its mandate and promise to the world.
From the Iwokrama Lodge you can retrace the footsteps of the Makushi people, wander extensive trails and discover the flora, fauna and Amerindian history so special to this tropical region. With an unparalleled abundance of wildlife, the Iwokrama Forest is an extraordinary destination for naturalists, birders and for those seeking an authentic retreat to the rainforest.
Guyana, one of the last largely unexplored frontiers in South America, is a land where everything is on a supersized scale; aside from its giant trees and epic waterfalls, it is home to many of the continent’s – and often the world’s – biggest creatures. Among them are the Giant River Otter, one of the largest otters of the world’s 13 otter species, which used to range throughout South America’s tropical lowland rainforests and wetlands but is now endangered; Giant Anteater that can grow to more than 2m long and, when cornered, able to fight off a puma or jaguar; Arapaima, at more than 3m long and weighing up to 180kg, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish; Harpy Eagle, the biggest and most powerful raptor in the Americas; and Anacondas and Jaguars, respectively the largest reptile and feline in the western hemisphere.
Giant flora are well represented by Guyana’s many huge trees, as well as by the Victoria Amazonica lily that is featured on the country’s coat of arms, with leaves 3m across and a submerged stalk 7-8m long.
Georgetown has beautiful tree-lined streets combined with interesting Dutch and Victorian architecture from its days as a colony, it is the capital of Guyana. Georgetown lies below the high-tide level, protected by a seawall with a series of canals crisscrossing the city. Georgetown, originally called Stabroek, was the ideal location for a European presence in the Caribbean; rich in timber, bauxite, gold and diamonds and sugar cane. The Spanish, Dutch, French and English all tried to lay claim.
Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
Sacred Valley, Peru
Haciendas ‘estates’ are found across much of South America and may have been plantations, cattle or sheep ranches. Most date from the 18th & 19th centuries and offer guests an opportunity to glimpse the world of the land barons and their famed horsemen. These beautiful colonial residences, set in extensive gardens or on wide farmland, retain their original style and ambiance, with high beamed ceilings, open fireplaces, and spacious rooms filled with antique furnishings.
Iwokrama River Lodge
In the rainforests and jungles of Guyana choose from a small range of eco-lodges – from a comfortable retreat among the forest, to a complex of thatched cabañas in a lakeside location on a private reserve, to remote and rustic cottages offering a truly authentic experience. All lodges are eco-conscious and dedicated to conservation management and preservation of their environment.
Amazon River, Peru
Often the best way to observe dramatic scenery or experience the wonders in a world of amazing flora and fauna is by boat. And if you are looking for a voyage that will also offer the comfort of excellent facilities, there are several exclusive and sophisticated vessels that will fulfil your wish.
South America Travel Centre can look after all aspects of your holiday, including flights and travel insurance.
We start by asking you what your interests are and where you are interested in, when, for how long, what standard and style of accommodation. Once we have a good understanding of just what you’re looking for, we can begin to create a holiday to meet your time and budget requirements and, most importantly, that will deliver interest and enjoyment in an experience to exceed your expectations.
Please book early. Many of the hotels and lodges we recommend are relatively small. This exclusivity combined with high demand means they can be booked out up to 6-8 months in advance.
If you’re thinking of travelling during any major holidays like Christmas, New Year and Easter, or during any festivals, our advice is simply to book as early as you can, even 12 months or more, and we can add flights as soon as they become available.
Australian citizens do not require a visa to enter Guyana You will need to hold a valid passport and have a return ticket when you arrival.
It is strongly recommended that all travellers to Guyana be vaccinated for yellow fever before commencing their trip.
Vaccinations are advised for common diseases like Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid as well as Influenza. There are no compulsory vaccinations.
We advise you to consult a Travel Doctor specialist prior to departure to assess any health risks in relation to your medical history and travel plans.
We have access to a wide range of airfares and have excellent relationships with our key airline partners. Our two main airline partners in Latin America are LATAM Airlines, QANTAS Airlines and Air New Zealand. We can also arrange internal flights for you within Latin America.
Irrespective of whether you book directly with us or with your preferred travel agent, we’ll request the details of all of your fights to ensure if there are any changes your transfers and other arrangements are adjusted accordingly.
Warm year-round. Best time September to April
We found our itinerary absolutely perfect. By that I mean not only were our superb boutique hotels great, the guides in each city friendly, courteous, well-spoken and knowledgeable but the time in each city or location and the balance between site seeing “work" and leisure time “play” was also perfect. The most difficult question by friends on our return has been “what was the highlight”. An impossible question when considering the merits of, inter alia, Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls, Christ the Redeemer, Inti Raymi Festival, Lake Titicaca. The purpose of our trip to South America, in truth, was to see as much as we could of the continent with a view to probably not returning as we explored other opportunities. I have to now say that the chance of us revisiting South America is extremely high.
I write to thank you for organising our recent trip to South America. Everything went like clockwork, and the arrangements were very satisfactory. The guides always turned up at the right time, and the people meeting us at the airports were always there. We had a wonderful trip, and we will have to plan another one now, so that we can see Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay and maybe more. But first it’s back to work to earn some more money! For me the greatest highlight was Machu Picchu; it far exceeded my expectations. Once again, thanks so much, Alistair Macindoe.
We had a fabulous time!! The countries we visited have such a rich and fascinating cultural & geographical diversity. We loved learning about the Incans and visiting the ruins in Peru, we loved seeing all the creatures of the Galapagos Islands and the volcanoes of Ecuador. We loved the magnificent scenery of the Atacama. What a fantastic palette at sunset! The adobe hotel, Altiplanico, was wonderful & San Pedro de Atacama was a funky place. We appreciated the structure of our holiday too, there was a nice blend of guided time and free time. It was nice to be in one place on the boat in Galapagos after moving to a different place each day through Ecuador. Some of the haciendas we visited would be lovely to stay for a longer time. Everything went very smoothly in terms of timely airport transfers & pickups, informative and friendly guides/drivers at all times. The local people were very friendly & were helpful with our attempts at speaking Spanish. We enjoyed the cuisine very much & look forward to trying some home-made Locro de papa soup & Pisco sour. Thanks for helping us with a great holiday. Kind regards Della & John