"The English portion of the Guianas" Top 5 Page for this destination Guyana by DSwede

Guyana Travel Guide: 398 reviews and 641 photos

Guyana has often been credited for being the inspiration of The Lost World, a 1912 novel by Arthur Conan Doyle, which involves an expedition into the plateaus of South America where prehistoric animals still roam free.

That had always caught my imagination and wanted to see for myself the primitive jungles that brought this tale to life. So here I am, on the fringes of the jungle in Guyana about to hold my breath and venture inwards tomorrow.

Strangely most family and friends I spoke to asked me why I'd want to come here. And not only that, but most asked why I'd want to travel all the way to Africa for a short holiday. My answers were simple, but might not have been what they were hoping. I told them that Guyana is not Ghana. And I wanted to come here because nobody else does.

My opinions have not yet been completely set, but I can say that it is a rather untouched place. It is full of beautiful scenery and endless jungles and savannas. Problem is that there is no infrastructure, and even less information on what infrastructure there is.

(British) Guyana is the western most country of the “The Guianas”, with Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana) and French Guiana to the east. Guiana means ‘land of water’ in Occitan (similar to Catalan, a language of the first French explorers), so it sometimes includes the boarder areas of Venezuela and Brazil that drain into the basin. However, Guyana is generally accepted to be a Caribbean culture and shares stronger ties to the islands than to the South American mainland. It is one of only four non-Spanish speaking countries in South America.

When the Guianas were being colonized and exploited for the prosperous plantations they could support, the British, Dutch and French took turns with disputes and fighting over the lands. Ultimately they settled more or less the way the boarders are drawn up now. Originally they brought in African slaves to build the infrastructure and work the plantations. When slavery was abolished (by the English in 1833, the French in 1848 and the Dutch in 1863), each nation took turns importing indentured servants and contract labor from India, China and Indonesia. With this and the indigenous Amerindians, the countries have evolved to have a very diverse ethnic mixture or cultures, religions, foods, etc. Thankfully they have fused into an amicable new culture of their own.

After surviving a rather long week and an even longer journey from Asia via New York, I finally arrived in Georgetown as the sun was rising. After an adventure of finding and navigating an hour ride in a rasta-music-blaring-communal-shuttlevan thing from the airport, I wondered the streets for a while with backpack on, looking for an internet cafe. Finally found one so I could access the addresses of the hotels/hostels that wouldn't print for me the before I left.

I ultimately spent the better part of a week in and around Georgetown. I also went into the interior, all the way to the Brazilian board at the town of Lethem. On the return, I stopped in the jungles in Iwokrama.

(for more pictures, feel free to visit my Guyana Gallery. If you enjoy the pictures, please leave a comment.)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful canopies of jungle, endless savannas and no tourists.
  • Cons:Unfortunately when the British left, the infrastructure never stood a chance and has remained below par.
  • In a nutshell:An untrodden corner of South America worth visiting. You must have either patience and/or money to travel Guyana.
  • Intro Updated Mar 13, 2011
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Reviews (6)

Comments (4)

  • MikeBird's Profile Photo
    Dec 22, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Am excited about my upcoming trip to Guyana which will include a couple of nights at Iwokrama. I too am very keen on wildlife and am hoping for some great sightings - even if they are just the little guys like frogs and agoutis.
    Thanks for sharing,
    regards,
    Mike

    • DSwede's Profile Photo
      Dec 23, 2014 at 12:04 PM

      Iwokrama was a very memorable experience. Partly because of what I saw and partly because of the adventure I had getting there. I had no booking, no formal transport... I just walked in through the jungle trail and surprised the staff. I hope you enjoy the land that time forgot!

    • MikeBird's Profile Photo
      Yesterday

      Hi Dave,
      I'll be taking the easy way in but hopefully it will be no less memorable for it. I'm starting to do my homework on the wildlife - lots to learn as it will be my first time to anywhere in S.America. Really looking forward to my trip.
      Regards,
      Mike

  • starship's Profile Photo
    May 30, 2012 at 7:13 AM

    Wow! Great intro., and excellent info. for the serious traveler! When you said in the intro. there was no infrastructure, I almost expected you would get from place to place on horseback, LOL!! It must seem amazing to travel in a country which so few people visit -- almost like being an early explorer!

  • glabah's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2009 at 12:36 PM

    Wish they had a walkway through the trees like that somewhere in the redwoods! I tmight help get people educated about the higher level of that ecosystem.

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Dec 1, 2008 at 5:23 PM

    Useful tips for any first time visitors to Guyana. That will include me if I get to go to South America one day. SL :)

DSwede

“What I lack in experience, I make up for in curiosity”

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