Guyana is a country located in northern South America known for its dense jungles. Prone to political instability and ethnic tensions, Guyana is a place off the common tourist path. But the country has interesting places to visit despite the political and economic strife. Guyana is home to unique sights, remnants of a colonial past and offers opportunities to view a wide range of animals and birds.
Georgetown is Guyana's crumbling colonial capital city, and also home to numerous tourist spots. The free Guyana National Museum (mcys.gov.gy) offers exhibits about its cultural and political history. The museum has been open to the public since 1868. For an outdoors activity, the Botanical Gardens (no website; Regent Rd., Bourda, Georgetown), is a good place to not only see tropical plants and flowers, but do some bird-watching.
Savannas and Mountains
The Rupununi Savannas are rolling grasslands and home to caimans and colorful birds, as well as the world's largest water lilies. Visitors can see Annai and Lethem, small towns where cowboys and the native Amerindians co-exist. The Kanuku Mountains rise out of the savannas; seventy percent of the country's bird population resides here, according to Lonely Planet. You may also see monkeys, giant otters and even an elusive jaguar.
The Iwokrama rain forest is a 916,760-acre region of untouched forest that has the highest-recorded number of fish and bat species in the world, according to Lonely Planet. Visitors walk along a rain forest canopy walkway that takes them up almost 100 feet in the air. To get to Iwokrama (iwokrama.org), visitors arrive either by air, private car or bus from Georgetown. Once there, take a guided tour such as the Canopy Walkway or Jaguar Spotting tours. Visitors stay in self-contained cabins, and food is included with the rate. Another highlight is Kaieteur Falls, where 30,000 gallons of water per second pour over the 820-foot cascade in the middle of the jungle. Best of all, this lightly touristed place is likely to be yours to savor by yourself.
Guyana is peppered with interesting small towns that are a little more relaxed than Georgetown. The mining town of Bartica can be rowdy with its lively nightlife, but that's part of the good-natured fun. Kyk-Over-Al are the ruins of a 17th-century Dutch fortress located near Bartica. If you are interested in the native Amerindian culture, Surama is a town of huts built especially for tourists to visit. After listening to traditional singing and dancing, hire a guide to take you on a hiking or canoeing excursion.
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