Where is Guyana and why would anyone go?
That is the question I had when I first learned about Guyana from a traveler who spent a year teaching English in this small creole-speaking sovereign country in the northern coast of South America. Described in many guidebooks as rough, politically unstable and often generalized as ¨underwhelming¨, I couldn’t help but buy into the rumors. That was until I spent the weekend with this international teacher who could not stop raving about Guyana.
So what´s the selling point? With an extremely low population density, rich Caribbean culture, and a truly pristine amazon forest, this would be the perfect place for a traveler seeking to jump off the ¨cookie cutter¨ gringo trail and into the ultimate rawness of the earth.
The country´s capital of Georgetown is anything but progressive, but promises to delight its tourists with a rocking nightlife and some fantastic places to eat and dive head first into the local cuisine. Guyana is heavily influenced by the culture of Brazil and with that said, so is the cuisine. The city offers quite a few options when it comes to perfectly prepared plates of meat in monstrous proportions. Since the country lies on the coast, there are always plenty of options to chow down on fresh tilapia or catfish or slurp up a huge pot of gumbo soup. Considering the lack-luster reviews of this un-trekked city, there are plenty of mouthwatering restaurants to choose from and a vibrant culture that will keep a traveler entertained for days.
The most popular alcohol in Guyana is dark-styled rum. The national favorites are El Dorado and Xtra Mature. Apparently El Dorado has won the prestigious award for ¨Best Rum in the world¨ since 1999. If rum doesn’t tickle your senses then there is also a selection of beers including a milk stout, a pilsner imported from Trinidad and Tobago, and Guinness that is brewed locally and said to be sweeter than its Irish equivalent. In any case, an assortment of beer and liquor is not hard to come by and is an integral part of the Caribbean laid-back lifestyle.
The forests and river of Guyana are filled with wildlife, fauna and all the thrilling surprises of a rainforest wonderland. Pumas, giant otters, and birds of all varieties fill the rainforest that is hardly touched by any foreign tourist . The Iwokrama rainforest is a considered the epicenter for wildlife and is easily accessible from any part of the country. Kaieteur Falls is probably the biggest tourist attraction in Guyana and offers a spectacle for viewing bizarre wildlife and breathtaking waterfalls. Tours to both places can be arranged through guides such as Frank Singh´s Rainforest tours, that bark a high-price point but are worth it when it comes to safety, efficiency and comfort.
Have you ever heard or been to Guyana?