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An unspoiled country that just must be explored.
That’s the description of Guyana – not from the mouth of any government or tourism official, but from a team from the National Geographic Magazine that visited the island recently.
Journalist Marco Barneveld and photographer Rene Kaster were on a familiarization tour hosted by the Guyana Tourism Authority in observance of Tourism Awareness Month.
“It’s one of the nicest unspoiled countries we have been to,” said Barneveld who visited Georgetown and the interior with Kaster, adding that the team had previously been to Costa Rica which attracts many American tourists and “frankly, I don’t understand why they are not coming here.”
“It’s a non-spoiled gem that has to be discovered!” he declared of this country on the South American coast that lies between Suriname, Brazil and Venezuela.
Kaster said he was surprised by the beauty, noting that he has seen many places but none “so beautiful as Guyana”. He also highlighted the hospitality of the people in the communities they visited.
“The people are great as well, how they talk to you, how they behave, how they look at you, the humour they use and they are very friendly.”
If you’re planning to visit Guyana, here are a few tours you shouldn’t miss:
Kaieteur Overland Tour
Envision 45,000 gallons of lush black water thundering down a rock escarpment every second. Wonder in the sky dance of thousands upon thousands of scissor-tailed Swifts or soak in the culture of the prolific mountain hunters, the Patamonas. Take the overland journey through dense jungle for nights besides refreshing and scenic waterfalls, while pondering the language of the wildlife. Then take the 1,800 feet mountain hike to experience the magnificence of the 741-foot single drop waterfalls.
Essequibo River Tour
An early start to the day will take you by bus to the departure point of the small market town of Parika. From there, you will take an open boat up the mighty Essequibo River. The first stop will be an old Dutch fort where artefacts are still being discovered to this day. Then head off for a visit to a “river beach” called Saxacalli. Further up the river is the junction of the Mazaruni River and you’ll visit the frontier town of Bartica, the hub of activity and recreation of miners who work the many gold and diamond claims of the interior. Further up the river, you pass through both rapids and still waters to the site of a picnic lunch. You take some time for a short hike through the rainforest, to a wonderful – even if chilly – inland waterfall where the adventurous may climb the falls for a refreshing dip in a natural pool, with howler monkeys and parrots chattering overhead. Then take a leisurely trip down the river with the sun on your backs – a fine end to a fine day.
Georgetown is the capital and largest town in Guyana. It was designed by the Dutch as an outpost to protect their settlement during the 17th century. Georgetown has a combination of wood work and concrete buildings dating back to the early 19th century. The St. George’s Cathedral, purportedly the largest wooding building, is found in Georgetown along with the famous Stabroek Market, the Kingston Seawall and Bourda Cricket Ground.
El Dorado Rum tour
Voted among the best rums in the world and a winner of several medals, El Dorado Rum is produced by the Demerara Distillery. Visitors will see how this unique blend of rum is produced. The very ancient rum-producing techniques are still used.