Guyana: Famous for Its Expansive Forests and Vibrant Local Culture

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Guyana: Famous for Its Expansive Forests and Vibrant Local Culture

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Guyana: Famous for Its Expansive Forests and Vibrant Local Culture

Despite common belief that Guyana is in Africa, Guyana is a diverse country on the mainland of South America, often also considered part of the Caribbean community. Guyana is often referred to as an African country due to its large population of decedents from African countries. Due to its British colonial history, Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America, although the locals mostly use Guyanese Creole as a first language.

There are plenty of great reasons to take a trip to Guyana, the country offers plenty of beautiful natural landscapes such as impressive waterfalls, nature reserves and mountains. The laidback city life of its capital Georgetown and the friendly Guyanese people are a pleasant welcome for tourism. If you have been looking for an adrenaline-raising destination, then waste no more time, in Guyana you can go for jungle hikes, combat training or abseiling at waterfalls.

Here are the top must-see destinations to check out in Guyana.

1. Kaieteur Falls (Georgetown)

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Guyana is popularly known as the world of waterfalls, as its falls surpass even the famous Niagara and Victorian falls. Kaieteur Falls is far from the capital of Guyana is the largest single drop waterfall in the world with a height of more than two hundred meters. The falls are in Kaieteur National Park in the center of Guyana rainforest. The best time for sightseeing the falls is during the dry season, either February-April or July-November. During the rainy season, it gets foggy, making the visibility of the falls poor. The only ways for sightseeing the falls are either by flying in or hiking. A hike to the falls gives you an opportunity to view the forest and a unique wildlife setting, but it may take more than three days.

2. St. George's Cathedral (Georgetown)

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St. George's Cathedral in Georgetown has the impressive status of being the largest and tallest wooden cathedral. The church was built with greenheart wood which is native to Guyana and is said to be resistant to insects and waterproof, no wonder it has stood for all these years. The construction of the church began in 1889 and today, this cathedral serves as the seat of the Bishop of Guyana. St. George's Cathedral not only tells the history of Guyana but also that of the neighboring Caribbean countries. The church's architecture is both unique and inspiring. The church is open for visitors all year round although the most favorable months are between April and November.

3. Promenade Gardens (Georgetown)

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Promenade Gardens are right in the city center of Guyana. There are well-trimmed tree bushes and the grass is well maintained. It is quiet and peaceful enough for relaxing, reading and picnicking. The garden area was used as a public execution space in the past, but today it is open for more joyful events such as being used as a wedding area. These grounds also have the oldest Mahatma Gandhi monument in Guyana. If the weather is good, you can also view various bird species. The gardens are at their prime of beauty just after the rainy season, as from August, making it the best period for sightseeing.

4. Guyana Botanical Gardens (Georgetown)

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No trip to Guyana would be complete without a trip to at least one of its botanical gardens. Guyana Botanical Gardens have the most extensive collection of flora and fauna in Guyana. The gardens have a substantial variety of tropical flowers, palms and lilies. In the gardens, you'll also find a zoo known as Guyana Zoo which is a home to endangered species such as harpy eagles, giant otters and West Indian manatees. Guyana Zoo is also a favorite sightseeing spot for birdwatchers as it has a good collection of great bird species.

The gardens are open as early as 6 am, and if you would like to go sightseeing when the birds are most active, we suggest that you go this early. When sightseeing, we strongly recommend that you wear waterproof shoes for you to explore the wet areas comfortably.

5. Demerara Harbour Bridge (Georgetown)

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Demerara Harbour Bridge is a stunning floating bridge that crosses Demerara River and is about 2 km with over sixty spans. Demerara Harbour Bridge is popularly known as a floating bridge as it floats on badges and some parts actually float when the tide is high. The bridge has 7.9 m vertical clearance for small vessels and two 77.4 m horizontal clearance for larger water vessels. Be sure to check the opening times for the bridge before you go sightseeing as the bridge runs on a schedule. Also, ensure that you see how the bridge is constructed and how it retracts to allow water vessels to pass.

6. Stabroek Market (Georgetown)

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Stabroek Market is widely known as the largest marketplace of Guyana. It is in Georgetown the capital of Guyana and is one of the most notable landmarks of the city. The market building is a cast iron structure with an iconic clock at the tower. A visit to the market is a chance to soak in the culture of the Guyana people and experience their way of life, that is why it is a major tourist attraction to Georgetown.

The market has pretty much everything from souvenirs to locally-grown produce. The market is mostly under a roof, making it easy visit throughout the year, however the best time to go to Georgetown in general is in the dry season from August to November and February to April.

7. Guyana National Museum (Georgetown)

The stories of the historical and cultural heritage of Guyana are best presented at the Guyana National Museum. The museum is in Georgetown and houses most of the archeological artifacts of Guyana. In addition, the museum has a commendable collection of flora, fauna, Amerindian arts and crafts, and precious stones. The museum is open throughout the year from Monday to Saturday and the best period for sightseeing is during the dry season. The museum is not so crowded, therefore visiting at any time of the day is generally fine, but on Saturdays, it closes at 2 pm.

8. Pandama Retreat & Winery (Georgetown)

Pandama Retreat & Winery is a perfect place for sightseeing nature as you enjoy art with a glass of flamboyant Guyana wine. The wines are from exotic Guyana fruits that include pineapple, cherry, Malacca pear, carambola and sorrel. You will also get interesting flavors like the libido enhancement tonic wine made from barks native to Guyana. Pandama Retreat offers private cabins tucked in the woods and a campground. It also offers a captivating birdwatching experience as it is a home to about 130 bird species. There is also an art studio at the premises which showcases enchanting canvas artworks. Pandama Retreat & Winery is open for sightseeing throughout the year, but you'll need to make a reservation.

9. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Georgetown)

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the leading Roman Catholic church of Guyana and a major attraction in Georgetown. The church is constructed with a very beautiful Romanesque architectural style of the 1920s. Highlights of the cathedral include a marble altar which was a gift to the Bishop of Guyana from Pope Pius XI, the shrine to the Virgin Mary and another shrine at the pinnacle of the church. The church has a small library and an artwork of sculptures of most saints.

10. Georgetown City Hall (Georgetown)

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Georgetown City Hall is the hallmark of Gothic Revival architecture style in Guyana, constructed using local timber, cast iron columns, and a hammer-beam roof. The city hall was officially opened in 1889 and today, it houses the Mayor, the City Council and the City Engineer. It also has a city concert hall which is the main venue for festivals and music recitals in Guyana. You can go sightseeing during the concerts or any other time except on Sundays. In the hall, there are a variety of stores that have a great selection of souvenirs and jewelry.

Guyana tends to be overlooked but it is a gem of South America. For those interested in precious stones and metals, Guyana is one of the top producers of gold and you can find reasonably priced golden jewelry. The rainforests, wildlife and gardens are simply untouched and prime for nature sightseeing. Most places in the country are not crowded and the dry season weather is another reason making Guyana a perfect holiday destination. The people of Guyana are exceptionally warm and make your stay worthwhile as most of them speak English. Even better, staying in Guyana can be incredibly affordable with plenty of cheap hotels and goods.