There are many incredible hikes in Tenerife, that it would be a real pity to miss out on them while on the island. Tenerife is the biggest and most populated of the Canary Islands. It’s capital is Santa Cruz the Tenerife, though San Cristobal de la Laguna, where the University of La Laguna was founded in 1792 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site is probably the most popular city to visit.
To read more about the Canary Islands, check my post “Which Are The Best Canary Islands?“
There are many reasons why Tenerife is one Spain’s most visited islands. Blessed with a beautiful climate, it is a paradise for surfers, who find persistently good waves. The island is packed beautiful beaches such as La Caleta, real hidden gem thanks to the quiet environment and gorgeous setting (and where there is a fantastic fish restaurant!); or Playa del Bolullo, boasting dark volcanic sand and surrounded by high cliffs. Although remote, there is an easy trail that makes going one of the nicest excursions in Tenerife
Tenerife also has some lovely villages. And last but definitely not least, the hikes in Tenerife are among some of the best in Spain, thanks to Mount Teide (the highest volcano in Europe) and Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other than volcano hikes, there also are some nature hikes and coastal trails.
Fore more incredible hikes in mainland Spain, check my post “Where To Find The Most Amazing Hikes In Spain.”
This post highlights 10 fantastic hikes in Tenerife, and includes some tips on other places to visit, where to stay on the island, and other useful information.
What are some of the nicest hikes in Tenerife?
10 Incredible Hikes In Tenerife
The most difficult hikes in Tenerife
The hike to Guajara, Tenerife’s 4th highest peak which is located on the south eastern edge of Las Cañadas ridge, in Las Cañadas National Park, isn’t long. It’s just about 9 km. The ascent isn’t much, really. But the altitude makes it challenging and altitude sickness may cause problems. What makes this one of the top hikes in Tenerife is the incredible view. On a clear day, it’s possible to see Las Cañadas, Mount Teide and the south coast of Tenerife.
The best time of the year to attempt this hike are May and June, when there’s beautiful flowers on the way; or September and October.
Make sure you are prepared for sudden weather changes, and keep in mind that the temperature on the summit may be 20 degrees colder than on the south coast. Dress appropriately and carry an extra layer.
Once at the summit you will find a small abandoned stone shelter which is a good place to keep out of the wind and have lunch. The descent follows the same path, or alternatively there is an old goat-herder trail following a ravine on the west side, which however is very hard to follow. You will get why I say that it’s one of the most difficult hikes in Tenerife!
Medium difficulty hikes in Tenerife
Los Crisitanos to Las Galletas
One of the nicest hikes in Tenerife is the 14 km coastal walk from Los Crisitanos to Las Galletas, right at the doorsteps of the biggest tourist resorts on the island. It goes through some beautiful nature reserves and offers incredible views of the south coast. The trail starts in Casa Carolina, an old villa on the sea front; it goes past the beach and towards Montaña Guaza – a protected natural area. There is a trail on the right which is less known and goes towards the cliffs.
Once there, the trail goes around the plateau through a rocky landscape surrounded by cactus. It eventually goes down through a steep slope towards Palm Mar, through the nature reserve of Malpais de la Rasca, where there’s the beautiful lighthouse. From there, the trail goes all the way to Las Galletas, a lovely fishing port, crossing some banana plantations and abandoned fields. It’s one of the nicest excursions in Tenerife.
When hiking in Tenerife, Teide is a must!
The easiest hikes in Tenerife
Las Montañas Negras
las Montañas Negras are located in the north-west of Tenerife and owe their name to the color of the volcanic ash that formed them. They include Volcan de Carachico, whose 1706 eruption caused the destruction of the port of Garachico.
One of the nicest hikes in Tenerife is the one that starts in San Jose de los Llanos, just north of Santiago del Teide, and following a circular route goes to Montaña Bilma, then turns east to get to a forestry track that runs along Canal Vergara. On this part of the hike, the view spans so see the lava flaws of the 1909 eruption of Chinyero (the most recent eruption in Tenerife). On clear days, it’s possible to see all the way to the valley around Santiago del Teide, Mount Teide and Pico Viejo.
The last part of the trail is downhill, going to San Jose de Los Llanos.
The overall hike is 14 km but the ascent of just 200 meters makes it one of the nicest, easiest hikes in Tenerife.
Immediately east of Mount Teide there is Montaña Blanca, the third highest peak on the island. The hike there is one of the easiest yet most rewarding hikes of Tenerife among those in Teide National Park. It is a dirt track that for around 7 km zig zaps up the back of the mountain, going by the Huevos de Teide (giant boulders that were ejected during volcanic eruptions). Along the way it is also possible to see the lava flows on the side of Mount Teide.
Roque del Conde
Roque del Conde is one of the most famous landmarks of southern Tenerife. This mountain that looks over the resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas. It’s possible to walk there (it takes around 3 hours) and from the peak there are gorgeous, 360 degree views of the south of Tenerife. This makes it one of the nicest excursions in Tenerife.
It is a 6 km hike on a paved path starting in Vento – there’s signs pointing to it from the main road in Arona. Here the altitude is around 600 meters above sea level, while at the peak it is around 1000. The trail goes through the Barranco del Rey, a deep gorge cutting through the southern side of the Tenerife, and then up the plateau.
One of the nice things about hiking in Tenerife is that the trails go through villages and beaches. The Masca Barranco hike goes from the picturesque Masca, thought to be Tenerife’s prettiest village, to the beach, through a prehistoric landscape. The walk to the beach takes roughly 3 hours, and once there it is possible to either take the boat to Los Gigantes or to walk all the way back.
The landscape is gorgeous when hiking in Tenerife
Arona to Ifonche
One of the most popular hikes in Tenerife is the one from Arona to Ifonche. It is a 9 km hike that goes along a well marked trail, and starts 1 km north of Arona, following an old goat herder track all the way to Ifonche. The way back is via Barranco del Rey gorge. It is the first leg of the longer walk to Adeje, Taucho and Vilaflor.
Las Lajas to Ifonche
One of the easiest excursions in Tenerife is the one that starts in Las Lajas, the barbecue area of Parque Natural de la Corona Forestal, at about 10 km from Vilaflor. The first part of the trail is quite easy, on a good dirt track where you will cross paths with many mountain bikers in the winter months. You will be crossing the Pasaije Natural Protegido (Protected Natural Space) of Ifonche, as well go by the resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas.
After walking for about 2 hours, the view is obscured by the Alto de Chimoche, which reaches 1500 meters of elevation.
It takes around 4 hours to walk the roughly 12 km.
Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada
This 9.4 km walk is thought to be one of the top hikes of Tenerife. It goes through ancient forests and steep mountain ravines to then get to a hamlet where the locals still live in cave houses, much like it can be seen during the Tamadaba hike in Gran Canaria.
For more hikes in Gran Canaria, check my post “Hikes in Gran Canaria.”
The Fortaleza trail is a nice and easy one – the only thing that may cause a bit of difficulty is the altitude. It’s one of the nicest excursions in Tenerife to explore the north crater wall of Teide and Teide National Park.
When To Go Hiking In Tenerife
The best time to go hiking in Tenerife is towards the end of the spring or the beginning of autumn, when temperatures are milder. Throughout the winter, the temperatures are mild; whereas in the summer it’s really hot and it is not recommended to go hiking.
There are some lovely cities and villages in Tenerife
The Nicest Cities In Tenerife
Santa Cruz the capital of the island, is a great starting point when hiking in Tenerife. It is a nice place to visit, with a good selection of tourist attractions. The main one is Tenerife Auditorium, designed by famous architect Calatrava. Espacio de las Artes, the art museum, is another must. The city centre is packed with beautiful squares and lovely small streets.
San Cristobal de la Laguna is the second most important city on the island, home of the University of La Laguna, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. It used to be the capital of the Canary Islands. The Old City boasts some beautiful churches (especially the Cathedral) and some nice squares.
Many villages can be seen when hiking in Tenerife. The nicest ones are Masca, which is perched on a rock: it is a series of narrow, cobbled alleys and overflowing gardens; Garachico, which is a tiny port that survived a volcano eruption; Tegueste, which is known for its farmers’ market; and Vilaflor, which is the highest village in Spain and is entirely surrounded by the forest. Last but not least, Granadilla is home to a beautiful baroque church dating back to the 18th century.
The Best Places To Stay In Tenerife
Tenerife is a popular tourist destinations. As such, there is a very good selection of accommodation options, for any kind of traveler and any budget and even for those who go hiking in Tenerife.
Here’s a selection of places to stay in Tenerife:
Wild camping is not allowed in Tenerife. Although there are meant to be a few campsites on the island, at the time of researching for this post it looks like most of them are closed for refurbishment. The online list seems rather outdated.
How To Get To Tenerife
Tenerife has two airports: Tenerife South Airport, and Tenerife North Airport. South Airport is connected to mainland Spain and the rest of Europe through regular and budget flights, though some of them are only seasonal. North Airport is not as well connected.
Other Useful Information
Several sites have information on the hikes in Tenerife, but the information is scattered at best. There is a Walk This Way Tenerife on the best trails of the island that can be bought online on Amazon.
Another site is Tenerife Hiking, but it’s outdated, with the last post being published in 2008.
Several companies offer guided hikes in Tenerife. Among them, there are Tenerife Hiking and Macs Adventures.
Have you ever been to Tenerife? What are your favorite hikes in Tenerife?
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Much like in mainland Spain, there are many incredible hikes in Gran Canaria. This popular tourist destination famous for its beaches actually is a top adventure getaway, which makes it one of the best Canary Islands.
To learn more about the rest of the Canary Islands, read my post “Which Are The Best Canary Islands?” And to find out about the best hikes in Spain, read my post “Where To Find The Most Amazing Hikes In Spain.”
This post highlights the nicest hikes in Gran Canaria, dividing them by length and difficulty level, and provides some useful tips to enjoy the island. Before I get to the core, let me however give some background information on this beautiful place.
Some Background Information On Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is largest of the Canary Islands and the second most populous of them. Its capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the capital, was founded in 1478 with the name Real de Las Palmas. It is the most populous city of the Canary Islands archipelago, home of a famous carnival where Las Canteras beach is located: this is a protected area and fantastic diving spot. Finally, but quite importantly so for hiking junkies, Las Palmas is a good base to go on more excursions in Gran Canaria.
Like the other Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is of volcanic origins. With its 1949 meters, Pico de las Nieves is the highest peak on the island, followed by Roque Nublo, which reaches 1813 meters. These are some of the nicest spots for hiking in Gran Canaria.
Known as “Miniature Continent,” Gran Canaria enjoys various different climates and varied landscapes. This is why tourists love it! More than 4 million people visit every year to enjoy the sandy beaches, explore the lovely villages, go to the green ravines, and needless to say to go walking in Gran Canaria.
The most famous attraction in Gran Canaria is the Maspalomas Dunes, in the south. Most tourists spend their time on that side of the island, which is where the climate is warmer and sunnier and most of the best resorts in Gran Canaria are located.
But Gran Canaria has yet more to offer. Some incredible places are located on the eastern side. Agüimes is a lovely restored small city. Not far from it there’s Guayadeque ravine, a protected area where a church has been built on the side of the mountain and which is the location of some incredible restaurants. Playa de El Cabron is a marine reserve and has some of the best diving in Gran Canaria.
The majority of the territory of Gran Canaria is protected by the Canary Islands Network for Protected Natural Area; and about a third of it is a recognized UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This is to say that nature is incredible there. Such incredible variety of landscapes makes Gran Canaria an incredible hiking destination.
So, without any further ado, let me finally highlight the top hikes in Gran Canaria.
There are some incredible hikes in Gran Canaria
11 Fantastic Hikes In Gran Canaria
The best long distance hikes in Gran Canaria
Camino de Santiago
Not to be confused with the official Camino de Santiago in mainland Spain, this is a good 3 day hike that has to be included among the nicest long distance hikes in Gran Canaria. It used to be a 55 km walk connecting connecting San Bartolomé de Tirajana (aka Tunte) to Gáldar (actually, the Obispado Diocesis de Canarias in the former’s Plaza de Santiago with the Iglesia Matriz de Santiago de los Caballeros).
Nowadays, the hike is 75 km long, and as far as walking in Gran Canaria, this is one of the best places as there are some incredible views. The starting point is in Maspalomas and the walk goes by the resorts of Playa del Inglés. So it is a coast to coast walk. As during the hike several microclimates are crossed, make sure to carry all the necessary layers and gear.
Medium distance hikes in Gran Canaria
Playas de GüiGüi
With such a beautiful coastline, it goes without saying that some of the top hiking in Gran Canaria is along the coast. Some of the beaches such as the Playas de GüiGüi (which are gorgeous and off the beaten path) can only be reached by boat or on a hike. The trail that starts in La Aldea de San Nicolás is on the challenging side, but there is a shorter, easier one leaving from Tasartico – from there, it is a nice 3-hours walk round trip.
One of the nicest medium distance hikes in Gran Canaria is Tamadaba. This is a lovely, 22 km mountain walk starting in the hamlet San Pedro, home of several coffee plantations. The trail goes through a gorgeous pine forest (which actually is Gran Canaria’s largest nature reserve). Going up, the views of Agaete and the port of Puerto de Las Nieves are breathtaking.
The trail (a circular route) follows the signs to Camino El Valle-Tamadaba then reaches El Hornillo. Here, some locals live in cave houses according to a tradition that goes back to well before the Spanish conquered the island in the 15th century.
Ruta de Las Presas
This 32 km long trail takes its the name from “presas” (damn) that can be seen throughout the hike, such as Presa Caidero de La Niña, Presa del Parralillo (from where there’s a great view of Roque Nublo) and Presa del Candelaria. The trail starts in La Aldrea de San Nicolás, which is located on the west of the island, and goes all the way to Artenara, which is Gran Canaria’s highest municipality. One of the nicest hikes in Gran Canaria, it is part of the GC-210. It actually follows the road motorbikes passing by are quite common.
Venguerra is natural dark volcanic sand beach that can be accessed by the beach west of Puerto De Mogán. It’s thought to be one of the best beaches in Gran Canaria. In Puerto De Mogán, a road that is closed to cars takes all the way to Venguerra. The hike is quite long (overall 25 km round trip) but it’s fairly easy, so it takes around 5 hours to complete. It’s one of the nicest easy hikes in Gran Canaria.
One of the easiest hikes in Gran Canaria is the one leading to Moriscos, the highest peak in the north of the island. The trail is about 10 km and can be walked in around 4 hours. It follows in part the caldera of the Tejeda. During the initial bit, the hike goes through some beautiful chestnut groves. It then reaches a viewpoint from where it’s possible to see as far as Las Palmas. During the hike it’s also possible to visit the caves where the indigenous population used to live.
Some of the nicest hikes in Gran Canaria are in the area of Maspalomas
The nicest shorter hikes in Gran Canaria
Barranco de Los Cernícalos
One of the nicest, short hikes in Gran Canaria is that of Barranco de Los Cernícalos, which goes along the Kestrel Ravine. Locals living in the area of Telde and Valsequillo particularly love this trail, which can get quite busy during the weekend. Make sure to start nice and early to beat the crowds. The starting point is the Lomo Magullo’s Los Arenales parking lot, which can be reached by bus Telde’s San Gregorio. The trail, which takes around 4 hours to complete, goes through the Reserva Especial de Los Marteles and all the way to the waterfalls. Most of the walk is in the shade.
This is one of the nicest, most popular short hikes of Gran Canaria, taking about two hours to complete. The starting point is La Goleta car park (which is on the road that connects Ayacata with Pozo de las Nieves). Here, there are several stalls selling cheese, nibbles and also water. The path goes all the way to the Roque Nublo. It’s not a good idea to walk it in the summer, as it can get really hot – opt to go between October and May instead, but make sure to layer up as it may get chilly because of the altitude.
Lighthouse at Puerto De Mogán
Though short, this is not the easiest among the hikes in Gran Canaria. The trail is quite steep! It’s a very short walk towards the cliff in Puerto de Mogán, and there is a sign to the Mirador (look-out point). The view from there is great, but it’s even better at the lighthouse and the sunset from there is splendid.
Los Tilos de Moya
One of the shortest hikes in Gran Canaria (taking just little over one hour) is the one that goes through the Barranco de Laurel. The area is beautiful, packed as it is with eucalyptus trees, and with many Alpispas birds. It’s a great, easy excursion in Gran Canaria for families with children, who will be easily entertained in the forest and by all the beautiful birds.
With regards to easy hiking in Gran Canaria, the Santa Lucia one, going around the various municipalities of Santa Lucia for about 10 km, is a lovely one. It goes through fields, orange groves, palm trees forests and the archaeological site of Montaña de los Huesos, before getting back to the village.
There’s more than hiking in Gran Canaria. Windsurfing is great there!
The Best Time To Go Hiking In Gran Canaria
The best time to go hiking in Gran Canaria is from October to May. Most European tourists visit in the winter, when the mountains can get really cold, but walking in Gran Canaria remains pleasant. Keep in mind that the weather can change dramatically within a few minutes, with sun often giving way to mist and occasionally even heavy rain. If going in the summer, remember that it gets very hot, so only plan short hikes and start as early in the say as possible to avoid the hottest hours.
The Nicest Cities In Gran Canaria
There is a handful of beautiful cities on the island, all providing a good starting point for hiking in Gran Canaria. Las Palmas, the capital is a nice, medium sized city with interesting attractions. The old city center, with the squares, markets and urban parks is beautiful. Make sure to also walk along Avenida Maritima and enjoy the gorgeous beaches, such as Las Cantera, and to gorge on food in one of the fantastic restaurants.
Another town is Maspalomas, which is more of a resort place famous for the sand dunes and the beautiful lighthouse built in the 19th century. The best resorts in Gran Canaria are located there.
26 km south of Las Palmas and 5 km from the coast there is Aguimes. After many years or neglect from tourists, the city saw a new life when the center was restored. It’s a nice example of a traditional Canarian hill town, where travelers can appreciate the relaxed atmosphere of the island. And it is a good starting point for some nice hikes in Gran Canaria.
Other small cities worth visiting include Galdar, which is built on a dormant volcano; Teror, boasting beautiful cobbled streets; and Telde and its beautiful churches.
Las Palmas is a great city and a nice starting point for hiking in Gran Canaria
The Best Places To stay In Gran Canaria
The best resorts in Gran Canaria are in Maspalomas. However, as a major tourist destination, Gran Canaria has some excellent accommodation options in other locations too.
Here’s a selection of the best places to stay in Gran Canaria:
With regards to camping sites, there aren’t many options. There’s one in Playa de Vargas, where guests can pitch a tent. Another one is Club de Camping y Caravaning, though the webpage is only in Spanish. It’s supposed to be a good, clean camping site, so perhaps it’s worth bypassing the language barriers. Camping El Pinillo has cabins places for caravans, but doesn’t have pitches.
How To Get To Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria’s only airport is that of Las Palmas, which is well connected to mainland Spain, Europe and some African countries via regular and budget airlines.
Other Useful Information
The main resources for hiking in Gran Canaria are Outdoor Active and Komoot. However, although the main pages have information in English, the rest is usually in German and the information is often approximate.
Various companies offer guided hikes of Gran Canaria. Walking Gran Canaria and Macs Adventures both have multi-days hiking itineraries.
A map of Gran Canaria can be found on Amazon here, and there also is a book summing up 50 walks around the island which you can get here.
Finally, here’s some more information on Gran Canaria.
Have you ever been to Gran Canaria? What are your favorite hikes in Gran Canaria?
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Georgetown, Guyana, is an interesting city and it would be a pity to miss it when visiting the country. I am a strong believer that visiting a foreign country without exploring the capital is a bit like eating pizza without mozzarella – you just miss out on a huge chunk of flavor.
Indeed, the capital is where the heart of the country is, where visitors can learn more about its history, its culture, and where they can find the best food and the nicest hotels. This surely was the case for Georgetown, Guyana.
I appreciate that most people who visit Guyana go there to explore the wild interior, but since all international flights to the country land in Georgetown, one may as well spend a day or two to visit it, right?
This post highlights what to do and see in Georgetown to make the most of it, and why it is worth visiting.
For more things to do in Guyana, read my post “13 Absolutely Amazing Things To Do In Guyana.”
Some Background Information On Georgetown, Guyana
Georgetown sits on the east bank of the Demerara River, where this gets into the Atlantic. Along the coast line of the city a seawall has been built by the Dutch colonizers, along with a canal system that drains the town, which is actually over two meters below sea level.
The city is divided into several small districts: Kingston to the northwest; Cumminsburg; Alberttown; Queenstown and Newtown in the center; Robbstwon, Lacytown, Starbroek and Bourda south of Church street; Werk-en-Rust, Wortmanville, Charlestown and Le Repentir even more south; Thomas Lands to the east and Kitty further east.
Georgetown was founded in the 18th century, initially as the capital of the Demerara-Essequibo colony that was administered by the Dutch. The colony was subsequently captured by the British in 1781, and the mouth of the Demerara River was picked by Liutenant-Colonel Kingston for the establishment of a town.
Under the French, who colonized it in 1782, Georgetown became the capital with the name of Longchamps. The Dutch took it back in 1784 and renamed it Starbroek, after Lord Starbroek who was the president of the Dutch West India Company. That’s when Georgetown started expanding.
The name Georgetown was assigned in 1812, in honor of King George III and gained official city status in August 1842, under Queen Victoria’s reign.
In 1945 a large fire (known as “The Great Fire”) destroyed large parts of the city.
Georgetown, Guyana, as seen from the plane
Why Georgetown, Guyana, Is Worth Visiting
With its roughly 250000 inhabitants (though the urban area gets to around 600000, making up around 80% of the entire population of Guyana), Georgetown glory days may be over. Yet, Guyana’s capital remains a charming city which is easy to navigate, and where the often dilapidated architecture and the urban parks give the impression of a really laid-back atmosphere despite all the chaos.
The infrastructure of Georgetown, Guyana, changed dramatically in 2007, once the city hosted the semi-finals of the World Cricket Cup: new hotels were built; better sport facilities; and a bunch of businesses catering to tourists’ needs started. Tourists remain few, but hotels are often busy thanks to NGOs workers and other businessmen who often visit the city.
Behind the crumbling exterior, the city has a bunch of interesting historic monuments, a thriving intellectual scene and some fantastic restaurants. The atmosphere is that of any other Caribbean country – which takes first time visitors a bit by surprise as they expect more of a South America feel! It’s chaotic, colorful and full of life. In other words, it is fun to explore it.
Starbroek is one of the most iconic buildings of Georgetown, Guyana
10 Things To See And Do To Make The Most Of Georgetown, Guyana
Shop at the local markets
Whenever I get to a new place, I make a beeline for the local market. I love the energy of a good city market, and I think it is a great place to get a first feel for the local way of life and culture. Besides, much of a country’s culture can be understood by knowing what the locals eat. The same can be said for Georgetown, Guyana.
Sure enough, one of the nicest things to do in Georgetown, Guyana, is visiting Bourda Market. This is a great place to see, buy and try delicious fresh produce. Sellers are usually quite nice (though I have to say I met some grumpy ones too!) and are happy to offer tastings of the best fruit they have for sale.
Make sure to try the bananas: there are more varieties of bananas for sale at Bourda Market than I will ever remember. They all vary in size, texture, flavor and sweetness and they are all delicious. And to think that in Europe we only know one!
Another thing you should not miss on is fresh coconut. To me, drinking coconut water straight from the fruit is a sign I am in the tropics. There are several places around the market that sell really cold coconut, cutting it open for you. It’s a great way to stay fresh and hydrated!
Keep an eye out for other delicious tropical fruits such as mango, papaya and pineapple, and check out the avocados. I don’t think I have ever seen avocados as big as those I have seen at Bourda Market! All the produce, all the colors and the busy, friendly vibe make visiting Bourda Market one of the things to do in Georgetown, Guyana.
Another market to is Starbroek Market – this actually is one of Georgetown, Guyana, landmarks and one of its more famous buildings, thanks to its cast-iron structure, and the clock tower which dates back to the 1700s (although the current structure dates back to the 1880s).
Similar to Bourda Market in terms of what is sold, Starbroek is also a transportation hub, with vans, minibuses and commuter buses all gathering there. This means two things: there is a lot of traffic, and there are pick pockets. So make sure not to bring any valuables there.
The interior of St. George’s Cathedral in Georgetown, Guyana
Visit St. George’s Cathedral
Georgetown St. George’s Cathedral is one of the most iconic buildings in the city. It’s been included in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1995. Thought to be the tallest wooden structure in the world, it was completed in 1892 and has pointed arches, vaulted ceilings and beautiful colonial architecture. The main structure is built from greenheart trees, native of Guyana, very hard and virtually fireproof and bug resistant (quite important, in this tropical country!).
The church is currently under renovation – the bits that have already been renovated are of a beautiful, sheer white!
Learn about Guyana’s Amerindian culture at the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology
Most people who travel to Guyana do so to appreciate its incredible wildlife and nature, as well as to get to know its indigenous peoples and cultures. Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology is a great place to learn more about Guyana’s Amerindian heritage. There are artifacts, exhibits, photographs and a lot of reading material. The permanent exhibition is laid out on two floors. Keep in mind that as with most museums in Georgetown, Guyana, visitors are not allowed to take photos of the interior unless someone is posing in the frame.
To find out more about the Amerindian indigenous culture of Guyana, check this post.
Visit the National Museum of Guyana
Warning: if you are bothered by the sight of stuffed animals, this is not the place for you.
The National Museum of Guyana in Georgetown is a good place to learn more about the country and the bonus is that there is no admission fee. There are exhibits that cover the history of Guyana, with explanations about Amerindian culture; others about colonial expansion and finally about the post colonial times. For those who want to find out more about wildlife in Guyana, there are plenty of stuffed and preserved animals, as well as reptiles and birds. There even is an entire exhibit dedicated to the giant sloth, who lived in the region during the Ice Age and was more than 4 meters tall!
Learn more about the incredible animals that live in Guyana on my post “The Most Amazing Wildlife In Guyana.”
One of the many crumbling yet charming buildings of Georgetown, Guyana
Walk along Main Street
One of the unmissable things to do in Georgetown, Guyana, is taking a stroll down Regent and Main Street. Lined along them, there are some gorgeous old colonial buildings, among which the is the State House, which is where the President of Guyana lives, and the National Gallery, which was founded by Andrew Carnegie and is still a functioning library with lots of antique books inside!
Go to the Botanical Gardens
One of the highlights of visiting the Botanical Gardens of Georgetown, Guyana, is that even though it’s a city park it is an incredible place to bird watch. Another highlight is the Victoria Lilies, which are really huge water lilies that apparently can hold a weight of more than 45 Kg!
Stop at the seawall
To be honest, there isn’t much to see at the seawall other than the ocean, which sadly is of a brown, muddy color. Yet, as this is one of the first historical landmarks of the city, connected with its colonial past, and it runs for miles and miles along the coast, I feel a quick stop is at least a must.
Tour El Dorado Rum Distillery
If you plan to visit Georgetown, Guyana, make sure to go to El Dorado Rum Distillery. All Caribbean countries produce rum, and all of them claim that their rum is the best. Sure enough, Guyana is proud of its El Dorado Rum. After all, Demerara, where Demerara Sugar comes from, is right here! This is one of the finest sugars in the world: it has large grains; it’s fairly crunchy and has a natural caramel color and flavor. It’s easy to see why any rum produced with Demerara sugar canes is delicious!
A tour of El Dorado includes a short visit to the museum, where the old distilling machines are exposed, and of the enormous aging cellar. The best part, however, is the tasting – which includes three samples of different aging. My favorite was actually the youngest one, El Dorado Cask Aged 5 Years: I found it has the most delicate, yet full flavor.
Delven Adams is the chef at the Backyard Café, one of the best restaurants in Georgetown, Guyana
Eat at the Backyard Café
One of the highlights of a visit to Georgetown, Guyana, is eating at the Backyard Café. Chef Delven Adams has established a tiny restaurant literally at his house backyard, in what used to be a neighborhood with high criminality rates. He made it a point to involve the local community in his project: he employs local people; he shops at the local market; he uses local ingredients.
More importantly so, the food at Backyard Café is simply delicious: from the appetizers to the main course; from dessert to the fantastic juices, everything is made from scratch and with the freshest produce.
To learn more about Guyanese cuisine, check out my post “21 Mouthwatering Guyanese Food And Drinks You Need To Try.”
The lovely pool at Duke’s Lodge in Georgetown, Guyana
Stay at a fabulous heritage hotel
Georgetown, Guyana, has a few good hotels that range from international chains to boutique, heritage hotels. My preference always goes to the smaller boutique hotels. Anyways, staying in a lovely hotel is one of the things to do in Georgetown, especially if this is the last stop of a tour of the country which involved roughing it in the Amazon rainforest!
These are the nicest hotels in Georgetown, Guyana:
When to visit Georgetown, Guyana
Guyana knows two seasons: rainy and dry. This means that it’s always hot in Georgetown, Guyana, with the difference that it can be hot and humid; or hot, rainy and humid. I’d recommend avoiding the rain season (between May and August) and opt to visit between September and December. It will be really hot, but at least it won’t rain!
Guyana runs festivals throughout the year, as its population really is multicultural. So, why not go during Diwali or Holi?
How to travel to Georgetown
Cheddi Jagan International Airport is located 41 km south of Georgetown, Guyana. It’s a small airport, but there are several international flights connecting it with other Caribbean countries such as Trinidad and Tobago or Antigua, or to Brazil and Panama. Caribbean Airways has direct flights to New York.
How to move around the city
Unless you are on a guided tour, the best and safest way to move around Georgetown is by taxi. The minibus system seems less than reliable and difficult to use if you are not accustomed to it!
Other useful information
Proof of yellow fever vaccination is a requirement to travel to Guyana. Though Georgetown doesn’t nearly get as many bugs as the Amazon interior, I advice to cover yourself with long sleeve and pants or to apply a good mosquito repellent. I assumed that since I was in a city there wouldn’t be many mosquitoes around, but judging by the number of itchy bites I got, I was wrong!
I also recommend traveling with a good travel insurance. Allianz Travel Insurance is a great one. You can check deals, packages and prices here.
For tips on what to pack for your trip to Guyana, check out this post.
Legal Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Tourism Board of Guyana during my visit, and wish to thank them for the wonderful welcome and the incredible experiences. The views expressed in this post remain my own.
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A trip to Guyana is not complete without a visit to Kaieteur Falls. This is, quite simply, one of the most incredible natural wonders of South America, if not the world, and one of its best kept secrets. Part of Kaieteur National Park, this is the world’s widest single drop waterfall; a fabulous combination of height and volume of water that make it a top attraction of Guyana.
To read more about Guyana, check out my post “13 Absolutely Amazing Things To Do In Guyana.”
I have seen many beautiful waterfalls in the world – Iguazu Falls, between Argentina and Brazil; and Victoria Falls between Zambia and Zimbabwe, among them – but there is something truly spectacular about Kaieteur Falls. And to make the overall experience of visiting even more incredible, people who venture to this remote part of Guyana usually have the entire place to themselves, as this really is off the beaten path.
Let me say it clearly: you should really go as soon as possible, before the world discovers this place!
This post explains everything you need to know before visiting Kaieteur Falls, and shares a few tips on how to organize a trip there. But before getting to the organizational bits, I will give some background information on this marvelous place.
Some Background Information On Kaieteur Falls
How Kaieteur Falls got its name
Kaieteur Falls were “officially” discovered by English explorer C. Barrington Brown in 1870, though the Patamona, an Amerindian indigenous people, had lived here long before he arrived and likely showed him the way to get there.
The name “Kaieteur” derives from the Patamona language, where “Kayik Tuwuk” means Old Man’s, and “teur” means falls – hence Kaieteur Falls means Old Man’s Falls. According to legend, the name is a tribute to a Patamona chief named Kai, who paddled a canoe over the falls and sacrificed himself to the Great Spirit Makonaima to save his people from the Carib tribe. As his people were finally safe, they named the waterfall after him.
This is only one of the many Amerindian legends that can be heard in Guyana. Many more are still passed orally by the indigenous groups that live in the country, in an effort to preserve their culture.
To read more about the impressive effort of the Amerindians peoples to preserve the indigenous culture of Guyana, read this post.
At the rear view of Kaieteur Falls, the National Park looks just stunning
Kaieteur Falls and Kaieteur National Park
Kaieteur Falls is located in the Potaro-Siparuni region of Guyana, in the Guyana Shield – a massive geoformation covered in rainforest and savanna. The area is characterized by an impressive biodiversity, and it’s been the subject of mining interests. However, in 1929 the British government (who at the time was still ruling Guyana), realizing the outstanding natural value of the area, turned it into a national park. This was one of the first conservationist acts in the region of South America and the Caribbean.
Kaieteur Natural Park now counts almost 63000 hectars, and it is heavily protected because of its incredible tourism potential – which itself depends on the place remaining intact.
And intact it is, indeed. Nestled as it is in the Amazon rainforest, nature is pure here, especially when compared to other more famous waterfalls.
At Kaieteur Falls, the Potaro river plummets down a cliff of 250 meters, into Kaieteur National Park. Depending on the season, the falls are between 76 and 122 meters wide.
The National Park is home to various wildlife species, so a visit to Kaieteur Falls is also an excellent occasion for wildlife spotting. Along the trail that approaches the waterfalls it’s possible to see the beautiful scarlet cock-of-the-rock bird. There are also various minuscule golden (highly endangered and just as highly poisonous) frogs that live at the base of the waterfalls. The best time to spot wildlife is actually the early morning, right around sunrise (so it’s an option for those staying there overnight).
It really seems that Kaieteur Falls is birdwatchers and wildlife lovers heaven.
Find out more about the incredible animals that live in Guyana on my post “The Most Amazing Wildlife In Guyana.”
Among the flora in the area of Kaieteur Falls there is the sundew, a natural insecticide plant that apparently eats mosquitoes (so hopefully they don’t eat visitors!); the coula, a rubber plant that can hold 2 times its weight; the capadulla, which is a water vine (a life saver if you get dehydrated in the rainforest!); and the giant tongue bromiliad, which is part of the pineapple family and has huge leaves that can grow to over 2 meters tall.
Kaieteur Falls and the National Park are blissfully isolated. Home to a tiny population of Patamonia Amerindians, it’s a hard to reach destination. This, and the fact that the number of tourists allowed to visit is limited (no more than 6000 visited last year; on the day I visited there was only my group, of a total of 7!) make it completely pristine. It just is a show of nature at its best – one that I hope you get to enjoy.
Moving on, I am going to share some practical tips on how to organize a trip to Kaieur Falls, Guyana, and how to make the most of it.
Flying to Kaieteur Falls, the view from above is breathtaking
Everything You Need To Know To Plan Your Visit To Kaieteur Falls
When to visit Kaieteur Falls
I visited Kaieteur Falls in September, after the rainy season had ended. The vegetation was incredibly lush thanks to the recent rain, but the walkway was dry and mosquito free, and the weather as hot as in the rest of Guyana, though there was a pleasant breeze right at the waterfalls.
Prince Henry visited Kaieteur Falls in December 2016, even more into the dry season, and according to media reports there wasn’t that much water then.
Apparently, depending on the time of year you visit, the paths are flooded with water and can be very slippery.
TIP: Regardless of the time you plan to visit Kaieteur Falls, make sure to wear a pair of good hiking boots and to pack a rain jacket – it can rain any time of year, really (and though it didn’t in the two hours I was there, the clouds promised a lot of rain for the afternoon).
To find out what you need to pack for a trip to the jungle of Guyana, read this post.
How to get to Kaieteur Falls
The are two ways to get to Kaieteur Falls: on a small charter flight for an easy day trip from Georgetown (or other locations in Guyana), or on an overland journey that can last up to five days and that is way more adventurous but significantly less comfortable. In both cases, it’s better to look into Kaieteur Falls tours for organizational purposes.
By plane or on an organized tour
Most people reach Kaieteur Falls for a day trip, by flying to Kaieteur International Airport. This really is nothing more than an airstrip which is a mere 15-minutes walk from the waterfalls and which is beautifully located – the views approaching it are simply breathtaking.
Flying to Kaieteur Falls is not only a comfortable, hassle free way to get there, but it also affords fantastic views of the rainforest and of the actual waterfalls from above.
TIP: Make sure to sit on the right hand side of the plane on the way back, as this gives you one last view of the waterfalls from above.
Flights to Kaieteur Falls leave from both Georgetown’s airport – Cheddi Jagan International Airport and Ogle Airport, which is actually much closer to the city. It takes around 45 minutes to get there.
Although there are many companies that fly to Kaieteur Falls (among them Trans Guyana Airways, Air Services Limited and Air Guyana), it’s important to keep in mind that the aircrafts generally require a minimum number of passengers to operate the flight (it could be anything between 4 and 12). In other words, flights don’t depart if there aren’t enough reservations, or if the weather conditions are not good.
TIP: Make sure to be a bit flexible and prepared for a change of plans, so schedule a few days in Georgetown just to make sure that you do get to Kaieteur Falls (there is plenty to do there: stay tuned as I will be writing more about it!). Or else, be ready to charter an entire plane!
There are also flights departing from other locations in Guyana. I traveled from Rock View Lodge, in Annai, which has its own airstrip. The flight took around 90 minutes.
The best way to book the trip is via a local agent in Georgetown. It costs between $120 USD and $220 per person. There also are organized tours that include extra stops at other sites and other amenities such as a nice packed lunch. The prices vary between $300 and $500.
Various companies organize Kaieteur Falls tours, including the operators of Guyana’s Tourism Authority. Otherwise, you may want to opt for a full tour of Guyana that includes a stop at the falls.
These are some good tours of Guyana that all stop at Kaieteur Falls:
The sheer beauty of Kaieteur Falls is enhanced by the fact that there aren’t many visitors to the site!
Exploring the grounds
Kaieteur Falls day tours are pretty much all organized the same way, as the National Park only has one airstrip and each flight is allowed to two hours on the ground inside the park. It may sound like it is not enough time to explore, but since chances are that the only visitors to the park will be those on the flight (so really, there are no more than 12 people at the site at the same time!), this means that you won’t have to dodge any crowd, making it way easier to explore (and immensely more enjoyable).
Furthermore, a guide meets visitors and takes them around the park, so there is no such thing as getting lost or wasting time finding the way to the viewpoints.
There are 5 viewpoints overlooking Kaieteur Falls, though two have been closed as they are too close to the waterfalls. I really enjoyed the views from Boy Scout View (named after the boy scouts who arrived there and camped at the exact spot after a strenuous overland trip) and from Rainbow View (from where it’s possible to see the rainbow inside the waterfalls).
The view changes ever so slightly from each lookout point, but it’s always impressive.
TIP: Make sure to take in the view of Kaieteur Falls, and then turn around. The view of the valley below, with the Potaro River making its way through it, is simply impressive!
SAFETY TIP: There are no guardrails to stop falling off the cliffs, so make sure to stay safe and don’t get too close to the edges!
The guided visit also includes a walk in the forest, to spot the famous cock-of-the-rock (I got to see four!) and go in search of other wildlife, and to get to know the local flora too.
On an organized overland expedition
The overland expedition to Kaieteur Falls is meant for hard core adventurers, and involves a boat ride upstream, tough hikes and overnight camping in the jungle.
It takes around 5 days to get to Kaieteur Falls from Georgetown, where the trip start with an 8 hours (but it could be more, depending on the road conditions) bus ride via Linden to reach Mahdia, a mining township, and then onto the Pamela Landing on the Potaro River.
On the second day, the boat departs to travel upstream towards Amatuk Falls and then Waratuk Falls, famous for the beautiful natural pools. Then, it will be a couple of days hike to get to the base of Kaieteur Mountain, and a final three to four hour hike to get to the final ascent leading to Kaieteur Falls. The return journey to Georgetown is by charter flight.
This is probably a more rewarding way of getting to Kaieteur Falls, and the adventurer in me says I would enjoy it, but after having been on 3 short hikes (you can read about them here) and having literally melted in the heat of Guyana, I’d have to think about this challenge quite carefully before embarking on it.
Various adventure tour operators organize overland trips to Kaieteur Falls. Among them, Wilderness Explorers and Dragon Tours.
Whichever way you pick to visit Kaieteur Falls, make sure that you are covered by the yellow fever vaccination (it is required to enter the country, anyways), that you apply sunblock and mosquito repellent, and that you have a good travel insurance cover. I recommend Allianz Travel Insurance. You can check out deal, packages and prices here.
Visiting Kaieteur Falls is a once in a life time experience: the sheer beauty of the site, the fact that it’s such a private experience, the fact that it is so unspoiled make it special!
Have you ever been to Guyana and visited Kaieteur Falls? What did you enjoy the most about it?
Legal Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Tourism Board of Guyana during my visit, and wish to thank them for the wonderful welcome and the incredible experiences. The views expressed in this post remain my own.
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Picking the right jungle clothes and deciding what to pack for a trip to the Amazon basin is easier said than done. That’s why I have decided to put together a packing list to make things easier for you.
With the amount of traveling I do, I have become a pro at packing, for just about any kind of trip. I have plenty of hiking clothes (I hike so much that my closet is packed with hiking pants and rainproof jackets!); safari clothes, thanks to a recent trip to southern Africa; and after having traveled to Guyana I also have a good deal of jungle clothing.
I have become so good at packing that it now takes me no more than one hour to pack before a trip, and I do it right before walking out the door to catch my flight. Gone are the days when I’d agonize over what to pack and I’d end up carrying my entire closet on my back (I remember once my backpack weighted 18 kg, and I literally bent over the weight!). I was so bad at it that I even admitted being an unsuccessful backpacker.
Read why I call myself an unsuccessful backpacker in this post.
The Challenge Of Packing The Right Jungle Clothes
A recent trip to Guyana, however, proved challenging in terms of packing. The trip organizers sent out a detailed packing list, but some items on it made absolutely no sense to me. I was asked to bring a 10 meters long paracord – which I didn’t bring because (errr!) I don’t actually know what that is (and thankfully I was never asked to use it!). I was warned to pack as light as possible (which I am ok with). And obviously, I was told to pack a good deal of jungle clothes.
But, for as detailed as the Amazon packing list I had was, I wish there were some items I took with me, and others I had left home. So, for all those of you who are planning to visit Guyana soon (which you will be, since it’s an absolutely incredible country), I have put together a packing list which includes all the jungle clothes you will need, and a few other essential items, and I have also listed what you really should leave at home instead.
However, before I tell you what to actually pack, let me go over a few things you need to keep in mind when picking your jungle clothes.
What You Should Know Before Packing Your Jungle Clothes
You need to pack light
A trip to the Amazon basin in Guyana is not like any other. There’s no luxury involved, nothing fancy about it, and chances are you will get dirty, sweaty, muddy most of the time. So, don’t pack anything precious with your jungle clothes.
Furthermore, chances are that you will be moving around quite a bit, on a combination of tiny charter flights (for which weight restrictions are taken seriously, and prior to the flight every single item is weighted: bags, food supplies and passengers too), small boats and 4×4 rides along bumpy roads. Space is always limited, and there will be weight restrictions in place. This means that your Amazon packing list has to be kept to the absolute essentials.
It’s hot in the jungle
When putting together your Amazon packing list for Guyana, keep in mind the weather conditions. Guyana is pretty much located on the equator. There are two seasons: dry (from September to December) and rainy. I obviously recommend visiting during the dry season (though keep in mind there can be showers even then). What hardly changes throughout the year is the average temperature, which stays between a balmy 29 and 32 degrees Celsius during the day, and hardly decreases at night.
It wouldn’t seem so bad, right? Temperatures during the summer get even higher than that in southern Europe, after all. However, a factor that has to be considered is the humidity. It makes the air heavy, and the perceived temperatures much higher: the minute you get out of air-con (which by the way isn’t really a thing outside of Georgetown) the air becomes literally thick – even the slightest form of exercise results in profuse sweating. So much for keeping your nice jungle clothes clean!
Long sleeve tops and pants are a must
Bugs, mice, mosquitoes, chiggers and other small parasites love the jungle as much as we do (possibly more). Such thick vegetation and humidity provide the perfect environment for them to thrive. This means two things: no matter how hot it is, forget about wearing tank tops, shorts and flip flops unless you like the idea of itching like like a mad man (your jungle clothes should all be long sleeve tops and pants); and wear a good insect repellent on any inch of skin that remains exposed.
As well as the right (non) colors
I learned the importance of wearing the right colors when I went on a safari in Africa. Bright colors attract insects, whereas neutral colors such as mauve and khaki are best to view wildlife (there is a great deal of wildlife in Guyana – check my post to discover more) and are not as attractive to bugs. The same reasoning should apply when picking the right jungle clothes for Guyana, for wildlife spotting is a thing there.
See what I wore in Africa on my post “What To Wear On Safari.”
Clothes take forever to dry
When I had to pack for my trip to Guyana, I was thorn between taking many changes of clothes, or just rely on washing whatever I wore daily. In the end, I washed most of my clothes at the end of every day, since I could rely on the fact that I’d spend 2 nights in most of the places I visited. However, keep in mind that with such high humidity, unless clothes are hang to dry in the sun, it take a good while for them to dry (do not expect them to dry overnight!). Make sure your jungle clothes are made with light, quick dry fabric.
A 28 liters Cabin Zero proved to be perfect for my trip.
Jungle Clothes And Other Essential Items To Add To Your Amazon Packing List
The Backpack And The Daypack
The first thing to consider when putting together an Amazon packing list is the kind of bag you want to carry. Having established that you will need to pack more or less light, what you travel with depends on the kind of trip you will be going on.
For a soft adventure trip like the one I did, a 40 liters Cabin Zeroor something similar, or a similar size trolley is just perfect: it will feet all your jungle clothes, shoes and other essentials and it won’t take too much space on the boat, or on the plane.
If, on the other hand, you plan to go on a hard core adventure, you will need a good backpack. Osprey is my go to brand. I am a fan of the Ariel 65 (the equivalent for men is the Aether 70). Kestrel 68 (for men) and Kyte 66 (for women) are excellent alternatives. All of them are spacious enough to hold all your essential jungle clothes and whatever else you may need for the trip.
However, keeping in mind you want to keep weight down as much as possible, I’d suggest going with the Tempest 40(for women) or with the Stratos 50 (for men). I have used my Tempest 40 on a recent trip to Catalunya, where I had to carry around my backpack for the whole day even when hiking, and found it comfortable and able to carry just the right amount of clothes. It probably is the best choice for an Amazon packing list.
With regards to the daypack, I traveled with a 28 liters khaki Cabin Zero, and found the backpack to be comfortable and to hold everything I needed. One thing I did miss, though, was having side pockets to keep bottles of water handy. So, it’s probably a good idea to opt for an Osprey Daylite Plus.
A proper Amazon packing list shall include a camera
One of the nicest things to do in Guyana is taking hundreds of photos of the unique, breathtaking landscape and of the beautiful wildlife. This is the kind of place where you will wake up to the call of howler monkeys; where if you may spot the elusive jaguar as it runs off into the forest; where the cock of the rock will show bright and orange against the thick green layers of the jungle. Make sure that your Amazon packing list includes the right camera gear that will allow you to take beautiful photos of what you’ll see.
Other than your smartphone (I am a huge fan of iPhones), which is perfect for taking quick videos while walking around in the jungle, make sure to carry a good DSLR camera (I have a Nikon D3300 which is nice and easy to use) and a couple of good lenses. I had an 18-105 millimeters which proved good for landscape photography (I used it to take photos of Kaieteur Falls, both on land and from the plane). I also took my 70-300 millimeters lens, which is best for shooting wildlife.
If you are into action, also take a Go Pro or a steady cam.
To fit all this camera gear and a few more accessories and things, take a good daypack. I am a fan of the Osprey Daylite Plus and of the Cabin Zero 28 liters.
For more things to do in Guyana, head over to my post “13 Absolutely Amazing Things To Do In Guyana.”
Essential Jungle Clothes
This is an list of jungle clothes and a few other items that you must include in your Amazon packing list:
2 pairs of loose fitting hiking pants in neutral colors (remember what I said: bright colors attract insects!). I had my Kuhl Cliffside Convertible pants (which I never converted, by the way!) and my Hykr pants.
A pair of cotton pants. I like ali-baba pants, even though they are not the most flattering, because they are lose and comfortable. The bonus is that they are usually made with cotton, and they are easy to wash and dry.
3 or 4 long sleeve t-shirts, better if cotton and also in neutral colors. Make sure they are easy to wash and dry. I took my Kuhl Sora t-shirt which I have in several colors, and my Wunderer shirt.
3 or 4 tank tops – you can wear them under the shirt, to soak up the sweat (I know, gross!) and keep you cool.
4 or 5 pairs of underwear and the same amount of socks – make sure the socks are lightweight cotton. I had a pair that was rather thick and my feet almost exploded in them, as it was so hot.
3 sports bra for the ladies: they are more comfortable than the regular stuff, and in the heat all we want is to at least be comfortable, if not cool!
A long sleeve and long pants pajama – either that, or jungle clothes that you can happily wear to bed too. I know it sounds crazy to sleep in anything but your underwear in such heat, but insects and other creatures do get in the room when in the jungle (besides, what if you sleep in a hammock like I did after hiking?). Besides, despite mosquito nets anything can get in your bed (I had a small mouse in my bed one night, stuck inside the mosquito net with me!).
A rain jacket or poncho: even in the dry season, rain can suddenly come in the Amazon. I was walking along the Canopy Walk at Iwokrama Rainforest when it started pouring and I had to rush back to the lodge, getting soaking wet on the way. A good rain jacket or poncho is an essential item to add to your Amazon packing list. I have a fantastic Kuhl Airstorm Rain Jacket.
Leave At Home
Things you don’t really need to include in your Amazon packing list, on the other hand, are:
Shorts: there really is no use for them. I wore them in Georgetown thinking there would be less mosquitoes than in the jungle, and ended up being covered in bites and itching for days.
Leggings, jeans or tight pants: I brought a pair of leggings with me and literally melted in them. They really do not belong to an Amazon packing list. The same goes for anything tight (it’s too hot to wear tight clothes, and mosquitoes can pick right through it!) or jeans (they were included in my suggested packing list, but I am unable to wear them when it’s hot so didn’t bring them).
An extra cardi or light sweater: I used mine only during the flight. Other than that, it is always too hot to even conceive the thought of wearing something warm.
A pair of good hiking boots: a proper Amazon packing list can’t do without. I have been wearing the same Dolomite pair for ages (they aren’t really available outside of Italy). They are so comfortable that when the sole got completely worn out I had them resoled. You’ll need something with extra ankle support, especially if you plan to hike a bit, because the forest can get extremely muddy and slippery. Besides, you will want to keep your ankles covered to avoid mosquito and chigger bites (I only know too well!). Columbia makes some excellent hiking boots, like these ones.
Check out my post about the nicest hikes I did in Guyana.
An extra pair of shoes: this is totally up to you, but I was glad to have something more lightweight that I could wear around the camp at night. I took a pair of Converse All Stars but going back I would opt for a pair of light canvas shoes. They are much lighter to carry, and go well with jungle clothes.
A pair of sandals: I took my usual Hawaianas flip flops, which are great to get in the shower and I find comfortable to walk around, but a pair of Teva sandals are also great, especially as you can wear them with socks at night – your feet will get a break, and you won’t get eaten alive by mosquitoes and other insects. I know that wearing sandals with socks isn’t exactly glamorous, but when in the jungle, I hardly think anyone is bothered!
Beauty and Personal Care
A proper Amazon packing list needs to include a few essential items that will be much needed in the jungle. Other than the obvious stuff – which you do need to carry, because the lodges in the rainforest only offer soap in terms of toiletries, here’s what I recommend taking.
Sunscreen: the sun is intense on this part of the world, so you need to protect your skin accordingly. I opted for a SPF 100, though I tend to burn easily. A good quality SPF 50 should be plenty. In any case, make sure to reapply sunscreen throughout the day.
Sunscreen lip balm: we always protect the skin, but forget to protect the lips! They are delicate too, you know?
Sunscreen spray: when the temperature is too hot, the last thing we want on our face is a thick layer of cream. A goodsunscreen spray is lighter in texture but just as effective, and it won’t stain all your nice jungle clothes.
Water mist spray: seems futile, right? Believe me, when the heat of the jungle strikes, you will be glad to have this little Evian water mist spray that will instantly refresh you. I didn’t have one with me, but thankfully one of my travel mates made sure to include it in her Amazon packing list so I occasionally snatched it from her.
Face and baby wipes: they are light and easy to carry, and much needed after a hike. They are also perfect to remove the thick layer of insect repellent and sunscreen before going to bed, and a must if camping in the jungle overnight.
Hand sanitizer: it will come in handy any time you have to use the bush toilet, especially if camping overnight.
The perfect jungle clothes are long sleeve shirts and pants
Insect Repellent And Itch Creams
If you are even remotely similar to me, mosquitoes are big fans of you. You want to avoid being bitten, not only because it gets itchy and annoying, but also because of malaria and yellow fever risks. Make sure to apply copious amounts of mosquito repellent, preferably with DEET. I opted for a 50% one, but it’s a bit oily. There also are lighter options. Either way, make sure that you include it in your Amazon packing list.
You may also want to consider a clothing treatment, whereby your jungle clothes get sprayed with repellent that stays for up to 30 washes (you can either do it yourself, or take it to specialized places to do this for you).
Other things I recommend carrying are mosquito repellent patches or bracelets – just so as not to leave any chances on those mosquitoes.
In case that, despite all precautions, you get bitten, make sure to have a good itch cream (preferably with cortisone) to treat the bites immediately. Chigger bites itch badly, but if you don’t want to make it worse, don’t scratch it (it will only inflame the bites) and apply a good cortisone cream. If you fear you may get an allergic reaction to bites, make sure to also pack some benadryl antihistamine tablets that you can swallow with some water. It takes up to 3 weeks for the bites to heal fully.
Another thing I’d take, just in case, is tea tree oil. Its smells keeps the bugs away, and its healing powers are well known: applying a drop on a bite will immediately soothe it.
By the way, remember that there are still malaria and yellow fever warnings for Guyana, so you will need to show proof of having a yellow fever vaccination in order to enter the country, and I also recommend you get a good travel insurance. Allianz has some good travel insurance packages. You can check them out here.
First Aid Kit
I take a first aid kit with me pretty much on any trip. Sure enough, I had to include one in my Amazon packing list. This should have: paracetamol or any other pain relief tablets; imodium or other diarrhea medications; bandaids and bandages; a good antiseptic cream and antiseptic wipes; a cortisone cream; steristrips; hydration tablets(ideally, you’ll be drinking plenty of water and juice throughout the day, but the heat is fierce and you may need extra help!)
Binoculars are a nice addition to an Amazon packing list
Miscellaneous Stuff To Add To Your Amazon Packing List
Other things you will want to include in your Amazon packing list are a good hat to protect your head from the sun – personally, I think I look silly in a hat, but I had to wear it as the sun was really getting to me! Besides, the right hat can match even the nicest jungle clothes.
Sunglasses are a must during the day, to protect your eyes from the fierce light. And another must to include in your Amazon packing list is a head lamp or a torch, which will be needed at night as there often is no electricity around the lodge, and even less so when camping in the wild. Make sure to take one with a red light option, to keep bugs away.
Make sure to take a power bank: there is no phone reception at all in the jungle, but if you plan to use your smartphone for photos and videos, it make come in handy to have a bit extra power, so I recommend adding it to your Amazon Packing list.
Binoculars are a nice add on, if you have room in your luggage. You’ll need them any time there is any cool bird around (which is pretty much every day) or if you are lucky enough to spot a jaguar (I was, by the way!).
A water bottle is a must. There is no garbage disposal in the Amazon basin of Guyana, and though the indigenous communities due their best to protect their environment, plastic waste is still an issue. A refillable water bottle significantly reduces the amount of plastic you consume, so make sure to include it in your packing list. I have a steel one which is wonderful, as it keeps my water cold for hours.
Read more about the indigenous communities of the Rupununi region of Guyana in this post.
If you enjoy reading, make sure to include a nice book (or a Kindle) in your Amazon packing list. You probably want to include it even if you are not much of a reader. Tv is not a thing in the Amazon basin, let alone the internet. You will want to keep yourself entertained once you are back at the lodge at night!
One last thing I’d include in an Amazon packing list (and which I regret not bringing) is snacks. Don’t get me wrong, food in Guyana is delicious (you can read more about it in this post), but on those long boat rides a snack such as a protein bar or a trail mix wouldn’t hurt.
I recommend getting travel insurance whenever you get out of the country. You definitely want to get a good one if you plan to visit a remote place as the jungle of Guyana, especially as there still are cases of yellow fever and malaria there! (Also remember that yellow fever vaccination is required to enter the country) I recommend using Allianz Travel Insurance. You can get a quote here.
A trip to the Amazon basin of Guyana is by no means a comfortable one. Forget about looking pretty, and make sure you actually feel comfortable. Pick jungle clothes that are, more than anything else, smart. Protect yourself against the heat and the insects; drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables to make sure you get a good dose of fibers and sugars.
By all means have fun!
Have you ever been to the Amazon? What are you essential jungle clothes?
Legal Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Tourism Board of Guyana during my visit, and wish to thank them for the wonderful welcome and the incredible experiences. The views expressed in this post remain my own.
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