3 Short Yet Challenging Hikes In Guyana

3 Short Yet Challenging Hikes In Guyana

There are several nice hikes in Guyana. Most people who visit this beautiful country in South America do so in order to enjoy its nature and wildlife, and hiking is a great way to get closer to nature. The country, famous for its thick rainforest, does have some nice mountains that make for some great hikes. Roraima, with its 2810 meters and marking the border with Brazil and Venezuela, is the most famous one – though the hike can officially only be done via Venezuela.

To discover more about Guyana, head over to my post “13 Amazing Things To Do In Guyana.” And if you care to find out more about its wildlife, read my post “The Most Amazing Wildlife in Guyana.”

You know me, and how much I love hiking. I try to do that wherever I go. Sure enough, I didn’t want to miss on the opportunity to go hiking in Guyana, and despite the terrible heat and humidity I made the most of it and truly enjoyed the experience.

This post highlights 3 nice, short yet challenging hikes in Guyana that I have the chance to do when I visited, and provides some tips to make the most of the experience.

hikes in Guyana

The sunset view from Awarmie Mountain makes this one of the top hikes in Guyana

3 Short Yet Challenging And Rewarding Hikes In Guyana

Awarmie Mountain Hike

The one to Awarmie Mountain is one of the nicest hikes in Guyana, and a classic for anybody who visits the North Rupununi region. The overall hike is about 1.7 km long – which isn’t much at all; and the peak is located at around 300 meters above sea level – which, again, isn’t much at all.

Yet between the heat and the humidity, the steepness of the trail and the muddy, uneven terrain (which apparently is the normality when hiking in Guyana), I found this hike as hard as some of the hikes I have done at a good altitude, such as the hikes in the Dolomites I did last summer.

The trail starts at the bottom of the mountain, and it is fairly easy to follow. It goes through some agricultural land where some people of the Rewa community live and work – here it is possible to see how they cultivate cassava and how they prepare farine.

Most of the trail is in the shade, as it goes through the thick forest – but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t hot! The initial part of the trail is quite flat, but soon after crossing the indigenous settlement the trail becomes steep, and on several points it is necessary to to hold on to the railings.

The first view point, from where there is a stunning view of the river, is at about 20 minutes walk from the starting point. After that, the only other view is from the top. Once the view opens up, it becomes clear why this is one of the nicest hikes in Guyana. It is simply splendid!

It shouldn’t take more than one hour and 15 minutes from the starting point to the peak. It took me around 50 – but I sprinted up a bit because I was really looking forward to the view, which was nothing short of stunning (easy to see why to me this is one of the must do hikes in Guyana!). In one direction, there are uninterrupted views of the Rupununi River and the Kanaku Mountains in the distance. In the other direction, the view goes all the way to the Iwokrama Mountains in the distance, and the Makarapan Mountain, much closer.

Important things to note when hiking Awarmie Mountain

Classified as a moderate hike, this (as many of the hikes in Guyana) turns out to be more on the difficult side for anyone who is not accustomed to the heat of this part of the world. The overall hike (there and back) takes little over 2 hours.

Rewa Ecolodge organizes guided hikes to Awarmie Mountain, providing transportation (a boat ride) to the starting point; setting up a camp (hammocks, mosquito nets and a dug out toilet) at the top, so it is possible to spend the night there and waking up to a magnificent sunrise; and providing meals and water to drink. The overall experience is amazing, making this one of the most beautiful hikes in Guyana.

How to reach Awarmie Mountain

The best starting point to hike Awarmie Mountain is Rewa Ecolodge. From there, it is a short boat ride (around 20 minutes).

hikes in Guyana

As far as hiking in Guyana, Surama is one of the best!

Surama Mountain Hike

When visiting Surama, it is pretty much a must to hike Surama Mountain. It is one of the nicest hikes in Guyana. The trail is longer than the one to Awarmie Mountain – a total of a bit less than 7 km there and back; but like Awarmie, the peak (well, at least the highest point that can be reached on the trail) sits at a bit less than 300 meters above sea level.

Once again, between the heat, the steepness and the terrain the hike can be rather difficult. Virtually all of the hike is in the shade, as it goes through the forest. The first part of the hike is nice and flat, though the terrain is rather uneven as it follows a creek (where there is no water during the dry season).

However, at about one third of the way the path starts going uphill, and it becomes steep and more difficult as it is necessary to climb over several unsteady rocks, and there isn’t much to hold on to.

As opposed to other hikes in Guyana, such as Awarmie Mountain, there are no in between view points here. In order to get a view it is necessary to go all the way to the top. Once there, this opens up all the way to Surama, showing the village and the mountains in the distance.

Important things to note when hiking Surama Mountain

Like most hikes in Guyana, the hike to Surama Mountain is classified as a moderate difficulty one. Once again, it is the heat that causes most of the difficulty. The top can be reached in around one hour and 10 minutes, and it takes just as much to get back to the starting point (so calculate around 2 and a half hours for the entire hike).

Once at the top, there is a very limited space from where to enjoy the view and it is not possible to camp overnight.

As it is necessary to walk all the way back, make sure to keep track of the timing as there isn’t much light in the forest even well before the sun goes down. Make sure to carry a torch or a headlamp to be on the safe side.

How to reach Surama Mountain

The best starting point to hike Surama Mountain is Surama Ecolodge, where it is possible to hire a guide (it’s probably a good idea, because the forest is so thick that it is easy to get lost) and from where it is possible to catch a ride to the beginning of the trail.

hiking in Guyana

Iwokrama is one of the nicest nature walks in Guyana

Iwokrama Forest Trail

The Iwokrama Forest Trail is more a nature walk than an actual hike. However, since there is a steep part that requires some puffing up a hill, I like to mention it among the hikes in Guyana.

The trail goes through the forest to reach Iwokrama Canopy Walkway, and it is a fantastic way to appreciate the thick jungle of Guyana. It isn’t a difficult trail at all, save for the 160 steps that must be climbed to reach the starting point of the Canopy Walkway, and for the fact that the area tends to be very wet and muddy.

The trail is about 1 km long from its starting point at Atta Lodge to the beginning of the Canopy Walkway, though the actual trail goes on for much longer into the forest. I would have gladly walked some more of it, where it not for the fact that I was caught in a thunderstorm the minute I made it to the Canopy Walkway and had to run back to the lodge for shelter.

The trail is a great place to observe more of the local flora and fauna, with several kinds of trees clearly signaled for visitors.

Important things to note when walking in Iwokrama Forest

This is more a leisurely walk than a real hike, but the terrain gets muddy so it is easy to slip and fall. Wearing good boots is a must! The trail is fairly easy to follow, but keep in mind that as the forest is very thick, there isn’t much light as soon as the sun starts to go down. It’s better to carry a torch.

How to reach Iwokrama Forest

Iwokrama Forest can be easily reached from Atta Lodge, one of nicest community lodges in Guyana, which is actually set right in the middle of it.

hikes in Guyana

The best time to set for hiking in Guyana is the early morning

The Best Time For Hiking in Guyana

Guyana knows two season: the dry one is between September and December, and the rainy one in December and January and May to July. The main difficulty when hiking in Guyana is the terrible heat, and there is no way to avoid it. The best time to go hiking in Guyana, then, is during the dry season, when there are less chances of rain.

Tips For Hiking In Guyana

Go early in the day (or later in the afternoon)

The hikes in Guyana that I have mentioned can all be walked in a couple of hours or little more. As I have said before, the best time for hiking in Guyana is during the dry season. Either way, however, it will be hot. Having said so, even though the heat in Guyana is pretty much incessant, I still recommend avoiding the central hours of the day, when there is no escaping the sun. Make sure to go either early in the morning, or in the late afternoon.

Dress appropriately

Though one may be tempted to wear tank tops and shorts to get a little break from the terrible heat of Guyana, it is important to note that in this country malaria-carrying mosquitoes and other insects such as ticks and chiggers are an issue. It’s better to wear long pants, a light cotton long sleeve shirt, and good hiking boots that hold the ankle. Make sure to also wear a hat, and regularly apply sunblock and mosquito repellent.

I will soon be writing a post on what to pack for Guyana, which will include plenty of tips on what you should carry should you intend to hike.

Drink lots of water

In the heat of Guyana, it is easy to get dehydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water during a hike – carry at least a liter even on shorter hikes, more for longer ones. Water gets warm quite fast because of the heat, so a flask that holds the temperature may be the best solution.

Other tips for hiking in Guyana

Most of the hikes in Guyana that I have described in this post are on the easy side for anyone used to hiking. However, save for Iwokrama, the trails aren’t well marked and between that and the fact that the forest is very thick, it is easy to get lost. I recommend hiring the services of a local guide to take you around, and to give back to the local community.

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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Guyana, in South America, is a fantastic destination for nature lovers. Learn more about the most amazing hikes in Guyana | Guyana Travel #guyananice via @clautavani

10 Tips For Successfully Fishing In Guyana

10 Tips For Successfully Fishing In Guyana

Fishing in Guyana is a must. It is a great way to appreciate the nature and wildlife of this incredible country, not to mention it is a lot of fun. Arapaima fishing is one of the most popular activities for people who visit Guyana. It is a catch and release kind of fishing, as this – the largest scaled freshwater fish in the world – is a highly protected fish.

To discover more about all there is to do in Guyana, read my post “13 Amazing Things To Do In Guyana.”

The Relationship Between Indigenous Communities And Fishing In Guyana

The indigenous communities pay close attention to make sure that poachers stay away from arapaimas – of which a new species was identified in 2016. In fact, they keep an eye on the local environment to make sure that arapaimas don’t suffer due to shortage of water in the dry season, and go through lengthy and laborious ordeals to save them if they notice that they are in danger (such thing happened in 2016 in Rewa, when the locals noticed that the level of water in a pond inhabited by arapaimas got dangerously low).

To discover more unique animals in Guyana, read my post “The Most Amazing Wildlife In Guyana.”

Fish in Guyana is a big part of the daily diet of locals, not only on the coast and in Georgetown, but even in the Amazon basin. Here, the indigenous populations often eat meals made of grilled or fried fish and farine (a cous cous looking meal that is made of cassava). Chicken is another common food, as it is easy to farm and get hold of. Beef, on the other hand, doesn’t have a strong presence in Guyanese cuisine, at least not in the Rupununi region: due to the lack of electricity (those who have it rely on solar panels or generators) there are no fridges to store it.

fishing in Guyana

One of the scary looking fish in Guyana: vampire fish.

My Experience Fishing In Guyana

I didn’t go arapaima fishing. I guess I am honestly too small to catch the largest fish in Guyana. Or perhaps when I visited it was not the right time to do it. However, I went piranha fishing and though I was initially reluctant to do it (the only other time I went fishing was in Bolivia, where I unsuccessfully tried to catch a piranha), I must say it was one of the highlights of my trip.

My fishing expedition was highly successful, probably because I was very lucky rather than because of my incredible skills. Anyways, I caught some 15 fish among piranhas and other crazy looking fish of Guyana I didn’t even know existed. Some of it was released immediately back after I caught it. Some other was subsequently barbecued and eaten.

Without wanting to be an expert on fishing in Guyana, based on what I learned in my time in the country, in this post I will share some tips for those who plan to travel to this incredible country and want to give it a try.

fishing in Guyana

Larvae have an essential role when fishing in Guyana

10 Tips For Fishing In Guyana

Go out bright and early

The climate in Guyana is unforgiving. It is unmistakably hot and humid, with the sun bright in the sky as early as 6:00 am (Guyana is pretty much on the Equator). The best way to enjoy fishing in Guyana is by going out nice and early, right after the sun is out. Though it is not nearly as hot on the water as it is on land, the sun is fierce and it is better to stay away from it in the peak hours.

Dress appropriately

Much like in the rest of the country, dressing appropriately is important when fishing in Guyana. If the jungle is home to all sorts of bugs, rest assured that they will be flying all over even on water. The only way to protect against them is wearing long pants, a long sleeves shirt or top, and applying mosquito repellent with deet. Don’t forget to wear sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen too.

Stay tuned as I will be writing a detailed packing list for Guyana.

fishing in Guyana

Small fish has an essential role when fishing in Guyana

Ask the locals to show you how it is done

Unless you travel with your own fishing equipment, the best way to go about fishing in Guyana is by asking the locals to help and show how it is done in the traditional way. Rewa Ecolodge, in North Rupununi, organizes fishing expeditions for its guests.

The first stop actually is in the jungle, to go in search of a good stick or branch that can be used as a fishing rod. With a few touches, the guides apply a fishing line and a hook. They make it look gracefully easy. If you want to give it a try, make sure you carry your own knife or scissors.

The next step to go fishing in Guyana is getting the bait. The local Amerindian communities generally use some very small bait (typically a larva that nestles in the nut of fruits fallen from trees), which is used to catch small fish, which is then itself used to catch larger fish. The larger fish is then cut in chunks and used as bait for more fish.

Beat the water with the rod

Whenever fishing in Guyana, make sure to beat the water hard with your rod. I can’t quite explain why it is done – something to do with attracting the fish, who gets confused with the movement thinking that there is some good, easy bait there. I saw the locals do it and I can say it actually works. Make some good noise on the water, make it turn around.

Be a little bit patient

I am the least patient person in the world, but fishing in Guyana requires a tiny bit of patience. The good news is that there’s so much fish in the Amazon basin (I went fishing in the Rupununi River, near Rewa Ecolodge), that it doesn’t take long for it to bait.

The even better news is that the “be silent, don’t make a sound” recommendations that typically accompany fishing in most places (this is definitely the case in Sardinia) are not a thing in this country. I spent my time fishing in Guyana cheerfully chatting with my friends on the boat, encouraging each other to catch more fish.

fishing in Guyana

I was quite successful when fishing in Guyana!

When you feel a nudge, it’s time to pull

The key to successful fishing in Guyana is to pull without hesitation the minute you feel something nudging on your hook, and a slight yet persistent pull on your rod. Stand up and don’t be afraid to pull. Once you finally have the fish out of the water, pull it all the way to the boat. You may want to pose for a photo – I did: after all, it is not like I go fishing every day!

Check the size of the fish

Fishing in Guyana is done in a sustainable way, so only the biggest fish is caught and kept. Once you pull the fish out of the water, assess the size. If you determine the fish is quite big, pull it on the boat. On the other hand, make sure to release the small fish. Piranhas are full of bones and their meat is actually very dry, so there won’t be much to feed on if the fish is too small. The same goes for other kinds of fish like the scary looking vampire fish.

Release the fish on the boat

Once you assess that the fish is big enough to keep it, pull it on the boat and and release it from the hook. Be extra careful as both piranhas and vampire fish have very large and sharp teeth! (I admit I had the local guide do this for me, as I wasn’t too keen on touching a piranha with my bare hands!).

Keep using fresh bait

Piranhas are voracious eaters. More often than not, they manage eating the bait off the hook without getting caught. The key to being successful when fishing in Guyana is to continuously use fresh bait, as this gets either eaten or consumed by the water. Piranhas can smell blood and thus having fresh bait is the key to continue catching them.

fish in Guyana

Fishing in Guyana always ends with a delicious impromptu meal.

Eat what you fish

As I have already said, fishing in Guyana is done in a sustainable way. Most of the time it is catch and release, and if this is not the case, the fish is eaten. I would have never accepted to do it had I not known that I would at least be eating what I caught.

At the end of my fishing expedition, we found a really good spot and Rewa Ecolodges guides prepared a very traditional barbecue, using wood they found in the forest to create a grid and to then light a fire to cook the fish, which was seasoned with local spices. It was a superb, tasty, light and healthy lunch at the end of a fun morning. The best way to celebrate fishing in Guyana.

Have you ever been to Guyana? Do you think you’d enjoy fishing in Guyana too?

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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Learn 10 useful tips for successful fishing in Guyana via @clautavani

Guyana, in South America, is a country that has a lot to offer to its visitors. One of the best things to do there is fishing. Find out ten tips to do it successfully | #guyana #southamerica via @clautavani

13 Absolutely Amazing Things To Do In Guyana

13 Absolutely Amazing Things To Do In Guyana

Not many travelers make the effort to visit Guyana. It’s a real pity, because there are many unique and incredible things to do in Guyana that make it a fabulous place to explore.

Why You Should Travel To Guyana

There are many reasons to travel to Guyana. Nestled between Brazil, Venezuela and Suriname, in South America, this country has a lot to offer to anybody who loves raw adventure. It is incredibly authentic – and that’s perhaps what I enjoyed the most about it. In a way, it reminded me of Nicaragua, for it has yet to be polished up for mass tourism. And that’s a good thing, in my opinion.

This is the kind of place I’d recommend exploring before the masses discover it – and that is bound to happen soon, for it is breathtakingly beautiful. Guyana tourist attractions are just incredible, and the best part of it is that there are so few tourists (no more than 6000 per year visit, which to give you a perspective is the number of daily visitors to Machu Picchu!) that those who visit Guyana literally have the country and the best sites all to themselves – yes, even the most famous ones. No need to fight your way to the best spot for photos!

Another reason why I loved Guyana is its unique mixture of cultures – Caribbean on the coast, Amerindian and indigenous on the Amazonian interior. If Georgetown, the busy capital, is the place to be to party, the interior areas such as Rupununi are perfect to appreciate the untouched nature and wildlife of Guyana – actually, this is one of the ultimate things to do in Guyana.

The bonus? As it is an English speaking country, visiting Guyana is incredibly easy. No need to worry about communicating with the locals – who, by the way, are truly kind and welcoming!

If these aren’t already good enough reasons to travel to Guyana, read on to find out more about all the amazing things to do in Guyana that will have you pack your bags!

Guyana tourist attractions

Visiting Georgetown market is one of the unmissable things to do in Guyana

13 Unmissable Things To Do In Guyana

Explore Georgetown

I feel that any trip to a foreign country should start with a visit to its capital. That’s where its heart is; where it is possible to learn more about the country’s history; where to find the biggest mix of cultures, and typically the best food. One of the unmissable things to do in Guyana is visiting Georgetown.

Facing the Atlantic, Guyana capital has an incredible Caribbean atmosphere, which actually (yet pleasantly) caught me by surprise. It is chaotic, colorful, loud and full of life. Georgetown definitely is one of the places to visit in Guyana.

If exploring local markets is one of the unmissable things to do in Guyana, Georgetown is the place to do it. I went on a market tour during which I had the chance to try delicious local fresh produce – several kinds of bananas; mango and watermelon; and a fantastic coconut.

The best part of the market tour is that we were accompanied by the owner and chef of the Backyard Café, who while explaining everything about local produce, bought whatever he was going to use to prepare the most delicious meal. His restaurant literally is in the backyard of his home, in a neighborhood that was once known for crime. There, he worked hard to involve the local community and to keep the youth away from crime. Visiting his restaurant is a must when visiting Guyana!

Georgetown St. George’s Cathedral is one of the top Guyana tourist attractions and a must see. It quite possibly is the most impressive building in the capital, for it is a sheer white (especially now that it’s being renovated), and it is in Gothic style. It’s a massive wooden building (thought to be the tallest wooden building) that was completed in 1892.

Other things to do in Georgetown include visiting Stabroek Market, famous for its cast-iron building and the clock tower and which dates back to the 1700s (though the current structure was built in 1880); exploring the Botanical Gardens; and visiting the small but interesting National Museum and Anthropology Museum.

These are the best places to stay in Georgetown:

  • Duke Lodge, a nice boutique hotel located in front of the American Embassy. It has a fantastic pool that is the perfect place to relax and cool down from the heat of the city.
  • Cara Lodge, by far the best hotel in town, is another boutique hotel with cozy rooms and a beautiful garden. The onsite restaurants offers really good food.

Visit a rum distillery

Rum is produced in most of the countries of Central America and the Caribbean. Cuba is possibly the most famous rum producing country, exporting it all over the world. I came back from a recent trip to Antigua with rum in my suitcase. But people in Guyana swear that their country produces the best rum in the world. So, sure enough, on of the things to do in Guyana is going to a rum distillery and having a few samples – just to make sure it really is the best rum.

Demerara Distillers is located in Georgetown. The Demerara Rum Heritage Center is one of Guyana tourist attractions, and a visit includes a guided tour of the El Dorado distillery – with old machinery and a walk through the storage rooms – and a sampling of various kinds of rum. After several tastings (what’s a girl got to do!) I determined that my favorite is the El Dorado Cask Aged 5 Years, for it has the softest flavor.

things to do in Guyana

Rewa is a lovely village in Rupununi. Visiting is one of the things to do in Guyana

Go to Rewa

Rewa is located in the North Rupununi region of Guyana. Getting there is no joke – the only way to do it is taking an hour and 15 minutes flight on a 13 seater (from where there are amazing views, by the way) and a one hour boat ride along the Rupununi River. The place is blissfully isolated: there are no cars; no phone and by all means no internet connection. In fact, even electricity is provided by solar panels. Yet, visiting Rewa is one of the things to do in Guyana.

Rewa Ecolodge sits at the confluence of the Rupununi and Rewa rivers, in one of the most beautiful places to visit in Guyana. It is a community project started in 2005 by the local community in an effort to protect the local environment and its wildlife from poachers and exploitation. It is run in as much an eco-friendly way as possible by the people of Rewa village, who take turns in working there (they have 2 weeks shifts).

Rewa is the kind of place to visit in order to appreciate the wild nature of Guyana. Activities on offer include wildlife spotting, fishing (usually catch and release) and hiking. Read on for more about these and other fabulous things to do in Guyana.

things to do in Guyana

Surama is one of the nicest places to visit in Guyana. This is the morning view from Surama Ecolodge.

And to Surama

Also located in North Rupununi, Surama is another tiny indigenous village at about 2 hours boat ride and one hour by car from Rewa (so it is not surrounded by water). Despite being in the same region, the experience one gets in Surama is completely different from that of Rewa. Thus visiting is one of the things to do in Guyana.

Much like Rewa, Surama is an extremely quiet place. Here, the local indigenous community has a dignified, proud approach to tourism, which sees visitors invited to learn and experience traditional dances and daily chores such as the production of cassava. It’s a fantastic way to learn more about this part of the country, and a must for anyone visiting Guyana.

Surama Ecolodge is the first community lodge created in Guyana. It’s an extremely basic place to stay, but the atmosphere is wonderful thanks to all the staff, and the views on the surroundings are incredible. It gives access to a variety of hiking trails and boat rides. Spending a few days at Surama Ecolodge is definitely one of the things to do in Guyana.

I will soon be writing a more in depth post about the villages in Guyana, so stay tuned!

things to do in Guyana

Enjoying a boat ride to appreciate the local flora – one of the things to do in Guyana

Go on a boat ride

With so much water, the best way to move around Guyana is by boat. A boat ride along the Rewa and Rupununi rivers is a must, to enjoy the local flora and fauna, but also to simply appreciate the quiet atmosphere and the beauty of the place. It’s one of the best things to do in Guyana.

things to do in Guyana

One of Guyana tourist attractions is its incredible wildlife. This is an anteater spotted in Surama

Spot the local wildlife

I have traveled to South America multiple times, and Guyana has always been on my travel list – despite knowing little about it. When I did a bit more research and learned that it is a fantastic place to admire wildlife I was hooked – I made it a point to travel there as soon as I could. Indeed, one of the things to do in Guyana is admiring wildlife.

I was quite lucky with the sightings, and I saw a lot of animals. Among them, an anteater, two giant river otters, a harpy eagle, various cock-of-the rock birds, black caymans and even a jaguar (which we saw at night, after a lengthy search).

Check out my post on The Most Amazing Wildlife in Guyana

things to do in Guyana

Fishing is one of the most fun things to do in Guyana – obviously eating the fish afterwards or catching and releasing!

Fish

One of the most popular activities offered at Rewa Ecolodge is fishing. The most ambitious fish to catch is the Arapaima, the largest scaled freshwater fish (as the fish is highly protected, it is a catch and release kind of fishing), but as I am hardly into fishing I opted for something less challenging. Having spent two hours on a boat pulling up various piranhas and even a vampire fish, I can wholeheartedly recommend fishing as one of the most fun things to do in Guyana.

Stay tuned as I will be writing more about my fishing experience in the Rupununi River.

Walk through the thick forest

With so much jungle, it is quite obvious (and actually inevitable) that one of the things to do in Guyana is walking through the forest. This is a great chance to admire the local wildlife – and especially to do some birdwatching. Keep in mind that insects thrive in the forest and that the terrain is very muddy, so make sure to wear hiking boots and apply mosquito repellent.

things to do in Guyana

Walking the Canopy of Iwokrama is one of the things to do in Guyana

Then admire it from the canopy of Iwokrama

One of the reasons to travel to Guyana is to be immersed in nature. There’s no better place to admire the jungle than the Iwokrama Rainforest. Managed by the Iwokrama Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, this part of the country is a great place for wildlife spotting (it’s where we caught a glimpse of the jaguar).

The Canopy Walkway of Iwokrama, which is best accessed from Atta Rainforest Camp (a wonderful ecolodge completely isolated in the thick forest), is a great way to appreciate the nature of this incredible country. This is a series of suspension bridges hoisted 30 meters above the forest floor from where there are incredible views of the jungle. The starting point is located at about 1 km from the lodge, via a walk in the forest and a staircase of around 160 steps. Walking the canopy bridges is one of the ultimate things to do in Guyana.

things to do in Guyana

Not so obvious, yet I think hiking is one of the things to do in Guyana.

Go hiking

Guyana isn’t exactly a hiking destination. I suspect this may be due to the fact that the weather is unbearably hot and humid to be able to appreciate a walk up a mountain. But I am a hiking junkie, finding places to climb anywhere I go. Having been hiking in the Dolomites last summer, I was ready for another challenge. After having puffed (and inwardly cursed, but don’t tell anyone!) my way up a couple of very steep mountains, I can actually say that hiking is one of the most challenging yet rewarding things to do in Guyana.

Watch this space, as I will be writing a more detailed post about the hikes I did in Guyana.

Sleep in hammocks

One of the ultimate things to do in Guyana is sleeping in hammocks. It’s how most of the indigenous communities sleep, after all. I had the pleasure to try sleeping in hammocks one night that I spent camping near Rewa. I can hardly say I enjoyed it, to be honest. But hey, I was all up for the experience and at least now I know that, despite some initial difficulties (I move around in my sleep a lot, and I can only fall asleep if I lay flat on my stomach), I am actually able to sleep in a hammock.

things to do in Guyana

Getting an aerial view of Kaieteur Falls – by far one of the top things to do in Guyana

Be mesmerized by Kaieteur Falls

I have seen many waterfalls in my travels. I have visited Iguazu Falls when I went to Argentina, and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and a bunch of smaller ones around the world. Yet, the view of Kaieteur Falls gave me goosebumps. This is one of the top Guyana tourist attractions for a good reason.

I suppose it is the whole experience that made it amazing (though let me clarify, the falls are actually stunning). I got there on a 13 seater plane (apparently that’s a thing in Guyana!), and enjoyed the most spectacular view from above. Once I got to the actual site, I went to three different viewpoints, each offering a splendid view. The cherry on the cake was that the only visitors that day was the small group I was traveling with. That’s crazy for a place so beautiful!

For sure, visiting Kaieteur Falls is one of the things to do in Guayana. The best and easiest way to do it is on a day trip from Georgetown leaving on a small plane, though keep in mind that planes typically leave when full (so make early enquiries and be a bit flexible on the dates). Otherwise, if you are up for the challenge, you can opt for a 5-day overland journey that requires going up river and a steep (but I bet incredibly rewarding) hike.

things to do in Guyana

Eating local specialties is one of the things to do in Guyana.

Try the local food

Guyana is a melting pot when it comes to cultures, and the local food reflects this. It is the kind of place where it is possible to eat rice and beans (which here is called cook-up rice), much like in the Caribbean countries; or chicken curry and roti, like in India (around 30% of the country population is originally from East India). Add to this the abundance of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables, and it is easy to see why one of the things to do in Guyana is eating!

Those who travel to Guyana will quickly learn that a “bake” is anything but baked (it’s actually fried dough of bread and it is delicious). Pepperpot (a meat and cassava stew) is one of the national dishes, along with farine which is made from cassava, looks a lot like cous cous and is typically used as an accompaniment.

Five Things To Know Before You Travel To Guyana

Guyana is a destination like no other – and you should know I have traveled wide and far. Though it is breathtakingly beautiful, traveling there can be challenging, given the conditions. It’s better to go prepared knowing what to expect. So, here’s a few things you should know before you travel to Guyana.

It is always, inescapably, incredibly hot

There is no escaping the heat in Guyana. The weather varies between hot and dry (and humid) and hot and rainy (and even more humid). The temperatures hardly go down at night, and considering that most lodges run on solar power, fans (let alone air con) is not a thing. Add to this the fact that long sleeves and full length pants are required (see more below) and it’s easy to guess that one of the things to do in Guyana is bearing the heat.

There are bugs and more

It’s the jungle baby! A place with such thick vegetation is bound to have a thriving life in terms of bugs. Cockroaches, spiders (including tarantulas), flies, chiggers and mosquitos are common and they often are unwanted guests in rooms, along with the occasional mouse, bats and frogs. It’s all part of the jungle experience, and I think it adds to the adventure aspect. I guess these are all enough reasons to understand why one of the things to do in Guyana is wearing long sleeves and long pants!

Internet is not a thing (and that’s a good thing)

After my digital detox in Botswana and Namibia, I knew I wasn’t going to miss social media while in the jungle. Wifi is hard to get hold of in Guyana: most ecolodges don’t have it at all, and those that do charge a fee for that as it is tremendously expensive for them to get data. If you are planning to travel to Guyana, be prepared to be offline for a while, and to fully enjoy whatever the country has to offer.

People are truly welcoming

It may be because it is an English speaking country; it may also be because tourists are such a rare thing that the locals feel appreciative of them. One of the things to do in Guyana that I enjoyed the most is getting to meet and talk to the locals. I found them to truly kind and generous.

travel to Guyana

Those who travel to Guyana had better be prepared for its stunning beauty.

It is an up and coming ecotourism destination

Guyana is finally opening up to tourism, and it is doing so in the best possible way, making it a point to respect its environment, its wildlife and its cultures – after all, these are its biggest resources. Having said so, garbage disposal is still an issue in the most remote parts of the country (they are so isolated, after all!). So I recommend to those who plan to travel to Guyana to leave as little footprint as possible. An easy thing to do is taking your own water bottle to fill up at the lodges, instead of relying on plastic bottles.

I will have more recommendations on what to pack for Guyana in another post.

How to travel to Guyana

The best way to travel to Guyana is by plane, as there really is only two legal land border crossings at Nieuw Nickerie (Suriname) and Bonfim (Brazil). There is no legal land crossing with Venezuela. There are direct flights to Georgetown from the United States (Miami and New York); Trinidad and Tobago (Port of Spain); Bridgetown (Barbados) and Paramaibo (Suriname).

How to move around Guyana

With so much forest and so many rivers, moving around Guyana is easier said than done. Traveling from one place to the other often requires a combination of charter flights (they typically depart from Ogle International Airport in Georgetown); 4X4 rides and boat rides. There is a minibus system in Georgetown and minibuses go from the capital to Lethem and to destinations along the coast.

Since it is so hard to move around in Guyana, the best way to travel there may well be on an organized tour. Several companies can help out to organize a trip. More information is available on the website of the Tourism Board of Guyana, which is also available to help with the organizational aspects of the trip.

Health and vaccinations

Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required to those who travel to Guyana. Furthermore, as malaria and dengue fever are still common, one of the things to do in Guyana is taking malaria medications and protecting from the bites by wearing long pants and long sleeves, and even shoes at all times, and regularly applying a good good mosquito repellent with deet.

Visa requirements

Visa on arrival is provided free of charge to visitors from North America and Europe, who can stay in the country for up to 90 days.

Currency

The local currency is the Guyanese Dollar (G$). At the time of writing the currency exchange is G$ 209 to $1 USD. US dollars are widely accepted.

Are you planning to travel to Guyana? What are the things to do in Guyana that you are looking forward to?

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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Which Are The Best Canary Islands?

Which Are The Best Canary Islands?

This post on the best Canary Islands is the first one of a series on more detailed posts about the best hikes on the various islands of the archipelago. Here, I provide a short introduction on the various islands and explain their main characteristics.

The archipelago of the Canary Islands is an autonomous region of Spain, located at around 100 km off the coast of Morocco. It is composed of seven main islands – namely Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, El Hierro, Fuerte Ventura, La Palma and La Gomera; and multitude of much smaller ones. Of these, Lanzarote is often considered the best canary island for surfing.

In general, the Canary Islands are thought to be a fantastic holiday destination, to the point that each year they attract more than 12 million tourists looking to make the most of their beautiful beaches, the mild weather, the quaint villages and bigger cities, the good food and relaxed atmosphere. Each tourist has its own view on which ones are the best Canary Islands, but – needless to say – these views are completely subjective and based on their personal taste.

If we are to think about nature, determining which is the best Canary island becomes an even more daunting task. The archipelago is originally volcanic, and the nature is at its best. Suffice to know that a whopping four of thirteen national parks of Spain are located here, and that of these two have become UNESCO World Heritage sites and other two have been added to the list of World Biosphere Reserve.

I guess what makes the Canary Islands attractive to me is the volcanoes, of which a few are still active. In my travels, I have hiked several volcanoes, including Mount Bromo, in Indonesia; Etna, Vulcano and Stromboli, in Sicily; Pacaya in Guatemala and Cerro Negro in Nicaragua. Teide, located in Tenerife, is the tallest volcano in Europe (as well as the highest mountain in Spain) – this would be enough to say that Tenerife is the best Canary island.

With their amazing nature and volcanoes, the Canary Islands are an incredible hiking destination. Here, I will provide some essential information on the best Canary islands, on the things to do and see there, and a brief selection of the best hiking trails. Stay tuned for more detailed posts on the various islands.

best Canary islands

Tenerife, with Mount Teide, is one of the best Canary islands

Which Are The Best Canary Islands?

Tenerife

Often considered the best Canary island, Tenerife is the biggest and most populated of the archipelago. The most important cities on the island are Santa Cruz de Tenerife (the capital) and San Cristobal de la Laguna, home of the University of La Laguna which was founded in 1792 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A top tourism destination in Spain, Tenerife is thought to be one of the best Canary islands for surfers thanks to the good, persistent waves.

What makes Tenerife one of the best Canary islands is also the beautiful beaches, quaint villages and lots of natural sites. One of the best beaches is La Caleta, a real hidden gem thanks to its beautiful setting and quiet environment. Completing the idyllic setting there’s a delicious fish restaurant.

Another fantastic beach is Playa del Bollullo. This is characterized by dark, volcanic sand (typical of Tenerife) and surrounded by breathtaking cliffs. It’s a fairly remote place, though there’s a trail that reaches it. It’s a popular beach among surfers thanks to the winds that bring in good waves.

One more reason to consider Tenerife one of the best Canary islands is the lovely villages. The unmissable ones are Masca, perched on a rock and with its narrow, cobbled alleys and overflowing gardens; Garachico, a small port that survived the forces of nature; Tegueste, located in the countryside, which has a nice square and buzzing farmers’ market. The highest village is Vilaflor, famous for being completely surrounded by the forest. Last but not least there’s Granadilla, where there is a beautiful 18th century baroque church.

Tenerife owes its reputation of best Canary island to the lovely climate and the beaches. However, adventures seekers go there to challenge Mount Teide and Teide National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Indeed, what makes Tenerife one of the best Canary islands is the multitude of hiking trails. There are many volcano hikes: Montaña Blanca trail goes to Teide summit. It is a challenging hike, but the views are breathtaking. Other fantastic trails are the Roques de García and the Dogollada de Guajara. The latter starts in Teide National Park and ends in Vilaflor.

There also are forest trails, perfect for those who want to get closer to nature. A bunch of trails are located in Anaga Rural Park. And there are also coastal trails, such as Malpaís de Güímar.

best Canary island

The gorgeous dunes are a famous attraction in Gran Canaria, one of the best Canary islands

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is the second most populous and the third largest of the Canary Islands. Thought to be one of the best Canary islands, its a lovely place to visit thanks to all that it has to offer. The capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, was founded in 1478. Its original name was Real de Las Palmas. Nowadays it is the most populous city of the archipelago, famous for its carnival. Located in the city there’s Las Canteras beach, a protected area and incredible diving spot.

Like the rest of the archipelago, Gran Canaria is of volcanic origins. The highest peak on the island are Pico de las Nieves, which reaches 1949 meters, and Roque Nublo, with its 1813 meters. Such mountains make Gran Canaria one of the best Canary islands for hiking.

Gran Canaria is known as “Miniature Continent” because of its different climates and varied landscapes. The 4 million tourists that visit it each year consider it the best Canary island thanks to its long, white sandy beaches, the green ravines and the beautiful villages.

Famous attractions in Gran Canaria include the Maspalomas Dunes, located in the south of the island where the climate is warmer and sunnier. That’s the part of the island where most resorts are located, thus receiving most of the visitors.

Other attractions that make Gran Canaria one of the best Canary islands are Agüimes, a beautifully restored small city located on the eastern part of the island. Not far from it, there’s the protected area of Guayadeque ravine. Here, a church has been built on the side of the mountain and tourists love the many cave restaurants. Also on the eastern side of the island there is the most famous diving spot, the marine reserve of Playa de El Cabron.

Half of Gran Canaria is part of the Canary Islands Network for Protected Natural Areas, and a third of the island is protected by UNESCO and a recognized Biosphere Reserve.

Another thing that makes Gran Canaria one of the best Canary islands is the presence of some incredible hiking trails. The walk to reach Playas de GüiGüi, two gorgeous, off the beaten path beaches on the west coast of the island, is one of the best trails. The challenging walk to La Aldea de San Nicolás is perfect for experienced hikers. The one through Tasartico is a lighter walk. Another trail is that of Ruta de Las Presas: it goes from La Aldrea de San Nicolás to Artenara, Gran Canaria’s highest municipality.

best Canary islands

Gorgeous beaches such as Papagayo make Lanzarote one of the best Canary islands

Lanzarote

Lanzarote is thought to be the best Canary island for surfing, thanks to the beautiful beaches and the great waves. This is the easternmost of the archipelago, and the third most populated. The capital is Arrecife, and the main attraction is the Timanfaya National Park, in the centre west of the island.

Another reason Lanzarote is thought to be the best Canary island is the weather: it is called “the island of eternal spring,” thanks to its mild climate throughout the year. It receives just 16 days of rain, but it is regularly swept by strong winds.

Since it is of volcanic origins, the landscape in Lanzarote is quite desert-like. There are two mountain ranges crossing the island: Famara in the north and Ajaches in the south. El Jable desert separates Famara and Montañas del Fuego. The highest peak is Peñas del Chache, which reaches 670 meters above sea level.

Located in Lanzarote there is also the Tunnel of Atlantis, the largest underwater volcanic tunnel in the world.

Tourists are attracted to Lanzarote for its gorgeous beaches, such as Papagayo – a series of small coves of white sand nestled between lava rocks; its world class surfing and diving; the quaint city of Teguise; the local wine; Timanfaya Natural Park; and the many volcanoes (Volcan El Cuervo is just one of them). There are some fantastic hiking trails, too: Femés to Papagayo gives the best of both (hikes and beaches); Caldera Blanca goes to the crater of a volcano. With so much on offer, it’s easy to see why Lanzarote is thought to be one of the best Canary islands.

best Canary islands

The unique landscape makes El Hierro one of the best Canary islands

El Hierro

The westernmost island of the archipelago is El Hierro. This is also the smallest of the largest ones, and the least populated. The entire island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 2000 – easy to guess why many think of it as the best Canary island. The capital is Valverde. With no more than 21 days of rain per year, the island has a wonderful climate that makes it great to visit at any time of year.

El Hierro is home to an active volcano. The last intense activity was recorded in 2011. There also are several endemic animal species, some of which endangered such as El Hierro Giant Lizard.

El Hierro lack the major tourist infrastructure that other Canary islands have, so it is not nearly as busy as the rest, and that nature is still unspoiled there – this is why many consider it to be one of the best Canary islands.

El Hierro has some of the best beaches of the Canary islands. The most popular one is Playa de Tacoron, on the south coast. It is not a sandy beach, but the water is incredibly transparent and the surroundings beautiful. There’s a viewpoint for magnificent sunset views.

Another attraction on El Hierro is the shrine of Our Lady of the Kings, an hermitage erected in 1577 to home a statue of the patron was taken to the island in 1546.

More reasons to appreciate El Hierro as one of the best Canary islands is the beautiful small villages; the good museums (such as the vulcanology center, and the Parque Cultural de El Julan) and some incredible diving spots.

Hiking junkies will say El Hierro is the best Canary island thanks to the pleasant weather year round which makes it a fantastic hiking destination. There are trails that go all around the island. Las Dehesas is one of the top ones thanks breathtaking views and a peak into the island’s nature and wildlife.

best Canary islands

The lovely sites around Fuerteventura make it one of the best Canary islands

Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is the second biggest island of the archipelago, but is not nearly as populated as Gran Canaria or Tenerife. The capital is Puerto Rosario, and the highest point is Pico de la Zarza, which reaches 807 meters. It is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since May 2009.

Fuerteventura is the oldest of the Canary Islands, and thought to be the best Canary island by many. Throughout history it has been eroded by wind and precipitations, and the landscape is often barren. Many tourists who visit the island fall in love with its beautiful beaches, the strong surf and the pleasant climate.

Contrary to the other Canary islands, Fuerteventura is not overdeveloped – though there still are fantastic hotels and restaurants. To many, this is what it makes one of the best Canary islands.

Fuerteventura has some beautiful historic villages such as Betancuria: here the pace of life is slow, the surroundings gorgeous. It used to be the capital of the island until 1834. Villa Winter is another attraction: this series of cellar, caves and watchtowers surrounded by the barren landscapes was built by a German engineer and by German prisoners of war from the Tefia concentration camp. It’s such an interesting place that to many it’s what makes Fuerteventura one of the best Canary islands.

The interior of Fuerteventura is all lavascapes and volcanic mountains. It is a protected area, but it can be visited. There are various hiking trails (making Fuerte Ventura one of the best Canary islands for adventure lovers), which include the one to Montana de Tindaya, the oldest mountain in the Canary Islands, located on the North-East of Fuerteventura. It is a sacred mountain to the Majorero people, who are indigenous to Fuerteventura.

The hike to the lava craters of Corralejo is a 4 hours walk, which can be rather strenuous due to the lack of shade.

best Canary island

It’s easy to see why La Palma is one of the best Canary islands

La Palma

La Palma currently is the most volcanically active of the Canary Islands. The entire island is Biosphere Reserve – with such nature, it’s easy to see why it is considered one of the best Canary islands. The capital of La Palma is Santa Cruz de la Palma, a quiet, peaceful and pleasant place to visit.

Teneguia is the main volcano on La Palma; it last erupted in 1971. This is the second highest peak of the Canaries, with Roque de los Muchachos reaching 2423 meters. The views from there are breathtaking. There is located one of the best astronomical observatories in the world. Star gazing is thought to be a must when visiting La Palma.

Whale watching is another must when visiting La Palma (which thus becomes the best Canary island for wildlife lovers). The beaches never get too crowded.

The beautiful, untouched nature and the volcanoes make La Palma is a fantastic hiking destination – and one of the best Canary islands for hiking. La Cumbrecita is one of the best hikes. Here, it is possible to walk along the volcano’s caldera. The Ruta de la Cresteria goes around the crater of Taburiente and provides fantastic views of a collapsed volcano. The Route of the Volcanoes is an incredible trail that winds among the line of craters of La Palma southern-central spine.

best Canary island

Is La Gomera the best Canary island?

La Gomera

La Gomera is, geologically, the oldest of the Canary islands. It also is the second least populous. Since it is one of the most untouched and least commercial islands, it is thought to be one of the best Canary islands. The capital is San Sebastian de la Gomera.

What makes the island a favorite of tourists is the presence of beautiful, black sand beaches – though keep in mind that the currents can be quite strong. Playa Santiago offers the best sunset views; whereas Valle Gran Rey is a completely unspoiled beach. Hermigua Beach is splendid: the currents are quite strong but there’s a lovely natural pool on the beach.

Much like La Palma, La Gomera is a great place to admire marine life such as dolphins and whales. This makes it a favorite of wildlife watchers, who consider the best Canary island.

La Gomera is a lot less touristy compared to the rest of the archipelago. Those who go enjoy its wine, produced with grapes cultivated on the rich, volcanic soil. The most famous wines are white – either Foraster, or Forastera Gomera.

Another unique thing about La Gomera is the way of communicating that was created by the local shepherds. They would whistle down the valley to be heard up to 5 km away. It’s so special that in 2009 it has been declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

La Gomera is very mountainous. The highest peak, Alto de Garajonay, goes all the way to 1487 meters above sea level. Garajonay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. Here, there are numerous species of plants, some of which under risk of extinction. Such nature makes La Gomera one of the best Canary islands.

La Gomera is a fantastic destination for hiking. There are many good trails. The path Circolare Costas de la Gomera is a multi-day hike of over 120 km that starts in San Sebastian and which can be divided in 5 different trails, of varying difficulty. It’s so great that it’s easy to see why hikers think of La Gomera as the best Canary island.

The best view of the island is that of Hasta la Vista – on clear days the views opens up to show Tenerife!

Have you ever been to the Canary Islands? Which do you think are the best Canary islands?

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10 Fabulous Places To Go Hiking In Malaga And Its Province

10 Fabulous Places To Go Hiking In Malaga And Its Province

There’s a lot of places to go hiking in Malaga and its province. However, the majority of those who visit this city in Andalucia don’t venture to them and end up spending their time in the city – which, to be fair, is one of the prettiest, most colorful and lively places in Spain. Yet, this part of Spain is an incredible destination for anybody who loves nature and adventure, as there are many good hiking opportunities: this is one of the best places to hike in Spain.

To find out more about the best places to hike in Spain click here. And for more hikes in Andalucia, check my post on the best hikes in Sierra Nevada.

Located north of Malaga there is the Montes de Malaga. This a natural park with gorgeous hills, mountains and hiking trails of various levels of difficulty: it’s one of the best places to go hiking in Malaga. Another beautiful park is El Torcal, which is located a bit more inland: the karst landscape is stunning there. Adding to this, there are some beautiful villages scattered around the province, so any trip to this part of the country is worthwile.

This post highlights the best places to go hiking in Malaga and its province, dividing them by difficulty level. I will also be sharing some tips on how to organize a wonderful trip in the region.

hiking in Malaga

Caminito del Rey – one of the coolest hikes in Malaga

10 Great Places To Go Hiking In Malaga

Difficult Hikes

Fuente del Esparto – Almendron

One of the most challenging hikes in Malaga, this is a difficult, circular hiking trail that runs for around 18 km, all the way to Almendron and the Tajos de Sol until reaching Navachica. On the way down, the path follows the ravine of the Rey and of the Cazadores. What makes it hard is the difficult terrain, which is irregular and stony.

The ascent to Almendron is also very challenging as there are some very exposed parts on the trail. It definitely isn’t suitable for people who don’t enjoy heights. Add to this the fact that there is virtually no shade along the trail and it is easy to see why it’s one of the most difficult hikes in Malaga.

The views along the way, however, are magnificent. On one side there is the Chillar river, surrounded by the peaks of Cisne, Lucero and Maroma. On the other side there are the ravine of Cazadores and the peak of Cielo. The views spread all the way to the Sierra Nevada, Sierra de Loja and Alhama de Granada and to the sea. With such amazing sights it’s easy to see why this is one of the best hikes in Malaga.

Cerro Lucero

Cerro Lucero, also known as Raspón de los Moriscos, is one of the most stunning peaks of the Sierra de Almijara. Among the hikes in Malaga, this one is thought to be a regional classic. The trail goes through Puerto Llano and then becomes steeper. It eventually gets to the barren, rocky peak of El Lucero. Throughout the hike, there are fantastic views over the Sierra de Almijara and the Mediterranean Sea.

This used to be a strategic vantage point during the Spanish Civil War, so there are some interesting ruins on the summit. In a way it reminds me of the Alta Via dei Monzoni, one of the nicest hikes in the Dolomites. It’s probably why I find this a must when hiking in Malaga.

This 10 km trail can be walked in around 4 hours. The starting point is located at 1.5 km from Puerto Blanquillo, which is at around 1 hour and 45 minutes drive from the city. Not the nearest of the hikes in Malaga, actually.

hiking in Malaga

Caminito del Rey is one of the most famous hikes in Malaga

Moderate Difficulty Hikes

Caminito del Rey

When hiking in Malaga, thoughts immediately go to Caminito del Rey, which is by far the most famous trail. Once thought to be one of the most dangerous hikes in the world, as some sections of the trail were missing from the pathway and there are many cliffside drops, it has been fixed and it now is simply marvelous.

In fact, the trail was closed for years for renovation works, and it opened again in 2015. It takes about 4 hours to walk this 8 km trail, which, with its stunning views, is one of the nicest hikes in Malaga.

El Candado (Malaga) to Rincon de la Victoria (GR 249)

This is one of the longest hikes in Malaga, but it’s thought to be of medium level difficulty as it is mostly flat. The trail runs for little over 16 km, though they can be walked in around 4 hours. It is one of the coastal routes of the Senda Litoral of Malaga. It goes through the Peñón del Cuervo and El Cantal. The starting point is El Candado club, named after the marina where it is located. After around 0.5 km the trail reaches the beach of Peñón del Cuervo.

It then leads to La Araña, a pretty village with a watchtower once used to protect the Bay of Malaga; and then goes through Arroyo de Totalán and La Cala del Moral, another lovely coastal village. From there, the trail follows a promenade for around 1.5 km to reach El Cantal, one of the nicest places in the region for its breathtaking views of the coast. The trail ends in Rincón de la Victoria, famous for the nice beach and the fisherman quarters. Thanks to the pretty views, this is one of the recommended hikes in Malaga.

The Arab Escalera

Hiking in Malaga, this is an unmissable trail. It runs for around 11 km, which can be walked in 6 hours. It is named after the staircase that was built at the beginning of the 20th century and that is incredibly well kept. The views along the trail are fantastic, a real reward to those who reach the top.

The trail starts in El Chorro, a village at around 40 km from Malaga that can be easily reached by car or train. From the station, it goes through a forest and then becomes more difficult, as it gets narrower and steeper.

Ardales to El Chorro (GR 7)

The Ardales to El Chorro trail is part of the GR. It is one of the nicest hikes in Malaga, going by the Moorish ruins of Bobastro and emerging to offer a peak of the Caminito. The descent to El Chorro is quite steep. The trail can be walked in around 5 hours.  Ardales, the starting point, is at around 50 minutes drive from Malaga and can be easily reached via public transportation.

hikes in Malaga

Ronda is one of the nicest places to discover when hiking in Malaga

Easy Hikes

Guadalmina Channel

Of the hikes in Malaga, the Guadalmina Channel trail is a lovely one. It is practically flat. It runs next to the riverbed of the Guadalmina River. A nice addition to the trail can be the aquatic route of the Angosturas del Guadalmina. The trail starts a couple of kilometers before Benahavis. The trail was inaugurated in 2014, when a bridge allowing to cross the Angosturas del Guadalmina was finally built.

The path goes through a canyon all the way to an irrigation channel that gives it its name. The views of the lower basin of the Guadalmina along the walk are beautiful. In the warmest season, swimming in the natural pools of the river is a pleasant break – making it a nice option when hiking in Malaga. It’s a good trail for families with children, who typically enjoy the pools.

Ribera del Guadiaro

This 9 km trail is one of the easiest yet pretties hikes in Malaga. It connects the villages of Estación de Benaoján and Jimera Estación is well marked. Of the Grand Senda de Malaga is it trail n. 25. The starting point is the bridge over the Guadiaro river in Estacion de Benaoján. There, the path rises along a forest track to the Oaks of Monte de las Viñas.

What makes it a must when hiking in Malaga is the splendid views of the valley, called Angosturas del Guadiaro, and those of the mountains of the Sierra Grazalema Natural Park. The first part of the trail goes through the forest and is all in the shade. Towards the end of the trail, there are views of Martín Gil peak, one of the highest mountains of the Sierra de Líbar with its 1400 meters.

The path runs along the banks of the Guadiaro and Genal rivers. It’s one of the nicest yet easiest hikes in Malaga, as it is mostly flat, with some easy ascents and descents. Since there are trains that run between the two villages, it’s easy to get back to the starting point.

hiking in Malaga

One of the nicest hikes in Malaga goes to Nerja

Rio Chillar – Nerja

One of the nicest hikes in Malaga is the one that goes from Rio Chillar to Nerja. It is very easy, so it is ideal for families and during the summer months. It goes through the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama. Along the trail there’s plenty of shade and rivers to cool down. However, it is better to avoid it when there’s chances of rain, as the area is prone to flash flooding.

El Torcal de Antequera

One of the nicest areas to go hiking in Malaga is El Torcal de Antequera, which is one of the most unique places in Spain. It is a limestone rock forest, perfect for families with children. The area is a considered a floral paradise, thanks to the large variety of plants, which include various species of orchids and wild roses. The area is also good for wildlife spotting: there are griffon vultures, golden eagles, weasels, fox and wildcats.

What makes this one of the best hikes in Malaga is the view point of Las Ventanillas. From there, a path goes all the way to an area known as “Ammonites,” famous for the fossils. There are several trails inside the Natural Reserve, but keep in mind that some of them can only be walked with a guide. Guides can be found through the visitors’ center.

El Torcal Natural Reserve is located at about 45 km from Malaga, and 13 km south of Antequera.

When to enjoy hiking in Malaga

The weather in Malaga is good year round and the temperatures rarely get below 12° Celsius. However, the summer is incredibly hot. So I would not recommend hiking in Malaga during the summer months. The best months to visit the region are April and May in the spring, and October in the fall, though chances of rain are higher in the fall.

hikes in Malaga

When hiking in Malaga, the best access point is actually the city

Nearest city  

Malaga is the most obvious access point to all the incredible hikes in Malaga. The city is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, not to mention one of the largest in Spain. It is a pleasant place to visit with a great selection of tourist attractions – museums; examples of interesting and beautiful architecture; the beaches of the Costa del Sol nearby. And there are plenty of good accommodation options and restaurants.

Among the unmissable places to visit in Malaga there’s the Alcazaba. This is a Moorish castle that was built in the 11th century on a hill located right at the center of the city. It is really well preserved and from there there are great views of the city.

Right under the Alcazaba there are the ruins of a Roman Theater, which is actually free to visit and it’s also well preserved. The Castillo de Gibralfaro is another Moorish castle, though located on a different hill and much like the others offering a great view of Malaga. It’s a bit of a hike (or a bus ride) to get all the way there.

Other places to visit in Malaga are the Cathedral, located right in the center; the Picasso Museum, with exclusive paintings by the artist; and the painter’s birthplace.

Best places to stay in Malaga and its province

Malaga has a very good selection of places to stay for all kinds of travelers and budgets, making it a great starting point for hiking in Malaga. There are good accommodation options in the entire province. Here’s a selection:

Those who want to go hiking in Malaga but have an even smaller budget can count on a selection of camping sites, all of them with laundry facilities, a grocery store and restaurants and coffee shops.

Nearest Airport 

The good news for those who want to go hiking in Malaga is that the city is well connected to Europe and the rest of Spain via its airport. Many budget airlines fly to and from Malaga.

Other useful information

Various companies offer guided hikes in Malaga. Some target families, other offer walking holidays. Various sites such as Wikiloc contain a lot of information for those who want to go hiking in Malaga. However, keep in mind that although the main page is in English, the others are in various other languages and the translation is generally poor.

Have you ever been hiking in Malaga?

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Discover all the nicest hikes in Malaga - via @clautavani