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Birdwatching & Wildlife; Iwokrama, Guyana

The Iwokrama rainforest is one of South America’s most impressive and endearing natural wonders. Spanning over 371,000 hectares of virgin rainforest, it’s one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the world and includes jaguars, otters, anteaters, eagles, caimans and snakes.

It’s also home to the Makushi people, who have lived here for generations.

Now here’s the thing:  the Makushi people play a very important role in the Iwokrama’s preservation.

Very important.

Since the Iwokrama rainforest is not a national park – and therefore not funded by the government – its local residents and researchers must find creative ways to sustainably fund the area.

For example, the Makushi people welcome visitors to their village and share their traditions, ranging from cassava processing, singing, dancing, cultivation of medicinal plants and other aspects of their day to day lives.

And that’s just the beginning.

There are many outdoor activities to keep you busy. Below are the most popular…

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Endless Savannah; Rupununi, Guyana

African plains await you in South America. Located in Guyana – between the Brazilian border and Rupununi river – the Rupununi  savannah  is a vast span of flatlands broken up by the occasional patch of jungle.

Caimans (a type of crocodile found throughout Central and South America) are commonly seen in rivers, as are the largest water lilies in the world.

There’s plenty of other species to observe: harpy eagles, jaguars, giant river otters and anteaters are commonly seen as well.

Put simply: it’s an isolated, rugged, wildly beautiful place.

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Wild Kaieteur Falls; Guyana

Like waterfalls?

Then you’re gonna love Kaieteur Falls. Sure, it ain’t the tallest, or even the largest waterfall in South America, but for sheer scenic beauty and raw power it’s not to be missed.

Picture it:  over 23,400 cubic feet per second (663 cubic meters) of water rushing over an 820 foot (250m) ledge and crashing into the river below.

Ask yourself: what’s right with this picture? Continue

Rodeos and Wildlife; Lethem, Guyana

Lethem is the central hub of the Rupununi Savanah, an area known for its sweeping plains reminiscent of Africa. It’s an interesting blend of indigenous tribes (notably the Makushi and Wapishana), vaqueros (cowboys) and eccentric outdoors-man fanatical about preservation of the area’s natural beauty.

Consider yourself warned: this is on the outskirts of civilization. You’ll need to fly or arrange a 4×4 and/or boat ride to get here. And once you arrive in Lethem, the largest town with roughly 7,000 residents – be prepared to keep moving.

Lethem itself has its charms… but… it’s primarily a jumping-off point for exploring the savannah further. No matter where you head, there are a number of guesthouses and cattle ranches to spend the night in relative comfort.Continue