The Wildtales Inc.

A Brief Guide to Rupununi, Guyana

Walking in to the jungle in Guyana

A Brief Guide to Rupununi, Guyana. The Rupununi is a region in the southwest of Guyana, next to the Brazilian region, Roraima state. 

Rupununi is also the name of a river that runs through the centre of this region. The Rupununi River is a tributary of the larger Essequibo River, one of the four main rivers in Guyana. The name Rupununi derives from the word rapon, which is the Makushi name for a type of duck that lives along this river.

Sir Walter Raleigh famously thought that the famed city of El Dorado was located close to the River Rupununi, near Yupukari village. He never found what he was looking for, but the area remains a fantastically diverse part of Guyana.

The word Rupununi can also refer to the Rupununi savannah plain. This is a large area to the west of the river, made up of grassland, swampland and forested mountains. 


The Rupununi region is home to several peoples; the Wapishana, the Macushi, the Wai-Wai and the Patamona are a few examples. 

Settlers from a number of South American countries, including both Brazil and Venezuela, help to form the basis of the region’s population, which is thought to amount to around 20,000 people.


There are several different kinds of ecosystems and landscapes within the Rupununi region. It’s thanks to this variety that the region has such an incredible diversity of wildlife.

Living in the region are animals such as jaguars, pumas, giant otters, howler monkeys, giant anteaters and capybaras. There are also incredible aquatic creatures – examples include:

  • Arapaima
  • Lau-lau
  • Red-bellied piranha
  • Lukanani
  • Redtail catfish

This amazing biodiversity means that the Rupununi region is an ideal destination for nature lovers. If you visit, you could have a once-in-a-lifetime animal encounter.

But during your stay, it’s crucial that you treat everything you meet with respect – and caution. Don’t forget, these are wild animals, and they’re not used to interacting with people. Some parts of the Rupununi region remain nearly untouched by humankind, so it really is essential that you use common sense and follow any safety guidelines your guide sets out.


The Rupununi region has several designated a protected areas by the government of Guyana. As such, it’s pretty much a dream destination for ecotourists!

Different areas of the region are protected areas for different species – for example, the Karanambu Ranch has a rehabilitation centre for giant otters. The ranch continues to run thanks to tourism revenue, so paying a visit is a great way to support Guyana’s biodiversity.

If adventure travel is more your thing, there are some excellent things to do in Rupununi. Saddle Mountain ranch is a dream destination if you want to experience the life of a vaquero (Guyanese cowboy). Saddle up!


The region of Rupununi is an excellent destination for any traveller – particularly if you’re interested in adventure tourism. With amazing biodiversity and a really fascinating history, there’s something for everyone in this gorgeous part of Guyana.

Fill in our contact form to find out more information or to book onto one of our Amazon adventures. To find out more about Guyana you can visit the GTA.

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