Home » Countries » A Spectacular Kaieteur Falls Tour in Guyana

A Spectacular Kaieteur Falls Tour in Guyana

One of Guyana’s key attractions is the Kaieteur Falls. Located in the heart of pristine rainforest,  this is the world’s largest single-drop waterfall. It’s 226m tall (over four times higher than Niagara) and about 100m wide, with an astonishing 663 cubic metres of water falling every second. Here is our guide to finding a Kaieteur Falls Tour and everything you need to know about your visit.

When watching the 1925 version of The Lost World, Willis O’Brien’s forerunner to the classic King Kong, we couldn’t help but contemplate where this thrilling adventure could have been set.

Although the film was ostensibly set on the borders of Brazil, Colombia and Peru, a bit of research revealed that the South American country of Guyana had similar landscapes that were both highly evocative and very remote. And while we were pretty certain we wouldn’t encounter any dinosaurs we decided that we would like to have our very own adventures in the Lost World.

Although we weren’t able to visit the plateau mountain Mount Roraima, the Kaieteur Falls gave us the opportunity to see a dramatic landscape set amidst an astonishing and vast rainforest.

Where Are The Kaieteur Falls?

The Kaiteur Falls are located on the Potaro river in the Kaieteur Falls National park, in the Guiana Highlands. This is Guanya’s first national park and it was established in 1929.

The rainforest is part of the watershed that lies between the Amazon and the Orinoco rivers.

The falls were ‘discovered’ in 1870 by geologist Charles Barrington Brown working in what was – at the time – British Guiana. Of course the indigenous Amerindians knew about them way before then.

Kaieteur apparently means ‘old man fall.’ There is a legend that the falls were named for a Patamona chief named Kai, who paddled over the falls as a sacrifice to the great spirit in order to protect his people from invaders.

To be clear, the falls aren’t the highest single drop fall but the largest volume.

Kaieteur Falls

There is a cave behind the falls but it is not known to have been explored, even by the local Amerindians. The cave is home to hundreds of thousands of swifts. In his film, White Diamond, film director Werner Herzog documents the attempts of a British engineer to fly a small airship around the area. A member of the crew is an experienced mountaineer and abseils down the side of the falls to look into the cave. Although they recorded footage of the cave, the team decided not to include it in the film, so its dark secrets remain a mystery. Which is as it should be.

When to Visit the Kaieteur Falls

Guyana doesn’t have four seasons but rainy and dry seasons. The main rainy season runs from May to August followed by a dry season, which runs from September to November, a mini rainy season from November to January and the main dry season from February to April.

The volume of water in the falls will be at its highest after the rainy seasons, so November and February should offer maximum flow. But the weather will be better for flying during the dry seasons. That said, we visited at the end of a particularly dry dry season in April and the flow was still pretty spectacular.

Kaieteur Falls Tour Operators

Although it is possible to take a tour where you can trek to the falls and climb to the top, most people fly there from Guyana’s capital city Georgetown.

There are a number of tour operators who can arrange a trip. We recommend using an approved tour operator.

Airlines such as Transguyana , Roraima and Air Service Limited offer trips. We flew with JAGS Aviation on a trip organised by Adventure Guianas.

The cost of the flight is around $250-270 (US) per person. (Prices correct in 2024.)

We recommend booking early as flights can fill up at popular times.

Need to Know: There are a number of conditions to getting a flight. The airlines will usually only operate a flight if a minimum number of people make a booking. So it is better to plan your trip for a weekend because more people are likely to book on a Saturday or Sunday. Your tour operator should let you know when the flight becomes confirmed.

The other thing to bear in mind is that the aircraft are very light and will land on a teeny runway in the middle of the jungle close to the falls. Sometimes the weather can be unfavourable and flights may be delayed or even cancelled at short notice. If the flight is cancelled, costs should be refunded.

Flying To the Kaieteur Falls

Georgetown’s main international airport is located nearly 40km out of town but it has another airport, E.F. Correia near Ogle, which is just on the outskirts of the city and it takes around 20 minutes to reach (traffic permitting). It’s best to arrive at least an hour before the scheduled flight. Go to the reception area and wait for an invitation to check in.

On checking in you will be weighed so that the airline can establish the seating plan – as the aircraft is incredibly light. As with all our internal flights in Guyana, the flight was running late, but it took off eventually.

The aircraft is very small  and can accommodate a maximum of 12 passengers. If you’re lucky you may get to sit next to the pilot.

Kaieteur Falls tour aircraft

After around an hour of flying – briefly over Georgetown and then over the pristine rainforest, the flat landscape starts rising and the geography of the area becomes more undulating. This is a good time to start looking out of the window.

When you reach the falls the pilot will fly past so that people on one side of the plane can take photos and then bank and turn so that the passengers on the other side of the plane can see the falls from the air. Then they will land on a small airstrip.

Kaieteur Falls tour from the air

Walking To The Viewpoints

There is a small pavilion next to the airstrip. It has bathroom facilities and a small exhibtion. A guide will be waiting to take you to the falls. Drinking water will be provided.The visit will last approximately two hours in total.

The guide follows a set route to view the falls at three specific viewing points.

Along the way, the guide pointed out some of the natural features of the area including some rare species.

carnivorous plant Kaieteur

There aren’t too many mosquitoes in the area because this clever little plant consumes them. It is a carnivorous plant, the sundew, which lures insects in and then traps them on its sticky tendrils before closing up and consuming them overnight. We wish we had had one of these as a pet whilst travelling in the rainforest, because the mosquitoes were very hungry and decided that we were particularly delicious.

The Tank Bromeliad is one of the largest examples of this plant in the world. It is home to the teeny Golden Frog, which lives its entire lifecycle inside the water that collects in the plant. It is poisonous, so be careful!

tank bromeliad plant
yellow frog in the tank bromeliad at kaieteur

If you are lucky, it may be possible to see the stunningly beautiful bird, the cock of the rock, probably the most orange thing we have ever seen. We didn’t get lucky at Kaieteur but did see this magnificent bird in the other parts of the rainforest in Guyana.

Warning – the viewpoints are completely natural. There are no viewing platforms nor barriers to stop you going over the edge, so take care when taking photos and selfies, especially if someone offers to take your picture – don’t move backwards without looking!

warning sign

It’s a leisurely 10-20 minutes stroll to walk to the first viewpoint, the furthest from the falls.

The next viewpoint is the Rainbow View, which offers exactly what its name suggests, offering the best photo point to capture the rainbow which shimmers across the falls.

full view of the Kaieteur Falls on a Kaieteur Falls tour

rainbow view of the falls

Then finally onto the closest viewing point – where you can really get to feel the sheer power and majesty of the falls. You can also see the colour of the water as it tumbles relentlessly to the valley below. You can see a sepia tinge which is due to the tannins in the water from the trees and plants lining the river bank.

tannins in the water

Don’t forget to look behind you to see the remarkable canyon that the river has carved over the millennia.

Kaieteur Falls Potaro canyon

At the end of the walk, the group will return to base for a quick – and very filling – lunch. Vegetarian options are available, although it’s probably worth mentioning any dietary requirements when booking the trip.

Lunch at the Kaieteur shack

The two hours fly by and it will soon be time to return. Board the aeroplane and don’t forget to get your camera/phone ready to record a final view of the spectacle.

What To Bring On A Kaieteur Falls Tour

It’s a good idea to minimise the items you need to bring as there isn’t much room on the aircraft. A small daysack will be absolutely fine.

Because these are charter flights it’s okay to take liquids aboard the plane.

Although water will be supplied, we recommend taking extra water if you are likely to need it.

We also advise bringing sun-cream and a hat to provide protection from the sun, which is strong in this area, even on a cloudy day.

Also, although the walk is not long, difficult or strenuous, good walking shoes will be useful.

It is easy to understand why the Kaieteur Falls are Guyana’s biggest attraction. You run out of superlatives trying to describe them. And, while it’s great to take photos to get that perfect instagram shot, take time to enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings and the sheer mighty power of the falls.

Tambopata National Reserve sunset
Exploring the Tambopata Reserve in Peru
Salto Grande Waterfall
Visit Torres del Paine in Patagonia
More posts from the Americas
Very Tasty World logo

Thanks so much for reading. We hope you enjoyed this article. If you’d like to keep up to date with new posts and recipes, please subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media – X, Facebook or Instagram. We always love hearing from you and would be delighted to read your thoughts about this article.

If you liked this post, please share it:

12 Comments

  1. What a fascinating journey. The flight sounds like fun, too; a little different than flying on a big plane. Whenever you get weighed you know the thing is light. Gorgeous shots and neat note on the coloring of the water. I assumed the trees could have something to do with it.

    Ryan

    • Thank you so much. It was absolutely brilliant. You’re right – when you get weighed, you know you’re flying in a teeny plane! The falls were just spectacular.

  2. What a fabulous experience. The Kaieteur Falls are awe-inspiring and should be on every Guyana itinerary. I love that your flight included a fly-over of the falls before setting out on your trek.

    I would love to find sundew plants for my little garden — mosquitoes think I am a tasty treat and seem to invite friends and relatives to a feast.

    Lyn | http://www.ramblynjazz.com

    • Thank you – the falls really are awe-inspiring. It’s easy to see why they are Guyana’s most popular attraction. We, too, would love a sundew – we are very tasty to mosquitoes. We got bitten a lot in Guyana, despite the copious quantities of spray we used!

  3. I’d never heard of the Falls before now or indeed knew that they hold that record.
    This is what exploring and travel is for me – to see sights that inspire and make me wonder at the diversity of nature. It is something that I would willing pay a little extra to see both in money and exertion terms.
    They are certainly impressive and the info here is great on how to get to them.
    Having a plane bank around the falls overhead to get an aerial view will be a first ever for me so I am bookmarking this for whenever I get to Guyana.

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment. You’re absolutely right – places like these are so inspirational and seeing them first hand is absolutely magical. Hope you get to visit – we are certain that you will love this experience.

  4. I wondered how you guys decided on visiting Guyana, as it is quite a unique destination and I haven’t heard of it up until you’ve mentioned it. The waterfalls look truly spectacular and from your pictures I get the feeling these are still kept very natural and untouched? I can understand why you guys recommend going with a tour. Thanks also for including the note that flights directly to the national park will only operate when all seats are taken. It would be so frustrating when you are on a limited timed visit and missed out on the opportunity to go.

    Carolin | Solo Travel Story

    • Guyana is most definitely off the beaten track – at the moment – it only receives about 5,000 tourists a year, which is a shame because it has so much to offer visitors.
      It’s important to know that the flights won’t operate if the minimum number of passengers don’t book. You’re right, it’s always a bit worrying on a limited time visit. We booked for a weekend and were told that the flight was confirmed. Then we just had to hope for good weather – we got lucky!

  5. This is a region of the world that has always fascinated me because not many people visit. So it’s nice to see such a great in depth post about the area. That seems like an incredible experience and waterfall to see. Such a cool experience.

    • Thank you! Guyana has very few visitors each year and it really deserves to have more people visit as it is a fascinating country. Seeing the Kaieteur Falls was so very special.

  6. What place to unleash the wanderlust! I have a sneaky suspicion that the pilot is having a blast flying over the falls and taking dreamy passengers with mouths open. You don’t get tired as a pilot with these views. Then there’s the infamous yellow frogs. I would love to encounter these creatures and admire them up close. Definitely not Kerokerropi but ‘deadly’ cute nonetheless #flyingbaguette

    Jan – https://flyingbaguette.com/

    • You know what? I think you’re right! It must be the best piloting job ever. I don’t think I could ever tire of seeing those falls. It was the first time we had seen such a spectacle from the air and it was just magical flying over them. The frogs were incredibly cute but – yes – deadly! We kept a safe distance and admired them from afar.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading

Sign Up To Our Very Tasty Newsletter