Hiking to the top of Guyana’s Awarmie Mountain in the Rupununi region, and then spending the night there, was like an episode of Naked and Afraid, minus the naked and double the afraid. In fact an episode was actually filmed here!
Even with treacherous inclines that will get your adrenaline pumping, it is one of the most popular things to do in Guyana (along with a visit to Kaieteur Falls) because of the trails rainforest foliage, panoramic view from the top and wildlife spotting, especially birds.
Guyana Backpacking Adventure: Jungle Mountain Hike in Rupununi
Where is Awarmie Mountain
Awarmie Mountain is located in the South American country of Guyana, in the Rupununi region. It is an easy boat ride from Rewa Eco-Lodge, which is where most people start the tour.
The Hike to the Top
The adventurous Guyana tour started from the Rewa Eco-Lodge where we took about a 40 minute boat ride to get to the base of the mountain. We walked inland on flat ground for about fifteen minutes, one of the best things bout this part of the trail was visiting the Makushi people who were at the base cooking up some of the traditional cassava root for lunch. The sweet village children were happy to see visitors and have their photos taken.
From there it was said to be about an hour to an hour and a half hike to the point where we’d be setting up camp. Typically that length of trek is nothing to worry about for me, but this is a HARD hike with a seriously steep and rocky incline (to the point we were practically rock climbing—that may be a slight exaggeration), plus 90 degree weather with 90 percent humidity and carrying my 20 pound backpack didn’t help the situation.
NOTE: You will be offered a walking stick at the bottom, I declined, but it can be really helpful in assisting with scaling the rocks.
There were definitely times my face was dripping with sweat and I wasn’t sure I’d make it. But, in the end it took me just over an hour to get to our overnight site.
And the reward at the top was so worth the struggle—a stunning view.
Camping on Awarmie Mountain
At the top there was a clearing where the locals from Rewa Village had set up camp for us before we arrived. Hammocks were hung a few feet apart with a tarp above for rain (we were in the rainforest after all) and a tarp below to minimize bugs.
Once I got into my hammock surrounded by a mosquito net, I felt oddly protected and immediately fell asleep. Though sleep came quickly, it was a bit of a rough night with all the sounds of the wilderness and a plastic garbage bag whipping in the wind near my head that I kept thinking was an animal. But, I managed about 6 hours of ‘interrupted’ sleep and not one little critter came inside my space—that I know of!
TIP: Put all your belongings inside of the mosquito net, underneath the hammock. This will help to prevent bugs from crawling inside your bags and you’ll be happy to have your shoes right next to your hammock if you have to make a midnight bathroom run.
I’m not a huge fan of peeing in the woods, but when you’re on a tour in the wilderness you must do what adventurers do. The makeshift toilet was a plastic tarp hung between a couple tree trunks and a hole in the ground. It was tricky to maneuver, but I made it in the hole on the first try. Yay me.
Dinner had been made and carried up by the same local villagers that set up our camp. It was a traditional meal of curry chicken with dal puri (similar to a pita) and some fresh made lime juice. All we needed was a bottle of the local El Dorado rum. Don’t forget to bring yours! You can buy some at the lodge.
The Hike Down Awarmie Mountain
There was only one way back down the mountain, the same treacherous way we came up. For some people going down can be even harder than going up, especially when you have such steep terrain. A few of the hikers in my group slipped and one took a little fall, but we made it back to the boat in half the time as going up.
How to Book This Tour
This experience can be booked through almost any tour operator in Guyana. It can also be booked through the lodge we stayed at, Rewa Eco Lodge in North Rupununi, and wildlife specialist/tour operator who was with me my entire time in Guyana, Leon of Leon Moore Nature Experiences.
What to Bring
For just an overnight hike you want to keep you personal belongings to a minimum. I brought a 44 liter Teton Sport Backpack with the Waterfly Sling daypack inside of that. I wore Prana hiking pants, Bearpaw hiking book, a tank top with a long sleeved button up top over it.
Here’s a rainforest packing list of what you may need:
- Toothbrush and paste
- Water bottle
- Small first aid kit
- Sweat rag
- Bug repellent
- Battery backup for phone or camera
- iPhone and/or camera
- Comfortable long sleeved shirt to sleep in ( I wore my pants to bed).
- Granola bars or snacks
- Hiking boots – sturdy ankle boots are best.
- A change of clothes is optional
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