Let’s go to Bartica on the Essequibo River

by Samantha Bacchus McLeod

Oh gosh, I really think my love of travel and adventure started on my very first trip to Bartica, Essequibo, Guyana.

Bartica, Essequibo, Guyana, is a town on the left bank of the Essequibo River in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni area. This is where the three rivers meet; the confluence of the Cuyuni and Mazaruni Rivers, with the Essequibo River. Considered the “Gateway to the Interior”, the town is the launching point for people who work in the bush, mining gold and diamonds. Bartica can be reached from Parika, Essequibo.

Say the name Bartica out loud and I will automatically think of packing my summer clothes to leave for summer vacation. That is what Bartica means to me. How lucky were we to be able to spend most summers in such a beautiful place as Bartica?

Bloody lucky indeed. Our Aunt Rose came every start of summer vacation to take us away for a month. She would arrive the week of to spend time shopping for her supplies and catching up with mom. Then she would do a headcount and instruct us to prepare for the long trip to Bartica.

The trip started with cold baths in the dark of predawn, while the older sisters packed large picnic baskets of food for the 7-hour ferry ride up the massive river. Then it was a 1-hour bus ride to Parika. Parika is a port township located in the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara region of Guyana. It is popular for its ferry service, operated by the Ministry of Transportation, to and from the Essequibo Islands and West Demerara area. It is also notable for its Sunday markets where river people come from miles and miles up and down the river to sell their goods.

Oh gosh, I really think my love of travel and adventure started on my very first trip to Bartica, Guyana. When it comes to my love of food, well…that happened at birth.

A small island in the middle of a lake.
My imagination always ran wild on those ferry rides.

I suggest if you are going to Bartica, take the ferry to get the full experience. Below is the river journey in pictures, hope you are inspired to go now!
Psst…look closely and you may see where the rivers meet.

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