Red Dead Redemption 2's most beautiful space is also the most rarely used in regular gameplay. Guarma is only seen in Chapter 5 for five missions that are almost all strung together. Even when you have a chance to explore, the area you are confined to is small.
Fortunately, ways were found to break out of the map and allow free exploration of almost the entire island. There is more to Guarma than the main area seen in the story. Cut content including entire swaths of un-purposed land have been found.
So let's take a look at what's out there...
Get to Guarma the Long Way
During regular gameplay of Chapter 5 you are confined to the creek and a bit of forest by a sniper. You need to gain access to Guarma when you are in the United States so the sniper is deactivated. Various methods to get out of the map in RDR2 have been found but each typically gets patched so look for the most recent one. Some allow you to take your horse but these are rare. It is easier in Red Dead Online since some areas allow your horse to spawn nearby. Other methods use boats which may or may not be quicker.
Once you manage to get outside the map, you need to get to the area where both maps (US/Mexico and Guarma) meet. The area is in the southeast corner of the map. Depending how or where you got out, it may be easier to follow the low-resolution (aka low-poly) line in the landscape. Keep in mind the low-poly land is not solid for the US/Mexico map so do not cross over.
While moving along the southern low-poly line southeast of St. Denis eventually you will climb up an invisible hill. The hill is directly south of the eastern edge of St. Denis. This is Guarma's map. Simply walk south on this hill and cross the low-poly line. When you do, the US/Mexico map will disappear and the Guarma map will load in.
Welcome to the island!
Upon entering Guarma you will be on low-poly land. Do not worry about this. All low-poly land in Guarma is solid. Off to your right (west) you will find high-resolution land. If you continue over and onto this land you will "officially" be in Guarma including a change in the minimap and pause menu map. Feel free to retrace your first blurry steps on the beach in the northern corner of the map. Note that if you go down the original hill and cross back over north, you will switch the maps back and stand on invisible land under the US/Mexico map. You can explore the now invisible beach but be careful of the water line. There is a similar map line in the southwest region of Guarma but more on that later.
For Red Dead Online, as of this writing you cannot access the high-res Guarma areas without being teleported to St. Denis. There is a work around, though, that will let you explore the rest of the island. All you need to do is stay on the low-poly parts. You can head south and then west under the main Guarma map.
Save Point (patched)
Prior to being patched, it was possible to create a save in Guarma. Make sure you are officially in Guarma (go all the way to the main map area to be sure) and simply create a new save file. DO NOT ENGAGE ANY SOLDIERS OR CAUSE THE SNIPER TO ACTIVATE. If you save with the sniper active it will always be so for that save file. Also note if you do activate the sniper after saving, you will need to restart the game to clear it. Reloading the save will not work.
Transportation in Guarma
Unfortunately your horse will not be available after reloading the save since there is no spawn point for it. There are donkeys available in two locations. First is a pen just west of the bridge over the creek. The second is up the hill just outside the fields. On the map look to the top of the "AG" in AGUASDULCES. Both donkey locations are just inside the sniper zone (see below) so if that is active you will need to run in, grab the donkey, and run back to safety.
There are no wagons or other horses available. You cannot use cheats in Guarma either although it appears it is possible after completling the game. Guarma also lacks boats of any kind. If you used a boat to get out of the map it will not likely stick around if you stray too far from it.
Before exploring the island it is good to know the overall layout and some tricky areas. There are also some terms we use to describe certain areas or limits.
A term we will use to describe the map shown in the pause menu and used for the minimap/radar. Note this is only the northwest quarter of the island.
The areas used in regular gameplay which are very detailed including grass, bushes, vines, etc.
An unofficial name we will give to the areas outside the high-poly. Textures on the ground remain high quality but details like bushes and such disappear. You may notice the edges of different textures that are not blended together. Some trees are solid but most (noticably low-poly) are not. The most obvious sign you are in the medium-poly area is a lack of shadows from the low-poly trees. Another way to tell a medium-poly area is to look at the beach. High-poly areas have white bubble textures where the water and beach meet that are smoothly transitioned. The medium-poly areas have a hard texture edge where the water meets the beach. There may or may not be a bubble texture on top.
As stated previously, all low-poly areas are solid in Guarma. Be careful when transitioning from low to medium since the landscapes are not usually lined up and can have significant height differences. There is a northern, eastern, and southern low-poly line. The northern line is the map transition boundary. The southern boundary is just outside the given map. There is technically a western line at the southwest corner where the shark spawns (see "Points of interest (given map)" below) as the land across a small cove is north of the line but is still low-poly.
Map transition boundaries
These are the lines where the Guarma and US/Mexico maps will switch. There is a northern line well within the given map and a western line just outside it.
Mexico landscape boundary
A less noticable transition area. The Guarma map sits under the far outer regions of Mexico. While in the main areas you will not see the landscape above but once you move outside the given map parts of Mexico will appear. You may notice floating trees to the north and slim rocky texture walls in the sky or out over the east and south coasts. Fun fact: the US/Mexico map is actually a gigantic island! More on that later...
Some of Guarma's peaks rise above these textures while visible. From the given map, go to the southwest corner and head south from there. You'll find a steep incline with a couple small trees around. At some point climbing up this mountain you'll pass through the Mexico landscape. At the top you can look out and see how much effort was put into the outer areas that no one was ever supposed to see.
Note any slip walls present during regular gameplay are still present. These normally keep you from accessing areas you are not supposed to go by forcing your character to "slip" and fall away from the boundary. For Guarma they keep you in the forest area around the creek. Outside of the creek is the sniper.
The high-poly landscape will also cause your character or mount to slip on steeper surfaces. The low-poly landscape is much more forgiving and you can climb up quite steep hills without issue (stamina depletion aside). If you have issues slipping, try moving across the hill not directly up it.
During regular gameplay, if you manage to get past the soldiers, the sniper will make sure you don't get much farther. The sniper is deactivated when returning to Guarma but you need to stay out of certain areas or else it will reactivate. These activation zones are around the fort/factory and the port area. When you enter the zone soldiers will become hostile (red blips on minimap). Even if you leave the zone without causing issue, the sniper will still be activated. It is important to know the fort/factory zone extends down to the creek so avoid the area after spawning and head west before crossing the creek. Note there is an overlap of the boundaries above the fort/factory so it's essentially a deadman area where you'll activate the sniper and be shot at immediately.
Points of Interest (given map)
There are many things to see in Guarma outside of the main area.
In Chapter 5 when you first stumble upon Dutch and friends they are sitting at a campfire nestled against some rocks. There isn't much to it afterwards but the small indent is there.
Rock Arch (north)
While marching in a chain gang, the soldiers get ambushed near a rock arch. Note the top of the rocks just before the arch are not solid so you will fall through the map if you try to get on top.
After escaping the chain gang, everyone flees into the forest. Hercule brings you to an outpost in the woods named El Nido to grab weapons and fight off the soldier reinforcements. There are no more weapons after the fact but there are plenty of explosive crates to blow up.
The abandoned fort taken over by rebels and home to the climax of action in Guarma. Any items you didn't loot from inside the fort will be available. Unfortunately the warship does not exist outside the final Guarma mission.
If you follow the southwest road away from the main area you'll go up a mountain. At the top where the road ends you will be forced to look between two rocks out over a bay. There are no official names for these places but it was likely cut content from when the playable map was much larger.
Rock Arch (south)
Under the previous overlook in the northeast corner of the bay is another rock arch. It's the same size as the other.
North side of the same bay are two rock islands. The western one is much larger and can be seen from numerous places along the coast or from the mountains.
At the southwestern end of the bay is a large rock separated from the landmass. It can be tricky to get on top due to slipping but it is easier using a mount.
Overlooking the entire main area is a mountain to the east with very light-colored rock on the west side. The area near the top is detailed and you can get most of the way up before hitting a slide wall at the very top. This may have been cut content.
Northwest of the previous is another overlook that provides some views of the area.
El Hueco Overlook
Right outside the low-poly line east of The Peak. Top of a ridge that has sweeping views of El Hueco and the surrounding areas.
Great Valley Overlook
Just south of the previous, this location provides good views of the low-poly valley and surrounding hills to the southeast.
Going northeast of El Nido into the low-poly zone there is an inlet sticking into the landscape. The inlet in the game itself does not go as far as the map. Just south of this is a large pond tucked away behind the hills.
Something completely different. While exploring the forest in the southwest of the given map you may be faced with a gigantic floating box that appears from thin air. It's similar to a giant alien spaceship with the south edge sticking into the hillside. The box has a shadow but is not solid. Although awesome when you first come across it, it is likely leftover from development. There are similar small boxes scattered around the map in various places.
An extremely rare animal in RDR2 - and doesn't exist in the compendium - the Tiger Shark has been found in a few places in Guarma. Even more rare is a Hammerhead Shark.
The first area is the most common and where the Tiger Shark always appears. It's actually outside the given map but will be included here. Head to the southwest corner of the map. You'll come to the southern low-poly line along the beach. There is a small cove you'll need to get to the far side of. Note you will hit the western map transition boundary and the land will become invisible. Carefully make your way to the northwest corner of the cove. You may need to drop into the water on the ocean side to get the shark to appear. Take a good look at the landscape before going past the boundary so you have an idea of where you are. If you fall into the water while going north, you'll need to go east and then south to get out. The north side of the hill has a steep drop. For whatever reason the shark will die when it comes close to you and usually drifts around onto the invisible hill.
The second area is north of the main bay (Bahia De La Paz) above the peninsula with the small islands. Both Tiger Sharks and Hammerheads appear here (one at a time). You'll need to wade out into the middle of the bay and then return to the east beach to cause the shark to spawn. These sharks remain alive but will not engage you.
The third area that has yet to be confirmed is the main bay of Bahia De La Paz. A few snapmatics list the Tiger Shark as present in the bay. Exactly how to get the shark to spawn here is unknown. The snaps were taken from Cinco Torres.
Notes about shark spotting: They will not "glow" when using Eagle Eye like other animals. If using binoculars they will be listed as "Shark" when in view as normal but you cannot study them. Photos will automatically tag the shark on Social Club.
Points of Interest (outer areas)
While there are plenty of things to see in the given map area, there is much more to explore. As stated, Guarma is an island and it actually exists in full. Designers took time to landscape the entire thing including the southern and west coasts that players would never see in regular gameplay. It is assumed most of these areas are cut content from early stages of development. Maybe there will be added DLC stories in the future using the rest of the island but that is only a dream at this point.
There is an area on the east coast of the island that definitely looks like it may have been set up for a coastal village of some sort. Using the leaked map for guidance, it has El Hueco ("The Hollow") in the area where this village may have sat.
The highest peak on the northside of the island. Numerous trees limit views.
The region Guarma is located in may not be famous for volcanoes but they do exist and formed most of the islands long ago. A volcano caldera can be found in the southern part of the island southeast of the main area in the low-poly. You can even go down into the center. The caldera's rim forms the second-highest peaks in Guarma.
Top of the island
West of the volcano is a large ridge that has the highest peaks of Guarma. It is essentially straight south of the fort/factory well into the low-poly area. It is possible to see almost the entire island but clouds typically block your view.
This one requires avoiding the Guarma trigger boundary so the map and water does not load. In the southwest corner where the shark spawns is a low-poly rock formation jutting north into the water. When crossing the map transition boundary, everything disappears as normal but if you look down under this formation you'll notice palm trees, bushes, and some grass. There is a small stretch of beach hidden below the map. You can actually drop down to it as some parts are solid. Although, getting down there involves falling through the map until you can maneuver over to the solid parts so you'll likely smash into the solid land and die.
The Ocean Beyond
Off the Guarma island are two smaller ones.
Off Guarma's southwestern coast is a decent sized island out in the ocean. It is actually possible to visit the island but you need to stay along the southern portion or else it will disappear from the map transition boundary. The entire island is solid, though. It is possible this is left over from the original Cinco Torres which was a small island on the leaked map.
Farther away to the northwest is another island. Unfortunately this one cannot be visited. It is deep into the mainland US over New Austin. It is not solid.
Lights to the North
On a clear night look north-northeast across the water and you'll notice what looks like a distant city of lights on the horizon. At first you may think it is another island out in the ocean but it's actually St. Denis in the US. This may have been an oversight from the developers.
As noted previously, Guarma is under the Mexico map. While exploring the outer areas of Guarma you can see and pass through the low-poly landscape. On the southern coast of Guarma you may notice the land above appears to slope down towards the ocean. If you manage to acquire a boat and steam away from the map for a bit, you'll actually find an end. The mainland US/Mexico map is a giant island with steep cliffs all around it. Like Guarma's low-poly areas, the mainland outer areas have varying textures and some landscaping. Amazing since, like Guarma's outer areas, these parts of the main map were never meant to be seen.
For more videos about Guarma check out Basement Gamer Bros here. There are also videos about RDR2 cheat locations and more!