Singletrack at Arrowpoint Nature Resort
Nestled on the banks of Kamuni Creek on the Demerara River, Arrowpoint Nature Resort is a great place to unwind over a weekend. Wooden cabins lie in the middle of a forested area, with the gurgling creek in front. Mountain bikes are available on site, and there are several kilometres of easy and more difficult cycling trails and routes through the forest that are fun to explore with a guide.
Bike Touring Linden to Lethem
The 276-mile Linden-Lethem “trail” is considered to be one of the most legendary roads in South America. This dirt road is the only major overland route connecting the capital city of Georgetown in northern Guyana to the Brazilian border to the south. A great deal of the terrain along the route is classified as wilderness, so expect to see wildlife and to stock up on provisions in Georgetown, Linden, or Lethem because there are few shops scattered villages in the savannah section along the way. This route is not for the faint of heart and should only be traversed during the dry season. World Biking provides the Top 5 Reasons to Cycle Guyana as well as practical route information.
Mount Roraima Trek
The only way to get to the top of Mount Roraima from Guyana is via helicopter or an extremely difficult rock climbing route for experts only. There are, however, multiple ways to reach the base of Mount Roraima from within Guyana. Indigenous villages like Paruima and Phillipai provide access into the waterfall-laden Lost World region. The rainforest and vegetation are very dense, but there are multi-day trekking routes to the base of the mountain and to Double Drop Falls and Ushi Falls. There is one trail to the top, which is accessible overland through Brazil on the Venezuela side of the mountain. This multi-day trek is considered to be one of the best in Latin America. It crosses savannah, rivers and thick cloud forest before reaching the summit at 2,700 metres. You can read more information on how you can experience Mount Roraima here.
An increasing number of visitors coming to Guyana seek out learning opportunities and close interaction with the nature, culture and local people to create positive impacts and lifelong bonds. The sustainable management of natural resources and sustainable development of Guyana is of vital interest to the SAVE travel market. SAVE stands for the Scientific, Academic, Volunteer and Educational travelers who want to visit Guyana. SAVE travel is driven by the desire to advance knowledge and contribute to the enhancement of the host country.
Guyana’s Extraordinary Research Potential
Guyana is a vital refuge for wildlife. This vast expanse is one of the last great tropical wilderness areas. Wildlife is abundant in many of the remote parts of the country largely due to its intact forests and difficult access. Guyana takes its moniker of ‘Land of the giants’ seriously and boasts more than 228 mammals, 820 species of birds, 800 fish, and 1000 tree species, many of them found nowhere else. Some of the world’s most iconic wildlife – jaguars, harpy eagles, arapaima, giant anteaters, giant river otters, tapir, and more – still thrive in this interconnected ecosystem of tropical rainforest, massive savannahs, and expansive river systems.
Guyana is an ancient and enchanting place to conduct fieldwork. In the age of overtourism, the country remains unvisited by many outsiders, despite having some of the most intact and spectacular natural landscapes in South America. More than 80% of the country’s vegetation remains in a natural state. Nine indigenous groups have occupied Guyana’s interior regions for thousands of years, stewarding the ecosystems that sustain them. Coastal mangroves, sprawling savannahs and untainted rainforests, along with mountain ranges and highlands covered in isolated tepuis, make up the country’s rich topography. These wild expanses inspire the adventurer in scientists and volunteers alike.
Protected Areas & Forest Reserves
Protected Areas currently cover approximately 8.5% of the country’s landmass. Amongst the main areas to explore in Guyana, Iwokrama Rainforest Reserve, Kaieteur National Park (link), Konashen Community-Owned Conservation Area, Kanuku Mountains and Shell Beach are the most popular. The National Park, Botanical Gardens and Zoological Park in Georgetown are much more accessible and serve as the lungs of the city. There are also a number of Forest Reserves, several offer research facilities and are relatively accessible.
Why do Research in Guyana?
Top ten reasons to conduct research in Guyana
- Intact rainforest
- Friendly, positive, resourceful people
- Clean water
- Diverse ecosystems
- Outstanding biodiversity
- Benign climate
- Wealth of indigenous knowledge
- Abundant wildlife, many rare and endemic species, giants
- True wilderness adventure
There are a number of research facilities and communities such as Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development, Caiman House Field Station and Guest House, Rewa Eco Lodge, Wichabai Ranch & Guest Houses, and Karanambu Trust that host SAVE travel experiences. They work with organisations and institutions like the Smithsonian Institute, Chicago Field Museum, Kent University, and Operation Wallacea to facilitate these experiences. Review our SAVE Travel Guide for more information.
Save Travel Guide
Guyana has many strong and dedicated partners that want to support development of the SAVE travel market. Together, we have developed this SAVE Travel Guide to help introduce you to Guyana’s megadiversity and SAVE travel experiences, provide information on conservation projects and research sites, and ensure you have access to comprehensive details on research permits and travel planning.
You can download the Guyana SAVE Travel Guide here.
Conservation Travel in Guyana
Guyana’s rich biodiversity, dramatic landscapes, and friendly, Indigenous Peoples provide a dazzling diversity of experiences in nature. Together with visionary community leaders and tour operators, a new form of conservation tourism has evolved from ecotourism. Conservation travel makes a net positive contribution to the conservation of biological diversity and ecosystem services.
The country took its first steps towards pioneering conservation travel under the leadership of the legendary Diane McTurk. Diane grew up on a cattle ranch in Karanambu in the Rupununi. Here, she laid the groundwork for using tourism and conservation practices to offer visitors delightful experiences in the jungle and savannahs as well put relentless efforts towards restoring and preserving the natural ecosystems on the ranch. Her work in helping to save and protect giant river otters set a high benchmark for conservationists and researchers all over the world.
Diane and indigenous visionaries like Fred Allicock influenced numerous indigenous communities to establish community conservation areas to protect birding and wildlife habitat for visitors to enjoy. Your visit to these communities not only supports the protection of nature and wildlife but also the maintenance of ancient traditional practices. Learn more about Guyana’s Visitor Guidelines for Sustainable Travel here.
Mainstay, Tapakuma, and Capoey Villages
The three lakes and the namesake Indigenous villages along the Essequibo Coast should be visited by travellers who want to experience the ‘off-the-beaten-path’ Guyana. A combination of water sports like kayaking and boating, along with backcountry trails rife with biodiversity make these three spots popular with travellers. The calming sprawl of the black waters of these lakes make for ideal spots to picnic, swim and unwind after a day of adventure.
Other villages that have set an example are:
- Yupukari Village
Yupukari village in North Rupununi is one of the best places to see conservation tourism in action in Guyana. It is home to the Caiman House Field Station where active research is focused on preserving and measuring the growth of the black caiman population in this part of Guyana. Caiman tagging is a favoured activity among travellers to the village. During your stay in the rustic chic accommodation with local made furniture and beautiful stone walls and bathrooms, you can also learn more about the community’s turtle conservation project and social enterprise that connects local artisans with IKEA customers. This is a popular place in Guyana for nature enthusiasts.
- Warapoka Village
Warapoka is nestled within rich greenery along the Waini River near the coast. Found an hour’s boat ride from the Shell Beach Protected Area, Warapoka is one of the newer communities to embark on community-led and owned tourism in Guyana. Its new ecolodge is quickly becoming known for its access to catch and release fly fishing activities, birding and wildlife spotting excursions. Several harpy eagle nests can be found not too far from the village, and if you’re lucky, one will be nesting during your visit. One thing you can guarantee is that your visit to this community will make a difference.
- Wakapou Village
For travellers looking for an even more intimate, authentic experience near Georgetown, the village of Wakapou delivers. This remote community is located in a scenic wetland and valley on a tributary of the Pomeroon River. It offers very basic lodging, swimming, and a hike to what are believed to be fossilized whale bones. Be sure to partake in samples from the small-scale coffee production enterprise as well.
- Victoria Village
Located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast of Demerara, Victoria is often synonymous with the history of slave uprising in the north. It was the first village in Guyana to be bought by former slaves who gained their freedom in the 1800s. The historic buildings in town and the diversity of bird species that can be found within the thick mangroves that surround the village are a highlight. A visit to the Victoria Honey House for a bottle of locally-made honey is recommended as well.
- Rockstone Village
Located outside of Linden, Rockstone village is known for its great fishing, but other outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and birdwatching make this village a must visit for travellers and locals looking for weekend getaways. The annual Rockstone Fish Festival is testimony to the village’s love for fishing. Rockstone is also a short distance away from Gluck Island, a key birding area on the coastland.
- Moraikobai Village
The two Arawak words, ‘Mora’ meaning tree and ‘Coba’ meaning stump, gave birth to the name of this village located along the Mahaicony River. As one of the newer communities embarking on community-led and owned tourism, Moraikobai offers rustic lodging and great cultural activities, birding, and recreational fishing experiences closer to Georgetown than its Rupununi and Essequibo counterparts.
- Masakenari Village
Home to the Wai Wais, Konashen is Guyana’s first community-owned conservation area, and Masakenari is in the heart of the protected area. This is one of the most thriving wildlife locations in the country where healthy population of rare species such as Harpy Eagle, jaguar, the giant river otter, blue poison frog, and emerald tree boa among others. Access to the community can only be done via light aircraft or day long jungle treks. While tourism is extremely limited, there are a couple operators who offer trips to Wai Wai country that combine boating, trekking and short flights to access the area. Contact Bushmasters and Rupununi Trails for more information.
- Karasabai Village
Located in the South Pakaraima district, Karasabai is one of the best birdwatching destinations in Guyana. The village and the mountainous topography surrounding it more for an excellent place to spot the golden sun parakeet, a star bird on most any birdwatcher’s list. Make sure that you are well prepared with binoculars, outdoor gear and a local guide to maximise your chances for spotting the more elusive bird species. After a full day of birding, you can stay at the community Guest House or Kezee Ecolodge found on the outskirts of the village. If you do, be sure to hike nearby trails and plan a trip up the Ireng River to spot wildlife.
- Aranaputa Village
Aranaputa offers rustic accommodation in the form of a small cabin that you can visit before and after your journey up the 1600-foot-high Clarence Mountain. Other highlights include a tour of the Women’s Cooperative Peanut Butter Factory (you can purchase the Aranaputa Peanut Butter in Georgetown as well), bird watching and wildlife spotting while hiking the seldom-visited Clarence Mountain Nature Trail.
If you are a nature-lover, then Rewa is your dream come true. Widely regarded as one of the best community-led and owned ecolodges in Guyana, Rewa lies in the heart of pristine rainforest at the confluence of the Rupununi and Rewa Rivers. The small population is passionate about protecting the rich biodiversity of their homeland and watershed. The arapaima, the largest scaled freshwater fish in the world, is one such protected species. When you stay at Rewa, you can enjoy piranha fishing or arapaima catch and release fly fishing. You can go wildlife spotting along the river or take a short hike up the Awarmie Mountain. Local guides will accompany you, help spot wildlife, and offer quick insights into some of the most daunting questions as well as take you for a tour of their village, accessible only by river. After an adventure-filled day, retire back to the lodge where you will enjoy delicious local cuisine and spend the night in one of the comfortable benab styled cabins.
Surama, one of the first Indigenous villages in Guyana to invest and embark on community-led and owned tourism, welcomed its first visitors in the late 1990s. The ecolodge and its four stilted cottages and block of four modern rooms lie at the edge of the Burro Burro River along with a landing that’s suitable for camping. There is a plethora of activities. You can take a village tour to learn more about Surama, stop by the local school and experience evening cultural presentations. The adjacent nature trail is good for birding and wildlife spotting. Deeper into the rainforest, jungle survival activities are offered. Take part in fishing on the Burro Burro River or travel to a nearby trail to spot the harpy eagle in its natural habitat. More adventurous travellers can go on a an extended dug-out canoe expedition along the Burro Burro River, camping on the riverbanks at night. From Georgetown to Surama Ecolodge via road, it is usually a 12-hour drive. If you want a faster option, a 1 1/2 hour flight can be booked with local air service providers, Air Services Limited or Trans Guyana Airways.
Rockstone Fish Festival
Every year, during the last weekend of October, the Rockstone Fish Festival is held in Rockstone, Linden. During the festival, you can take part in sport fishing activities, bird watching and relaxing tours around the village. Fishing enthusiasts travel from near and far to try their hand at catching the largest and heaviest types of fish in the river and food vendors will entice you with various fish dishes prepared in all kinds of ways. In the future, the village aims to add even more exciting events to their festival checklist.