Conservation Tourism Experiences
There are a number of world-class experiences from donor and government-led projects like the EU-supported Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project that resulted in two new community tourism experiences in Victoria and Mahaica to community-led initiatives like Rewa’s, Yupakari and Surama’s efforts to protect rainforest ecosystems for wildlife tourism. Others include Apoteri and Rewa’s efforts to protect river ecosystems and tribal fishing grounds for catch and release sport fishing, and the South Rupununi Conservation Society’s efforts involving six villages who are protecting the endangered Red Siskin. These tourism initiatives provide economic incentives to host communities to make a net positive contribution to the conservation of biological diversity within the lands they manage.
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.