In 2019, Guyana received the Best Ecotourism Destination Award at the Sustainable Top 100 Destination Awards in Berlin. In this article, we explore Guyana’s natural beauty and why the country is building an international reputation as a major ecotourism destination.
Guyana has pursued a “Green State” agenda for many years.
The Guyanese government is committed to balancing environmental sustainability with economic growth. Guyana has received international acclaim as a forerunner in terms of sustainable tourism and as a leading ecotourism destination.
True sustainability requires hard work. The Guyanese government is recognizing the potential of adopting environmentally-friendly practices throughout the country, including effective management of the wildlife trade and conservation; adopting alternative mining methods to place less pressure on forests; effective waste management in cities; and transitioning to renewable energy.
Guyana’s government is committed to supporting ecotourism because this form of tourism both supports the continued preservation of Guyana’s natural resources and creates jobs. The nation’s eco-tourism industry is blossoming by collaborating with organizations at local, national, and international levels.
With its array of rare wildlife, Guyana is a once-in-a-lifetime ecotourism destination.
Sometimes called the “Land of the Giants,” Guyana’s largely impenetrable interior jungle offers vacationers a unique opportunity to go completely off-the-grid. Though many remote sites lack internet and phone connectivity, what they lack in modern convenience, they more than make up for in wildlife diversity and natural beauty.
Guyana’s many river systems and dense jungles support a biodiversity hotspot. Guyana is home to more than 6,500 plant and tree species, 900 bird species, 880 reptile species, and 225 species of mammals.
Rare species found in Guyana today include:
- Giant anteater
- Harpy eagle
- Black caiman
- Leatherback turtle
- Giant armadillo
- Green turtle
- Bush dog
- American manatee
- Forest tortoise
- Brazilian tapir
- Amazon river dolphin
- Guianan bonneted bat
- Giant river otter
- Kemp’s Ridley turtle
Guyana boasts several world-class ecotourism lodges and resorts.
With its diverse variety of bird species, Guyana draws ornithologists from all over the world. With several ecolodges situated in Guyana’s grasslands, or on the outskirts of its forests, the country is an excellent destination for birdwatching and viewing rare animal species up close in the wild.
Rewa Eco Lodge
Situated in the village of Rewa in the heartlands of Guyana, Rewa Eco Lodge lies within an area that has received international recognition for its tremendous biodiversity and pristine natural environment.
Situated at the meeting point of the Rewa and Rapununi Rivers, Rewa Eco Lodge is the perfect base from which to explore this untouched natural habitat.
Karanambu Eco Lodge
Established in 1927, the Karanambu Eco Lodge once served as a working cattle station. Today, this leading ecotourism destination covers over 110 square miles of marshes, forests, and savannah, as well as a 30-mile-long stretch of the Rupununi River.
The Lodge provides guests with the perfect opportunity to view local wildlife, such as the giant otter, anaconda, capybara, and giant anteater, not to mention the elusive jaguar. The lodge is also a prime destination for birdwatchers: over 600 species of birds have been spotted in the area.
Situated deep within Guyana’s most remote rainforest, Atta Lodge is the perfect access point to the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway, near the Iwokrama Reserve’s southern boundary in central Guyana. The walkway consists of several platforms linked by wooden bridges, suspended 100 feet above the forest floor.
Atta Lodge is an excellent base from which to explore the mysteries of the rainforest canopy, with regular day and nighttime excursions providing a unique opportunity to observe species like the jaguar, puma, tapir, red howler monkey, and three-toed sloth in their natural habitats.
Caiman House Field Station
Caiman House Incorporated is a Guyanese nonprofit dedicated to developing and supporting a community-owned, social enterprise approach to wildlife conservation. Its mission encompasses conservation research, cultural preservation, education, and economic development. The group has helped fund the construction of public and classroom libraries as well as an enterprise that provides a way for rural artisans to sell their goods.
Caiman House Lodge offers international travelers the opportunity to enjoy the unique flora and fauna of Rapununi by participating in community-led conservation projects designed to protect indigenous species.
The Guyana Tourism Authority and Department of Tourism have developed a Guyana Tourism Strategic Action Plan. The core of the plan is called Vision 2025: Guyana aims to be recognized internationally as a leading sustainable tourism destination by the year 2025. Some of the plan’s sub-goals include making it easier to travel to Guyana, bolstering local and regional tourism infrastructure, strengthening volunteer and educational tourism, and building relationships with influencers and tourism ambassadors.
As Guyana’s longest-serving bank, GBTI supports the nation’s ecotourism industry. From the grandeur of Kaieteur Falls, to the soaring peaks of Mount Roraima, Guyana is cementing its reputation as a leading sustainable tourism destination, as well as a country steeped in unsurpassed natural beauty.