TOURISM: Guyana’s Indigenous Communities Welcome You

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Guyana’s Indigenous Communities:

FEATURED ITINERARY   

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This journey introduces you to the rich, traditional culture and pristine ecosystems environment of Guyana while focusing on sustainable tourism experiences and eco-lodges owned and operated by indigenous communities.

Because Guyana is an English-speaking country, you will be able to interact directly with your hosts, guides and community members experiencing first-hand the authentic hospitality and culture of Guyana’s first peoples.

 

The idea behind community-led and owned tourism is simple. The money that comes into a community-owned and operated tourism enterprise stays within that indigenous village, providing economic benefits to the entire community. From the guides and the cooks to the drivers and support staff, all employees are members of the local community.

Best of all, your hosts want to share their culture and show off the iconic wildlife that live in – the ecosystems they’ve been stewards of for millennia. Your visit provides an incentive to protect wildlife habitat and preserve traditional culture.

It is a fundamental tenet of sustainable tourism, and one you’ll find numerous examples of in Guyana. There are many community-owned and operated eco-lodges travelers can enjoy in Guyana, each with its own unique charm and appeal.
Because Guyana is the only country in South America where English is the native language, visitors can interact with the indigenous locals of the villages without the need for an interpreter. This is definitely a travel plus.
Rewa Eco-Lodge. This lodge, which was founded in 2005 thanks to a grant provided by Conservation International, directly employs 80% of the village’s population. To maximize employment, members of the community work two-week shifts at the lodge, cooking, cleaning, gardening, guiding and otherwise tending to the overall experience. Visitors can visit the village, and gain deeper insight into the indigenous way of life.
The lodge itself is relatively modest. There are five self-contained bungalows with private bathrooms, and two “benabs,” traditional, round, thatch-roofed buildings, each with two bedrooms and shared bathrooms and showers (18 beds total). Meals are served in the main dining benab, which you can also relax under and be entertained by stories of the village and landscape from the guides and staff.

Surama Eco-Lodge. Opened in 1996, this was Guyana’s first community-run lodge. It is an ideal place from which to explore the Rupununi savannahs. Like Rewa, Surama incorporates indigenous traditions in the design of the lodge. There are four simple bungalows, a larger thatched structure that contains four en suite bedrooms, and a large benab, which serves as the main dining area and has a second story filled with hammocks and chairs for you to relax and enjoy the views of the Pakaraima Mountains.

The nearby village of Surama is home to just over 300 people, and is surrounded by the mountains which are the backdrop for many of the adventures you can have around the area. Most Surama villagers are from the Makushi Indigenous group.

Caiman House. This unique facility is a combination of a guest-lodge and education center focused on research and conservation projects along the Rupununi River. Both the Caiman House Lodge and Cayman House Field Station are located within the Yupukari Village, which provides the workforce for each
Visitors have many opportunities to observe – or become involved with – the projects at Caiman House, two of which focuses on the black caiman and yellow-spotted Amazon river turtle. A popular night time excursion allows guests to observe caiman tagging (the capture, measure, and release of the animal) and assist in data collection. Visitors also have the opportunity to meet local craftspeople involved in Wabbani, a nonprofit venture to connect remote artisans with customers to create local jobs.
Warapoka Lodge and Karasabai Lodge. These are two of Guyana’s newer community-owned lodges. They’re still in the development stage, but open to intrepid travellers looking for a more rooted to the earth and rustic experience than the other lodges profiled. Warapoka is known for its excellent catch and release sport fishing, proximity to Shell Beach Protected Area and resident harpy eagles who often nest near the village. Karasabai is one of the only known placed globally where you can see the sun parakeet. It also offers some exceptional hikes.
Moraikobai Guest House and Wakapou Rest HouseFor travellers looking for an even more intimate, authentic experience near Georgetown, the villages of Moraikobai and Wakapou deliver. They both offer very basic lodging. Moraikobai’s elders are known for their evening storytelling. Village tours and recreational fishing are other popular activities. Wakapou offers swimming, samples from a small-scale coffee production enterprise, and a hike to what are believed to be fossilized whale bones.       
Scaling up community-led and owned tourism is just one of the ways Guyana is taking a leadership position in sustainable tourism, and how we continue to provide our visitors with extraordinary and unforgettable experiences.
 VIDEO OF THE MONTH
Take a peek at how some of Guyana’s Indigenous Peoples go about fishing, cooking, making handicrafts and more. These traditional techniques have been around for centuries, and continue to be a part of their daily lives.
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Comments

  • Jennifer Vieira  On August 31, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Not a travel plan. For information only. 😊

    >

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