The Earth's Green Lung - Guyana

Posted by Crooked Compass

Gaining its independence 50 years ago, Guyana was formerly part of the British Empire. Bordering Venezuela, Suriname and Brazil, this English speaking country is part of both the Amazon Biome and Guiana Shield, a two billion year old Precambrian crystalline rock formation, which is home to one of the largest portions of pristine forest in the world.

Guyana Kaiteur Falls
Guyana Kaieteur Falls

Guyana contains a combination of magnificent landscapes and great diversity of spectacular wildlife and plants. Jaguars, harpy eagles, giant anteaters, a multitude of attractive birds, many endemic species and more wonderful creatures inhabit and coexist in the interior of its green lands. 85% of the country is covered by intact forest as well as wide network of rivers, rich wetlands and vast open savannahs that need to be preserved, sustained, discovered and valued.

A Jaguar in the jungles of Guyana
A Jaguar in the jungles of Guyana

The presence of protected areas such as Kaieteur, Iwokrama or Shell Beach attracts travellers looking for new ways of exploring nature. Ways that include being actively engaged in the conservation of its biodiversity and habitats, while also empowering local communities - this is exactly what we do in our Lost World of Three Guyanas small group tour. Guyana's iconic landscapes and location go in fact way beyond their immediate and captivating beauty: they play a key role in reestablishing a true link between humans and nature.

Iwokrama waters, home to otters, Guyana.
Iwokrama waters, home to otters and a swimming spot for locals, Guyana.

Take the Kaieteur National Park and its waterfalls for example. These are one of the world's most powerful falls with a height of 741ft (almost five times that of Niagara Falls.) They are also home for many incredible species that only inhabit this part of the world, such as the golden rocket frog.

Iwokrama is another special place, where biodiversity protection, sustainable uses of forest and eco-tourism have met. A worksite for conservation managed in partnership with local communities on one hand, and one of the natural wonders of Guyana's interior on the other, this protected area features a suspended path set above the forest floor where travellers can wonder into the thick rainforest canopies and see species that could never be seen from the ground.

Amongst the tree tops on the Iwokrama Canopy Walk, Guyana
Amongst the tree tops on the Iwokrama Canopy Walk, Guyana

Iwokrama provides that natural attractions can also be essential to actively involve indigenous communities in the conservation of their own lands.

Other eco-tourism destinations with similar purposes include te North and South Rupununi, where the local ranch and cattle culture of the Amerindians has found a new purpose within tourism; and Shell Beach, a long stretch of beaches that are important marine turtle nesting grounds, located on the coast close to Venezuela.

 

River otter, Guyana
River otter, Guyana

Tips for travelling to Guyana -

  • Remain curious and be ready to explore the natural wonders and cultural richness
  • Expect to indulge in 'the real thing' - you are in for a rustic and homely experience
  • Take care of the places you will visit like they are your own

 

Dreaming of exploring the Guyanas? Join us on our small group tour!