Conservation & SAVE Travel
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 and 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 worldwide.
Diane and indigenous visionaries like Fred Allicock influenced numerous indigenous communities to establish community conservation areas to protect birding and wildlife habitats for visitors to enjoy. Your visit to these communities supports the protection of nature and wildlife and the maintenance of ancient traditional practices. Learn more about Guyana’s Visitor Guidelines for Sustainable Travel 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.
Conservation Tourism Experiences
Several world-class experiences from donor and government-led projects like the EU-supported Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project 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 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.
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 mainly 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 tropical rainforest ecosystem, massive savannahs and expansive river systems.
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 several forest reserves, and several offer research facilities and are relatively accessible.
SAVE Travel Guide
Guyana has many strong and dedicated partners that want to support the 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 a copy of the guide here.