A Critical Look Into Guyana’s Forestry Sector

January 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

With prime, lush forests covering approximately 18.39 hectares of its land mass, Guyana stands as one of the envies of the world. For decades, its forests have been a crucial arm in supporting the nation’s diverse economy, the sustenance of its people and the heart of its climate change efforts.
It has even attracted investors from all parts of the world who often come with an insatiable appetite for its exotic and valuable logs. But like most sectors, it has developed a few worrying problems of its own. These range from corruption, illegal logging; improper management of log exports and wanton misuse of the forests by foreign companies.
The aforementioned issues have led some forest experts to question whether oversight bodies, such as the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), are really doing their job.
It has been reported extensively in Guyana and further afield that while worrying issues abound, the GFC, among other authorities, continue to paint a “pretty picture” about the forest coverage as against the wanton felling of trees by foreign companies.
In an interview with the Guyana Inc Magazine, two internationally respected forests experts, John Palmer (JP) and Janette Bulkan (JB), share their opinion on the Guyana Forestry Commission, efforts by the Government to protect the forests and where Guyana stands with its international deals on safeguarding its forests.

Guyana Inc Magazine (GIM): Over the years, the Guyana Forestry Commission would have provided data and estimates to prove that Guyana’s deforestation rate remains low and that state forests remain protected. But how do you view the process by which the Commission obtained these figures? Is it one that you have confidence in? If not, how do you believe faith can be restored?
JP&JB: Even in the years before the availability of remotely sensed space imagery, the Guyana Forest Department supplied The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with quite good estimates of the national area of standing forest. As such, Money from Norway through the Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) was used to contract a company called Jaako Poyry from New Zealand in 2010 and later Indufor from Asia Pacific to collect and analyze medium-resolution and now high-resolution space-based imagery for country-wide estimates.
However, the analysts have not evidently used either GGMC maps of mining concessions or GFC maps of current logging blocks, thus the opportunity to focus on the obvious priority areas for deforestation and forest degradation appears to have been missed.
Likewise, it is not clear that the GFC uses the international definition of intact forest landscapes. The various arbitrary ratios and adjustments suggested or approved by Norway (NICFI) make difficult any international comparisons of Guyana data with the rest of the world.
It is not the accuracy or precision of the Indufor analysis which is important. What is important is how the data is used to inform and guide policy. So far as we can determine, the data is NOT used to inform or guide policy in Guyana, while practice has continued to be ‘business as usual’, as promised by former President Bharrat Jagdeo in 2009. They have been used by Norway in the arbitrary calculation of aid money support for implementation of the Jagdeo LCDS.
But all is not lost. There is still time for the new members of the GFC Board to request sight of the contracts with Indufor or the University of Durham for external assistance to the GFC Monitoring, Reporting and Verification system (MRVS).

GIM: Guyana is expected to bring two million hectares of forest under conservation. This was announced by President David Granger at the signing of the Paris climate change pact. How do you believe this will help in our quest to safeguard the forests?
JP&JB: This can be classified as an INDC meaning an Intend Nationally Determined Contribution. However, it is our view that the commitment appears to have been devised by Office of the President advisor(s). It is not clear how or why they developed this figure, or what State Forests they imagined could be assigned in this way.
It is important to note that all the forest of Guyana have not yet been allocated to logging companies, and much of the forest within logging concessions, is also the customary lands of Amerindians.
As the Government of Guyana has provided international assurance, and under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), that Guyana implements the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) with regard to its indigenous peoples, it follows that no such commitment to assign one or two million hectares of forest should be made without the consent of the Amerindian communities.
In addition, you would recall that there is an unfinished legal commitment under the Independence Agreement of 1965 to provide land security to the Amerindian communities. Only about one quarter of the areas claimed by Amerindians as customary land in 1967 to 1969 have subsequently been placed under communal land title.
The Protected Areas Commission appears to be fully occupied with development of its Georgetown-based bureaucracy and management of the three gazetted areas – Kaieteur (61000 ha), Kanuku Mountains plus Shell Beach (730000 ha) national parks – totaling (791000 ha). The wilderness preserve of Iwokrama is about 180000 ha, under its own Act of Parliament 1996.
It is not clear if the Protected Areas Commission has the capacity to identify, survey and undertake other legally required steps to acquire and manage a further one million hectares of national park.
In conclusion, merely assigning National Parks to the INDCs is not the internationally expected ‘additionality’ beyond ‘business as usual’. Leaving the national parks without logging or mining is not the same as taking positive steps to reduce carbon emissions.

GIM: GFC officials have boasted that Guyana has one of the longest and most striking experiences pioneering the international development of payment-for-performance forest schemes. It said that this is demonstrated in the Government of Guyana and Kingdom of Norway, Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and its related REDD+ mechanisms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. But how can one trust such an agreement given the industrial scale logging that is taking place? And if the agreement is intended to further the cause of protecting the global forests, then how does it not take reports on the abuse of Guyana’s forests into consideration? Also, how does Norway assess deforestation in Guyana?
JP&JB: PES schemes which mean Payments for Environmental Services conventionally require the service provider to demonstrate additionality. For example, suppose a local beverage company wants perennial supplies of clean water for its distilleries. Suppose that the water supply comes from a forest catchment. The catchment manager must actively ensure that road building and logging do not result in sedimentation or pollution of the water supply and do not impede the water flow. Such measures conventionally increase the cost of forest management with that cost being compensated by the payments by the distiller for access to the clean water.
Likewise, a REDD scheme requires active measures to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. But this is not what Guyana has done. Guyana has made no policy commitment and taken no measures to reduce deforestation or degradation from logging or mining.
The deal with Norway is a non-standard artificial deal involving a critical emission level far above the actual or foreseen rates. As the website REDD Monitor has pointed out several times, the Norway-Guyana deal is a disreputable piece of ‘hot air’. Why Norway became involved with Guyana is partly explained in the University of Oslo thesis by Heide Bade (2012); it involves internal political ambitions in Norway and is quite unrelated to conventional ideas of REDD+.
There was a stricture against increased logging in the original Joint Concept Note (JCN) associated with the Norway-Guyana MoU. This stricture imposed a financial penalty if the average annual wood production of the six years 2003-2008 was exceeded in any of the years of the MoU 2009-2015. In fact, the limit was exceeded in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The penalty was fiscally ineffective: the profit from the extra logs far exceeded (by about six times) the cost of the penalty. Of course, the people of Guyana suffered the penalty while the profit was enjoyed by some foreign companies.
The Norwegian cash comes from the aid budget, not from a commercial contract. That may explain the peculiar features of the deal between ambitious Minister Eric Solheim and ambitious former President Bharrat Jagdeo, which appear in no other PES scheme globally. This is why this scheme is actually worthless internationally, except for the technical aspects of RapidEye analysis.
We know that some Norwegian staff read the website REDD-Monitor so they are well aware of the uncontrolled logging and mining in Guyana. If we understand correctly, as long as Guyana does not breach the artificially high limit for deforestation specified in successive versions of the JCN, Norway does not worry about high levels of uncontrolled logging and mining.
The process for assessing deforestation in Guyana for the MoU is described each year in the GFC-Indufor report. This multi-hundred page technical document can be downloaded from the GFC website. There is no simple –language version, although we ask the Norwegians to make the report understandable for people in Guyana: except for one year, there has been no response from Oslo.

Hunting A River Monster In Guyana’s Mystical Waterways

November 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

My quest for a world-record sized Amazon Wolf fish started at the most remote and Southern village in Guyana, referred to as the Gunns Strip.
I arrived early in the morning, just as the fog cleared on a small bush strip. It was surrounded by 120 ft trees as far as the eye could see. It was the most beautiful place I have ever laid my eyes upon; a place that was home to the hospitable Wai Wai tribe.
Upon reaching the area, I realized what a tremendous privilege it was for me to be there. Not many foreigners are allowed to visit this protected area.
A good friend of mine and Missionary pilot had a flight to Shia in the South Rupununi carrying supplies to a Bible worker who has been there for a while. Luckily for my part, he had an open seat for me and my gear, and was happy to drop me off provided I supplied the Avgas for my leg of the flight. Being a bush pilot in Guyana myself, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to get to know the area better from the air.
This particular area is protected land belonging to the last remaining Wai Wai tribe in Guyana. It has the world’s most pristine jungle and rivers running through it.
It is also home to the origins of the mighty Essequibo River, which is the third largest river in Northern South America. The area is so isolated that it can only be accessed by aircraft via Gunns Strip or by a four day river journey from Parabara, a Wapishana village on the banks of the Cuyuni river.
After paying my respects to the village elders and Toshao, I was introduced to Anthony and Steven. They are ex-Rangers from the area and were to be my Wai Wai guides on this journey.
Together, we ventured into the unknown in a traditionally made 30ft dugout canoe with a small outboard motor. Our primary objective at the time was to scout potential campsites on both the Upper Essequibo and Kasekaitsu rivers for future guided fishing trips into the area, and catch as many different species as possible in my time there. As fate would have it, this very quickly turned into an obsession with the elusive river demon, the Wolf fish or Aymara, as the locals here call it.
Whilst talking to Steven about the different catfish species, some growing to over 400lbs like the Lau Lau (which is not found in this area ), I couldn’t help but lose myself in the beauty of the area; crystal clear waters, with rapids around every bend in the river.
The amount of wildlife was astonishing. We saw over 100 wild macaws in the first couple of hours; a gigantic Green Anaconda wrapped around a fallen tree and countless monkeys, which I would over the next couple days, learn is better tasting when roasted over the fire than the best Brazilian steak, especially the Spider Monkey.
It didn’t take long for me to realize the difficulty of our task, as our timing was a bit off since being in the middle of the rainy season, the river was extremely high and pushed at some points, more than 100ft into raw Amazon jungle.
The first three days of the 14 day expedition was spent casting lures for big peacock bass and arowana, with no success. After what felt like a million casts and catching countless Piranhas I realized I was wasting my time. The waters of the Essequibo and Kasekaitsu rivers were simply too high.
That night around the campfire, with the sweet smell of a freshly roasted Piranha, we decided to change our tactics and target the big Wolf fish that we have been hearing jumping in the jungle’s waterways.
Fishing for this giant on rod and line is extremely difficult. They inhabit the smaller creeks and are widely considered as the most elusive fish in the Amazon to target on rod and line, especially trophy-sized type.
They are mostly an ambush predator lurking in the shadows while feeding on other fish and small mammals that fall into the water. Once hooked, you have to hold on, as this fish will do all it can to get off, even jumping and biting at anglers.
The Aymara itself is absolutely beautiful. It has big black eyes and a mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth that would make you think twice about taking your evening river baths. In fact, forget about the Piranha, the Aymara is the true apex predator of these waters. The official world record for such a catch is currently recorded at 36.7 lbs. But we were determined to break this. Judging by the sounds of the splashes, we were right on the honey hole concerning the big ones. They are primarily nocturnal hunters, although not uncommon to catch during the day, but in order to increase our chances of a big one, we decided to sleep during the day and fish through the night.
We were determined to catch one over the 50 lbs range, since my guides told me they grew to well over 60 lbs in that area. Like a disease, the thought of an Aymara that size consumed every bit of my thought process.
After catching four Aymaras breaking the 40 lbs range I knew it was going to happen, and having unofficially broken the world record a couple times, it just made us more determined to accomplish our goal.
Together Anthony, Steven and myself spent hours fishing through the night, some days without a single bite, targeting no species other than the elusive Wolf. Conditions were the most brutal that I have ever encountered.
We endured six hours of nonstop rain in our boat. Even though we were ankle-deep in water, our resolve did not falter. I remember telling Steven on more than one occasion that we are already wet so we might as well push through instead of heading to the comfort of our hammocks and campfire. When it didn’t rain we were being eaten alive by insects. Tired and sore, we ventured on like true champions do; giving up was not an option.
When my spirit was at an all time low, and running out of gear, we came across a group of hunters from the village, who gave me some raw spider monkey liver to use as bait. That night, armed with my new bait, Anthony took me to his secret spot, where he is convinced monsters lurked. Eight minutes after casting my monkey liver bait, I hooked onto what can be deemed as the fish of a lifetime. It was a massive 54 lbs Wolf Fish, a true river monster in every essence of the word.
The fish jumped four feet into the air as it tried to escape my hook. With the adrenaline running through my veins, I knew one mistake is all it would take to lose the fish of a lifetime.
After five minutes, I could sense the fish was starting to get tired, it made one last run for cover and my 80 lbs braided line did its job and held up under the pressure. Only after we got it to the side of the boat and Anthony had it safely secured with the lip grip, did the full emotions of what had just happened sink in.
At that moment, all the wait, pain and suffering faded away, we succeeded. But our job was not done just yet, only after taking a couple pictures of the monster and releasing it back safely again to grow more, did we celebrate.
That night, there was a sense of brotherhood around the campfire. Our hard work over the last couple of days paid off, and we finally got a good night’s rest before taking on the river journey to Parabara.
This trip was certainly an opportunity for me to fall in love all over again with the many splendours of this country, and I did. I cannot wait to visit the area again and someday, I hope you can too.


Pandama Winery and Retreat- A Mesmerizing Paradise For The Mind, Body And Soul

November 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

There are only a few places on planet earth that can offer the peace and serenity that we often seek. It’s even harder to find a place where one can seek
spiritual alignment, connect with nature and the positive natural energy that flows deep within. Pandama Retreat, along the Linden/ Soesdyke Highway of Guyana, is one such paradise that nourishes the mind, body and soul. Its scenery, comprising of the most beautiful flora that Guyana has to offer, is enough to mesmerize the senses. At Pandama you will experience diverse cultures and nurture amazing new friendships, while enjoying a very unique experience. The Retreat caters for any occasion; be it wedding ceremonies, commitment ceremonies or family outings. Just a few minutes from the Soesdyke Main Road, the Retreat proves to be easily accessible. Bird watching is also one of the activities that is offered at the Retreat. In fact, Pandama is home to over 128 species of birds. Birders and wildlife photographers have recently been frequenting the retreat to be the first to discover each new species. Birding packages are also available there. The Retreat also offers fishing and swimming activities, gift shopping, reiki classes, and for the moment you have been waiting for – camping! This one of a kind paradise offers a fully functional campground for picnics and reunions. Their bunk station can very comfortably accommodate 20 adults in their cool, shaded camping area. While there, you can sample some of the tastiest wines this side of the hemisphere has to offer. In 2012, Pandama Wines received the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) President’s award for “Best New Product” in Guyana. Pandama products are available in Guyana at Bounty Supermarkets, the Guyana Shop and DSL Cash and Carry among other leading supermarkets and stores countrywide. “I remember sitting in our back yard in Charlotte, North Carolina with my wife, Tracy, when a very interesting conversation ensued. Tracy intimated that she wanted to start making soap again – Tracy had manufactured her own soap for several years. I remember indicating to her that I always wanted to make my own wine, and I was going to start researching the process. I read everything that I could get my hands on about wine making and decided to invest in the equipment.” Those were the words of the owner of Pandama Winery and Retreat, Mr. Warren Douglas. Warren is a native of Guyana and veteran of the United States Navy. He was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia aboard the U.S Navy’s amphibious assault aircraft carrier USS Guadalcanal. Warren was a member of the crew that
was involved in military conflicts in Grenada and Libya. This crew was also involved in numerous peacekeeping missions in the Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. He received his Bachelor’s degree aboard ship through PACE (Program for Afloat College Education) while stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. Warren resided in Virginia for 21 years. Tracy and Warren lived in Charlotte, North Carolina until 2009, then moved to Guyana to co-create Pandama Retreat, Winery & Centre for the Creative Arts. They have two children, Chaz and Tielle and one grandson, Lennox. Warren continued that his first batch of wine was made from North Carolina peaches, and it was a homerun after he introduced it to his friends and family all
across the United States. “I continued to make wine and we gave bottles as gifts at parties and gatherings. When Tracy and I decided to move to
Guyana to live, I knew that wine making would be a major part of the Pandama Retreat experience. With the proliferation of exotic fruits in Guyana, it didn’t take much time for Pandama Wines to come into being. We currently offer several fruit wines which include Pineapple, Jamoon, Aunty Desmond, Noni, Cherry, Malacca Pear, Duka, Carambola and Sorrel. We will continue to develop new flavours periodically,” Mr. Douglas said. Pandama Wines also offers Pulse, a libido enhancement tonic wine which is made from barks native to Guyana and the Amazon Basin. It is a real treat and has gotten rave reviews from ladies and gentlemen alike. Mr. Douglas said that Pandama has received great reviews over the past couple of years since it began its operation in 2009 and they intend to make their products available in as many places as possible. While admitting that there is a real need for quality local wines in Guyana, their products have made it to many tables in the United States and the United Kingdom during the holiday seasons. “We intend to keep things moving. Our focus is not mass production, but rather providing a quality product that is satisfying to all of our customers,” he added.

The Kinkajou

September 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

What would you do if you came across this little guy scurrying around one evening?

The chances of that might be very low, but don’t count yourself unlucky just yet. The Kinkajou, or honeybear as most people know it is just one of the many exotic animals that you can catch a peek at while vising the Guyana Zoological Park.

The Kinkajou (scientific name: Potos flavus) is a rainforest mammal that is related to the olingos, raccoons, coatis and ringtails. It is sometimes mistaken for a ferret or monkey but it has no relation to either in the animal kingdom. This frugivorous, nocturnal animal is native to both Central and South America and spends most of its life dwelling in tall trees. The can reach weights of up to 10 pounds and lengths of up to 60 centimetres, minus the length of the tail. This can reach a further length of up to 60 additional centimetres. They are usually brown-gray in colour, with large eyes and small ears.

So you’re taking a visit to the rainforest and you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of it in its natural habitat…….well, the best time to do so is at 7pm, midnight and an hour just before dawn. Otherwise, they sleep in tree hollows or shaded tangles of leaves avoiding direct sunlight.

They usually breed throughout the year and can mother up to two cubs after a gestational period of 118 days.

But you don’t have to go all the way to the Guyanese Rainforest to see them, take a drive to the zoo and have a look around, you are bound to see one.

Must-visit sites while in Guyana for its Golden Jubilee

July 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Co-operative Republic of Guyana, which boasts a rich culture from its six peoples, and plays residence to the kings of the Amazon rainforest, has much to celebrate when it turns 50 on May 26, 2016.

A quick geographic lesson would tell you that Guyana is situated on the northern mainland of South America bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Brazil, Suriname and Venezuela.

Its natural vegetation and rich history make Guyana an ideal destination in South America and among the Caribbean islands. So as the country commemorates its 50th Independence anniversary, Guyanese at home and in the Diaspora believe they have all reason to be merry.

However, if you are a first time visitor or returning home after many years and the night clubs or restaurants are not of much interest to you, please allow Guyana Inc. to be the first to give you an official insight into Guyana’s lush heritage and eco-tourism.

Be prepared for a picturesque adventure as you are warmly welcomed to beautiful Guyana.


ST GEORGE’S CATHEDRAL: Located on North Road in Georgetown, it stands at 143 feet as the tallest wooden structure. This Anglican Church reminds Guyanese of their architectural, social and cultural heritage. It was completed and blessed in 1892. The interior of the sanctuary is designed in the shape of a Latin cross, fused with elements of Elizabethan architecture. This site is perfect for history lovers.


THE BOTANICAL GARDENS: Conceived in 1877 by the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society, this Garden consists of flora and fauna and several historical structures such as the kissing bridge, the bandstand and the place of seven ponds. The history of the ponds states that its creation was in honour of the nation’s fallen heroes, Former President Desmond Hoyte among others.

Guyana also holds a renowned title as a bird watching paradise. The beautiful Botanical Gardens is one of many perfect destinations to be mesmerized by various species of birds. Take the opportunity to view these creatures at very close quarters without having to strain your neck.


STABROEK MARKET: Officially opened in November, 1881- the market covers an area of 76,728 square feet. The steel work was developed in a Tudor and Gothic architectural style. Its framework comprises of four dialed clocks which prominently stand sixty feet above the main entrance. The clock is now defunct but the market still continues to prosper economically, and is highly ranked among the world’s largest Metal Markets. So, if you are interested in savouring a local ambiance, then venture within the corridors of the market, do enjoy, but be careful!

CITY HALL: The Office of the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown was opened in July 1889, with a Neo-gothic architecture design, consisting of wrought iron columns and stairs, lancelet windows, a hammer beam roof in the concert hall and a tower which rises at 96 feet. These are a few attractions that allow this building to hold the prestigious title as one of the Caribbean’s premium structures. The compound of the City Hall also houses several monuments. As recent as March 18, 2016, Guyana held its local Government Elections after twenty three years; hence a new mayor and councilor’s body now govern within these fine wooden walls.

THE SEAWALLS: Built by the Dutch in 1880, as a sea defense mechanism, the Georgetown seawall is now a local “chill spot”. It has become a popular exercising location, a spot for the old and young and an ideal recreational place for family and friends, especially on Sunday afternoons. The walls run approximately 280 miles in length along the coastline of the capital city. So there is always enough room to facilitate a large crowd.

The Georgetown municipality is filled with magnificent monuments and buildings that display an elegant combination of our Dutch, British, Spanish and French forefathers’ heritage and affluent culture.

Sounds exciting?  Are you ready for more? Then let this article continue to be your first hand tour guide.

Guyana as the land of many waters, streaming rivers and dark water creeks will entice you to splash freely and get loose at our riverain resorts. Now take the opportunity to venture out of the capital to experience the breathtaking eco tourism locations and resorts. You can also take a trip up the Linden/Soesdyke Highway to visit one of the several creeks and resorts or travel up the mighty Essequibo River, for a day away from the busy city life.

ARROW POINT:  This breathtaking paradise is situated a little further up from Santa Mission.  Officials there, take you on a walk through the rainforest, demonstrate cassava bread making, and stuff you with delicious Guyanese food.  You can swim in the lake and if you overnight and they will take you on a night-time walk to try to see creatures.


BAGANARA ISLAND RESORT:  This is another resort located on the Essequibo River about 50 miles in the interior from the Atlantic Ocean.  It’s a secluded site in the middle of the jungle with plenty of amenities at your disposal.  There, you can swim and kayak, participate in organized excursions in the surrounding areas or just relax to your enjoyment.


HURAKABRA RESORT: Situated on the western bank of the mighty Essequibo River, this resort is known to be yachter’s paradise. Hurakabra is home to various animal and towering trees such as the Kabakali and the imposing Silk Cotton Tree, known as the king of trees. It is also a bird watching paradise so take the chance and be one with nature.


ARUWAI RESORT WHITE H2O: Located in Region Seven, in the Mazaruni River, this establishment was opened in 2015, and is named after one of the many waterfalls found in Guyana. The luxurious resort is built on an island which is approximately one quarter of a square mile and houses a fifty room hotel.  Perks of visiting the resort include boat rides, visitation of several falls and the use of the water slide trampoline.  A spa and gymnasium is also readily available for you.

Are those bathing suits ready for a fantastic trip? Are you set to relax as you watch the sun dip behind the horizon of the rivers? Or are you thirsty for cold local beverages chilled to delight, as you unwind in one of the locally made benabs found on several of our creeks along the Linden/ Soesdyke Highway?


One such place to do so is at the PANDAMA RETREAT AND WINERY. This is the first retreat found up the Linden-Soesdyke Highway. The retreat caters as a “get away” from civilization. It offers a unique blend of culture and mesmerizing scenery as it is home to one 128 species of birds. And if you are a wine lover, Pandama offers an extravagant selection. The retreat also caters for outdoor camping. Refresh, rejuvenate and relax as you are nicely tucked away in private cabins with all amenities.


SPLASHMINS ECO ADVENTURE PARK AND CAMPING GROUNDS: This resort, also located along the Linden Soesdyke highway, provides adventure parks which give you the opportunity to indulge in a grass roots’ ambiance. The 25 acres of lush vegetation will make you indulge in a full Guyanese lifestyle. Treat yourself in climbing trees, picking fruits and take the chance in a bush cook or BBQ on the grounds.


The riverain resorts will not be your last stop as IWOKARMA INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR RAINFOREST CONSERVATION is a prime tourist hotspot. It offers a canopy walkway at 100 feet high and gives visitors a view of the forest. If you are not fond of heights, we advise you not to walk the canopy but visit the Atta Rainforest lodge which rests among the towering trees and grassy lawns. The conservation’s purpose is to preserve values between nature and the local people who reside within the community. In Iwokrama, there are estimated to be over 200 different species of mammals, 50 birds, 420 fish and 150 reptiles and amphibians.


Last but not least, try not to leave Guyana without making an effort to visit the infamous, longest single drop water fall in the world – Kaieteur. Situated on the Potaro River, Kaieteur Falls ranks with Iguazú, Niagara and Victoria in scale and beauty. This is especially a show stopper for first timers. Meanwhile, its national park is situated on the Guiana Shield, a flat terrain that is one of the world’s oldest and most remote geological formations located in a bio-diverse rainforest.

As you decide your ultimate destination, we do hope we have been of significant assistance to make your stay worthwhile in Guyana. Be sure to jungle trek, indulge in wildlife spotting, visit an Amerindian village, ski the rapidly flowing waterways and sample our delectable local dishes.




Guyana’s Eco-tourism Remains Home to Some of the Caribbean’s Most Exotic Natural Treasures

January 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Endowed with massive pristine tracts of tropical rainforest, high species biodiversity, amazing wildlife, majestic rivers and waterfalls, mountain ranges, savannahs, wetlands, and indigenous communities with low carbon lifestyle, Guyana’s ecotourism potential is unsurpassed.
It is a paradise for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and the Eco-tourist alike. It boasts an irresistible combination of fascinating and breathtaking natural beauty; blended with a vibrant indigenous culture, rich heritage and the most hospitable and friendly people in the world.
In Guyana, ecotourism is viewed as an environmentally-friendly way of utilizing the natural environment, as opposed to traditional forms of tourism such as nature tourism and adventure tourism, which are not necessarily environmentally-friendly.
But eco-tourism is probably one of the most misused and misunderstood words in the tourism industry. Ecotourism unites conservation communities and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities are often required to take the following principles into consideration: Minimize impact, build environmental and cultural awareness and respect, provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts, provide direct financial benefits for conservation, provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people, raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate, and respect local culture and human rights.
Ecotourism, also known as ecological tourism, is commonly defined as “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” It involves travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas. It helps to educate the traveler; provides funds for conservation; directly benefits the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and fosters respect for different cultures and for human rights.
With the impacts of Climate Change, the drive to preserve the environment and human health while deriving economic benefits from the natural environment is becoming the trend.
Over the years, the scope for ecotourism in Guyana has grown with experiences which make it stand out from the other ecotourism destinations.
As opposed to the sun and sand tourism product offered by many of its Caribbean neighbors, Guyana truly offers a distinct product with its vast open spaces, savannahs, virgin rainforests, mountains, enormous rivers and waterfalls, the most legendary of which is the majestic Kaieteur Falls, known to be the highest single drop waterfall in the world and five times taller than Niagara Falls.
Some of Guyana’s most fascinating mountains include; Mount Ayanganna, Monte Caburai and Mount Roraima which is said to be the country’s highest mountain. The mystifying beauty of these mountains has inspired many great novels published across the world.
The country’s four largest rivers; Essequibo, Corentyne, Berbice and Demerara are also enigmatic brown and black water beauties which invite anyone to explore their haunting wonders.
Guyana also possesses abundant wildlife, numerous species of flora, a unique variety of fauna and a spectacular array of over 850 species of birdlife making it home to some of the Caribbean’s most exotic natural resources.
Some of the country’s most exquisite birds include; Manakins, Saltators, Osprey, Plovers and not forgetting its national bird, the Hoatzin.
Its wildlife includes exotic species such as the Ocelot, Harpy Eagle, Arapaima (the world’s largest fresh water fish) and the Jaguar.
The sites to view Guyana’s magnificent flora and fauna are accessible by land, air and river and are served by high-quality eco-resorts in the interior.
Guyana’s tourism industry is experiencing a period of dynamic investment and growth. Visitor arrivals have grown from 57,400 in 1999 to over 116,000 in 2005. Tourism receipts (or exports) amounted to over US$35 million in 2005.
Guyana, with over 75 percent of pristine forest, has great potential for ecotourism. Its rich biodiversity, which encompasses a wide spectrum of unique plants and animals, makes Guyana’s ecotourism experience different from the typical Caribbean island experience.
There are also several eco-resorts which not only preserve the faultless flora around it but also promote so as to give that ideal nature-inspired feel. From the serene waters of the mighty Essequibo, to the unadulterated rainforest and natural beauty of the rugged Rupununi, eco-resorts can be found so that tourists can be in the comfort they always wanted when holidaying.

Adels Resort – Akawini Creek, Pomeroon River
Located in the pristine rainforest area of the Pomeroon River and surrounded by a 60 acre farm that provides all the food you can eat, this eco-resort is the perfect sanctuary to reconnect with nature.
This quiet resort was named after the late Adel Stoll (1882-1984) and pays tribute to a daughter of the soil who raised eighteen children, sold produce from Adel’s farm and home-made sweets to take care of her family. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren now honour the memory of this much loved matriarch.
It is within an hour’s boat ride to several Amerindian Reservations and the famous Shell Beach where you can witness the turtles comes to lay their eggs. You can awake to the beautiful sunrise and the variety of gorgeous and rare birds flying overhead. Howler monkeys are also generally on hand for your early morning wake up call. Bird watching is also a favourite pastime with the numerous indigenous birds that call the trees around Adel’s home.

adels rainforest resortArrow Point Interior Nature Resort
Arrowpoint is an Eco tourism facility that offers guests an unforgettable experience. It is located in the Amerindian Reservation of Santa Mission which has a population of approximately four hundred (400) Arawak Indians. Established in 1993, Arrow Point takes its name from the profusion of arrow trees that grow in the area. Biking, bird-watching, and quiet, reflective strolls along its winding trails are just part of the “eco-adventure” product that it offers.
Flowing past the Resort, the serene waters of the Kamuni Creek gently kiss a small, inviting expanse of white sandy beach.

Baganara Scenary 15Baganara Island Resort
You dream of a place, within your reach, where you can be alone, with nature’s beauty surrounding you on all the shores. Your senses are indulged by the calming lilt of birdsong, the chirping of crickets and the croaking of frogs. The magnificence of the vastness of such a pristine natural world spells Baganara Island Resort. This is the place where you can leave the bustle of the city behind and enjoy a private executive lunch, the atmosphere is great for deal closings, mergers or just a place to get away for a quiet lunch when the options of a city restaurant becomes mundane. This is a place where one can surely escape to an exotic Island Paradise and experience one of Guyana’s true gems located five miles from Bartica in the Essequibo River.

iworkramaIwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development
The Iwokrama Forest and the Rupununi Wetlands and savannahs offer visitors the opportunity for an exceptional natural and cultural experience set in a learning context.
Iwokrama is a place for all ages and all interests and you choose what you want to do. By staying at Iwokrama you are directly contributing to the communities in and surrounding the forest and to the conservation of what lies within.
You will also contribute towards the development of an eco-friendly sustainable tourism model which can be shared locally, nationally and with the international community.

Lake MainstayLake Mainstay Resort
A unique tropical paradise constructed on 15.3 acres of land, Lake Mainstay is located 15 minutes by car inland from Anna Regina on the Essequibo coast. With its own airstrip, the resort is a 20-minute flight from Georgetown. The Arawak Indians first inhabited the Mainstay area which was called ‘Quacabuka’, an Arawak word meaning ‘in–between’. Activities on-site include volleyball, fishing, walks along nature trails, lawn tennis, and dancing the night away at our beach bar. It was officially opened on December 4, 1999.

splashSplashmin’s Fun Park and Resort
Splashmin’s Fun Park and Resort, snuggled in the heart of Madewini Wetlands on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway, is a perpetual Paradise. The handmade masterpiece of this timeless creation offers family a place to be together, a place to construct unforgettable memories of a lifetime.
The theme park features shows, pristine plant life and beaches. The Park is built on one hundred and sixty four acres amidst numerous species of flora and a variety of fauna which include spectacular bird life. Splashmin’s Resort is also forty five (45) minutes from Georgetown and fifteen (15) minutes from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
Guests can indulge in nature and experience Guyanese lifestyle to the fullest. The lush flora invites you to pick succulent fruits, climb trees, or get bush cook started. At the end of the day it provides a real nature experience.
Splashmins Eco Adventure Park and Camping Grounds is located on the opposite side of its Fun Park which is just a mere two minutes boat ride away. It is accessible from the Linden Soesdyke highway; only about a minute drive, South from the Fun Park’s main entrance.

The Exotic But Eerie Dyeing Dart Frog

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The vibrant colours of the Dendrobates tinctorius, more commonly known as the dyeing dart frog, easily makes it one of the most exotic yet peculiar creatures among the species of the poison dart frogs.
This amphibian is native to Guyana’s rich, pristine forests. This frog enjoys the ground and is inclined to remain there. However, it can be found on vines that hang close to the ground and near water.
Some dyeing dart frogs reach 3.5 cm long but most morphs are around 5 cm in length or slightly bigger, while some of the larger morphs may exceed 7 cm, although large ones are usually closer to 5.5 cm long. As of recent, however, breeders have had much success raising larger ones.
Dyeing dart frogs are usually black, with an asymmetrical pattern of yellow or white stripes running along the back, flanks, chest, head, and belly. However, it is not unusual for the body to be primarily blue-yellow, or mostly white. The legs can range from pale blue, sky blue or blue-gray to royal blue, cobalt blue, navy blue, or royal purple and are usually sprinkled with little black dots.
Males are characteristically smaller and more slender than females, but they have larger toe discs. Interestingly, the toe discs of female dyeing poison dart frogs are circular but their counterparts’ are heart-shaped. Also, the females have arched backs while males have curved ones. The Dyeing Dart Frogs usually consume ants, spiders, termites and other insects.
Interestingly, this frog can prove to be highly toxic if consumed, for it produces pumiliotoxins which is used for self-defense. While pumiliotoxins are said to be weaker than their derivative allopumiliotoxins and the batrachotoxins secreted by Phyllobates species, they are sufficiently toxic to discourage most animals from feeding on them.
Severe digestive problems occur when animals fail to take heed of its bright colours which is intended to represent danger. It is said that in the case of the dyeing dart frog, the toxins can cause intense pain, cramping and even stiffness if the animal is not handled correctly.
It is understandable that they have very few enemies. The colour scheme of the frogs are also said to give an indication of the varying degrees of toxicity. The brighter and more the colour mix, the more deadly it should be viewed.
Some rate these frogs as the most poisonous animal alive. In Guyana and others parts of South America, the poison produced by the dyeing dart frog plays an instrumental part in hunting for indigenous tribes. Hunters from indigenous tribes regularly hunt birds, monkeys and other small animals using poison darts. The poison often comes from the dyeing dart frog.
In some cases, its toxins are incorporated in a decorative process where feathers are removed from birds and dipped into the poison. The high toxins cause the feathers to transform into a beautiful yellow colour if it was once red or green. These modified feathers are highly revered in those tribes and they are used as part of certain ceremonial processes.
Dyeing Dart Frogs are sought after and exporting is usually an easy process. For further particulars or details on how this poisonous frog can be exported, contact Animal Farm Guyana Lot 5 New Haven, Bel Air, Georgetown, Guyana, South America on Telephone: 592-227-5585 or 592-223-9888, US Direct Number: 1-954-246-4841, Fax: 592-227-0373 or via email on email: vlall@animalfarmguyana.com.

Guyana journeys to become a full-blown yachting destination – Marina and Boatyard underway

November 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Guyana is well on its way to becoming a full-blown yachting destination.
Just recently, some 10 vessels that were a part of Nereid’s International Yacht Rally were anchored at the Hurakabra River Resort in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven).
The response given by yachtsmen and yachtswomen as to the wonderful time they had which left them yearning for longer stays, coupled with government’s commitment to yachting tourism, presents a conclusion that there is no stopping Guyana now in this regard.
Guyana is regarded as a safe haven for small cruisers and yachts mainly because the country is located outside of the hurricane belt and usually has light to moderate trade winds. Hazards in its rivers include floating logs and debris but can be avoided with a good lookout.
Guyana is also considered an ideal destination since it boasts some of the most wonderful sites in the world including the Majestic Kaieteur Falls. The country also has more than 800 species of birds, 6,000 plant species and is referred to as the ‘Land of the Giants’ of South America.
The area designated for yachting is about 40 miles up the Mighty Essequibo River. It is an area with ideal anchorage for yachts that is central to Bartica, a small, vibrant community which stands at the junction of the Essequibo and Mazaruni rivers.
The Essequibo river comprises of many islands, some too small to be inhabited while some are very populated and used for agricultural purposes. Yachtsmen and yachtswomen will notice large tracts of rainforest teeming with wildlife and birds.
Yachting tourism in Guyana will appeal to those adventurous souls who wish to visit somewhere really off the beaten track.
The Ministry of Tourism and Hurakabra River Resort held an official welcome reception on Thursday September 12, 2015 at the resort in the Essequibo River. This was done for the 10 yachts, all participants in the Nereid’s International Yacht Rally, which had begun to arrive in Guyana since September 7, 2015 from Trinidad and Tobago.
Three yachts scheduled to participate, owing to last minute repairs, were unfortunately unable to make the sail.
At the official welcoming reception, Minister of Tourism Cathy Hughes said “Our country and this event really is a wonderful melting pot for people from all over the world.”
For years, Guyana has been in talks of developing a marina at a prime location in the Essequibo where yachters can dock their sailboats and venture off on the shores to explore all the wonders of this small South American country.
Acknowledging the great successes of the rallies throughout the years, the Minister pledged her commitment and determination towards finally realizing a yachting marina in the Essequibo.
“We definitely see that a marina in Guyana is an incredible place to have the possibility where yachters can come and have their boats docked and any basic mechanical or maintenance done right here in Guyana. And, of course, it is a tremendous opportunity for us to provide jobs for our people that live in this area,” she stated.
The yachters rally through the Caribbean and the grand sailing will come to an end in Saint Laurent, French Guiana. Nonetheless, many of the yachtsmen and yachtswomen expressed their desire to return to Guyana to continue their adventures of discovering more of this beautiful land.
Also at the reception, owner of the Hurakabra River Resort Kit Nascimento, and his wife Gem Nascimento, extended a warm welcome to the yachters. Welcoming remarks were also delivered by Regional Chairman of the Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region 7) Gordon Bradford.
David Matelicani, the man who came up with the concept of the rally, also delivered brief remarks. He indicated that he ventured to Guyana by accident and, had it not been for that “misfortune”, Guyana would have never realized its potential of unlocking that tourism aspect.
Matelicani was actually sailing along the border of Venezuela when a storm struck and his yacht floated all the way into Guyana’s shores. There, he and the Nascimentos got to talking and the Nereid’s Rally was born.
Matelicani disclosed that he was committed and had begun negotiations with the government to build a Marina and Boatyard with all haul-out facilities. If all goes well, it should begin operations early in 2016 or possibly before.
The yachtsman acknowledged the fact that Guyana is outside of the hurricane belt and that makes it an ideal yachting destination for vessels from both the Caribbean and those crossing the Atlantic to South America on their way up to the Caribbean. He said he looks forward with anticipation, in the not too distant future, to the Essequibo River becoming a major yachting destination in comparison to any in the Caribbean.
He pointed out that yachting tourism is a multi-million dollar business creating substantial employment for skilled labour in yachting maintenance and repairs; and is a major foreign exchange earner for countries.
Many Guyanese, who attended the Hurakabra Beach party, got an opportunity to visit and enjoy the hospitality of the yachts or experience a sail on one of them. For many, it was their first time on board such a vessel and they deemed it as ‘thrilling’ or ‘educational’, seeing the lifestyle of yachtsmen.
A number of the yachters immensely enjoyed a visit to the majestic Kaieteur Falls which they described as ‘magnificently unspoilt and natural’. The rally left Guyana on Thursday September 18, 2015 headed to Suriname and then to French Guiana.

Shell Beach – A hideout for four of the world’s endangered marine turtles

August 18, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

For over 26 years, Guyana’s Shell Beach located on the Atlantic Coast of Barima-Waini (Region One), has been the refuge for four of the world’s endangered species of marine turtles.

They are: the Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Green (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea).
These exquisitely massive reptiles arrive from March to August every year during the night to lay their eggs.
Stretched out near the Venezuelan border, Shell Beach extends for approximately 145 km. But due to the harsh reality that these turtles are often slaughtered for their meat and eggs, a non-governmental conservation program called the Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society (GMTCS), was founded by Dr. Peter Pritchard and Romeo De Freitas to mitigate this. Amerindians from the nearby communities are also a part of this effort which began since the 1960’s to protect the nesting sea turtles.
The role of the sea turtle should not be underestimated as they play a vital role in maintaining the balance of the marine eco-system. The turtles along with manatees consume sea grass thereby keeping it short. It is imperative that this grass is short as it would prove to be a conducive breeding ground for other aquatic life.
But traveling to this natural landmark is quite a task and an adventure all the same. To get there, one must travel via minibus from Georgetown to Parika after which, the trip continues via boat across the Essequibo River to Supenaam in Region Two. After taking a bus to Charity, one can finally exhale because it is the last part of the trip which sees an exciting speedboat ride to the spectacular beach which contains countless small pieces of broken shells, hence its name.
During the night, turtles can be seen making their way onto the shore. They then use their flippers to create craters that are almost two feet deep on the beach and proceed to lay from 50 to 200 legs depending on the species. They then cover it with sand and head back to the ocean. The eggs take about two months to hatch.
The conservation programme allows for the protection of the turtles and their eggs until they are hatched and are assisted to the ocean. The three main donor agencieswhich have been faithfully supporting the project from the beginning are: Chelonian Research Institute, Simpson Oil Limited Inc. (earlier Shell Antilles Guyana) and the World Wildlife Funds.
According to the GMTCS, the turtle population over the years had developed and data analysis of nesting females had also expanded. But it is still a challenge to reduce the instances of human activities such as fishing in the nearby coastal waters and in front of nesting beaches, which contribute to the loss of many adult turtles that had been caught accidently and drowned in nets.
But Defraitas has reported that nature had also played a major role in redesigning the nesting habitat by erosion, some of which becomes wonderful nesting spots, while others have been blocked by mud bars and become unsuitable for nesting. He is of the opinion that these natural causes lent to many of the disadvantages the endangered turtles face during their nesting period, especially those that may venture to other beaches, unprotected by rangers and suffer the consequences by the hands of the local fishermen.
Moreover, GMTCS today, still holds steadfast to its commitment to record and tag marine turtles, ensure data collection on all monitoring activities, and promote its annual Education Awareness program.
Special programs have also been initiated to improve the capacities of rangers. It is being conducted by the GMTCS and other agencies, such as The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA), Protected Area Commission, WWF, Iwokrama, Repsol and the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard.
De Freitas had called on all stakeholders especially from the local fishing communities to support the conservation efforts, and avoid the practice of turtle eggs harvesting and killing of the adult female turtles, and even the purchasing of the meat and eggs within the communities.
While it was without any legal protection for some time, the magnificent beach has been classified as a Protected Area, with robust legislation that prohibit the removal of the endangered species from within that area.

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