Responsible tourism: Guyana and Trinidad nature tour
Alongside our agents in Guyana and Trinidad, we promise to promote ecologically sensitive tourism through a responsible and concerned attitude towards the environment. We provide the maximum benefit to local communities by operating in an honest, thoughtful and concerned manner towards their customs and involving the communities so as to afford them the greatest financial benefit possible.
During this trip, you can visit village schools and meet their ecology clubs which are run to encourage the local children to value and conserve their local wildlife.
The Iwokrama Canopy Walkway (A walkway in Mauisparu has five suspension bridges leading to four platforms, the highest of which is over 30 meters above the ground, and these will allow great looks at a range of canopy species, many of which you would struggle to see well from the forest floor.) is operated by Community and Tourism Services, Inc. (CATS). CATS is a unique partnership formed between our local agents, Eco-lodges and the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development. The CATS partnership is a model of ecotourism that proves the tourism sector, a conservation NGO, and an indigenous community can find joint economic success while providing local opportunity and an excellent experience for visitors from around the world.
Accommodation at the eco lodges is offered in clean, comfortable, and traditionally designed facilities built by villagers from locally sourced raw materials. Out of economic and practical necessity, most food is locally produced, power is solar-generated, and drinking water is harvested from rain-catches or freshwater springs.
Transport into Guyana’s largely unpopulated interior regions is by small plane, river canoe, 4X4 pickup truck, and the occasional bullock cart. There are no international food chains and franchises in Guyana.
Through tourism, one of the Eco-Lodges at Surama, has raised enough money to send some of the local youngsters to university for training, to buy transport, to set up an internet facility for the good of the village and to provide an income so that young boys do not have to leave the village to become miners or loggers in Guyana or neighbouring Brazil. Yet the villagers still protect their own culture and heritage and do not solely rely on tourism but have rosters so that they still have time to be farmers or hunt in the forests or do other valuable jobs within the community. The mission statement of Surama states 'We will develop, own and manage a community-based eco-tourism business by constructively using the natural resources and our traditional culture in a socially appropriate manner. We will provide opportunities for our people through research, training and employment. We will work with our partners for mutual respect and benefits.'
All our guides come from the local communities grew up swimming in the rivers, walking the trails, and learning the local rhythms of nature. They will help us identify the hidden gems of the rain forest and savannah, introduce us to Amerindian medicinal plant traditions, and share time-honoured stories about their people’s history and way of life. We encourage our visitors to interact with locals and to get under the skin of the country. We offer authentic and locally distinctive experiences rather than fake tourist shows and attractions.
Our local agents in Guyana are actively and personally engaged with the Amerindian communities featured in this itinerary, helping them develop their product, address operational challenges, train their staffs, manage customer service issues, and explore opportunities to reach wider audiences. Every tour is considered as economic development through sustainable tourism. Many of the communities we work with have no other regular source of cash flow other than revenues generated through tourism: villagers are otherwise engaged in classic sustenance agriculture. Creating viable and sustainable opportunities in ecotourism reduces the attractiveness of other options for cash income such as logging and mining.
Our trip visits several local indigenous communities many of which run their own projects. The locations are all community-owned and run.