Guyana at a Crossroads: Will It Tap Ecotourism or Natural Resources?

Kaieteur Falls, Guyana. Photo: Wilderness Explorers

Newsweek said last week that visiting Guyana should be on your Bucket List. Then USA Today said just about the same thing. We first sang Guyana's praises back in 2009.  

Guyana is emerging as an ecotourism hot spot because it is English-speaking, politically stable, nearly completely covered in rainforest and boasts great birdwatching and fly-fishing. The number of tourists it hosts each year is (for now, anyway) minuscule compared to other tropical Latin American destinations.

But Guyana is rich in other resources, as well. Some of it in the form of oil resting under the Atlantic off the country's lush coastline. Guyana recently granted exploration rights to a Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp., which will look for drilling sites. Exxon and a number of other oil companies are doing the same thing. Gold and timber are also being exploited, and not always legally. Domestic and foreign agribusiness interests are looking to greatly expand water-intensive rice farming as a cash crop along previously pristine waterways.

Filed To: Adventure, Politics, Nature, Travel

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