Guyana makes National Geographic’s 2014 ‘Best of the World’ travel list

In what is likely the local tourism industry’s biggest endorsement to date, Guyana is among 21 destinations on National Geographic Traveler magazine’s 2014 ‘Best of the World’.

According to information published on the National Geographic Society’s website, the list features the 21 best trips to take next year.

The website offers information on where to go in Guyana—Surama, Iwokrama, Kaieteur Falls and the Rupununi; where to stay;

20131123logowhat foods and beverages tourists should try; and even what souvenirs they should purchase.

This endorsement by National Geographic, which is among the oldest and most trusted travel magazines in the world, will no doubt be a huge boost for Guyana’s eco-tourism.

At present, a US$1.6 million IDB project is being undertaken in the Rupununi by Conservation International. It has so far seen modest success, but this is likely to change come next year when the world’s adventure tourists apply themselves to National Geographic’s list.

Given that the best time to visit Guyana is said to be during the dry season in the hinterland – January to early April – tour operators should be making preparations now.

PRNewswire noted that National Geographic Traveler magazine picked 20 destinations and included a bonus readers’ choice, the Derawan Islands in Indonesia.

“The list reflects what’s authentic, culturally rich, sustainable and superlative in the world of travel today,” the press release said, adding that the magazine, December 2013/January 2014, will be available on newsstands from December 3, and online at travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips-2014/.

 

“Our annual Best of the World list doesn’t reflect hot spots drawn from celebrity sightings or travel statistics,” Keith Bellows, editor in chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine was quoted as saying. “It reflects the expertise and experience of National Geographic Travel’s huge network of global travel experts. If you want to explore places worth visiting now, this is a great place to start.”

The other 19 destinations are: Arbil, Iraq; Bolaven Plateau, Laos; Cacao Trail, Ecuador; Cape Verde; Cathar Country, France; Cordoba, Argentina; John Muir Trail, Scotland; Liechtenstein;

Nahanni National Park, Canada; New Orleans, Louisiana; Northern Territory, Australia; Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda; Puglia, Italy; Ranthambore National Park, India; Riga, Latvia;

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado; Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sochi, Russia.

Guyana is touted as possibly “the best kept secret in South America” with “earth’s largest single-drop waterfall” where the endangered golden poison frog can be found,  and its intact rainforest.

A photo of Phyllobates terribilis, the tiny, endangered golden poison frog accompanies National Geographic Traveler’s report on Guyana
A photo of Phyllobates terribilis, the tiny, endangered golden poison frog accompanies National Geographic Traveler’s report on Guyana

Not unsurprisingly, although Guyana is only one of three destinations where the entire country is listed rather than a single area, the travel tips do not advise visiting the capital.

Instead, visitors are encouraged to book Wilderness Explorers’ 16-day Amerindian Guyana itinerary, which includes a stay at Surama eco-lodge, trips to Burro-Burro River, Surama Mountain, the Iwokrama Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development and Kaieteur Falls.

Pepper pot, pholourie, mauby, sorrel and ginger beer are mention as must-try foods and beverages and local Amerindian craft, available for sale at Surama such as arrows, blowpipes, and hammocks and touted as the gifts to buy.

That Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America is a clear plus and even Rahul Bhattacharya’s controversial, award-winning novel The Sly Company of People Who Care gets a boost.

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