Dear Editor,

It’s almost the Easter weekend and the biggest Rupununi Rodeo ever is almost upon us. We in the Rupununi are excited for what is one of the region’s most important festivals and look forward to sharing our culture, food and landscape with visitors from across the country and around the world.

If you are among the thousands who will be hitting the trails to join us this weekend and the days following here are Visit Rupununi’s Top 5 Tips to ensure that you have a wonderful and positive experience.

Do stop for something to eat- Along the route there are now any number of locations offering tasty meals or snacks. Here you are sure to find a mix of Creole, Indigenous and Brazilian dishes, they are tasty, they are  inexpensive and they are a way to experience our culture. Don’t be afraid to try something new and don’t be surprised when you fall in love with farine and want buy some to take home with you.

Do stop and enjoy some Rupununi hospitality– All across the Rupununi there are Eco-Lodges, Bed and Breakfasts and Community Guest Houses, camping grounds, and in Lethem there are a number of Hotels to choose from. The Rupununi and its people are famous for our hospitality and welcoming manner and especially at this time of year you will find many locations opening their doors, their communities and even their homes to visitors at prices to meet every budget. Many of our lodges are even offering a variety of reduced rates so we encourage you to take the time to enjoy your visit, linger and experience what the Rupununi has to offer. But please remember that you are guests in our homes. Treat your hosts with respect and remember that a lot of time, effort and money went into having things ready for your visit – water had to be pumped, campsites and trails cleared, garbage needs to be disposed of where it will not create a risk to humans or wildlife and so many other tasks that you might not even be aware of. Please don’t beat down the price or refuse to pay after enjoying the amenities, even if you are camping at a community sport field please remember to leave a donation with the village council.

Do stop to enjoy the wildlife – The Rupununi is famous for being the home to many of Guyana’s beautiful, endangered and endemic Wildlife, and there is nothing unusual about encountering a turtle, ducks, deer, giant anteater or even jaguar along the trail. So slow down, stop and enjoy an experience that few in the world can boast to have shared. Remember the Rupununi culture is at the heart of Guyana’s grassroots conservation movement. We work tirelessly to protect and conserve this landscape and its wildlife so please enjoy the view but leave it the way you found it -do not kill our animals or leave garbage behind that could be harmful to them.

Do enjoy the local culture & people – The Rodeo Weekend is one of the most festive periods in the region and there will be many opportunities to join in the party or just hang out over drinks. You will be able to sample local delicacies like Parakari, Roast Meat, Farine, Tasso and many others. But please remember to treat all our people and especially our women with respect. Just because she “tek a drink” don’t mean that she expecting to take you to her bed. Also remember to stick with your group, crime in the Rupununi is very low but that does not mean you should leave basic safety practices out of the equation.

Do try the shopping – whether it’s cowboy (we call them Vaquero’s) hats to get you in the spirit or a visit to one of the stores along the main street, there are lots of options. Don’t forget to check out the market and we highly recommend buying from local farmers and crafters and don’t forget agro-processor products like Peanut Butter, Jams etc. You will get a souvenir that will be a talking point for years to come and will be supporting the local economy. If you like you can even pop over the border thanks to our very generous relations with Brazil. Buy a pair of Haviannah’s, take a selfie and come back to boast that you visited a foreign country “just like that”!

There is so much more of the Rupununi to enjoy and discover and we really do hope that you take the time to explore to the fullest.

Happy Easter- Happy Rodeo – Feel the difference of ‘taking a walk on the wild side!”

Yours faithfully,

Melanie McTurk

President

Visit Rupununi

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