At the edge of Yupukari Village in the Central Rupununi is Caiman House Field Station, a combination guest-lodge and education center focused on research and conservation projects along the nearby Rupununi River. The Field Station is the hub of several participatory development projects, including the introduction of classroom libraries in all three village schools and an Internet-enabled public library.
The black caiman research project is a convergence of professional herpetology and local knowledge. Its immediate purpose is to develop a full understanding of black caiman natural history and ecology in Guyana, still a relatively neglected topic. This project is proving to be an excellent model and vehicle for indigenous capacity building, training and education: an immersion approach that transfers skills in wildlife study and monitoring.
Other ongoing projects include the identification of Important Bird Areas (IBA) in association with the Guyana Amazon Tropical Bird Society, training local residents in field research techniques and natural resource management strategies, and a tree identification inventory to merge taxonomic indexes with indigenous knowledge and experience.
Visitors have many opportunities to observe - or become involved with - the projects at Caiman House. A popular night time excursion allows guests to observe caiman capture and assist in data collection while caiman are weighed, measured, sexed, and tagged. Visitors also have the opportunity to meet local craftspeople, including the furniture builders at Yupukari Crafters, a nonprofit venture to create sustainable jobs and revenue for the village.
Staying at Caiman House
Four modest but comfortable guest rooms are situated around a central lounge area in the lodge behind the research center. A special "Treehouse cabin" sits atop the center, while a hammock benab offers budget accommodation for visiting students. Guest rooms feature attached bathrooms with flush toilets and running water, comfortable beds, and three meals a day in the common dining area. Caiman House Field Station and the Guest House are powered 24hrs a day by a large solar array. Standard U.S. electrical outlets are located in all rooms so charging equipment is easy. The entire station is served by wireless internet access.
Yupukari is reached by boat, a one hour ride from Karanambu Ranch or 3 hours from Ginep Landing. Land transfers to Lethem take approximately two and half hours with good weather and road conditions. As with all parts of central Guyana, wildlife spotting and birdwatching along the river is excellent, while day and night treks afford visitors ample opportunities to encounter Guyana's most vibrant and pristine natural habitats.
Itineraries featuring Caiman House & Research Center