Shell Beach – Guyana’s Natural Treasure

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Shell Beach is a 150 kilometer (90 miles) long stretch of beach, north Georgetown, Guyana’s capital. Located between the Pomeroon and Waini Rivers, close to the border with Venezuela, Shell Beach is the last intact beach in the whole of Guyana.

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Here we also find what remains of the most beautiful mangrove forest in the world. But what makes this place so special is the for four of the world’s eight endangered species of marine turtles that come here to nest: leatherback, green, hawksbill and olive ridley. Among the crushed and intact shells that give this beach its name, these sea turtles turn this place into their nursery from March until April every year.

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One of the more nasty but omnipresent “human repellent” are the many sand flies which live here. This may be a good thing in the end since Shell Beach doesn’t have any legal protection from the local government. Nevertheless, the turtles’ conservation efforts are sustained by international funds and organizations which operate in the area since the 1960s.

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The Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society GMTCS have also kept these sea turtles safe as much as possible by monitoring fishing nets so the turtles don’t drown by getting tangled in them. Together with the two native tribes of arawak Amerindians living in the area, the GMTCS is able to continue on its project.

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The mangrove forest in the background is home to five different species of these tropical trees and the swampy lands have a tremendous importance at an international level. They are an important pit stop for migratory birds on their annual journey and a permanent home for other birds such as the Scarlet Ibis, the Frigatebirds and the Greater Flamingo.

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If you’re planning to visit this beautiful place, you can do it on your own, but it would be advisable to take o a professional guide who is sensitive to the environment and also for programs co-run by the Amerindians. This will not only offer you an excellent experience, but will also help the community there preserve the beauty of what is Shell Beach and the Mangrove Forest.

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