Hosts: The Guató People|
Length: Longer visits will mean more to you
Number of guests: One or more
Fee: Since we are dealing with a very sensitive situation, first you will need to communicate with Terry Reynolds, the airline pilot coordinating the Guató's introduction to ecotourism. When you click the "e-mail me" icon at the end of this page, you will write a letter to Terry. It may be decided that you should not visit the Guató. Only experienced travelers able to travel in a self-contained manner will be allowed to visit. Your fee to the Guató will depend on many factors which you and Terry will discuss. Of course to the Guató just a couple of dollars for a day of guiding is a great deal, but here we are thinking in terms of infrastructure- and confidence-building. The sample seven-day itinerary outlined at the bottom of this page carries a suggested fee of US $525 for two people.
The Guató's Situation TodaySince time immemorial, the Guató was the only group of inhabitants of Insua Island (known also as Morraria da Insua, Bela Vista do Norte and Porto Indio) in the Pantanal area of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul on the Brazilian border with Bolivia. In the decade of the 90's, the government of Brazil recognized most of Insua Island (in the proximity of 17 degrees, 35' South; 58 degrees, 45' West) as the rightful domain of the tribe. After centuries of persecution, and despite having twice been officially declared extinct, most of the remaining Guató once again inhabit at least a small part of the flooded plains and jungle of the upper Paraguay River basin.
The Guató are unique in the history of the Indians and South American peoples. After twice being declared extinct, they have come back, reorganized themselves and accomplished what had seemed impossible 30 years ago: they have returned to their traditional territory after it had been usurped by the national society. Now the Guató are going through a process of strengthening their ethics and social structure. For those who were born or lived most of their lives in an urban environment, it means the retrieval of their own social identity
What you can do to help:It almost goes without saying that money can help with almost everything.
Following are some of the projects which the Guató need and hope to eventually complete. If you have skills and/or other resources and would like to participate please email Terry with the "e-mail me" icon below.
The following are for use in guiding ecotours:
A tour for youIf you can be essentially self-sufficient on a trip into the Pantanal and the jungle of the northern Paraguay River area, you may be interested in making such a trip with the help of the Guató.
A Guató guide could help you with:
The Guató are eager to share their knowledge and enjoyment of their homeland with nice people from distant places. However, at this point in time, there are absolutely no facilities, whatsoever, for housing or otherwise maintaining guests, between Insua Island and Corumbá, almost 200 river miles away.
There is no infrastructure for ecotourism yet developed in the area. (For a very comfortable trip, a large "boat hotel," with air conditioning and most of the comforts of home, can be hired in Corumbá.) Several knowledgeable sources have suggested that ecotour operations might be an excellent source of income for the tribe. In the long run, such suggestions may actually be followed up by something more than talk. In the meantime, incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities exist to explore this area with its native inhabitants.
Individuals interested in a trip to this area with the Guató as guides should plan on making the trip as if they were making a back packing trip into the jungle by themselves. Bring all the equipment and food you consider necessary. (A very complete list can be provided to you.)
The Guató are very hospitable and would probably guide you for free. However, this would constitute a drain on their already meager resources. You should insist on paying guides at least US $15 per day. In addition, pay $30 per day plus $1 per liter of gasoline if an outboard motor powered boat is used.
A typical trip for 2 people might go something like this:
Cost for transportation and guide: 7 days with guide @ $15 + 4 days boat @ $30 + approx. 300 liters gasoline @ $1 = US $525 or $262.50 each
Click on the above button to e-mail Terry Reynolds, the pilot coordinating this program.
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