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Guyana

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Herdmanston Lodge
Herdmanston Lodge - dream vacation

65 Peter Rose & Anira Streets Queenstown, Georgetown

Guyana Marriott Hotel Georgetown
Guyana Marriott Hotel Georgetown - dream vacation

Block Alpha Battery Road Kingston, Georgetown

Cara Lodge
Cara Lodge - dream vacation

294 Quamina Street, Georgetown

Grand Coastal Inn
Grand Coastal Inn - dream vacation

Plantation Le Ressouvenir, ECD, Georgetown

Halito Hotel & Residence
Halito Hotel & Residence - dream vacation

176 Middle & Waterloo St., Georgetown

Kanuku Suites
Kanuku Suites - dream vacation

123 kanuku street Section M Campbellville, Georgetown

The country of Guyana is in north-eastern South America. It has an Atlantic Ocean coastline in the northeast, and lies between Suriname to the east and Venezuela to the west, with Brazil to the south.

It is the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay. The name Guyana (from Arawak Wayana) means "Land of many waters."

Regions

Cities

  • Georgetown - Capital of the country, situated in the county of Demerara
  • Bartica
  • Mabaruma
  • New Amsterdam, the second largest town in the country
  • Lethem
  • Linden, a mining town (bauxite) originally named McKenzie, but renamed after the country's first Executive President, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham
  • Parika - sits on the East Bank of the Essequibo River, the country's largest river.
  • Paramakatoi

Other destinations

  • The Rupununi Savannah
  • Michelle's Island
  • The Kanuku Mountains
  • Iwokrama
  • Marshall Falls
  • Kyk-Over-Al
  • Shell Beach

Understand

Guyana mostly consists of rolling highlands with a low coastal plain and savannah in the south. The highest point is Mount Roraima at 2,835 m.

Climate

Guyana's climate is tropical with the hot, humid conditions moderated by northeast trade winds. There are two distinct rainy seasons: May to mid-August and mid-November to mid-January. Flash floods are a constant threat during these rainy seasons.

History

Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to the purchase of some villages such as Victoria and Anns Grove to name a few, as well as black settlement of urban areas and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations. Chinese were also imported to work on plantations but were found to be unsuitable. The Colonial powers employed a system of "divide and rule" among the freed Africans and the other ethnic groups which were brought and encouraged to settle in the then colony. The policy was employed even during slavery when indigenous "Amerindians" were used to hunt runaway slaves. The result was an ethno-cultural divide, significant elements of which have persisted to this day and has led to turbulent politics, the dissolution of attempts at national cultural development and the non-existence of anything resembling a "national identity".

Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966, but until the early 1990s it was ruled mostly by socialist-oriented governments. In 1992, Cheddi Jagan was elected president, in what is considered the country's first free and fair election since independence. Upon his death five years later, he was succeeded by his wife Janet, who resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat Jagdeo, was re-elected in 2001 and again in 2006.

Holidays

Independence (from UK) 26 May 1966 National holiday Republic Day, 23 February (1970) Constitution 6 October 1980

Get in

Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to visit Guyana: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Luxembourg, Montserrat, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States. (Government website).

When applying for a visa, you will need the application form, a passport valid for at least 6 months, 3 passport size photographs and proof that you have the funds to cover your entire trip to Guyana. If your intent is to work or live in Guyana, you will need to obtain a letter of approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs, and include a copy of it in your submission. The only way to submit a visa application is through the mail. Submissions must be made to the nearest Guyanese Embassy.

A tourist visa costs USD40 for upto 3 weeks & USD50 for a month (Issued in Paramaribo, Feb 2017), single entry business visa costs USD40, a multiple entry 3 month business visa costs USD50 and a multiple entry 1 year business visa costs USD75.

Once in Guyana you can extend your visa at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Georgetown.

By plane

Cheddi Jagan International Airport

(IATA: GEO) Originally the Timehri International Airport (Timehri means "Rock Painting") it was renamed in honour of the indigenous displaced peoples of Guyana. There are daily international flights into and out of Cheddi Jagan International Airport about 40 km south of Georgetown. International flights include flights to Canada, The Caribbean, the UK and the USA with Caribbean Airlines (formerly BWIA). Caribbean Airlines is a state owned airline run by Trinidad & Tobago. Flights to the Caribbean with Caribbean Star and LIAT. North American Airlines and Xtra Airways, which are non- stop flights, on the New York and Guyana route. Primaris Airlines, non- stop flights, flies to Guyana from JFK- New York and FLL -Florida, also Fly Jamaica Airways which flies from Kingston NMIA Airport and JFK.

Ogle Aerodome

(IATA: OGL) A small airfield located slightly closer to Georgetown (~6 mi) which is for a few private charter companies, primarily used for domestic/local flights. The following companies have a few daily flights from/to Zorg-en-Hoop Airfield in Paramaribo:

  • Gum Air, Doekhieweg 03, Zorg-en-Hoop Airport, Paramaribo, Suriname, ☎ +597 433830, fax: +597 491740, e-mail: info@gumair.com. M-Sa.
  • Trans Guyana Airways (TGA), Ogle Aerodome, Ogle, East Coast Demerara, ☎ +592 222 2525, e-mail: commercial@transguyana.net. M-Sa.

By train

There are no international railway services to Guyana.

By car

Guyana has road access to Suriname to the east and Brazil to the south. In Suriname, inquire in Paramaribo for mini-buses travelling to Guyana. Note that entering Guyana by water travel from Nieuw Nickerie in Suriname is illegal, even though there is nobody to stop you. The worst-case scenario is that you could be sent back or made to pay for a visa. When travelling from Nieuw-Nickerie to Paramaribo over land you will most likely run into a military police roadblock near Totness, but they are after gun and drug smugglers, not tourists. Show your national ID card or a valid driver's licence and they won't even ask for your passport to check if you have the right visa stamps. It appears they don't mind you entering the country as long as you don't cause trouble and spend your money in their country.

There are no road links between Venezuela and Guyana. Travel to Venezuela may be done by air via Trinidad (Caribbean Airlines) or overland through Roraima state in Brazil.

By bus

From Suriname, there are minibuses from Paramaribo to South Drain in western Suriname, just across the river from Guyana. The trip takes at least 3 hours and costs around US$15. From there, you will go through customs on the Suriname side. Then take the 11:00 daily ferry across the river to South Drain. The actual ferry ride takes about 30 minutes, but you'll need more time for going through customs on the Guyanese side.

The bus ride from Lethem, at the Brazilian border, to Georgetown takes about 10 hours through rainforest and southern savannah. The ride can be much longer in the rainy season. Sections of the roadway are known to become impassable in heavy rainy weather and extreme care must be taken.

Inquire about buses to Brazil at the Interserv Bus Office located on Charlotte Street in downtown Georgetown. Buses usually leave very late at night and it is recommended that you take a taxi to the bus station as the area around there is unsafe at night. For buses from Brazil travel to Bonfim on the border and walk across the border. Find a minibus or taxi to take you to Lethem city centre and inquire about buses travelling to Georgetown.

Get around

When people in Guyana refer to buses, they mean minibuses. Minibuses travel throughout Guyana and are the cheapest way to travel. Minibus fares range from GYD60-1,000 depending on the length of the journey. Travel in this mode at night could be risky.

Many parts of Guyana are separated by large rivers. These areas can be traversed by way of river taxi. Go to the port village and ask from where the speedboats launch. Ask other passengers what the fare is while travelling as boat operators tend to seek higher fees from tourists. Do not take "specials" without first negotiating the price.

Taxis are a good way to get around in Georgetown. Fares should never be more than G$500 for travel within the city and most fares should be around G$400. All taxi number plates begin with 'H.' There are set prices for taxis for different destinations, e.g. from the airport to town costs G$5,000, from the airport to Moleson Creek is G$24,000.

One can also rent cars or 4x4s; check the local telephone listings for car rentals. Consult more than one rental agency as prices can vary. You might also be able to negotiate the prices charged to some extent. Deposits are usually required. If renting a vehicle, be sure to inquire whether your driver's licence will be acceptable. Violations of traffic laws can result in much time wasted and possible trips to the local courts.

Talk

The only official language is English (with British spelling) and is spoken by all, though most people natively speak Guyanese Creole. English is very accented and foreigners may find it hard to understand.

See

  • Mashramani. An Amerindian word meaning "celebration after hard work", this event takes places each 23rd of February as the country's republic anniversary celebration. It's a carnival-like event with float parades and costumed bands. Colourful float parades and costume bands wind their way through the city. While you look on, have a swig of local rum with coconut water or have some Banks beer, all the while swaying and wining to the beat of the soca and calypso. Starts from about 10:00.
  • Kaieteur Falls. It is 5x the height of Niagara Falls, c. 250 m tall. It can be accessed by a short plane flight from the capital offered by various tour companies as a day trip. Most companies only operate the day trip on Sundays and so booking ahead is advisable US$200-300.
  • Orinduik Falls. A smaller waterfall than Kaieteur that is also included when visiting Kaieteur by plane.
  • Iwokrama Rainforest Reserve

Do

Eco-Tourism is a booming industry in Guyana.

Buy

There are numerous markets and recently, shopping malls, in Guyana. Stabroek Market is a quaint market located in Georgetown. Trips to the market for tourists are best done in groups or with a local with whom you feel comfortable. Muggings are possible but not frequent.

Lots of locally made and beautiful crafts ranging from paintings; to sculpture; to leather purses, satchels, wallets; hand-painted, tie-dyed and batik(ed) fabrics, pressed flowers, sun hats; semi-precious stones and hand-crafted costume jewellery using indigenous materials, can be purchased at an esplanade outside the Central Post-Office near the National Museum in downtown Georgetown. Ask around and you'll find out about the craft and gift shops as well as galleries.

Guyana is also noted for its exceptional gold jewellery.

Money

The local currency is the Guyanese dollar, denoted $ or G$ (ISO 4217 international currency code: GYD). The currency is freely convertible but nearly impossible to get rid of outside Guyana, the neighbouring countries and one exchange bureau in London Gatwick airport.

Banknotes are issued in G$20, 100, 500 and 1,000 and there are GYD1, GYD5 and GYD10 coins. GYD500, GYD1,000 and GYD5,000 banknotes have a holographic stripe with a colourful macaw.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Guyana is relatively very high, because most of the items used in daily life are imported with high transportation costs involved. Monopoly in some business sectors also causes higher profit and further raising of prices. For example (as of January 2010) the approximate prices of petrol is US$1.10 per litre, electricity price is US$0.33 per unit. A domestic gas bottle cylinder is over US$20. Rent for average family accommodation is US$500 per month in safer urban locations and personal income tax, which is 33.33% of total taxable income makes the cost of living higher still.

Eat

Guyanese food, like the entire country, is a creole fusion.

If there's a dominant cuisine, it is dishes influenced by the Indian subcontinent that have been localized. The most prominent of these are the curries, especially chicken, pork, beef, pumpkin and aubergine. Larger roti shops and those by the sea will have shrimp, crab and other seafoods. Curries are traditionally served with roti, an Indian bread or rice.

The national dish of Guyana is pepperpot, a slow cooked stew of pork (or other meats), red peppers (capsicum), cinnamon and casareep. It is dark in colour and strongly flavoured and usually reserved for special occasions such as Christmas, but you can find restaurants in Georgetown serving the dish all year round. Pepperpot is enjoyed with plain white bread or roti.

Chinese restaurants are common, with noodle dishes such as chow mein and lo mein along with meat and rice dishes. The growing Brazilian population have led to several outdoor BBQ restaurants and churrascarias opening in the capital and near the border in Lethem.

Georgetown has a greater variety of food options than elsewhere in the country, which include a couple of steakhouses, upmarket colonial dining, European fare and Indian food. In smaller towns, there may only be restaurants serving a creole menu of a few dishes, which almost always includes a curry or two and a noodle dish.

In jungle lodges, the food can be limited to tinned goods and rice, along with whatever can be caught or grown locally.

Drink

The most popular national drink is Caribbean-style dark rum. Some national favourites are XM "10" Year OLD, produced by local beverage giant Banks DIH Limited and El Dorado and X-tra Mature which both offer 5, 10, 12 and 25 year varieties.

El Dorado also offers a 15 year old variety which has won the "Best Rum in the World" award since 1999. Mix the cheaper ones with Coke or coconut water if you please. All are quality enough to drink neat or by themselves with the 25 year-olds comparing with high-quality scotch whisky.

Banks Beer produced by local beverage giant Banks DIH Limited is the National beer. It comes in a lager and a stout (Milk Stout). The beverage giant also bottles and distributes Heineken Beer and Guinness Stout under licence.

Also available are the lighter Carib (Trinidad and Tobago) and darker Mackeson's. Guinness is brewed locally under licence and is a bit sweeter than its Irish counterpart, but just as good. Polar (Venezuelan) and Skol (Brazilian) can be found throughout the country. You can also find Heineken and Corona at posher bars in Georgetown.

Sleep

Georgetown has far and away the biggest range of options, but here there are a number of problems. None of the "luxury" options in the capital - primarily the Pegasus and the Princess, have the polish or charm to justify the hundreds of US dollars they charge. On the other end of the scale are a number of tiny guesthouses and pay-by-the-hour places with lower prices. The only "backpacker" option is the Tropicana Hostel, which unfortunately is above a club with the slogan "All Nite Long": it's true. There are some good options in Georgetown, especially at the three and four star level, including the colonial option Cara Lodge and the Herdmanston Lodge. The rising Chinese and Brazilian populations in town may lead to better options.

In the interior there are some amazing jungle lodges and camps, including those at the ranches and the south and the community-supported ecolodges in the middle of the country. Other developing options are community supported huts in Amerindian towns on the Linden-Lethm road.

The adventurous could try to get by with a hammock and paying small fees to hang it up in a benab. This isn't an option in Georgetown and will involve some planning ahead, lots of bug spray and cunning to accomplish.

Some small towns have basic guesthouses, which may have fans, mosquito nets or other amenities.

Learn

The official language of Guyana is English, so there won't be a language barrier problem with native speakers. That said, there are few education and learning opportunities in the country.

Education is free, but limited. There is only one university, the University of Guyana, with two campuses at Tain and Turkeyen.

There are opportunities for volunteer and paid teachers throughout the country. Pay, if there is any, will be low.

Work

Guyana has a fair number of expatriates, most of them are from developing or poor countries, working in different sectors across the country. Persons who are not Guyanese, have to get a work permit after employment is confirmed. Caribbean citizens might have some exemptions under the CSME scheme. There are a number of volunteer organisations like Project Trust, Peace Corps, VSO and CESO working in Guyana. Some people have come on short stints to volunteer with churches, and other non-governmental organizations. It is the responsibility of the host organisations or employer to arrange necessary travel/work permits from the concerned Ministry for prospective employee.

Salaries in Guyana are normally paid in Guyanese dollars. Income tax, which is one third of total taxable income, is usually deducted by employers. The overall cost of living is relatively very high, making an expatriate employee's life very difficult in Guyana.

Stay safe

Georgetown is notorious for petty street crime. Do not walk alone at night, or even in the day, unless you know the area well. Areas such as the Tiger Bay area east of Main Street and the entire southeastern part of the city including Albouystown and Ruimveldt are traditional high crime areas but one can be relatively safe in groups and with native escorts. Police are unlikely to help you unless they see the crime in action. Be sensible about wearing jewellery. Exercise common sense.

The interior regions with the breath-taking waterfalls, the beautiful rainforests and mountains are safe. Many rural areas around the country are filled with a friendly atmosphere and are safe. Crime is rarely directed at tourists, so don't feel intimidated. Just be sensible about the company you keep, where you go and how you behave.

"Sodomy" is punishable with a maximum sentence of life in prison. A local NGO reported that there were a few prosecutions, but neither the NGO nor the courts could provide numbers. It was reportedly more common for the police to use the law to intimidate suspected same-sex male partners. There are no laws concerning same-sex sexual activity between women. The health minister in a speech to a regional HIV/AIDS conference said that he “must be driven by public health reality,” that “sex between consenting adults in private falls into the category of personal freedom,” and that the law is “in contradiction of this expression of personal freedom.” Following the 2009 incident in which a judge fined several transgender persons 7,500 Guyanese dollars, an NGO and four of the individuals filed a motion in the High Court against the law criminalising cross-dressing; the case remained pending at year’s end.

One organisation SASOD organises some events to promote anti-homophobic work. There is no local gay "scene" as most homosexuals remain rather closeted. Private gatherings are known to occur to which one must be invited. Public displays of affection among gay people are frowned upon and can make you the target of overt discrimination, attacks and taunts.

Discussions of the current affairs of ethnic relations between the two major races, politics and the socio-economic issues in the country ought to be undertaken with much tact and much patience. Be aware that these types of discourses can sometimes lead to very heated and intense debate, and possibly something much worse. Guyanese are generally very open to discussing most issues, but as an outsider, you could be seen as a part of the problem, so guard your tongue.

Stay healthy

Do not drink the tap water, unless you want to spend a great part of your vacation on the toilet. Bottled water is readily available in a variety of brands.

Before travelling to Guyana, it is a good idea to receive anti-malarial medications from your health care provider, as malaria is widespread throughout most of the country.

Yellow fever is endemic to this area; monkeys are a reservoir, but you can catch it even in cities. Be sure to get immunized before you leave, and take mosquito repellent with you. Also be careful of malaria and dengue fever in the interior.

Although not required, it is recommended that travellers receive vaccination against Typhoid fever within 2-4 weeks prior to arriving in Guyana.

The country's largest hospital is the Georgetown Public Hospital and is in the capital. Facilities here are basic, even though it is a tertiary referral centre. Disposal of 'sharps' (needles, etc.) is improving but needs to get better, given the country's growing AIDS/HIV prevalence at 2.5% of adults or 1 in 40. Practice safe sex as well.

You are better off using the private facilities at St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital near the US Embassy or the Medical Arts Centre on Thomas Street. While not first rate, these facilities are far superior to GPH, practices basic hygienic standards and rooms are not overcrowded. There are also other private hospitals

For the latest in traveller's health information pertaining to Guyana, including advisories and recommendations, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention destination Guyana website.

Respect

Guyanese people do not wear shoes in their homes and expect visitors to do the same.

Connect

  • Police +592 226 2487 emergency - 911
  • Fire +592 226 2411 emergency - 912
  • Ambulance Service emergency - 913
  • Cheddi Jagan International Airport +592 261 2245
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs +592 226 1606
  • Ministry of Tourism Industry & Commerce +592 226 2392
  • Guyana Telephone & Telegraph +592 225 1315
  • Licence Revenue Office +592 223 5501

Go next

  • Brazil - Access to Brazil is via Lethem. There are Interserv buses - get the schedule at the Interserv Bus Office located on Charlotte Street in central Georgetown. Typically, the buses leave late at night. Another option are minibuses that ply the Georgetown-Lethem road, although the lack of paved road beyond Linden means that the trip will probably need to be broken up overnight.
  • Suriname can be reached via minibuses and a ferry, or by a short flights from Cheddi Jagan Temeri International airport or Ogle airport.
  • Trinidad and the rest of the Lesser Antilles is a short flight away via Caribbean Airlines or LIAT.
  • Venezuela to the west has no direct road connection. Your best options would be to travel overland via Brazil or fly via Curaçao or Aruba.

GUYANA Country Studies: A brief, comprehensive study of Guyana

CIA

A brief yet detailed report on the country of Guyana with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.

Guyana (Bradt Travel Guide Guyana)

Kirk Smock

Jungle-clad and teeming with exotic wildlife, Guyana is a South American secret begging to be told. With its unique geography of coastal waters, mangroves, marshes, savannas, mountains, and tropical rainforests, it's an ideal match for adventure seekers and wildlife enthusiasts. Explore the interior's waterways from a dugout canoe, swim alongside a black caiman―the world's largest alligator, take in Amerindian culture at Surama, or spot one of Guyana's 800-plus birds. Fully updated, Bradt's second edition of Guyana provides all the practical and background information necessary to get the most from your trip―whatever your budget or time constraint.

Guyana History, The Early Years: Independence and the Burnham Era, Society, Population, Ethnic Groups, Economy, Government and Politics

Henry Albinson

History of Guyana Also include, Guyana art and culture, Guyana government and politics, Guyana tourism and travel guideThe first humans to reach Guyana belonged to the group of peoples that crossed into North America from Asia perhaps as much as 35,000 years ago. These first inhabitants were nomads who slowly spread south into Central America and South America. Although great civilizations later arose in the Americas, the structure of Amerindian society in the Guianas remained relatively simple. At the time of Christopher Columbus's voyages, Guyana's inhabitants were divided into two groups, the Arawak along the coast and the Carib in the interior. One of the legacies of the indigenous peoples was the word Guiana, often used to describe the region encompassing modern Guyana as well as Suriname (former Dutch Guiana) and French Guiana. The word, which means ""land of waters,"" is highly appropriate, considering the area's multitude of rivers and streams

Guyana

Arif Ali

Updated edition of the lavishly-illustrated insight into the unique and little-known Caribbean nation of Guyana. Known as the Land of Many Waters, Guyana is located on the north-eastern shoulder of South America. It occupies an area slightly smaller than the UK and is the continent's only English-speaking nation. With a majority population - almost equally - of both African and Indian heritage, Guyanese society has been influenced by many traditions and customs and is, today, the quintessential Caribbean nation.

The Cruising Guide to Trinidad and Tobago, Plus Barbados and Guyana

Chris Doyle

Trinidad, Tobago, Barbados and Guyana are fast becoming the most popular destinations for cruising yachtsmen in the Caribbean. This new edition is the most comprehensive of its type published for this area.

Chris Doyle along with the collaborative efforts of Charlene Defrietas, Cathy Whitby, Jeff Fisher and Peter Hoad have explored these islands extensively, offering comprehensive information on a wide variety of facilities, ranging from marinas to haul-out yards and marine repair services. Additionally, Doyle and his associates provide information about shore side activities including dining, resorts, bird watching and shopping. This edition contains many color photographs and is packed with updated information on navigation and sketch charts with GPS coordinates.

Other features include sections on planning the cruise, weather, star charts, scuba diving and snorkeling, customs and immigration, communications, sightseeing and a directory of services including email and website addresses.

The Rupununi Savannas of Guyana: A Visual Journey

Lal Balkaran

Rupununi Savannas of Guyana: A Visual Journey is a book for all readers with an interest in Guyana. The book is essentially a photojournal of the southwestern part of the country that borders its neighbour Brazil. See the story of the land, the people, their everyday life, and the flora and fauna captured in over 100 photographs of this scenic part of Guyana. The book is divided into ten chapters that include photographs and text capturing: · Rock carvings;· The majestic three-peaked Shiriri mountain, a landmark in the South Rupununi;· Shea Rock (a smaller version of Ayers Rock in Australia); · The Kanuku mountains that divide the area between the North Rupununi and South Rupununi;· Giant ant hills, some almost twice the size of an adult person; · The curatella or sandbox trees (known locally as kai n'bay);· Everyday life;· School and church activities;· Means of transportation - old and new;· Vacqueros or cowboys in action;· Preserving beef into tasso; · Making food from the poisonous bitter cassava; · Rocks and minerals; and· Village scenes. Depicting the essence of the area, this book brings out a vivid and visual journey throughout this grassland region of Guyana.

Guyana Redux

Melvin Perry

Photos of life, architecture, people, and landscapes. The author revisits Guyana after a 40 year hiatus

Guyana, Guyane & Suriname (Footprint Handbooks)

Ben Box

Three Caribbean states sitting on the edge of South America, the Guianas are an intriguing combination of Calypso and palm trees, Dutch place names, Hindu temples, French cafés, and Amerindian rainforest villages. Whether you're exploring the canopy walkway in the Iwokrama jungle, spotting rare birds at the incredible Kaieteur Falls, enjoying a croissant in Cayenne or admiring the wooden colonial buildings of Paramaribo, Footprint's Guyana, Guyane & Suriname Handbook covers all the top sights in this undiscovered region, plus tips for when you're off the beaten track. • Practicalities section with essential advice on getting there and around. • Highlights map & inspirational colour section, so you know what not to miss. • Comprehensive listings including where to eat, sleep and relax - whatever your budget. • Detailed street maps for Georgetown, Paramaribo and Cayenne. • Slim enough to fit in your pocket Filled with inspiration and information, this concise Footprint Handbook will help you get the most out of the Guianas without weighing you down.

Exercise a high degree of caution

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Crime levels in Guyana are high. Assaults, pickpocketing, purse snatching, break-ins, armed robberies, car thefts and carjacking are common occurrences, particularly in Georgetown, including Stabroek Market, Tiger Bay and South Georgetown. The sea wall, from east of the Pegasus Hotel extending to Sheriff Street and adjacent areas, has been the site of several crimes and should be avoided after dark. Other dangerous areas include the East Coast Demerara region (especially near the villages of Buxton, Lusignan, Friendship and Annadale), the East Bank Demerara region and the New Amsterdam area. Violent attacks have also occurred on the road to and from Cheddi Jagan International Airport and on the Linden Highway, especially at night.

Foreigners and returning Guyanese citizens are favourite targets for criminals. Canadians have been injured while being robbed at gunpoint, and some have reported being attacked after withdrawing money at financial institutions. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

Execution-style killings have been reported. However, these appear to be targeted and not random crimes. Gangs also continue to perpetrate attacks in the Amazon jungle near the border with Suriname.

Pay attention to your surroundings, especially when entering or leaving vehicles, residences and public places. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Do not show signs of affluence. When approached by a police officer, always ask to see identification.

Demonstrations and civil unrest

Sporadic incidents of armed violence, demonstrations and civil unrest occur throughout the country. Demonstrations may become violent. Avoid large crowds and demonstrations and monitor local news reports for current information.

In July 2012, demonstrations in the town of Linden (located approximately 120 kilometres from Georgetown) resulted in three deaths. Several buildings and vehicles were burnt as a result of the deaths. Since then, road blocks and sporadic civil disturbances have been reported in Linden, as well as armed robberies on surrounding roads.

Road travel

Vehicles drive on the left. Poor road conditions, inadequate lighting, roaming animals and poor driving habits are constant hazards. Be extremely cautious when driving, keep windows closed and doors locked at all times, and avoid being on the road unnecessarily after dark.

Exercise caution along the road from the Cheddi Jagan Airport to Georgetown and on the Timerhi/Linden Highway.

Public transportation

Avoid public minibuses, as they tend to be overloaded, poorly maintained and badly driven.

Taxis are the safest means of transportation. Do not hail taxis from the roadside. Only use taxis that are connected to major hotels or are painted yellow. All yellow taxies are registered with the Government of Guyana's licencing office. Exercise constant vigilance, and make note of the vehicle's licence plate before entering, in order to track down the driver in the event of overcharging or lost luggage.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Piracy

Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.

Emergency services

Dial 911 for police, 912 for firefighters and 913 for ambulance services.

Response time may be delayed due to a lack of resources, especially for traffic accidents. Injured persons (unless seriously injured) are frequently transported by bystanders. Local authorities are cooperative, but assistance is limited and may be available only during business hours.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness)West Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are limited.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Illegal drugs

Possession and trafficking of illegal drugs are considered a serious offence. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines and lengthy prison sentences, which must be served in Guyana. Conditions in Guyanese prisons can be particularly harsh. Pack all luggage yourself and do not carry any items that do not belong to you.

Laws

It is illegal to use the services of independent boaters to cross into Suriname. Foreigners have been fined and, in some cases, detained and subsequently deported. Use only official ferry services and ensure that you receive an entry stamp in your passport. Avoid using water taxis.

The importation of restricted items, including firearms and ammunition, without the proper permits may result in heavy fines and prison sentences.

Many birds are protected species. The Guyanese Ministry of Agriculture will permit only those persons who have been legally residing in Guyana for more than one year to export an exotic bird out of the country.

Penalties for drivers responsible for an accident causing injury or death are severe and may include imprisonment. If you are involved in an accident, contact the Traffic Division of the Guyana Police Force at 911 and/or an ambulance at 913.

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended. If you cannot obtain an IDP before leaving Canada, you may apply for a local permit based on a valid Canadian driver's licence.

Money

The currency is the Guyanese dollar (GYD). Only major hotels accept credit cards, and only a few banks will issue cash advances. Carry enough currency or traveller's cheques to cover anticipated expenses. U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Exchange foreign currency only at banks, hotels and established money exchange bureaus (cambios).

Climate

Guyana experiences two rainy seasons: May to July and November to January. During this time, rainfall is abundant and may result in major flooding, particularly in coastal areas. Monitor regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.