Guyana Travel Guide
More British colonial and Caribbean than Latino, Guyana occupies a tiny piece of Northern South America, and is an Amerindian word which translates as ‘land of many waters’.
This tropical country is notably famous for the Kaieteur Falls, one of the world’s highest waterfalls. Pristine rainforests, unexplored rivers and unclimbed mountains attract nature lovers, while old Dutch-style towns like the capital Georgetown take you back to the times of colonization. If you are sold on an adventurous holiday, Guyana might be the right option, as long as you aren’t afflicted with hydrophobia.
When to Go
Guyana has an equatorial climate; hot but mostly pleasant with Atlantic sea breezes tempering the muddy atmosphere. There are two rainy seasons; from May to mid-August and from mid-November to mid-January, when flashfloods can be a threat. The hottest time is between August and October when temperatures range between 75°F and 85°F.
Getting There & Away
Daily international flights go in and out of Cheddi Jagan International Airport, which is located 25 miles outside Georgetown. Minibuses connect the city with most coastal towns, but the roads are in pitiable condition. Ferry services in great quantity will take you along the 620 miles of navigable river.
Health & Safety
Dengue fever and malaria are common in the interior, and typhoid is still present throughout the country. Medical facilities are severely restricted therefore your insurance should also cover medical evacuation.
Crime levels are high in Guyana; kidnappings, carjacking, armed robberies and shootings are not the exception, especially in Georgetown and New Amsterdam. Stay away from Georgetown’s south after dark. Driving can be hazardous due to poor road conditions and erratic driving habits, particularly at night. It’s better to take a cab – your blood pressure will appreciate it.
Food & Hospitality
Depending on the type of area you want to visit, there are various accommodation types available; you can choose from hotels, lodges, haciendas or ranches. Indian curries and African plantain dishes dominate Guyana’s cuisine; specialties are Amerindian pepper pot and Portuguese garlic pork. The local dark Demerara rum is well worth a try. Only drink bottled water, while the local beer brand is not to be sneezed at.
- One day in Georgetown.
- One day at the Kaieteur Falls.
- One day at the Amaila Falls.
- One day at Shell Beach.
- Three days in the Rupununi Savanna.
- Two days at the Cuquenan Falls.
Georgetown: Guyana’s capital city and main port lies on the Demerara River. Largely designed by the Dutch, its wooden historical buildings reflect Guyana’s colonial architecture including the world’s tallest wooden building, the Anglican Cathedral of St George, which is marked as a non-smoking area.
kaieteur-falls: is located in the middle of pristine rainforest with a height of 822 feet in total, making it five times higher than Niagara Falls and Guyana’s major attraction.
rupununi-savanna: is a vast grassland area with fresh water creeks and majestic termite mounds, Amerindian reservations and the famous Shea Rock.
amaila-falls: drops about 200 feet and continues in a sequence of rapids and falls for another two miles before reaching calm water; the total drop is approximately 1,200 feet.
cuquenan-falls: is one of the most isolated and untouched waterfalls in the world; 2,000-feet in a single drop make it one of the globe’s highest free-leaping waterfalls.
Shell Beach: near the Venezuela border is 87 miles long and a nesting site for up to eight species of sea turtles including the enormous leatherbacks which are not too enthusiastic about being taken for a ride.
Trekking and hiking: into the unspoiled rainforests to visit the numerous waterfalls and encounter some outstanding wildlife.
Safaris: to see Guyana’s indigenous people will get you in touch with their culture, craft and exotic if not stomach perturbing food.
Bird-watching: home to nearly 800 known species, Guyana is a paradise for bird lovers.
Cultural sightseeing: in Georgetown with its colonial buildings and Dutch designs.
Shopping: pick up some cheap souvenirs at Stabroek Market in Georgetown, or spend a fortune on gold jewelry in Church street.