Guyana, the Belize of South America, is known for the land of giants. You’ll find enormous anteater, monstrous anaconda, large harpy eagle, and giant river otter when exploring its dense forest.
Guyana is not seen as a tourist destination. But, Guyana’s ecotourism, nature trails, waterfalls, bird-watching, and hiking are its main attractions. Why Guyana? It was mostly curiosity and a place that I have not visited. I did not spend my time finding out about Guyana before I went. When you Google Guyana, you will change your mind about going there. There is a list of travel warnings.
It is better to get your information from a Guyanese or someone who has visited the country than on the Internet.
Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America. It shares borders with Brazil, Suriname, and Venezuela. It identifies mainly with the Caribbean Region than its neighbors in the South. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) headquarter is in Guyana.
Although Guyana does not have the Caribbean blue water and white sandy beaches, it has many similarities with the English-speaking Caribbean islands, like Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago.
It is also the link between South America to the Caribbean.
The name Guyana is an Amerindian word meaning land of many waters. With a population of around 770,000 people, it is a country with diverse ethnicities and nine recognized languages. Walking around town, you will mainly hear Guyanese Creole and English speaking.
The Guyanese people are from many different backgrounds: Africa, China, Portugal, India, Europe and native population, the Amerindians. The majority of the population is made of Indian descent (44%), African (30%) and smaller mixed groups (17%).
The climate is relatively acceptable. Being close to the equator, it is scorching hot during the day, and at night, there is a delightful breeze. The average temperate ranges from 68 to 91 degrees. Wear light and loose clothing. Also, a hat and sunscreen will be helpful during the day. If you plan to stay in the interior, you should bring mosquito repellents.
Most stores accept credit cards and US dollars. If you need local currency, it is best to use ATMs or exchange your money at the hotel.
Health & Safety
There are no requirements to have any vaccinations to enter the country. It is recommended if you plan to spend most of your time in the interior and the Amazon. Drink only bottled water. You can buy it at supermarkets or from street vendors. If you worry about catching Malaria, go to the Guyanese Ministry of Health to get the shot.
The locals will tell you not to walk around Georgetown at night and be careful during the day. Like many cities, be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are traveling alone and when it is dark. Do not carry all your valuables with you.
I felt safe walking around Georgetown, shopping at the outdoor markets, Stabroek and Bourda. I was not aware of anything suspicious or have to be concerned about my safety. I also took the local buses and taxis at night.
Be careful wherever you travel! Do not wear or display items that could invite attention.
How to Get to Guyana
Just four hours from the States. There are direct flights only from New York, Barbados, Brazil, and Trinidad & Tobago. From any other cities, there is a layover that could take one hour to over five hours, depending on the airlines.
Caribbean Airlines’ one-hour layover in Port of Spain you can’t get off to get food or drinks. Suriname Airlines has direct flights but a limited number of trips during the week.
Once you land in Guyana, the Cheddi Jagan International airport is roughly 45 minutes to one hour from Georgetown. Ask your hotel to arrange a taxi for you. I took a local taxi from the airport, and it cost 30 dollars.
Where to Stay in Guyana
You have plenty of options in Georgetown. Whether you want a boutique or chain hotel, it has many alternatives. You can’t go wrong choosing a major chain hotel. The Guyana Marriott is an excellent choice. It is centrally located near downtown and away from the traffic noise.
The staff provides excellent customer service, and you will not regret your stay. For an inexpensive option, try the Pegasus and Towers hotel. From those hotels, you can take the bus, taxi or walk to downtown.
A boutique hotel that deserves mention is the Herdmanston Lodge, hidden away in a quiet neighborhood. The hotel is full of greenery and gardens. The beautiful architecture of the Herdmanston Lodge brings out its unique appearance. No need to go anywhere for brunch and dinner, the hotel restaurant serves local and international dishes. Do not wait, book your room fast because this hotel gets full quickly.
Where to eat in Guyana
For vegetarian and vegan, Indian food is your best choice. Guyana is way behind when it comes to vegan. Aagman and Maharaj are my two favorite places. The staff is attentive and will recommend dishes that they make vegan.
What to do in Guyana
You can take a tour to Kaieteur Falls and the interior. For nightlife, there are many choices. For a livelier crowd, I would try the Palm Court. For music and drinks, the Pegasus Hotel or Tower Suites would satisfy your needs.
I had a fantastic time in Guyana and would recommend it to other adventurous travelers.
Let me know what you think about Guyana? Were you concerned about your safety?
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