- Continent: South America
- Area: 214,970 km²
- Population: 767,245
- Capital city: Georgetown
- ISO code: GY
- National language: English
- International dialing code: +592
- Currency: Guyanese Dollar
- License plate number: GUY
- Flight routes from Guyana: 224
- Flight routes to Guyana: 298
- Popular airports: Georgetown, Guyana (GEO), Ogle (OGL)
- Large cities: Georgetown, Linden, New Amsterdam, Bartica, Skeldon, Rosignol, Mahaica Village, Vreed en Hoop, Fort Wellington, Mahaicony, Mabaruma, Lethem, Barakara, Zion, Yupukarri
Guyana travel guide (South America)
Guyana is a small country on the Atlantic south coast of South America bordering on Brazil, Venezuela and Suriname. In the native language of the indigenous people Guyana means "country of the many waters", a very apt label as the entire country is crisscrossed by rivers of up to 1600 km (994 miles) in length, which are of particular importance in transporting exotic wood.
Geography: the country consists of a narrow coastal plain where most of the inhabitants live. High valleys and lush dense rainforest determine the Guyanan interior. In the far west are the Guyana Mountains, forming a natural border to the neighbouring countries of Venezuela and Brazil.
Mountains and rivers: the highest point in Guyana is the 2,810 m (9219 ft), Mount Roraima in the Tepui mountain range on the border triangle with Venezuela and Brazil. The longest of the countless rivers is the Essequibo with a length of 1,040 km (646 miles). The river has its source in the Acarai Mountains on the border to Brazil, it flows northwards and mouths into the Atlantic Ocean.
Climate and best time to visit: Guyana lies in a tropical climate zone. The air humidity is high throughout the year with an average daytime temperature of about 28° C. There are two rainy seasons in Guyana: one is short and between November and January, the other is longer and between the months of May and August, with stronger and longer lasting showers resulting in the sand roads in the interior of the country turning into mud baths. Only on the coast and in the highlands are the temperatures more bearable. The best time to visit Guyana is between September and November, as there is no rain at this time.
Language and communication: the official and national language is a Creole form of English. As the majority of the population originate from the Indian subcontinent, Hindi, Urdu and other Indo-Aryan languages are common. The indigenous population also speaks 10 other local regional languages.
Health and vaccinations: vaccination against hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, polio and tetanus is recommended. Long clothing should be worn to provide protection against mosquitoes and other insects, and a locally purchased insect repellent should also be used. There is a slight risk of malaria during the rainy season in the coastal regions. In the interior, malaria occurs throughout the year. Please seek advice from your GP on effective anti malaria medication. Medical care is only of a sufficient standard in the larger towns, is relatively expensive and must be paid for in advance and in cash. In Georgetown, medical care is free of charge in the public hospital. Visitors are advised to take out a comprehensive medical and travel insurance that covers repatriation costs. A first aid kit should be packed and fruit and vegetables peeled or boiled before being eaten
Entry requirements: passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival. British visitors do not require a visa to enter Guyana for up to 30 days. Extensions can be applied for at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Georgetown. Please check entry requirements with the Guyana Representation in London. For more information on vaccinations and entry requirements please refer to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Website.
Arrival and onward journey: there are currently no non-stop connections from European airports to the international airport in Georgetown (GEO). Virgin Atlantic (VS) together with LIAT (LI) fly from London Gatwick (LGW) to Georgetown via Bridgetown (BGI).
In Guyana flying is the only reliable means of transport during the rainy season. Trans Guyana Airways (TGY) has regular flights from Georgetown to many domestic airports such as Bemichi (BCG), Imbaimadai (IMB), Karasabai (KRG), Mahdia (MHA), Mabaruma (USI) or Ogle (OGL).
Capital city: the capital Georgetown is on the Atlantic estuary of the river Demara and is often given the name of the garden city of the Caribbean. There are more than 140,000 inhabitants living in the greater city region. The stilt houses (palafito) dating from the 18th century are especially characteristic of Georgetown along with the shady green canals that give the city a colonial Dutch flair. The 45 m high wooden cathedral and the colourful carribean Stabroek market where it is possible to purchase food as well as silver and gold at cheap prices, are both well worth seeing. The 40-hectare large botanic garden invites the visitor to relax and is located near the centre of the city. For those interested in culture the newly built cultural centre showing the best theatre in the entire Caribbean area is highly recommended. Not to be missed is the national museum, which gives visitors an insight into the culture and natural history of the country.
Places of interest and beaches: compared with its neighbours, Guyana only has few beaches that are suitable for swimming. Beach holidaymakers are better off heading for the nearby Caribbean island of Barbados and Tobago. Guyana’s beauty comes to the fore in the dense rainforest of the interior, which takes up almost 80% of the country’s area. The Guyana rainforest has a rich diversity of species and variety of plants that cannot be rivalled by the rest of the South American continent. Bartica is a good starting point for explorations of the rainforest. The city lies at the point where the two rivers, the Essequibo and Mazaruni merge and is ideal for excursions to the 226 m (741 ft) high Kaeiteur waterfalls on the Rio Potaro, that are the most beautiful on the American continent besides the waterfalls of Niagara and Iguacu. A visit to the Ameridians Indians in the Rupununi savannahs in the south west of the country is also interesting. This entails employing a local travel agent to apply for a permit at the Ministry of the Interior, as the application procedure will otherwise take months.
Religion: the Christians are in the majority with 50 %. There is a minority of about 40 % Hindus and a small minority of 10% Muslims.
Major Cities and accommodation: Georgetown, Linden, New Amsterdam and Corriverton.