Guyana holidays : introduction
Guyana (formerly British Guiana) lies on the north-eastern shoulder of South America, bordered by Venezuela to the west, Brazil in the south, and Suriname to the east. The name comes from an Amerindian word meaning ‘land of many waters’, which is certainly appropriate as major rivers include the Essequibo, Demerara and the Berbice.
Guyana is a wonderful nature and wildlife destination in its infancy, and if you feel the need for more comfortable accommodation and a sandy beach then it can be combined with Venezuela or one of the Caribbean islands such as Tobago or St Lucia.
Please follow the links to individual regions to see more detail, including images and hotel listings (many of which include reviews by our clients).
“It was the holiday of a lifetime. Kaieteur Falls were magnificent and our visit to the Canopy Walkway was spectacular. However, the time at Karanambu stood out - we were welcomed and treated as one of the family. Even so far from civilisation, Diane serves coffee in demi-tasse.” - PC
Practical facts and figures on Guyana
Official language is English but several Amerindian languages (there are nine distinct ethnic groups in Guyana) and Creole (which is a pidgin English) are widely spoken. The National flower is the Victoria Amazonia (formerly known as Victoria Regia), and the National bird is the Hoatzin, locally known as Canje pheasant.
Yellow fever recommended, and Malaria highly recommended. You should be up-to-date on tetanus, typhoid and polio.
Not required for most nationalities (including all Commonwealth countries).
The official currency is the Guyanese dollar. There are $1,000, $500, $100 and $20 notes and $10, $5 and $1 coins. Most Georgetown hotels will change sterling, US dollars or Euros in either cash or travellers cheques, in the interior it can be hard to find places willing to change money. Credit cards can be used in larger hotels but charges may be made.
The blend of different ethnic influences in Guyana – Indian, African, Chinese, Creole, English, Portuguese, Amerindian, North American – gives a distinctive flavour to Guyanese cuisine. Try dishes such as Pepper Pot, meat cooked in casareep (bitter cassava) juice with peppers and herbs. Garlic Pork is a speciality at Christmas. Curry and Roti is popular everywhere. Seafood is plentiful and varied (especially shrimps), as is the wide variety of tropical fruit and vegetables (cassava and yams are particularly prevelant). Rum is the most popular drink, the quality of which is world class (Guyanese rum regularly wins prizes).
Few and far between (local communication with the interior is mainly by radio, although satellite internet is changing things quite rapidly). You can use a BT chargecard - dial 0169 (169 Georgetown) for the operator.
The mobile networks are still analogue so most UK mobiles will not work.
Traffic drives on the left, and while the main highways are in reasonable condition minor roads are often bumpy and dusty.