Guyana Traveling Basics — Wild Guyana

 
 

TRAVELING BASICS

Population
Approximately 760,000 people, with 90 percent living along the developed coastal areas.

Climate
Guyana's climate is equatorial: hot but pleasant for most of the year, with a mean shade temperature of 27°C (81°F) and an average temperature range of 24°C to 31°C (75°F to 87°F). The heat is tempered by the sea breezes along the coast. An umbrella is useful during the two wet seasons, extending roughly from May through July, and from December to the end of January.

Economy
The agricultural sector accounts for half of the national GDP, with the main exports being sugar and rice. Exports of timber products, seafood, gold, bauxite and diamonds are also important factors to the local economy.

Passports and Visas
All visitors require a valid passport. Those arriving by plane are required to have an onward plane ticket. Visas are necessary for all visitors except nationals of the following countries: Commonwealth Countries, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, USA. Visitors are advised to check for updates with the nearest Guyana Embassy or Consulate or their travel agent.

Health
There is a risk of malaria in certain parts of the Guyanese interior. Consult your doctor for the required precautions if you intend to travel there. Georgetown and coastal areas are malaria-free. Visitors should drink bottled water; there are several local brands that are inexpensive and widely available. Georgetown has one public and several private hospitals, including St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital on Parade Street, Prashads Hospital on Thomas Street, and Davis Memorial in Lodge Backlands.

Credit Cards/ATM Cards
Most hotels, major restaurants, car rental agencies and tour operators accept major credit cards and travelers cheques. Foreign banking/credit cards can be used at ATM machines in Guyana, which are mainly in Georgetown. The interior is largely a cash economy.

Clothing
Lightweight, casual clothing can be worn throughout the year.

Currency and Cambios
The Guyana Dollar has a fluctuating exchange rate of G$200 to US $1; G$360 to £1 pound sterling; G$260 to €1 euro; and G$120 to $1 Canadian. Cambios are licensed currency exchange houses. Most Cambios are open weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm and on Saturdays from 8 am to 2 pm. It is important that you keep your Cambio receipts, as you will need to produce them to change Guyanese dollars on departure.

Departure Tax
There is an exit tax of G$4,000 paid at the airport.

Driving
Drive on the left hand side of the road.

Emergency Numbers
Police: 911
Fire: 912
Ambulance: 913

Food and Drink
Guyanese cuisine is a mixture of Caribbean, Indian, and African dishes. Fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and meats are plentiful and curries, served with rice or roti, are popular. Lodges in the interior are renowned for buffet-style meals featuring local delights ranging from chicken to breadfruit, locally raised beef and freshly caught fish to freshly made juices.

Internet
Internet service is available nationally from independent providers. Service is also available in most hotels, lodges, and at the many Internet Cafes across the country.

Media
Guyana’s has four daily newspapers: Stabroek News, The Guyana Chronicle, Guyana Times, and Kaieteur News. The Catholic Standard and The Mirror are published weekly. There are several TV stations; most rebroadcast US (and sometimes Indian) imports. Voice of Guyana, Radio Roraima and 98.1 FM are the main radio stations.

Public Holidays
New Years Day
Republic Day and Mashramani (February 23)
Hindu holiday of Phagwah (usually March)
Good Friday
Easter Monday
Labour Day (May 1)
Independence Day (May 26)
CARICOM Day (First Monday in August)
Deepavali (usually November)
Christmas Day
Boxing Day
Muslim Holidays of Eid ul Fitr (end of Ramadan)
Eid ul Azah and Youman Nabi.

Security
Exercise the same safety precautions as you would in any city or unfamiliar environment. Most areas are safe on foot by day, or by taxi at night. Be on your guard when walking through crowds, and don't venture by foot into low-income neighborhoods. Don't walk around with valuables, and remember to check with your hotel for current advice.

Telecommunications
For all areas of Guyana the country code is 592, followed by a seven-digit number. Some local Internet cafes offer walk-in Internet phone service. Cell service reaches most of the coast and some areas of the interior. Local phone cards are available.

Time Zone
Four hours behind GMT; one hour ahead of EST (except during Daylight Saving Time, when they are the same).

Voltage
110v in Georgetown and at most interior lodges; 220v in most other places, including parts of suburban Georgetown.

Water

The water from the tap is brownish in color, which is from the tannin in the water, and not polluted, but visitors should only drink bottled water, which is readily available. Remember to drink plenty of it to prevent dehydration.