Guyana

Guyana

Use Normal Level of Caution

The Cooperative Republic of Guyana is located on the northern coast of South America and shares borders with Venezuela and Suriname. The country was a Dutch colony in the 17th century, and became a British possession known as British Guiana in 1815. The country gained independence from Great Britain in 1966. The population is about 735,000 people. The government is a republic with a president as chief of state and a prime minister as head of government. Guyana is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) but is not an island.

Guyana’s economy has suffered from economic mismanagement, political instability, ethnic rivalry between two main groups, and falling prices of their main exports. As a result, many Guyanans emigrate to make a living elsewhere. Guyana also has long-term border disputes with both Suriname and Venezuela.

Most of the population lives along the coast and the interior of the country is not developed. Tourist infrastructure is not well developed. However, travellers interested in eco-tourism can enjoy the tropical rainforests.

Currency GYD: Guyanese dollar
Language English; Eleven recognized regional languages also spoken
Capital Georgetown
Recent Alerts None
Latest Alert Not Available

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Guyana. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Guyana through contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis B

There is a moderate risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Guyana.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Guyana, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in Guyana. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Yellow Fever

There is a risk of yellow fever transmission in Guyana. This country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for travellers 1 year of age or older if arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission or having transited through an airport located in a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. The yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all travellers 9 months of age or older.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in Guyana. Travellers to Guyana are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Dengue Fever

Outbreaks of dengue fever may occur in Guyana.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Malaria

There is a high risk of malaria in all areas of Guyana at elevations less than 900 meters. There is a low risk of malaria in the cities of Georgetown, Amsterdam, and the coastal region.

Chagas Disease

There is a very low risk for American trypanosomiasis (“Chagas disease”) unless staying in very poor quality housing or camping.

Zika Fever

Zika fever can occur in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Guyana.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a moderate risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

This country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for travellers 1 year of age or older if arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission or having transited through an airport located in a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. The yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all travellers 9 months of age or older.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Guyana.

Anti-malarial Drugs

The recommended anti-malarial medication for all areas, except the cities of Amsterdam and Georgetown, is mefloquine, doxycycline or atovaquone/proguanil. Drug resistance to chloroquine is present.

Safety and Security in Guyana

Emergency Numbers

911
912
913

The emergency calls may go unanswered. Police capacity to respond may be limited.

Personal Safety

Most travellers to Guyana do not have problems, however, crime levels are high. Petty theft, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, does occur. Serious and violent crime, such as armed robbery, muggings, carjackings, do occur and police sometimes respond with firearms. There is potential to get caught in a criminal incident, such as an indiscriminate shooting. Be aware of your surroundings and personal security at all times. Do not travel or walk alone, particularly at night after dark.

There is a large disparity between wealthy and poor. To avoid becoming a target, use sensitivity and keep valuables or signs of wealth out of sight. Safeguard your important documents, such as your passport. Be vigilant when using an ATM or leaving a bank, and also check to see if you are being followed.

Be cautious when opening your hotel room door since hotel break-ins have occurred.

Keep vehicle doors locked and windows up. Do not leave valuables in vehicles.

Public transportation is not recommended due to poor vehicle maintenance, lack of security, overcrowding and unsafe driving practices. Taxis are the safest mode of transportation in Guyana. When using taxi services, always ask hotel staff or airport authorities for official taxi services and note the taxi license plate. The Government of Guyana licenses all yellow taxis. Robberies have occurred in other or unofficial taxis.

Areas To Avoid

Road travel after dark is dangerous on the road between the Cheddi Jagan Airport and Georgetown and also along the Timerhi/Linden Highway. Avoid travel after dark in the East Bank and East Coast Demerara regions.

Although these areas are generally safe during the day, avoid the sea wall and surrounding areas after dark.

Be vigilant after dark when in or around the National Park, the neighbourhoods of Bourda, Stabroek, Buxton and Agricola, Tiger Bay and Albouystown areas, Sophia, all of south Georgetown, the Stabroek Market area, St. George’s cathedral area.

Reports indicate an increase in violent crime on the east coast, in Bartica, and in tourist areas along the Essequibo River.

Be particularly alert if visiting the Botanic Gardens at dawn or dusk hours, and do not go alone.
Exercise caution if travelling in border areas with Venezuela or Suriname due to ongoing border disputes.

Using a water taxi from Suriname to Guyana could get you arrested, imprisoned and deported. Use only scheduled ferry services when crossing the Corentyne River.

Political Unrest

Demonstrations and protests are rare but have occurred in Georgetown. Always avoid large public gatherings or protests since even a peaceful demonstration can turn violent.

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