Things to Know When Visiting Guyana in South America

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Want to travel somewhere a little bit off the grid? Want great food, diverse culture, and beautiful nature? Then the Guyana’s should be on your list. Here are some things to know about when visiting Guyana in South America.

Where is Guyana in South America?

Many people can't pin Guyana on the map for the life of them. When we visited the country, all of our family and friends assumed it was actually in Africa!

There are actually three small countries called the Guyanas that are on the east coast of South America, tucked away between Venezuela and Brazil. Guyana is the most northernmost of the three countries, lying north of Suriname, and south of Venezuela.

where is Guyana in South America

Guyana is a tiny country tucked away under Venezuela.

How to Plan Your Trip to Guyana in South America

With flights as low as $200 nonstop you can go from New York all the way to Georgetown, Guyana, which is the most northern of the three countries. American Airlines operates this flight, and it gets in at 12:40 am.

Getting in that late means there is no longer public transportation. There are plenty of taxi drivers available at this hour and they will be looking to charge you $25-$35 for you ride to the capital, which is about 45 minutes- one hour away from the airport.

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Local Adjustments

When traveling to a new country, there is a ton to know! Here are a few things to know before you travel to Guyana in South America.


Guyana is a country in South America. So, naturally, people assume that the mother tongue is Spanish. However, Guyana was previously part of the UK. Guyana is actually the only country in South America that speaks English as their first language.


The currency in Guyana is the Guyanese dollar. Currently (May 2022) 1 USD is equal to 209 Guyanese dollars. We suggest taking plenty of cash out from the ATM, as credit card is a huge rarity throughout this country.


There are actually quite a number of different electric outlets that you can find throughout Guyana in South America. The country supports plug types A, B, D, & G. The standard voltage is 240V with a frequency of 60Hz.

Water Potability

This is one of the only places we traveled where the water was visibly not drinkable. You will notice that many places in Guyana the water is actually brown in color. We suggest sticking to bottled water while traveling here.

Tipping in Guyana

The typical tipping culture in a restaurant is from 10-15%. Sometimes the service charge is added into the bill, so check before paying.

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Guyana in South America: Where to Stay

Great, you’ve arrived! Now what? There are plenty of hotels in Georgetown, the cheapest being Julian’s guest house, running at $25 USD per night. By no means is this the luxury option, but you’ll get a big bed, a shower, and kitchen to cook.

Guyana in South America: Local Food

Speaking of cooking, it’s a great idea to have this as an option for wherever you may stay, as in Guyana they only serve breakfast and lunch in restaurants. The only food available for dinner is fast food and Chinese restaurants. Even most restaurants serving breakfast and lunch are more of a quick service option, as opposed to a sit down meal.

While on the streets, definitely look for some fresh coconuts! They are delicious, refreshing, and just $1! When it comes to kiosks, anything that is sold is not considered "food", but it only considered a "snack". This may seem silly to know, but when we asked places if they had any food, they all said no. We later found out the real reason.

There are  several different options to choose from when it comes to street food. This is an affordable and yummy option, although it might not be the healthiest.

Snacks, Guyana in South America

There aren't many food options in Guyana, as they tend to have more snacks.

Guyana in South America: Things to Do

When visiting Guyana in South America, the capital is of course the first place to go. Georgetown itself doesn’t need more than a day as there are just a few sites inside the city, and the country is known more for its nature. While in Georgetown you can check out a few places inside the city.

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1. Stop by City Hall

This building really seems like it’s gone through better days, but the look of it kind of adds to the charm , and gives it that authentic and historical feel. 

Town Hall, Georgetown, Guyana

City Hall is the prettiest building in Georgetown.

2. Visit the Markets

When visiting Guyana, the best places to get your fresh fruits and veggies are the markets. The Central Market, also known as Stabroek, is located right next to the water and is the biggest market. Another option to check out is the Bourda Market.

Market Georgetown, Guyana in South America

The Bourda Market is the most popular market in the capital.

3. Explore the Botanical Gardens

As we are big into nature, we really enjoyed spending some time here. It is a very small park, but very green and relaxing. Georgetown is HOT, so relax under a tree, or have a photo shoot at this one like we did. 

Georgetown Botanical Gardens, Guyana in South America

The Botanical Gardens are a great place to relax in Georgetown.

4. Island Hop at the Essequibo River

A lot of tour companies will offer day trips to a few of the islands on the Essequibo river, ranging from $70-100. We were told there is no other possible way to visit these places, unless you purchase a tour leaving at 6 am. Luckily we decided to venture out on our own to prove this wrong.

In order to access these islands you can take a small boat from outside the central market for just 100 Guyanese dollars (about 50 cents US). In about 10 minutes you will arrive in Vreed-en-hoop.

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Once you walk onto the main road you will see plenty of vans going to Parika. This should cost about 300-320 Guyanese dollars (approx 1.50 USD) and these vans leave as soon as they fill up,  which usually takes no more than 5 minutes. A thirty minute drive later, you will arrive in Parika, a tiny town which leads to a pier, where you can take a boat or ferry to some of these islands.

Boat to Parika, Guyana

The boat ride to Parika

When it comes to islands there are several options:

1. The Public Ferry to Bartica

The ferry runs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 5 A.M. and departs Bartica the same day at 12 P.M. .On Saturday the ferry departs Parika at 9 A.M. and departs Bartica on Sundays at 5 A.M. The ride takes about 5 hours. This takes the longest, but costs only about $2 USD.

2. Speed Boat to Bartica

This will cost 2,500 (about 20 USD) and take about an hour and a half. The speed boats run a little more regularly, and leave once they fill up, which means there really isn't a time table.

3. Hire a Small Boat to Several Islands

This is the option we chose as we had our hearts set on going to fort island, which is said to have the most going on. We had to bargain a little bit and finally got the boat for 12,000 for 6 of us (about $10 each).

Fort Zeelandia, Essequibo islands, Guyana in South America

Fort Zeelandia is located on Fort Island.

The boat brought us there in 15 minutes, waited for us, and took us back. They gave us an hour, which was actually plenty of time.

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5. Enjoy the Sunset on the Water

Although Georgetown is located on the coast, there actually aren't any beaches! However, watching the sunset from Vreed-en-hoop (where the small ferry boats take you) is pretty magical.

sunset, Guyana in South America

You can enjoy the sunset at the pier in Vreed-en-hoop.

6. Check Out One of the River Side Resorts

There are plenty of resorts that offer pools, restaurants, and a relaxing atmosphere. Some of the most popular include Adel’s Rainforest Resort, Baganara Island Resort, Aruwai Resort White H2O, and Hurakabra River Resort. 

7. Take a visit to Kaeitur Falls

When visiting Guyana in South America, this is an absolute must! The iconic waterfall is the longest single drop waterfall in South America, and the world! From Georgetown you can either:

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1. Take an excursion for 5 days

It is an 8 hour bus ride via Linden to reach Mahdia, a mining town, and then on to Pamela Landing on the Potaro River. This includes a series of hikes, and is very intense, but more adventurous and rewarding.

2. Take a charter flight for a day trip

This is a lot more expensive (around $200-$250 USD per person), but also the easier option. It is very important to book in advance, and be flexible with your plans. Planes can only hold about 12 people, and the flight will only go if there are enough people.

Because of this, no plans are definite. And you should always consider a plan B. Reach out directly to the airlines for a better deal. (Trans Guyana airways, air services limited, and Air Guyana are some of the companies).

Transportation in Guyana

Georgetown is a very easy city to walk around, but there are also local buses that are just 50 cents! When it comes to getting over to the Essequibo islands, there are small boats that can take you from the Central Market.

Buses that depart going to other areas close to Georgetown, are available also right near the Central Market, and there is one street where all of the colorful vans line up. There are no real time tables, but they leave as soon as they fill up, which usually isn't more than just a few minutes.

If you are traveling south over to Suriname, there are local companies that your hostel or hotel can arrange for you, that will pick you up right from where you are staying, but we found that the cheapest option was a guy that we met at the border. Below is his business card:

transportation Guyana

Safety of Guyana in South America

When visiting Guyana in South America, it is important to be very careful. Generally speaking, people are very friendly, but we were told that it can get a little dangerous after dark. We suggest going back to your hotel before dark, and don't wear any flashy jewelry or expensive items.

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Guyana is a destination that is really off the beaten track, but is quite fascinating! We suggest checking out the beautiful nature of the country, and travelling down though the rest of the Guyanas if you get a chance! If you want to head down to Suriname, after your visit in Guyana, click here!

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