Welcome to Guyana



Guyana is South America's only English speaking country. This allows tourists from many countries to have an exciting South American adventure without the inconvenience of having to learn another language.

General Information

Overview | Places of Interest | Hotels and Tour Operators

The Basics:



English & Creolese

865,200 (estimated)

Christianity, Hinduism and Islam

Guyana Dollar, but US Dollar is widely accepted. Foreign currency can be changed at banks, cambios and hotel.

Guyana Standard Time. 4 hours behind GMT and 1 hour ahead of EST.

110 and 220 Volts

Entry Requirements:
All visitors require passports. Visa are necessary with the exception of the following: Commonwealth countries, USA, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Japan, Korea.
Visitors are advised to check with the nearest embassy, consulate or travel agent.

Departure Tax: There is an additional departure tax when leaving Guyana of G$1,500.00 (approx. US$10.75)
Emergency Numbers: Police: 911 , Fire: 912 , Ambulance Service: 913
Direct Dialing (collect): Canada - 161, USA - 165, U.K. - 169
Main Towns: Georgetown, Linden, New Amsterdam, Corriverton, Rose Hall, Anna Regina

The Land:
Guyana extends over an area of 83,000 square miles (214,969 sq. km) on the northeast shoulder of the South American continent. The Atlantic Ocean stretches for 270 miles along the coast of Guyana, but the country's major thrust is southward and inland, for a distance of 450 miles. Guyana borders on Venezuela in the west, Brazil in the south, and Suriname in the east.

There are three distinct geographical areas - the coastal belt, the forested and mountainous area, and the savannah zone.

The narrow coastal belt, a thin strip only 10 to 40 miles in width (just 4 percent of the total land area), is intensively cultivated and is home to 90 percent of the population. The area actually lies several feet below sea level at high tide, having been reclaimed in order to take advantage of the enormously rich alluvial soil deposited by ocean currents from the Amazon. This coastal belt is protected from the sea by an elaborate system of dams, walls, and groynes--a system that is reminiscent of the Netherlands itself, from which Guyana's first European settlers originated.

From the coastal zone, the land rises to a plateau of dense equatorial forest and swamp. Minerals are found in the area - the most valuable being bauxite, diamonds, gold and manganese. Further inland, the forest plateau rises to the savannah country of the southwest, called the Rupununi. The sparse population of this area is predominantly Amerindian.

Guyana is graced by many mighty rivers, the three most important being the Demerara (on which is found Georgetown), the Berbice (in the South), and the Essequibo, which with its many tributaries drains the greater part of the country.






Hotel Directory and Tour Operators:

Hotel Tower
74-75 Main Street
Tel: 592-2-72011-5
Res: 800-742-4276
Fax: 592-2-65691/56021

Cara Lodge
293 Quamina Street
Tel: 592-2-55301
Fax: 592-2-55310

Cara Suites
176 Middle Street
Tel: 592-2-61612
Fax: 592-2-61541

Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel
Seawall Road
Tel: 592-2-52853-9
Fax: 592-2-60532

Wilderness Explorers:
Guyana's Nature and Adventure Travel Specialists
61 Hadfield & Cross Streets
Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: 592-2-62085/77698

The climate in Guyana is hot but pleasant for most of the year, particularly in the coastal belt, which is cooled by the sea breeze. The average temperature ranges between 75F and 87F. The rainy season occurs in May and June, and then again in December and January, with an average annual rainfall of 91 inches.

Guyana derives its name from an Amerindian word meaning "land of many waters." The area of the Guianas, bounded by the rivers of the Orinoco in the north and west, the Rio Negro in the west, the Amazon in the South, and of course the Atlantic Ocean in the East, is believed to have been settled before 900 AD by Warrau Indians, and later by the Arawak and Carib tribes. However, there is little archaeological evidence from these times of substantial settlements.

In 1595, prompted by the great riches brought back from South America by the Spanish, Sir Walter Raleigh embarked from London on an expedition in search of the fabled city of El Dorado. Raleigh's expedition penetrated hundreds of miles up the Orinoco River into the Guiana Highlands of present-day Venezuela, where he found some mineral specimens that contained gold. Upon his return, Raleigh published The Discoveries of the Large Rich and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana, with a relation of the Great and Golden City of Manoa (which the Spaniards call El Dorado, a book that if not exactly truthful was certainly quite popular. The region quickly attracted the interest of the French, the English, and the Dutch, all of whom soon laid claim to the entire region. It was settled in separate areas by the three nations, and what is now Guyana occupies the area of the former Dutch colonies.

From 1781 onwards, British influence became increasingly evident, but it was not until 1814 that the colonies of Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice were finally ceded to Britain, while the Courts of Policy and Combined Courts, the legislative and executive bodies created by the Dutch, remained in operation under British rule for another century. In 1831 the three colonies merged to become British Guiana.

The territory attained its independence on May 26, 1966 and became a Republican State on February 23, 1970.


The original inhabitants of the territory were Amerindians. However, to meet the labor needs of the plantation economy, slaves were brought in large numbers during the 18th and early 19th centuries from West Africa to work on the cotton and sugar plantations. When slavery was abolished in 1834 the former slaves refused to work for their former masters, even for wages. They left the plantations and established their own village communities. Immigrants were therefore brought in to work, first from Europe (Germany, Malta and Portugal), then China, and eventually in large numbers from India. Today the country's population reflects its immigrant history with Africans, East Indians, Chinese, Portuguese, Europeans, and Amerindians living side by side.

Overview | Places of Interest

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