Guyana Travel Guide
With only 750,000 souls calling Guyana home, it is hard to believe that a nation this size is home to fewer people than the city of Montevideo in Uruguay.
While those expecting modern amenities might be disappointed, the capital city of Georgetown and all the small towns scattered across the countryside harbour a delightfully slow pace to life that has gone mysteriously absent elsewhere in the modern world.
Despite having one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls in its interior, fewer than 3,000 people per year arrive here as tourists, meaning that virtually everywhere you go in Guyana, you are practically guaranteed to have authentic experiences with everyone you meet, and everything that you experience.
Currency: Guyanese Dollars
Languages: English, Creole, various Amerindian tongues
What To Do
During your time in Georgetown, make certain to visit St. George’s Cathedral. While it has a lot of characteristics that are typical of Caribbean-style Christian churches, it is unique in the fact that it is one of the tallest wooden churches in the world, as it towers 143 feet above Georgetown’s low profile central business district.
Built in the Gothic style, there are a variety of interesting features within its interior that speak to the cooperative nature of Christian churches in the Caribbean region, which includes a brass lectern and a shrine that was donated by the bishop of Barbados, and a crystal chandelier that was gifted to the church by Queen Victoria in the 19th century.
Guyana is a cozy place, as it has a population that doesn’t come close to cracking a million citizens; despite its small size though, the Guyana National Museum tells the story of this diminutive Caribbean country.
While there are some exhibits detailing the nation’s history, the majority of them focus on the natural highlights that can be found within its borders. From the various minerals that have been dug up, to several animal species that have been stuffed and put on display for museum visitors, this place is a quick way to get some background on what Guyana has to offer.
Most of the population of Guyana exist along its Caribbean coast, as it is here where cities are situated and fishing fleets are anchored.
For countless generations though, many Amerindian tribes have existed in Guyana’s tropical interior; to that end, the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology has made it its mission over the years to tell their story to the world.
Unearthed artifacts from all ten administrative regions of Guyana compose the exhibits here, which include tools, human skeletal remains, and illustrated depictions of life in pre-columbian times.
There are many interesting things to observe about life in Guyana that you will get to see during your time in Georgetown, but the one site that you will likely be looking the most forward to is the chance to get up close and personal with Kaieteur Falls.
While Angel Falls in Venezuela is the highest waterfall in the world, Kaieteur Falls is the highest single drop cataract in the world. Access is an issue though, as it is literally located in the middle of the Guyanese rainforest with no road access.
Compounding matters is the fact that Guyana only gets 3,000 tourist visits per year; as a result, many planned tours are often cancelled, so be sure to book with a tour agency the minute you arrive in Georgetown.
If you aren’t afraid of a little rain, try to plan your visit to Guyana in the wet season, as the width of the plume that thunders down from a height of more than 700 feet triples in size at this time.
Those looking to witness the biodiversity that exists in the Guyanese interior will be well-served by booking a tour up the Essequibo River.
The third longest river system in South America after the Amazon and the Orinoco, the river banks of this waterway are teeming with countless species of flora and fauna.
That’s not the only attraction that these river tours have to offer though, as many itineraries include visits to old Dutch forts, mining towns, and trailheads that leave through the jungle to waterfalls that offer an opportunity to cool off from the heat that is commonplace in the Guyanese interior.
What to Eat
Those looking to try Guyana’s national dish will want to track down some Pepperpot. Found most often around Christmas, this meal consists of stewed meat and cinnamon (usually beef, pork, or mutton) that is cooked in cassareep.
Served on the side with bread, rice, or roti, this will prove to be a flavor packed experience from the first spoonful to the last.
If your efforts to track down Pepperpot are met with failure, then Metemgee will be easier to find and prove to be an equally satisfying alternative.
Consisting of sweet potato, cassava, cut-up corn cobs, okra, dumplings, and plantains simmered in a sweet coconut broth, it is the perfect accompaniment for a side of fried fish.
Considering Guyana’s long history of Chinese and Indian immigration, it is no surprise that food from both cultures can be found in restaurants throughout Georgetown and the country at large.
Two meals that you will want to try to get a handle on this cultural fusion should be Guyanese-style chow mein and Guyanese-style curry.
While largely resembling the meals as they would exist in their home countries, the former uses bora beans and five spice, and the latter contains some spices that are native to the West Indies.