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Quick Facts
CapitalGeorgetown
Governmentrepublic within the Commonwealth
CurrencyGuyanese dollar (GYD)
Areatotal: 214,970 sq km
water: 18,120 sq km
land: 196,850 sq km
Population698,209
LanguageEnglish, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu
ReligionChristian 50%, Hindu 35%, Muslim 10%, other 5%

Guyana is a country in north-eastern South America. It has a North Atlantic Ocean coastline in the northeast, and lies between Suriname to the east and Venezuela to the west, with Brazil to the south.

It is a member of the British Commonwealth, formerly being the colony of British Guiana, and is now the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay. Substantial portions of its western and eastern territories are claimed by Venezuela and Suriname respectively.

Regions

Administrative divisions 
10 regions;
  • Barima-Waini
  • Cuyuni-Mazaruni
  • Demerara-Mahaica
  • East Berbice-Corentyne
  • Essequibo Islands-West Demerara
  • Mahaica-Berbice
  • Pomeroon-Supenaam
  • Potaro-Siparuni
  • Upper Demerara-Berbice
  • Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo

Cities

  • Georgetown - Capital

Ports and harbors

  • Bartica
  • Linden
  • New Amsterdam
  • Parika

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Understand

Climate

Tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to mid-August, mid-November to mid-January); Natural hazards : Flash floods are a constant threat during rainy seasons.

Terrain

Mostly rolling highlands; low coastal plain; savanna in south

Highest point 
Mount Roraima 2,835 m

History

Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to black settlement of urban areas and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations. This ethnocultural divide has persisted and has led to turbulent politics.

Independence 
26 May 1966 (from UK)
National holiday 
Republic Day, 23 February (1970)
Constitution 
6 October 1980

Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966, but until the early 1990s it was ruled mostly by socialist-oriented governments. In 1992, Cheddi JAGAN was elected president, in what is considered the country's first free and fair election since independence. Upon his death five years later, he was succeeded by his wife Janet, who resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was reelected in 2001.

Get in

By plane

By train

By car

By bus

By boat

Get around

Talk

Languages 
English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu

Buy

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Learn

Work

Stay safe

Homosexuality is illegal in Guyana and carries a sentence of life in prison.

Guyana is currently in a border dispute with Venezuela to the west and Suriname to the east. Moreover, there are increasing black riots and crime, making it a dangerous place to visit. Expect no help from weak, corrupt police forces.

Stay Healthy

The country's largest hospital is the Georgetown Public Hospital and is located in the capital. Facilities here are basic, even though it is a tertiary referral centre. There is very poor disposal of 'sharps' (needles etc.) - worrying given country's growing HIV prevalance.

Yellow fever is endemic to this area; monkeys are a reservoir, but you can catch it even in cities. Be sure to get immunized before you leave, and take mosquito repellent with you.

Respect

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