Catherine is an avid traveler and applies her experience in the environmental sciences to give a global view of travel domestic and abroad.
Being at the Border of the Caribbean and South America, boarding the countries of Brazil and Venezuela. Guyana is known for its unspoiled land of high mountains, deep rainforests, and the beauty they retain. Guyana, formerly known as British Guiana, achieved independence from the U.K. in 1966 and became a Republic in 1970. In 1989, Guyana launched an Economic Recovery Program, which marked a dramatic reversal from a state-controlled, socialist economy towards a more open, free market system. They interestingly consider themselves a Caribbean country, rather than a Latin American one and are members of the CARICOM, the Caribbean country organization. This country may be small but it is culturally rich and environmentally well preserved.
For those looking for a mix of an adventurous yet culturally rich trip with friends or family, Guyana is a great choice. If you're looking for a place that's not yet spoiled by tourists but still has plenty of organized excursions, this might be the destination for you. This is an emerging destination and you can say you've been here before the crowds.
Guyana is the only English speaking country in South America. It’s rich and diverse with a Caribbean lifestyle. It’s homely, as the population is less than that of the state of New York. Guyana is the size of Idaho and is situated on the northern coast of South America, east of Venezuela, west of Suriname, and north of Brazil. A tropical forest covers more than 80% of the country. Most in this country is affordable and the US dollar goes far but they are aware of tourists and their willingness to pay more when on vacation so taxi rides and tours can get pricey.
As far as currency, the Guyanese Dollar (GYD) is accepted everywhere, and the U.S. Dollar (USD) is accepted at many restaurants and hotels, but not everywhere. They do accept credit cards at many locations but be prepared to pay with the local currency in most shops and inland hotels.
Traveling to Guyana
Guyana’s natural attractions are spectacular, unspoiled with vast waterfalls, immense tropical rainforests, and diverse wildlife. And though there are parts that are considered dangerous for the average traveler, Guyana still continues to be a place of unexplored wonders both archeologically and environmentally. Guyana, though filled with an unpredictable political and demographic climate, has a new focus on ecotourism aimed toward tourists and those seeking adventure travel. Before traveling to any country from the U.S., see the government site http://travel.state.gov/travel for specifics on U.S. Travel warnings, as issued by the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Even though this is still a place not highly frequented by tourists, there are plenty of airlines that fly here. American Airlines, Carribean Airlines, and Eastern Airiness fly the most from the United States to Guyana. However, more and more airlines are coming online with this destination as part of their itinerary offers, including JetBlue, making their first round-trip flight in 2020 from New York. They now fly to Guyana four times a week from the New York JetBlue terminal.
Many of these flights travel to Georgetown, the capital of Guyana. In this hub is plenty of good food though not many main attractions, as the natural environment outside this city is the main attraction in this country. What you will find is nothing but genuine foody experiences here as there are no fast food chains, only local owned eateries. The food is a mix of Indian, Chinese, British and Carribean with curry and hot spices being a good part of most menu offerings.
Ecotourism is an ever increasing popular form of travel and it melds well with destinations such as Guyana, which is still an untouched natural country that hasn't been over run with tourist resorts (yet). Your accommodations won't reflect those of larger mega-resorts that are usually all-inclusive and cater to those that don't plan on leaving the resort during their stay. Rather, this type of destination vacation encourages getting out of the resort and exploring all there is to see.
Guyana is for those seeking adventure and exploring the natural environment with plenty to do for the true nature lover in this untouched beauty. Birdwatchers have plenty to see with a rich, diverse species of 815 types of birds. A popular destination for viewing is Kaieteur National Park. For those interested in hiking can trek the lush rainforest of the Amazon with a few developed trails frequented by Indigenous peoples that journey to farms in the forest. Mountain climbing is possible in the largely uninhabited southwestern corner of Guyana’s Amazon Tepui region. You can climb the 2000-foot high Mt. Roraima, one of South America’s landmarks, which form the border of Guyana, Venezuela and Brazil. Cultural tourism explores the Indigenous cultures of the Macushis and Patamonas of Surma and Wowetta in the Rupununi and the Arawaks of Santa Mission. The more adventurous can go canoeing, fishing or swimming on the Amazon River.
Guyana is host to the world's highest waterfalls such as Kaieteur, the world's largest single-drop waterfall, which is 5x the size of Niagara Falls. You can also make your way to the coast for some of the world's most unspoiled beaches such as Shell Beach, which is a popular nesting area for migrating sea turtles, and Hamburg Beach on Tiger Island, a private island beach. The terrain is also made up of wetlands and the Rupununi Savannah, one of the World’s largest untouched open ranges of savannah lands. Guyana, a word that translates to 'Land of Many Waters' has abundant rivers, three of the largest being Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice. The Essequibo River is South America's third largest and all three spill into the Atlantic.
Whether you're coming to Guyana solely or part of a multi-country trip, you'll get an unspoiled offering of waterfalls, vast land and rainforests and a country ready to invite more tourists to this beautiful country.
© 2013 Catherine Stolfi