A Quick Guide to Northern Guyana

What to Eat

Guyanese cuisine reflects its history and population – it’s a delicious mix of African, East Indian, Amerindian, and Chinese influences. Fresh fruit and root vegetables also feature heavily in Guyanese dishes. Popular meals include pepperpot (stewed meat), Guyanese-style fried rice or chow mein, roti and curry, and chicken done every which way.

 

How to Say

Guyana is the only country in South America to have English as its official language. But like any other English speaking country, English has its own local flavour. Guyanese Creole. It is similar to other English based creole languages in the Caribbean but it also has influences from African, East Indian, Amerindian, and Dutch languages. Here are a few words you may come across in Guyana: 

 

Allyuh: You (plural)

Bacchanal: Any incident or time marked by drama, scandal, confusion, or conflict

Dotish: Stupid

Gaff: To chat

Gyal / Bai: Girl / Boy

Jus’ now: It can happen between now and tomorrow

Liming: Hanging out

Me: Used in place of “I” most times

Yacou / Kanima: The local boogey man that is a shapeshifter

Vex: Angry

 

Important Logistics

How to Get There

International flights land at Georgetown’s main airport, Cheddi Jagan International. You may not be able to get a direct flight; connections are normally in the Caribbean, Central America, and a few other places. Georgetown proper is some distance from the airport so speak with your accommodations to arrange transportation to and from the airport.

Money

Guyana is primarily a cash based economy. You should be able to use your bank cards to withdraw cash at an ATM in Georgetown. You’ll just have to adapt to having large amounts of bills on you! Nothing like being able to fan yourself with a giant wad of $1000 bills (just not in public, please).

When to Visit

Guyana is hot – it’s a tropical country, after all. November to January and May to August is the rainy season on the coast. The latter is also the rainy season in the interior. Remember that travel can be difficult then, especially away from paved roads. The likelihood of having to be flexible with your travel plans is high. But! It’s amazing to stand in a rainy rainforest!

Traveling Solo

Travelling solo in Guyana can be difficult due to cost: the tourism industry is small and getting around generally requires quite a bit of effort. So if there is no one with whom to split costs, Guyana can quickly become expensive, especially compared to traditional “South America” travel.

Health

Speak with your travel doctor before travelling as there is a host of things you should take before coming. Paramount are malaria pills and the yellow fever shot. Also, learn the signs for malaria fever, dengue fever, and typhoid. Don’t drink tap water. Don’t even use it when you have to change your contact lenses (you may find the water burns your eyes and ruins your contacts).

Safety

Take the usual precautions with in the city of Georgetown – stay in populated areas, minimize the amount of travelling at night. When exploring Guyana’s abundant and wild nature, it is probably wiser to travel with a guide or a group. There are quite a few plants and animals that can hurt you.