Guyana-Borders, Driving, and Hotels

Border Crossing Information

Entry Requirements

Necessary documents

A valid U.S. passport is required for U.S. citizens to enter and depart Guyana. On arrival, Guyanese Immigration normally grants U.S. visitors a stay of thirty days. U.S. citizens traveling to Guyana should ensure that their passports have at least six months of remaining validity. Extensions of stay may be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs at 60 Brickdam Street, Georgetown. The Central Office of Immigration, located on Camp Street, Georgetown, must also note the extension in the visitor's passport. (Source U.S. Dep. of State)

Costs

The Government of the Republic of Guyana has with effect from February 15th, 1993, abolished the visa requirement for the following countries:
The United States of America and Canada, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden and Austria. Commonwealth Australia and New Zealand, Japan, The DPRK and the Republic of Korea.

CARICOM

Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Visa fees (US dollars) for visitors from countries requiring a visa:
http://www.guyana.org/govt/visa_requirements.html

  • Tourist $30
  • Business (one entry) $40
  • Business (Multiple C 3 months) $50
  • Business (Multiple C 1 year) $75

Procedure

We have no information on the procedure to enter the country.

Exit Requirements

Necessary documents

When exiting from Guyana to Northern Brazil Yellow Fever Vaccination or proof of Vaccination required.

Crossing by private vehicle from Guyana to Suriname may require special permission or could be illegal for some travelers. Check for with Suriname and Guyana Consulates for crossing and Visa requirements.

Costs

None I experienced, but may be required to Suriname or for the new toll bridge between Lethem and Brazil.

Procedure

We have no information on the procedure to enter the country.

Individual Experiences

Overall a surprisingly unique and friendly country. An interesting mix of African, Asian, Amerindian and Caribbean culture. Driving from Lethem to Georgetown you cross regions that include Savannas, the Amazon Jungle and Georgetown and coastal areas that closely resemble parts of South Asia. People are generally polite, friendly and helpful. People seem more "North Americanized" then in much of Latin America.

There are Eco lodges like Iwokrama and natural Attractions such as Kaieteur Falls (The World's largest single drop waterfall)and Eco-tourist ranches in the Rupununi Savannas where you can see and play with giant River Otters. Mount Roraima near the Brazilian border is considered one of the world's greatest wonders.

Tourists seem to be well respected. In two Months I experienced no racial hostility and was never targeted as a tourist. It could be because tourists are pretty rare, but I sensed it was because most people are humble and God fearing.

Roads and Driving

"Welcome to Guyana Driving is on the Left!"
Main Roads in Georgetown are paved and easy to navigate. Suburbs even in upscale areas are often served by dirt roads or rough paved roads. Traffic moves quite well but occasional flooding can restrict access to some areas. Many locals drive defensively but watch out for Mini-buses, trucks and free ranging cattle (large Hindu population).

Outside of Georgetown and off main highways a 4X4 with high ground clearance is recommended due to washouts and high water. If you are traveling to remote areas prepare your vehicle for deep water, you may want to add an engine snorkel for crossing some streams and some remote areas during wet season. Hotels and road services are limited outside of Georgetown.

Road from Georgetown to Surname along the south coast is generally good and provides some nice scenery. Crossing is by ferry.

The Road from Boa Vista in northern Brazil to the Guyanese border at Lethen is very good and takes about an hour and a half.

Georgetown-Lethem Road to the east coast has been called "The Worst Road in the World" or “South America's most remarkable road" depending on your point of view, but the road is much better then when it earned that reputation and now takes hours rather then days. A new bridge has just opened linking Brazil and Venezuela to Guyana and the East coast so the road is much better maintained. For most of the year is easily passable with a 4x4, and I have seen Passenger cars on the road but a 4X4 is recommended. I did the drive from Georgetown to Lethem in about 12 hours with a stop for lunch at a resort near Anni. There are Police checkpoints at both ends of the road to help make sure you complete your journey. Drive reasonably and defensively (remember to keep left!) and you should find it one of the most interesting parts of your Pan-American Adventure. If Driving the Georgetown-Lethem road plan on taking enough fuel to make the trip to at Least Lindon about 40Km from Georgetown as fuel is not readily available along the route. It would be wise to take food, water and for a day or two and mosquito protection in case you have to wait for a bridge repair.

Police are few and far between in Guyana but are generally honest and helpful when dealing with tourists. However, as in many former British Colonies Police and Courts can be very harsh when dealing with criminal activity. Traffic accidents or violations can be time consuming but police and court extortion of tourists seem unlikely. Don't take photos of police, I snapped one with Police Officer in the background and was nearly arrested for that.

Crime

Petty crime seems less then popularly reported. Violent crime seems mostly Person on person and drug related interactions. I generally felt safe driving alone even at night except for increased nighttime hazards. While Georgetown feels as safe as most of the Caribbean, crime has increased so I would not leave valuables in my vehicle overnight and would use common sense.

Parts and Repairs

As Guyana imports a lot of Asian, British and U.S. Vehicles, repairs and parts are usually available or can be easily shipped in for popular local models (Rovers, Toyotas, Jeeps and Fords) Parts Prices are often competitive with U.S. or Europe prices.

Gas Prices

Generally Less then Brazil and about 1.2 times the cost of fuel in the U.S. Regular: About $3.50 US/gal in 2010 Diesel: $3.80 US/gal 2010

Crime

Petty crime seems less then popularly reported. Violent crime seems mostly Person on person and drug related interactions. I generally felt safe driving alone even at night except for increased nighttime hazards. While Georgetown feels as safe as most of the Caribbean, crime has increased so I would not leave valuables in my vehicle overnight and would use common sense.
 

Hotels

Lethem

Takatu Hotel / Guest House: Clean family operated, broad range of accommodations and prices, good food at reasonable prices. Good source for support and travel advice. Scheduled Air service is available next to hotel. Petrol and Diesel prices are typically much less then Brazil. Talk with the hotel owners if you need vehicle service or parts they can help you secure basic honest repair operators. Ph: 592-772-2034 or 226-9754

Georgetown

Hotels choices can be somewhat limited. Upper end hotels can be expensive, consider owner-operated guest houses and budget hotels for better value and service.

Upper end ($75 to $130 USD)

Mid-range $35-$75USD

Budget ($15 to $35 USD)

Camping

The Rupununi and remote areas seem like they could be relatively safe from human predators but I would inquire as to safety. Some Guest Houses and Hotels may offer areas for camping at little or no charge. Takatu Guest House in Lethem offers a covered Benab for Hammocks and areas for tent camping with bath facilities on property. Georgetown, Lethem and the coastal areas are supposed to be relatively free of Malaria and Yellow Fever but use nets and repellent at night. For extended stays in areas such as along the north coast and some interior prone to seasonal Malaria anti-malarials may be advised. Use mosquito nets and repellent when camping outdoors.