Guyana travel guide

About Guyana

Guyana might not be on everyone's bucket list, but with its unspoiled rainforests, golden beaches, sweeping savannahs and meandering rivers, this little-known South American nation offers rich rewards for those daring enough to visit.

Wild and welcoming in equal measure, Guyana's attractions range from the awesome natural splendour of Kaieteur Falls, to the charming, stilted wooden houses of its capital, Georgetown.

Jungle trekking, freshwater fishing and wildlife watching are the big draws, and while few succeed in sighting the country's famously elusive jaguar's, nature lovers will have the opportunity to spot giant anteaters, giant otters and, sticking with the supersize theme, arapaima, the world's largest freshwater fish.

In many ways a trip to Guyana is a jump back in time, a refreshing tonic in a world of instant gratification and constant connectivity. But while the country's tourist infrastructure is almost non-existent, ATMs scarce and holidaymakers rarer than the wild cats that roam the rainforests, pioneering travellers certainly won't be left wanting.

One of the few Caribbean countries that is not an island, multicultural Guyana has more in common with the West Indies than it does South America; from the English and Creole spoken on the streets to the curry dishes served on dinner tables.

Guyanese culture and cuisine reflect the ethnic makeup of the country, which consists of Indian, African and European people, who were brought over to the Caribbean by Dutch and British colonialists. There is also a substantial Amerindian population, which distinguishes it from other parts of the Caribbean.

Travellers looking for a destination with a difference, a country well off the tourist trail, will find Guyana a joy to discover. It's by no means cheap to fly there and exploring the country will require a strong sense of adventure and a willingness to forsake creature comforts. But that's a small price to pay for what Guyana gives in return.

Key facts


214,969 sq km (83,000 sq miles).


770,610 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

3.4 per sq km.





Head of state:

President Irfaan Ali since 2020.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Mark Phillips since 2020.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and see support for British nationals abroad for information about specific travel topics.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Guyana set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Guyana High Commission in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Guyana.              

Passport validity requirements

To enter Guyana, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will not be able to enter Guyana if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You do not need a visa to visit Guyana. Visitors can normally stay for 30 days, but you can apply for one-month extensions from Guyana’s immigration and support services

The Guyanese authorities can arrest visitors who overstay or abuse the conditions of their stay. You could get a one-year prison sentence, a fine of up to 50,000 Guyana dollars (about 250 US dollars) and deportation – at your own expense – upon your release.

Check the requirements for work or student visas with the Guyana High Commission in the UK well before you travel.

Vaccination requirements

You must have a certificate to prove you’ve had a yellow fever vaccination if you’re coming from a country listed as a transmission risk.

For full details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, including yellow fever, see TravelHealthPro’s Guyana guide.  

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Guyana. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.      

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Guyana

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Guyana, attacks cannot be ruled out.

Political situation

There are occasional protests and political demonstrations throughout Guyana.   

Border areas

Venezuela disputes the legitimacy of its border with Guyana. Political tensions have increased following Venezuela’s decision to hold a referendum on 3 December 2023 on the status of the Essequibo region. The security situation may deteriorate in the border areas. 

The UN’s International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea in 2007 ruled on the maritime border dispute between Suriname and Guyana. However, there remains a historical border dispute over the land in the New River Triangle area in the south-east of Guyana.

Check with local authorities if travelling near the border areas, both of which are in remote areas.


Crime levels are high, and police capacity is low. There are frequent armed robberies, hold-ups, carjackings and other violent crimes, often involving 2 or more attackers. Passers-by can get caught up in gunfire even if they are not targets because police are armed and shoot back.

Violent attacks and personal safety

Muggers can attack in broad daylight, often holding their victims at gunpoint or knifepoint. They may target tourists, particularly if those that show obvious signs of wealth.

Areas where you’re most at risk are:

  • Tiger Bay and Albouystown in Georgetown
  • Sophia, south Georgetown
  • Buxton
  • Agricola
  • Stabroek Market area - where robberies are a daily occurrence

Avoid walking alone around Georgetown, even in the main areas, and do not walk anywhere at night.

Foreign visitors have been assaulted in Georgetown’s botanical gardens. If possible, go with an organised group and avoid taking valuables.

There have also been incidents of violent theft by gangs who follow cars from Cheddi Jagan International Airport and attack their victims when they reach their destination. Always drive with windows closed and doors locked.

Never try to exchange money or buy goods on the street – go inside the money exchange or shop. You must also be vigilant when leaving local banks as you could be followed. If possible, arrange to be collected by a car or taxi booked by your hotel or with a licensed operator. 

Protecting your belongings

Thieves will take items from hotel rooms, parked vehicles or luggage if it is unattended. Keep your passports, money, tickets, mobile phones and other valuables as secure as you can, and use hotel safes or safe deposit boxes if possible.


Scammers often offer travellers in South America free air tickets to Guyana. On arrival their ‘sponsors’ will only allow them to leave Guyana if they carry a ‘package’ (usually cocaine). The authorities at the airport will stop and search foreigners that fit this known profile.

Laws and cultural differences

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Drug trafficking is a serious problem. You can get lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines for possession or trafficking of drugs. The minimum jail sentence for illegal drug offences is 3 years, and prison conditions in Guyana are tough. Pack all luggage yourself and do not carry any items that do not belong to you.

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal. In practice, these laws are rarely enforced, and there is growing local support for LGBT+ rights. However, showing affection in public may attract negative attention.   

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Hotel safety

A small hotel fire in the centre of Georgetown in August 2018 highlighted poor safety procedures in some hotels. Check evacuation procedures and exit routes when you arrive, and speak to hotel management if you have any concerns.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Guyana, see information on driving abroad.

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Guyana. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence or get the correct version of the international driving permit (IDP). After 60 days you’ll need to buy a 4-week foreign driving permit.    

If you’re planning to hire a car, check with your car hire company for information on their requirements before you travel.

Driving standards and road conditions

Driving in Guyana can be dangerous because of reckless drivers, frequent hazards, inadequate street lighting and poor road conditions. Drive with extreme caution and avoid driving at night. Take extra care to avoid cyclists, pedestrians and animals. Keep a safe distance from minibuses – minibus drivers are responsible for many of the road accidents in Guyana.

If possible, avoid travel to and from Cheddi Jagan International Airport late at night and before dawn. There have been fatal accidents caused by erratic driving.

Taxis and minibuses

Although private taxis can be targeted by robbers, they are the safest way for visitors to get around town. Use taxis from reputable companies and book them in advance or from official hotel taxi ranks.

Do not hail taxis from the roadside and avoid using minibuses for travel.

River and sea travel

There have been armed attacks against fishing boats in and around the waters of Guyana and Suriname. Take all possible precautions against piracy and armed robbery at sea.

If you are travelling on Guyana’s rivers, use registered boat services equipped with life jackets. Do not travel by boat after dark.

Use scheduled ferry services only when crossing the Corentyne River between Guyana and Suriname. Using water taxis (‘backtracking’) from Suriname to Guyana is illegal and can lead to arrest, imprisonment and then deportation.

Extreme weather and natural disasters


Guyana is vulnerable to flooding. The main rainy seasons are generally May to June and December to January. The coast of Guyana is below sea level and protected by a sea defence and dam system. However, the anti-flooding infrastructure and drainage systems are poorly maintained

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 913 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:

Go to TravelHealthPro to see what health risks you’ll face in Guyana, including:

  • yellow fever
  • dengue
  • Zika virus

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Guyana. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro.

In 2016, the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 8,500 people in Guyana were living with HIV. Take normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare facilities in Guyana

Medical facilities are very limited, even in Georgetown. There are none in remote areas. Standards of medical practice are low and you should arrange an evacuation for any serious or invasive treatment if possible. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

FCDO has a list of English-speaking doctors in Guyana.

There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Guyana.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Guyana

Ambulance: 913

Fire: 912

Police: 911

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you’re in Guyana and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British High Commission in Georgetown.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

A digital image at

Book a Hotel