If you are a wildlife enthusiast interested in discovering rich cultures and pristine environments, Guyana might be one of the unmissable stops you hope to be able to check off your destinations list one day. Raw adventures are waiting for you in the North-Southern corner of South Africa, in the only English speaking country in this continent: Guyana.
Bordered by Venezuela, Brazil and Suriname, Guyana stands out of the crowd with its pristine environments, located out off the beaten track and with its densely forested areas, doubled by the rich community culture it offers to its visitors. Nevertheless, this country has gone through a troubled history which implied political instability and ethnic tension which might have made it a notorious touristic destination. This notoriety, combined with the experiences that tourists have gone through in time made some of the authorities advise possible tourists to exercise extra caution when visiting Guyana.
Therefore, in order for you to be very well informed about the risks you are exposed to when you decide to go on a getaway in Guyana, we present you to a Guyana Safety Travel Guide. It is designed to help you answer to one of your main concerns before embarking on this journey: Is Guyana safe to visit?
Highest Risks You Expose Yourself to When Visiting Guyana
Risks are an important part of planning every trip. A lot of factors have to be taken into account before embarking on a journey. From road and weather conditions to diseases you may come in contact with, you should be well prepared and able to cope with every possible situation. The more you know about your destination, the safer and happier your travels will be. Therefore, if you doubt you can put up with the challenges Guyana offers to its tourists, strike it off your list. In case you can think these challenges will make your journey even more interesting, here is what you need to know:
Overall Risks in Guyana: MEDIUM to HIGH
Even if most visits in Guyana can be trouble-free, you should not forget to be vigilant and take into account the possibility of you encountering petty crime, be the victim of unpleasant acts of violence or be exposed to dangerous viruses. From road travel accidents to terrorist attacks, unfortunate events are likely to happen and they should not be ruled out if you want to keep safe in Guyana.
How to avoid trouble in Guyana?
In order to stay safe, visitors of Guyana should take into account planning the trip very well in advance and be very well informed before embarking on a journey to this country. Usually, visitors are advised to not exclude the possibility of crime during their trip and pay extra care to protect themselves and their belongings.
Crime Risk in Guyana: HIGH
Criminal activity continues to be a major issue in Guyana, with a 35 % increase registered in 2017. Even if the requirements to have a weapon license are rigorous, criminals continue to use them illegally and many murders and shootings take place, along with armed robberies and intimidations. The target seems to be the visitors and the time when the crime takes places is not restricted only to the hours after dark. Showing signs of wealth and walking alone might attract trouble.
How to avoid encountering crime in Guyana?
In order to avoid unwanted attention from criminals, you should exercise extreme caution when using ATMs, showing off valuable objects or even walking in some of the neighborhoods. Try to stay vigilant and patient, be fair and respectful and in this way, trouble will stay away from you, as well.
Pickpocketing and Theft Risk in Guyana: MEDIUM
As in any other country you might have visited, the risks of encountering petty theft is relatively high, because of a specific kind of people. Guyana is not different, in the sense that pickpocketing and theft are to be found when walking on the streets. Muggings sometimes happen in broaden light and theft from car is common as well, as local people have the tendency to think that foreigners are wealthy. You may encounter violent or armed robberies, as well as assaults, but these can be avoided if you keep in mind some Guyana safety tips that will help you protect yourself and your belongings.
How to avoid being a victim of petty theft in Guyana?
In order to avoid being the victim of a petty theft in Guyana, you should first try to avoid obvious signs of wealth, such as jewelry, money and expensive belongings. Always keep an eye on your belongings and safeguard your documents, mobile phone and luggage when on the streets of Guyana or in public places. Be vigilant when using ATMs or banks, as recordings of visitors being followed have been registered.
Road Travel Risks in Guyana: MEDIUM
Travelling from one place to another in Guyana can be a challenge if you are not equipped with the necessary tips of how to stay safe. Erratic driving is pretty common on the road of Guyana, especially at night and many accidents happen from this reason. Other common incidents are violent thefts, produced by gangs who follow the cars leaving the airport and steal the valuable objects from visitors’ luggage.
Public transport is not to be trusted also, in Guyana, as minibuses are usually involved in road accidents due to the irresponsibility of the drivers.
How to avoid road travel risks in Guyana?
You can and will enjoy travelling in Guyana if you are very careful when driving or if you lock the doors and the windows of the car when driving. In case you are not going to rent a car, try avoiding minibuses and choose a taxi instead. Even if they are more expensive than minibuses, they pose a lower risk of being involved in accidents and they get you to your destination faster. Always choose a taxi from reputable companies and do not hail them from the roadside.
Violence Risk in Guyana: MEDIUM
Even if the political and ethnical turmoil that Guyana has been through seems to dissipate in the last years, violence can be present on the streets of Guyana, especially in Georgetown. Minor demonstrations might be organized during elections, but they rarely end in violence. In recent years, the incidents of violence have not been connected to the ethnical diversity either.
One of the biggest threats in Guyana is represented by gangs, whose members commit violent attacks mainly at night. The attacks have been committed in places such as: Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Botanical Garden and East Coast Demerara region.
How to avoid violence in Guyana?
In this case, common sense and patience are the key tools in order to avoid violence. Do not respond to violence, being it verbal or physical, and, in case the situation degenerates, do not hesitate to contact the authorities (911), even if their response might come slower than you expected.
Terrorism Risk in Guyana: LOW to MEDIUM
The risks of being a victim of a terrorist attack in Guyana are very low, as no recent recordings of such events have been registered lately. Nevertheless, with the global threat installed by the terrorist groups, risks cannot be ruled out and each visitor should have the basic safety guide in mind in this type of cases.
How to avoid terrorist attacks in Guyana?
In order for you to keep safe during your stay in Guyana, you should remember that the target locations of terrorist groups are usually the most crowded places in the city. Therefore, try to be vigilant in busy crowded places and keep an eye on your family or friends if you are accompanied.
Risks for Women Travelling Alone in Guyana: MEDIUM to HIGH
Women are usually targeted as weak victims of petty theft and violence. If you are a woman travelling alone in Guyana, you should know that you may go through some unwanted experiences when walking alone at night or in some dangerous areas such as Georgetown. Hotel break-ins are also common for this country and therefore you should keep in mind some simple rules that could save you from being involved in some unpleasant experiences such as sexual assault or even rape.
How to avoid risks if you are a woman travelling alone in Guyana?
In order to keep safe, you should know that walking outside after dark, even if we are talking about the vicinity of your hotel, can put you in danger. Try to avoid walking alone, as you might be a target victim of a thief or even worse. What is more, lock your doors and windows and try to hide your valuable objects, as they might attract the others’ attention.
You should never leave your credit card out of sight, avoid displaying expensive objects such as: camera, jewelry, mobile phones and be prepared to defend yourself. Usually, women travelling alone should try to have at least one hand free at all times, in order to be able to protect themselves from violence or petty thefts. Some tips can save your money, documents or even your life.
Natural Disaster Risk in Guyana: MEDIUM
One of the main issues in Guyana, as a country covered by rainforest, is the heavy rainfall which can cause serious disasters especially in January and February or May and June. Severe flooding affected this country in 2005 and the chances of flooding happening again cannot be ruled out.
Apart from that, Guyana has been spared natural disasters, as it has never experiences a volcano eruption or a serious earthquake. This is the reason why some of the local people might call it a “blessed country”.
Dangerous Areas to Avoid When Visiting Guyana
Because of the political and ethnical turmoil Guyana has gone through in the past, some tension between this country and its neighbors has been created and is still somehow present. Therefore, visitors should keep in mind the fact that border areas, especially the ones with Venezuela and Suriname should be avoided. They do not necessarily pose very high risks, but they can be dangerous at times, especially because they are deserted regions.
Another places to be visited with vigilance is the capital- Georgetown. As one of the most crowded cities in Guyana, Georgetown is also full of dangers. The highest crime risks were registered around Tiger Bay, Albouystown, Sophia, Buxton and Agricola. Other dangerous areas are the Botanic Gardens, in which sudden attacks are likely to be found.
Because it is covered by pristine rainforest, Guyana poses high risks when it comes to travelling alone through the thick, wild trees. Try to get very well informed in advance and be accompanied, as this is one of the most dangerous places on Earth regarding wild animals and possible diseases.
Vaccines You Need When Visiting Guyana
Before travelling to Guyana, you should be aware of some measures that should be taken for you and your loved ones to enjoy a safe and healthy trip. It is a good idea to receive anti-malarial medication, as malaria is the most common disease in this country. Be sure you immunize against Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever, AIDS and Dengue Fever. Another dangerous disease that could be encountered during your trip is the Zika Virus, which poses a critical risk for pregnant women.
You should be well informed by your health provider before embarking on this journey, so do not hesitate to keep in touch with the news.
By reading these Guyana safety travel tips, you are already prepared to enjoy the beauties that this country has to offer to its visitors, without encountering unpleasant experiences. Do not forget to:
- Be aware of your surroundings;
- Leave valuable objects at the accommodation;
- Be cautious in public places;
- Keep an eye on the news;
- Carry only small amounts of money.
In this way, your trip to Guyana will be a success and no other unpleasant events will stop you from enjoying this country as it is.