Guyana

Georgetown is notorious for petty street crime. Do not walk alone at night, or even in the day, unless you know the area well. Areas such as the Tiger Bay area east of Main Street and the entire southeastern part of the city including Albouystown and Ruimveldt are traditional high crime areas but one can be relatively safe in groups and with native escorts. Police are unlikely to help you unless they see the crime in action. Be sensible about wearing jewelry. Exercise common sense.

The interior regions with the breath-taking waterfalls and the beautiful rainforests and mountains are perfectly safe. Many rural areas around the country are filled with a friendly atmosphere and are perfectly safe. Crime is rarely directed at tourists, so don't feel intimidated. Just be sensible about the company you keep, where you go and how you behave.

Male homosexuality is illegal in Guyana and carries a sentence of life in prison. However, no one has been charged under the laws. Cross-dressing is also a criminal offence and has been prosecuted in court.

One organization SASOD (http://www.sasod.org.gy/) organizes some events to promote anti-homophobic work. There is no local gay "scene" as most homosexuals remain rather closeted. Private gatherings are known to occur to which one must be invited. Public displays of affection among gay people are frowned upon and can make you the target of overt discrimination, attacks and taunts.

Discussions of the current affairs of ethnic relations between the two major races, politics and the socio-economic issues in the country ought to be undertaken with much tact and much patience. Be aware that these types of discourses can sometimes lead to very heated and intense debate, and possibly something much worse. Guyanese are generally very open to discussing most issues, but as an outsider, you could be seen as a part of the problem, so guard your tongue.

Do not drink the tap water, unless you want to spend a great part of your vacation in the toilet! Bottled water is readily available in a variety of brands.

Before traveling to Guyana, it is a good idea to receive anti-malarial medications from your health care provider, as malaria is widespread throughout most of the country.

Yellow fever is endemic to this area; monkeys are a reservoir, but you can catch it even in cities. Be sure to get immunized before you leave, and take mosquito repellent with you. Also be careful of malaria and dengue fever in the interior.

Although not required, it is recommended that traveler's receive vaccination against Typhoid fever within 2-4 weeks prior to arriving in Guyana.

The country's largest hospital is the Georgetown Public Hospital and is in the capital. Facilities here are basic, even though it is a tertiary referral center. Disposal of 'sharps' needles, etc. is improving but needs to get better, given the country's growing AIDS/HIV prevalence, currently at 2.5% of adults or 1 in 40. Practice safe sex as well.

You are better off using the private facilities at St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital near the US Embassy or the Medical Arts Centre on Thomas Street. While not first rate, these facilities are far superior to GPH and practices basic hygienic standards. Rooms are not overcrowded. There are also other private hospitals

Avoid the sun between 1PM and 3PM. It tends to be at its hottest during those hours. Wear sunscreen.

For the latest in traveler's health information pertaining to Guyana, including advisories and recommendations, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention destination Guyana website (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/trav...).

talk

The official language is English and is spoken by all, however Creole and Amerindian dialects with also Spanish and Portuguese spoken in various parts of the country.

contact

Police 592.226.2487 emergency - 911

Fire 592.226.2411 emergency - 912

Ambulance Service emergency - 913

Cheddi Jagan International Airport 592.261.2245

Ministry of Foreign Affairs 592.226.1606

Ministry of Tourism Industry & Commerce 592.226.2392

Guyana Telephone & Telegraph 592.225.1315

Licence Revenue Office 592.223.5501

respect

Guyanese people do not wear shoes in their homes and expect visitors to do the same.