Guyana Risk Report
Security travel advice for Guyana
Threat level: Medium
While there is no present risk of terrorism in Guyana the threat from general security concerns is very high. It has the fourth highest murder rate in the South American region. You should stay alert at all times, however, crime and violence are not usually aimed at tourists and so your visit should be trouble free.
If you are arriving to the country by air, you should avoid travelling to your accommodation late at night or before dawn if at all possible as there have been reports of violent activity and erratic driving during the night. Occasionally gangs may follow cars from the airport to the visitor's accommodation and mug them when they arrive. Remain wary of your surroundings.
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Recent Security Risk Events
Year on year there has been an increase in crime against persons of which are of a serious nature including violent weapon driven robberies, some resulting in murder. A majority of these crimes happen within the capital.
Crime is rife in some areas, even during the daylight hours and include acts such as theft from vehicles and muggings. Police will respond with firearms if they feel they are being threatened or attacked. It is advised that you do not carry valuables and keep a low profile.
Despite Guyana being rich in natural resources such as gold and diamonds, it remains a very poor country with a corrupt government that is barely functioning. The country's main export is sugar and the off-shore oil industry is in its infancy.
Many travellers are drawn to Guyana for the country's rain forest, wildlife and waterfalls in areas such as the Kaieteur National Park. Whilst it does have a lot to offer for the seasoned traveller, personal security remains a concern and should be seriously considered before and during your visit.
Violent crimes, robberies, rapes and murders are common place in Guyana as the Police do not have sufficient resources, manpower or training to tackle most of the crime. In 2010 the Guyana Police released its recent crime figures; the country recorded 119 murders, an increase of 7%. Armed robberies using a firearm saw a 13% increase. During the same period 13 people died in Road Traffic Incidents (RTA's) a 33% increase in deaths from the previous year.
There are ongoing border disputes with Venezuela and Suriname, Guyana however is not engaged in any armed conflicts in the region and is pursuing diplomatic conversations and pushing for resolutions.
There is an issue with the smuggling of cocaine through Guyana, many young Guyana’s risk their lives, prosecution and incarceration to smuggle drugs out of the country. The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) does operate in Guyana in support of the Guyana government, offering expertise and support in their fight on the “war on drugs”.
Avoid travel in the night time hours to and from the Georgetown Cheddi Jagan international airport, there have been previous road incidents and attacks on victims travelling during this time.
Road travel can be hazardous in the country. Care should be taken when planning any journey. Roads can flood and be washed away very quickly leaving travellers stranded so it is an idea to ensure that you have extra food, fuel and water and good maps with GPS.
Weather conditions can be of a tropical nature and flash flooding can occur during December to January and May to July.
Religion: Christianity 57%, Hindu 28% & Islam 7%
Currency: Guyanese Dollar
Time now in Georgetown:
Most visitors to Guyana do not need to apply for a visa before travelling to the country. You will generally be allowed to stay for up to 30 days upon entry. It is extremely important that you get your passport stamped upon arrival, failure to do so can cause difficulties when leaving the country. Further advice can be found here: Visa advice Guyana
You may have to pay a departure tax of 2,500 Guyanese dollars (around $13 USD) and 1,500 Guyanese dollars (around $7.20) for airport security. Ensure you have enough money at the end of your trip as they must be paid in local currency.
It is advised that visitors to Guyana are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus, Hepatitis A and Yellow Fever vaccinations as there is a risk of infection throughout the country. If you are planning to only stay within the capital city, Georgetown, the vaccination is generally not recommended. You should check with your local health professional prior to your departure as the yellow fever vaccine is not suitable for all travellers.
Other health risks
The Zika virus, Chikungunya fever and Dengue fever have all been confirmed in the area and suitable precautions are advised. All three diseases are transmitted to humans by mosquito bites is an issue in Paraguay. There is no vaccine and prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites.
It is advised that all visitors to Guyana take precautions against Malaria including the use of Malaria mosquito nets and anti-Malaria medications.
Personal hygiene must be paramount, the local water supply avoided at all costs and bottled water inspected prior to consumption. There have been a number of cases of bottled water being refilled with tap water and re-sold.
Cholera outbreaks have occurred in areas with unsanitary conditions, but precautions are recommended everywhere. The use of medical alcohol wipes to regularly clean hands and face is recommended and keeping hydrated with clean water (boiled or trusted) is paramount.
U.S. Embassy Georgetown
100 Young and Duke Streets,
Telephone: +592 225 4900/9
British High Commission Georgetown
44 Main Street,
Telephone: +592 226 5881
Emergency 24hr Telephone: +592 226 5882
Other useful info
Police emergency: 911
Fire emergency: 912
Medical emergency: 913
Medical emergency: 226 9449 (Georgetown hospital)