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Country Guides for South America

Guyana

Guyana Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to black settlement of urban areas and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations. This ethnocultural divide has persisted and has led to turbulent politics. Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966, but until the early 1990s it was ruled mostly by socialist-oriented governments. In 1992, Cheddi JAGAN was elected president, in what is considered the country's first free and fair election since independence. Upon his death five years later, he was succeeded by his wife Janet, who resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was reelected in 2001.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers. Travelers’ diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found universally throughout the region and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including some cities. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. Travelers to malaria-risk areas, including infants, children, and former residents of South America, should take an antimalarial drug.

Chloroquine is the recommended drug for Paraguay.
Travelers to Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela should take one of the following antimalarial drugs: (listed alphabetically): atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, or primaquine (in special circumstances).

A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

If you visit the Andes Mountains, ascend gradually to allow time for your body to adjust to the high altitude, which can cause insomnia, headaches, nausea, and altitude sickness. In addition, use sunblock rated at least 15 SPF, because the risk of sunburn is greater at high altitudes.

Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, and American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.

Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid nighttime travel if possible and always use seat belts.

CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):

See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for immunizations to take effect.

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay >6 months in the region, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
  • Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
  • Yellow fever vaccination, if you will be traveling outside urban areas.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11–12 years who did not complete the series as infants.

To stay healthy, do...

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an “absolute 1-micron or less” filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. “Absolute 1-micron filters” are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • If you will be visiting an area where there is risk for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription.)
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
    • Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
    • Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
    • Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
    • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
    • Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
    • Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
    • Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
    • DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
    • Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
  • Always use condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Guyana continues to suffer from political and labor unrest. Following national elections in March 2001, demonstrations, assaults, road blockages, vandalism, looting and confrontations with law enforcement authorities occurred both in Georgetown and outlying areas. These events have continued on a sporadic and unpredictable basis. Although protests in the past have not been directed at U.S. citizens and violence against Americans in general is rare, visitors should nevertheless remain alert and take prudent personal security measures to deal with the unexpected while in Guyana. When protests occur, avoid areas where crowds have congregated, take common-sense precautions, monitor news broadcasts closely, and maintain a low profile.

On occasion, security concerns may temporarily prevent Embassy personnel from traveling to or through some areas and locations. In those situations, the Embassy will continue to be available by telephone to offer emergency services to U.S. citizens.

CRIME: Serious crime is concentrated in the more populated areas of the country, and the crime rate in urban centers continues to be a major problem. Georgetown in particular suffers from violent crime, including home invasions, kidnappings, carjackings and shootings. Criminals act with relative impunity, with police officers themselves frequently the victims of assaults and shootings. Vehicle occupants should keep their doors locked and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Robberies and thefts occur frequently in Georgetown and New Amsterdam. U.S. citizens should avoid stopping in or traveling to the village of Buxton, which lies along the road between Georgetown and New Amsterdam, as it is known to be a base for criminal activity.

There is also a threat of kidnapping for ransom, with random targeting of persons who are viewed as wealthy targets of opportunity. In April 2003, an American was the victim of an “express kidnapping” (a relatively short-term, profit-motivated, albeit violent crime) for ransom. The victim appeared to have been randomly selected.

Pickpocketing, purse snatching, assaults and thefts occur in all areas of Georgetown. The areas adjacent to the sea wall and the National Park in Georgetown, although frequented by joggers, have been the scenes of crimes ranging from pickpocketing to armed assaults. The risk increases significantly after dusk. Travelers should exercise extra care in visiting these areas. Pickpockets and thieves also frequent Stabroek and Bourda, the two major markets, and great care should be taken to safeguard personal property.

The response of local law-enforcement authorities to the increase in violent crime has been largely ineffectual; the police are cooperative, but lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. Nevertheless, Americans who are victims of crime are encouraged to contact the police as well as the American Citizens Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy's Consular Section.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad," for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.



Source: U.S. Department of State

tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to mid-August, mid-November to mid-January)

Source: CIA World Factbook

Guyana's electrical current is 110/60 and 240/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid U.S. passport is required for U.S. citizens to enter and depart Guyana. On arrival in Guyana, visitors are granted a 30-day stay. 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 then note the extension in the visitor’s passport. Travelers for other than tourism purposes should check with the Ministry of Home Affairs for information about requirements for work permits and extended stays. U.S.-Guyanese dual nationals departing Guyana for the U.S. under a Guyanese passport must present to Guyanese authorities a U.S. Certificate of Naturalization or similar document establishing that they may freely enter the United States.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child’s travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

For further information about entry, exit and custom requirements, travelers may consult the Embassy of Guyana at 2490 Tracy Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 625-6900, the Consulate General in New York, or honorary consuls in California, Florida, Ohio and Texas. Internet: http://www.guyanaca.com or www.guyana.org; or email: guyanaembassy@hotmail.com.



Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Guyana is -4 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Guyana would be 1:00 pm

The unit of currency in Guyana is the Guyanese dollar (GYD).

Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter

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