Traveling Around Guyana: Transport Tips

Guyana might not come to mind for many travelers to South America, but for those of you who dare step off the gringo trail, here's how to get around safely.


Photo © Getty Images/Brandon Rosenblum

Embrace the hot, humid tropical climate to discover quiet stretches of marsh and swampland runing along the Atlantic Ocean, mountainous landscapes inland, and grassy lowlands leading to the steamy rainforests.

Given this varying terrain, getting around safely can be a challenge. But here are a few handy tips to know before you go.

Fun fact: Guyana is the only English-speaking country on the continent. So don't stress if your knowledge of the Spanish language is minimal.

Driving in Guyana

To say the streets in Guyana are crowded is an understatement. Large commercial vehicles, cars, motorcycles, mini-buses, cyclists – even horse drawn carts – can be found rolling aggressively down the narrow, poorly maintained roads. On top of this, an endless parade of pedestrians, livestock and stray animals make for one big obstacle course to navigate. 

Driving in Guyana isn't for the feint hearted. Aggressive, speedy drivers share the roads with frustratingly slow vehicles. Reckless driving, speeding, tail-gating and turning without signaling, are all common on Guyana's roadways.

Night-time driving is especially hazardous, as many roads throughout are not well lit (or not lit at all), and oncoming drivers often fail to lower their high-beams. Pedestrians and sleeping livestock may be on or near the roads, so go slow and drive with caution. Better yet, avoid driving after dark whenever possible.

Mini-buses in Guyana

If renting a car and self-driving Guyana no longer seems like a wise idea (and we don't blame you), catch mini-buses to get around the country.

Be careful, as mini-buses are known to carry 12 to 15 passengers, and have been the subject of many motor vehicle accidents – some resulting in fatalities.

Maintenance of mini-buses is dismal, and many still operate in disrepair, posing a danger to passengers. But, for a small price, is it any surprise that drivers are known to be aggressive and drive at excessive speeds?

Pirates Off the Coast of Guyana

Traveling by boat off the coast of Guyana can be dangerous.

Numerous incidents involving pirates have been reported, and anyone aboard the water vessel, including fishing boats, are advised to use extreme caution. Pirates are known to patrol the waters in search of boats they can overtake and steal from. Generally, those who cooperate are not harmed.

Traveling Between Suriname and Guyana

There is an ongoing maritime border dispute between Guyana and Suriname over land in the New River Triangle area of Guyana. Only use scheduled ferry services between the two countries along the Corentyne River.

Using water taxis to cross the other way – from Suriname to Guyana – is prohibited, and can get you arrested, thrown in prison and deported.

Neighboring Venezuela refuses to formally recognize the legitimacy of its border with Guyana, so tensions can result in dangerous situations. Chances are, given the remote location of these borders, it's unlikely you will end up here, but just be aware.

Ongoing political instability means it's imperative you check your government travel advisories before traveling to Guyana, and make sure your travel insurer covers this destination. But, according to travelers who have been to Guyana, the country has been given a bad reputation and exceeds all expectations.

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