Where to go

Despite being located on the Atlantic, Georgetown, capital of Guyana, is known as the 'Garden City of the Caribbean'. This gives some idea of the country's orientation, in trade and cultural terms. The coast, where most of the population live, is a mix of coconut palms and calypso music, Dutch place names and techniques for draining the land, Hindu temples and Islamic mosques, all of which reflect the chequered history of the country. The thinly populated interior is different again, with life revolving around the rivers in the tropical forest, or, further south, the scattered ranches of the Rupununi Savannah. The main tourist potential is in the largely untouched interior, where many places are best reached by river boat or plane. The improvement of the road from Georgetown to Lethem on the Brazilian border, with a regular bus service, opens up the interior for easier exploration. Highlights include the Kaieteur Falls, among the highest in the world, the Orinduik Falls on the border with Brazil and the Iwokrama Rain Forest Programme. Travelling on any of the rivers, many with excellent beaches, is the most interesting way to get around. On the coast there are no beaches for bathing, but in the far northwest is Shell Beach, a protected area for marine turtles and birdlife.

When to go

Although hot, the climate is not unhealthy. Mean shade temperature throughout the year is 27°C; the mean maximum is about 31°C and the mean minimum 24°C. The heat is greatly tempered by cooling breezes from the sea and is most felt from August to October. There are two wet seasons in the north of the country, from May to June, and from December to the end of January, although they may extend into the months either side. The south and the Rupununi receive one wet season, May to July. Rainfall averages 2,300 mm a year in Georgetown. Note that the Republic Day celebrations (23 February) last about a week: during this time hotels in Georgetown are very full. Hotels are also very full during international cricket.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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