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Guyana - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Guyana. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to high crime rates.
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travellers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Guyana. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Crime levels in Guyana are high. Assaults, pickpocketing, purse snatching, break-ins, armed robberies, car thefts and carjacking are common occurrences, particularly in Georgetown, including Stabroek Market, Tiger Bay and South Georgetown. The sea wall, from east of the Pegasus Hotel extending to Sheriff Street and adjacent areas, has been the site of several crimes and should be avoided after dark. Other dangerous areas include the East Coast Demerara region (especially near the villages of Buxton, Lusignan, Friendship and Annadale), the East Bank Demerara region and the New Amsterdam area. Violent attacks have also occurred on the road to and from Cheddi Jagan International Airport and on the Linden Highway, especially at night.
Foreigners and returning Guyanese citizens are favourite targets for criminals. Canadians have been injured while being robbed at gunpoint, and some have reported being attacked after withdrawing money at financial institutions. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
Execution-style killings have been reported. However, these appear to be targeted and not random crimes. Gangs also continue to perpetrate attacks in the Amazon jungle near the border with Suriname.
Pay attention to your surroundings, especially when entering or leaving vehicles, residences and public places. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Do not show signs of affluence. When approached by a police officer, always ask to see identification.
Sporadic demonstrations and gatherings occur throughout the country. On several occasions, political demonstrations resulted in violent clashes and civil unrest, especially around the time of elections. Avoid large crowds and demonstrations, and monitor local news reports for the latest information.
Vehicles drive on the left. Poor road conditions, inadequate lighting, roaming animals and poor driving habits are constant hazards. Be extremely cautious when driving, keep windows closed and doors locked at all times, and avoid being on the road unnecessarily after dark.
Exercise caution along the road from the Cheddi Jagan Airport to Georgetown and on the Timerhi/Linden Highway.
Avoid public minibuses, as they tend to be overloaded, poorly maintained and badly driven.
Taxis are the safest means of transportation. Do not hail taxis from the roadside. Only use taxis that are connected to major hotels or are painted yellow. All yellow taxies are registered with the Government of Guyana's licencing office. Exercise constant vigilance, and make note of the vehicle's licence plate before entering, in order to track down the driver in the event of overcharging or lost luggage.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
General security information
Response time may be delayed due to a lack of resources, especially for traffic accidents. Injured persons (unless seriously injured) are frequently transported by bystanders. Local authorities are cooperative, but assistance is limited and may be available only during business hours.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Guyanese authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the High Commission of the Republic of Guyana or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Guyana, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
It is essential that you have your passport stamped upon arrival in the country. Failure to do so could result in difficulties leaving the country or even jail time.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Tourist visa: Not required
Business visa: Not required
Student visa: Not required
If you are travelling to Guyana on business, you must bring a business letter with all pertinent information concerning the reason for your visit.
A departure tax of 2,500 Guyanese dollars and an airport security fee of 1,500 Guyanese dollars are charged upon departure. These must be paid in local currency.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is recommended.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), chikungunya, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), West Nile virus , yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently an outbreak of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a viral disease spread through the bite of an infected mosquito that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. Protect yourself from mosquito bites, particularly around sunrise and sunset. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.
Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:
- Should avoid travel to this country
- If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
- Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
- Use condoms or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
- Female travellers: wait at least 2 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 6 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive. Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.
See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are limited.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Possession and trafficking of illegal drugs are considered a serious offence. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines and lengthy prison sentences, which must be served in Guyana. Conditions in Guyanese prisons can be particularly harsh. Pack all luggage yourself and do not carry any items that do not belong to you.
It is illegal to use the services of independent boaters to cross into Suriname. Foreigners have been fined and, in some cases, detained and subsequently deported. Use only official ferry services and ensure that you receive an entry stamp in your passport. Avoid using water taxis.
The importation of restricted items, including firearms and ammunition, without the proper permits may result in heavy fines and prison sentences.
Many birds are protected species. The Guyanese Ministry of Agriculture will permit only those persons who have been legally residing in Guyana for more than one year to export an exotic bird out of the country.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended. If you cannot obtain an IDP before leaving Canada, you may apply for a local permit based on a valid Canadian driver's licence.
Penalties for drivers responsible for an accident causing injury or death are severe and may include imprisonment. If you are involved in an accident, contact the Traffic Division of the Guyana Police Force at 911 and/or an ambulance at 913.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Guyana. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Guyanese citizen. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Guyanese passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The currency is the Guyanese dollar (GYD). Only major hotels accept credit cards, and only a few banks will issue cash advances. Carry enough currency or traveller's cheques to cover anticipated expenses. U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Exchange foreign currency only at banks, hotels and established money exchange bureaus (cambios).
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Guyana experiences two rainy seasons: May to July and November to January. During this time, rainfall is abundant and may result in major flooding, particularly in coastal areas. Monitor regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Emergency services exist but may be subject to certain limitations. In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 911 / +592-225-8196
- medical assistance: 913
- firefighters: 912 / +592-226-2411
Georgetown - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Georgetown and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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