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Guyana - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Guyana 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 is prevalent across Guyana. Assaults, break-ins, armed robberies, pickpocketing, purse snatching, theft from cars and carjacking are common. Be particularly cautious in Georgetown: in Stabroek Market, Tiger Bay and south of Brickdam Street. Canadians have been assaulted and robbed in daylight in other parts of Georgetown, including the city centre. Many crimes are committed along and around the sea wall, from east of the Pegasus Hotel Guyana to Sheriff Street, including the wharf.
Violent incidents occur in the East Coast Demerara region (especially near the villages of Buxton and Friendship, the East Bank Demerara region and the New Amsterdam area).
Criminals prefer to target foreigners and returning Guyanese citizens. Avoid showing signs of affluence. Do not walk alone after dark, and avoid deserted or under-populated areas. Pay attention to your surroundings, especially when entering or leaving vehicles, residences and public places. Use your hotel safe to secure your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents. Stay in accommodations with good security. Always verify the identity of a visitor before opening the door.
Foreigners have been injured while being robbed at gunpoint, and some have been attacked after withdrawing money at financial institutions, in shopping districts and in hotels. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Do not change money in the street with street changers; do so at banks, exchange offices and hotels. Robberies and assaults also occur in taxis. Do not offer resistance.
Gang members commit violent attacks on the road to and from Cheddi Jagan International Airport, mainly at night. Arrange to arrive and leave from the airport during the day only.
Assaults have taken place in the Botanical Gardens in Georgetown. Visit such sites with an organized tour group, or stay in the more populated areas closer to Vlissengen Road.
Theft from cars is common. Keep doors locked and windows closed at all times.
Sexual assault, including rape, occurs throughout the country. See Her own way - a woman’s safe-travel guide for travel safety information for women.
Sporadic demonstrations and gatherings occur throughout the country. On several occasions, political demonstrations resulted in violent clashes and civil unrest, especially at election time. Avoid large crowds and demonstrations, and monitor local news reports for the latest information.
Driving in Guyana can be dangerous due to poor road conditions, inadequate lighting, roaming animals and poor driving habits. Travel in convoys when possible. Avoid driving at night. Travel to the interior (also known as the hinterlands) is not safe due to low police presence. Always drive in a convoy when visiting the hinterlands.
Response time in the case of traffic accidents may be slow due to a lack of resources. Injured persons are frequently transported to hospitals or the nearest medical facility by bystanders, unless they are seriously injured. Local authorities are cooperative, but assistance is limited and may only be available during business hours.
Avoid using public minibuses, as they tend to be overloaded, poorly maintained and badly driven. Minibuses are often involved in accidents.
Taxis are the safest means of transportation. Do not hail taxis from the roadside. Only use taxis that are connected to major hotels or from a reputable company. 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.
Avoid using water taxis to cross international waters. Use the scheduled ferry service, which has a formal border control check point.
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Before travelling to Guyana for adventure activities, ensure your travel health insurance includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation in the case of serious illness or injury.
If you intend to trek:
- never practice this activity alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- ensure that you are properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails or slopes
- register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Guyanese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Guyana.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Ensure that authorities stamp your passport on arrival. Failure to do so could result in difficulties leaving the country or even jail time.
Tourist visa: Not required (up to 90 days)
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.
You must pay a departure tax of G$2,500 and an airport security fee of G$1,500 upon departure. These must be paid in local currency.
Cross the border only at official ports of entry.
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.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
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 among pediatric travellers, 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 outside of Georgetown. Care in private hospitals and clinics is better than in public hospitals.
Medical evacuation to neighbouring countries, which can be very expensive, may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers all medical expenses, including hospitalization abroad and medical evacuation.
Learn more about travel health and safety.
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 must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
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.
The importation/exportation of restricted items, including firearms and ammunition, without the proper permits may result in heavy fines and prison sentences.
Many birds are protected species. You may not export an exotic bird unless you have been a legal resident of Guyana for at least a year and received permission from the Ministry of Agriculture.
The laws of Guyana prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can face up to 10 years in prison.
LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Guyana.
An International Driving Permit (IPD) 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.
Vehicles drive on the left.
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 Department of the Guyana Police Force at 911 and/or an ambulance at 913. Ensure you have sufficient insurance coverage to drive in Guyana.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Guyana.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Guyana, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
The currency is the Guyanese dollar (GYD). Only major hotels accept credit cards, and only a few banks will issue cash advances. There are a few ATMs that accept international bank cards. Carry enough cash to cover anticipated expenses. The U.S. dollar is widely accepted. Exchange foreign currency only at banks, hotels and established money exchange bureaus (cambios).
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
There are two rainy seasons in Guyana: from May to July and from November to January. During this time, rainfall is abundant and may result in major flooding, particularly in coastal areas.
The coast of Guyana is below sea level and protected by a sea defence and dam system. Infrastructure, including drainage systems, is poorly maintained. Monitor regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Emergency services exist but may be subject to certain limitations. In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 911 or +592-225-8196
- medical assistance: 913
- firefighters: 912 or +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. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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