So getting to Guyana is pretty simple from the US. New York and Miami are major hubs to South America and seem to be the cheapest ways to come. Round-trip tickets from Miami (the cheap seats) seem to range from 250-500 depending on the time of year and when you are booking. I saw 150 once – but haven’t seen it again. My recommendation if you aren’t near one of these cities is to compare booking your roundtrip from your city to making a separate roundtrip ticket from your city to one of these and then one of these to Guyana – the ones we have compared have been cheaper this latter way.
For anyone thinking of traveling to Guyana, Caribbean Airlines (one of the 2 cheapest flights) is very particular on their regulations. There is a weight limit for carry on bags – and you will have to check it if it goes over – which an extra checked bag is not cheap. They will wake you up to tell you to turn off whatever electronic, no airplane mode for takeoff/landing, or to check to see if your seat belt is buckled. I have not flown any other airline here yet so I don’t know if anyone else is equally particular. But the flight was fairly smooth, no issues getting here, and went by faster than I was expecting.
Travel within Guyana is an Adventure
As long as you remember that you’ll be fine/happy
So some people have cars – I have an IDP (International Driver’s Permit) but even if it were allowed by Peace Corps I would not drive here. 1. They drive on the left side of the road and the driver’s seat is on the right of the car. 2. Most of the drivers here remind me of that ride at Disney – Mr Toad’s Wild Ride. 3. The roads are narrow and with aggressive drivers – who have developed fast reflexes – we most likely would be a road hazard
Most people take public transportation anyways, which are privately owned/operated. Taxis are cheap from an American mindset and you pay per trip not per passenger.
Hired cars (who have the license plates that start with “H”) are per person – these seem to be the main means of transportation in Region 2, at least in the coastal communities.
Then there are the mini buses, try to sit in the middle. There are no seat belts, except in the front drivers and passenger seat, so if you’re in the front row you may go flying in the event of an accident. Apparently if one is rear ended the back crumples – so that’s why you want to try to avoid the back of the bus whenever possible.
Now we get to the fun stuff. Speed boats, ferries, canoes, and other water vessels are very common here. The ferries are inexpensive, at least for pedestrians – I don’t know how much they charge the vehicles below – but they take a while to get where they are going.
Story Time: So, our first day in Guyana we were scheduled to take the 12 o’clock ferry. We got there (via bus) around 1130- and the ferry already left. Apparently, the tide was too low and they had to go. The next fairy wasn’t scheduled til 4 pm – so we got to explore the market and surrounding village. After taking the ferry we took another bus, we continued via bus to our next location – the bus was stuck on that side of the river because of the delay – but it seems like a normal occurrence for them. It was actually a really fun day – but just keep that in mind when you are traveling – flexibility is the name of the game in Guyana.
Back to the boats. Speed boats are much more expensive, but a two-hour trip becomes a half hour and it’s a lot of fun. Canoes are typically individuals means of transportation further inland up the river. One of our volunteers will have a canoe and be using it to paddle to and from work every day.
Now for my favorite (hypothetically since I haven’t gotten to ride in one yet) mode of transportation in Guyana. SMALL AIRPLANES. So there are some areas that are really remote and are difficult, or in some cases impossible, to get to by land or water – so in those cases you take a small plane. Kaieteur Falls (the number one tourist attraction in Guyana) is like that, you can also take a bus/boat/hike combination, but there is no other direct mode of transportation than a plane. 2 of our volunteers (one in region 1 and one in region 7) will be taking a small plane to get to and from their sites. I cannot wait to visit one (or both) of them.