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Guyana

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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Guyana. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media for information about safety or security risks.
  • Yellow fever is widespread. Get vaccinated before you travel and carry your vaccination certificate. See Entry and exit
  • Crime levels are high and violent crime is a problem, particularly in the capital Georgetown. Risks increase after dark, particularly if you're alone. See Safety and security
  • Take care when travelling by road, particularly outside major towns where emergency services are limited. See Local travel

Entry and exit 

​Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Visas

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the High Commission of Guyana for up-to-date information.

Other formalities

Departure tax

You must pay a departure tax in cash in local currency. Debit and credit cards are not accepted. The amount varies at each international airport. 

Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), yellow fever is widespread in Guyana.

If you're travelling from another country where yellow fever is widespread, you'll need to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate on arrival. Some airlines may require you to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before you can board flights out of the country. If in doubt, check with your airline. 

If you've visited Guyana in the six days prior to your return to Australia, Australian Customs officials will ask you to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate on entry into Australia.

More information: Department of Health.

Travelling to Guyana through the USA and Canad

If you're travelling via the United States, you must meet US entry/transit requirements. Check your visa requirements well in advance of travel with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.

More information:

If you transit or travel via Canada by air, you'll need a Canadian eTA (electronic Travel Authorisation).

More information:

​Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place. 

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

Declare amounts exceeding USD10,000 (or equivalent) on arrival and departure.

Safety and security 

Crime 

Violent crime resulting in serious injury or death - including armed robberies, kidnappings, indiscriminate shootings and carjackings - is a problem in Guyana, particularly in Georgetown. Armed robberies can occur in businesses, shopping districts and hotels. If you're staying in a hotel, use caution when opening the room doors, and secure your belongings and valuables. Law enforcement is generally cooperative, but doesn't have the capacity to respond effectively to serious crime. 

Crime rates are particularly high in the Stabroek Market, South Georgetown and Tiger Bay areas of Georgetown. The Georgetown sea wall, has been the site of several violent crimes. Don't go there after dark. Other high risk areas include East Coast Demerara, particularly near the villages of Buxton, Lusignan Friendship and Annadale, the East Bank Demerara region and New Amsterdam. Violent criminal activity on the coast, in Bartica and in the tourist resorts along the Essequibo River is on the rise. Robberies and assaults also happen in private vehicles and taxis.

There have been reports of assaults in the Botanical Gardens in Georgetown. Visit these sites with an organised tour group and don't carry valuables.

Avoid travelling or walking alone. Security risks increase after dark, particularly on the road from the Cheddi Jagan Airport to Georgetown, the Timerhi/Linden Highway, and in the East Coast Demerara and East Bank regions, where muggings and shootings have occurred.

Hotel safety

On 5 August 2018, a fire broke out at the Guyana Pegasus Hotel. Fire alarms didn’t go off and some exits were padlocked. If you stay at a hotel in Georgetown, find out the evacuation procedures and routes and speak to hotel management if you have concerns.

Civil unrest and political tension

Avoid large crowds and demonstrations. Monitor local news reports for the latest information on any potential civil unrest.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

​More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

​Local travel

Travel to the interior of Guyana can be dangerous. The countryside is dense jungle or savannah. It's sparsely populated, poorly serviced and emergency services are generally unavailable. Mobile phone reception is unreliable. If you visit the interior, take safety gear, such as all-weather jackets, first aid kits and a satellite phone.

There are ongoing border disputes between Guyana, and Venezuela and Suriname. Only use official border crossing points when travelling between countries. Scheduled ferry services are available at official river crossings.

Road travel

Driving can be dangerous due to poorly maintained roads and vehicles, aggressive driving practices and inadequate street lighting. Roads flood easily. Pedestrians are often killed.

According to the World Health Organization, you're three times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Guyana than in Australia.

Don't travel on the long road from Georgetown to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at night because of the risk of crime, including armed robbery. Book flights that arrive or depart during daylight hours. Drive with windows closed and doors locked when travelling between Georgetown and the airport.

More information: Road safety and driving

Taxis

Taxis are generally safe if you use a reputable company. Ask airport and hotel staff about official taxi services. 

Don't hail taxis from the roadside. Robberies and assaults have occurred.

Public transport

Avoid using minibuses. They drive dangerously and are involved in the majority of road accidents, including fatal ones. Buses are often overcrowded and poorly maintained.

Sea travel

Avoid using water taxis to cross international waters. Make sure you get an entry stamp in your passport. It’s illegal to use the services of independent boaters to enter Suriname. If you do, you may be fined, detained or deported.

Piracy occurs on Guyana's coastal waters.

More information: Piracy

Air travel

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety. 

More information: Air travel

Laws

Local laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling. 

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences, including possession, are severe and include lengthy prison sentences served in local jails. Prison conditions are harsh and pre-trial detention can last for years. 

More information: Carrying or using drugs

LGBTI travellers

Guyana doesn't recognise same-sex marriage. There's no legal protection from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity under Guyana law. The laws of Guyana prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. If you're convicted, you can face up to ten years in prison.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Other laws

Serious crime, such as murder, may attract the death penalty.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you can be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Guyana recognises dual nationality. More information: Dual nationals

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
  • you're covered for the whole time you'll be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • ​​At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by your Australian doctor.

Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only. If you arrive without a prescription for medication you're carrying, you could be refused entry or prosecuted.

Before you leave Australia:

  • ​​check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to
  • get medical documents authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade before you depart (if required).

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Mosquito-borne illnesses

Malaria is a risk in Guyana throughout the year. Other insect-borne diseases (including dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika virusyellow fever, filariasis and leishmaniasis) are also widespread, particularly during the wet seasons (May to August and November to January). 

Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses by:

  • ​​​ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • avoiding insect bites, always using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
  • consider taking malaria prevention medication.

More information: Infectious diseases

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is common. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

More information: Infectious diseases

Other diseases and health issues

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, hepatitis, leptospirosis and rabies) are common with serious outbreaks occurring from time to time.

  • ​​Boil drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.

Seek urgent medical attention if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are very limited. Trained specialists and medical equipment are lacking and hygiene standards are poor. 

If you become seriously ill or injured, you would need medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities. Most medical evacuations are to the United States and can cost over AUD35,000. The cost of medical treatment when you arrive in the United States can also be extremely high.

Natural disasters

The two rainy seasons are from May to August and from November to January. Serious flooding can occur, particularly in low-lying coastal areas. River levels can rise very quickly and roads become impassable.

If there's a natural disaster:

  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • monitor media reports for the latest information. 

​Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer, or airline.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 912
  • Medical emergencies: 913
  • Criminal issues, contact police: 911.

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas. 

Consular assistance is available from the Australian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago.   

Australian High Commission, Port of Spain

18 Herbert Street, St. Clair
Port of Spain
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Phone: +1 868 822 5450
Fax: +1 868 822 5490
Website: trinidadandtobago.highcommission.gov.au
Email:  ahc.portofspain@dfat.gov.au
Facebook: Australia in the Caribbean

Check the website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision. 

If you can't contact the High Commission in a consular emergency,  contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information