Guyana

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Tuesday, 11 February 2014.   We continue to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Guyana because of the risk of serious criminal activity.

Guyana overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Guyana because of the risk of serious criminal activity.
  • Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
  • Violent crime is a problem, particularly in the capital Georgetown.
  • Australia has a Consulate in Georgetown, headed by an Honorary Consul, which provides limited consular assistance (not including the issue of passports). The Australian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago provides full consular assistance to Australians in Guyana.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Guyana for the most up to date information.

If you are travelling to Guyana from a country where yellow fever is endemic, you are required to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate on arrival. The WHO provides a list of countries that are endemic for yellow fever.

Guyana is listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. If in doubt, check with your airline.

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

If you are travelling to Guyana through the United States of America, or if you are transiting in Honolulu or other US points of entry, you are required to meet US entry/transit requirements. Make sure you check with your nearest US Embassy or Consulate your visa requirements well in advance of your travel. You should also read our travel advice for the United States of America.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

Civil unrest/Political tension

You should avoid demonstrations, protests and political gatherings as they may turn violent. We recommend you monitor the local media for information about possible threats to your safety and security.

Crime

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Guyana because of the risk of serious criminal activity. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.

Violent crime (including armed robberies, kidnappings, indiscriminate shootings and carjackings resulting in serious injury or death) is a problem, particularly in the capital Georgetown. Crime rates are particularly high in the Stabroek Market, South Georgetown and Tiger Bay areas of Georgetown and in the village of Buxton, located on the highway between Georgetown and New Amsterdam. There has been an upsurge in violent criminal activity on the east coast, in Bartica and in the tourist resorts along the Essequibo River. Security risks are heightened after dark. You should avoid travelling or walking alone.

Travel after dark is dangerous along 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.

Robberies and assaults occur in taxis. You should seek advice from airport authorities and hotel staff about official taxi services. Buses are often overcrowded and poorly maintained with poor security near bus stops.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work overseas. Credit cards are not widely accepted in Guyana.

Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You should be careful to avoid the loss or theft of your passport. Travellers are likely to experience significant delays and expense arranging replacement travel documents in Guyana where there is no resident Australian mission.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

Driving in Guyana can be hazardous due to poorly maintained roads and vehicles, aggressive driving practices, and inadequate street lighting. Fatal accidents involving mini-buses are common. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Buses are often overcrowded and poorly maintained with poor security near bus stops. Taxis have been the target for robberies but remain a safe option if using a reputable company. Do not hail taxis from the roadside.

The have been incidents on the road to Georgetown international airport at night including armed robberies. We advise you to avoid using this road at night and to bear this in mind when booking flights into or out of Guyana.

There is an ongoing border dispute with Suriname. You should only use official border crossing points and scheduled ferry services when travelling between countries.

Piracy occurs in the coastal areas of Guyana. For more information about piracy, see our piracy bulletin. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its website.

Airline safety

Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Guyana, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Penalties for drug offences, including possession, are severe and include lengthy prison sentences served in local jails.

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

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, and child sex tourism, forced marriage and female genital mutilation apply to Australian overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Our Dual nationals page provides information for dual nationals.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. 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 will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Medical facilities in Guyana are severely limited. There is a lack of trained specialists and medical equipment, and hygiene standards are poor. In the event of an emergency, a medical evacuation to a location with suitable facilities may be required, usually the USA where the cost of medical treatment can be extremely high. Medical evacuation to Miami can cost upwards of $A35,000.

Malaria is a high risk in inland Guyana throughout the year. Other insect-borne diseases (including dengue fever, yellow fever, filariasis and leishmaniasis) are also a risk to travellers, particularly during the wet seasons (May to August and November to January). We recommend you take prophylaxis against malaria and take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, typhoid, hepatitis, leptospirosis and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Where to get help

Australia has a Consulate in Georgetown, headed by an Honorary Consul, which provides limited consular assistance (not including the issue of passports):

Australian Consulate, Georgetown

82 Premniranjan Place
Prashad Nagar
Georgetown
GUYANA
Telephone: +592 231 0798
Facsimile: +592 231 0799

You can obtain full consular assistance from the nearest Australian High Commission which is in Trinidad and Tobago:

Australian High Commission, Port of Spain

18 Herbert Street, St. Clair
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Telephone: (1 868) 822 5450
Facsimile: (1 868) 822 5490
Website www.trinidadandtobago.embassy.gov.au

If you are travelling to Guyana, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register on-line or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency-whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the above mission, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

The two rainy seasons are from May to August and from November to January. Flooding may occur, particularly in low lying coastal areas.

Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.