Guyana is a developing country, rich in minerals. For this reason, neighboring countries often claim to territories which fall within its borders. However, this country is not rich and has numerous problems with its infrastructure, especially in some isolated southern regions. The majority of economic strength, population and infrastructure are concentrated in northern coastal areas, especially in the capital Georgetown.
Geographic location, boundaries and size. Guyana is one of the smallest countries in South America. It occupies an area of 214.970 square kilometers in the northern parts of the continent. Guyana borders Venezuela, Brazil and Suriname. To the north it borders the Atlantic Ocean.
Climate. The climate of Guyana is hot and humid subequatorial. The temperatures are high throughout the year and range between 29 and 31°C. The interior of Guyana has two distinct seasons – dry and rainy.
Both continue approximately for 6 months. During the rainy season which lasts from April to September rainfall is extremely heavy. From October to March are possible prolonged droughts. Guyana coastal areas have two rainy and two dry seasons.
The first rainy season begins in May and ends in August, and the second one begins in November and ends in late January. In the capital, Georgetown can fall over 300 mm of rain per month during the rainy season.
Nature. The nature of Guyana is amazing. For the most part the country is covered with dense rainforest. A dense network of deep water rivers cut through the jungle. The largest of them is called Essequibo and flows into the Atlantic Ocean, not far from the capital Georgetown.
As the country falls within the subequatorial climate zone, parts of western and northeastern Guyana are occupied by extensive savannah grasslands.
Perhaps the biggest tourist attraction in the territory of Guiana is the amazingly beautiful Kaieteur Falls. This is one of the largest waterfalls on the planet and is formed in the central parts of the country, on the middle stream of the Potaro River.
Relief. Guyana has varied terrain. In the North of the country along the Atlantic coast stretches a fertile valley with negligible altitude. Part of the coast of Guyana has been reclaimed from the sea by protective dikes.
Significant part of this small South-American country is occupied by mountains and plateaus, which are part of the Guiana Highlands. Close to the border with Venezuela and Brazil rises the highest point of Guyana – Mount Roraima, 2810 meters high.
Coast. Guyana’s Coastline is slightly indented. At many points the coast is protected by strengthening dikes and facilities. The beaches are rarity, and sand is most often dark beige, orange or brown. The sea water around the coast of Guyana is quite cloudy and beige.
The reason lies in both the sand‘s color and in the numerous deep rivers, which carry sediments into the shallow coastal waters. The beaches of the capital Georgetown are quite polluted by waste from visitors and tourists who walk along the shore.
Fauna. The fauna of Guyana is typical of the geographical region of Amazonia. Here is found Jaguar, which is one of the most beautiful and mysterious cats. Puma also occurs in local forests. It is wide spread from the southernmost parts of South America to Alaska.
The variety of monkeys is impressive. Around the watersheds is possible to see the largest rodent in the world, called capybara. It usually spends much of its time into the water and is also an excellent swimmer.
Tapirs are other creatures that are quite typical of these places. They eat grass, and have wholesale and massive body with elongated snout. They often become prey of larger predators such as pumas and local jaguars.
In local rivers lives Anaconda – the largest snake on the planet. The length of this animal may exceed 11 meters. Anaconda is the largest predator in Guyana and practically has no enemies. Caymans are also found in these places.
They are much smaller, but also quite dangerous. They are larger than alligators, but smaller than other types of crocodiles.
The rain forest of Guiana is home to 800 bird species and a huge diversity of reptiles and amphibians. It is believed that some species that live into the jungles are still unknown to science.
Economy. Guyana has a growing economy. Standard of living is lower than the worldwide average. Official currency of the country is Guyanese dollar G $. Guyana is a member of CARICOM – Caribbean Association and Common Market.
This fact determines the closer economic ties with the Caribbean countries. Guyana‘s land is rich in minerals such as bauxite, gold, oil and diamonds. Agriculture is an important sector in the local economy.
Here are grown coffee and cocoa as well as some tropical fruits such as cassava, papaya, mangoes, pineapples, oranges, lemons, lychees, and bananas.
Local moist and warm climate provides excellent conditions for growing rice. The main agricultural regions of the country are located in the extreme northeastern regions of Guyana.
Population. In 1498 the first Europeans reached the lands of modern Guyana and in 1616, approximately 118 years later, the first European settlement was founded by Dutch settlers.
Indigenous people in Guyana are Caribbean Indians – tribes that inhabited the vast majority of Caribbean Islands.
Guyana population today is approximately 760,000 people and has a tendency to decrease. About half of them are Indians who came here because of acute shortage of working power in local rural areas.
Africans are the second most numerous portion of the population. They are about one third of Guyanese people. They were brought here from Africa as slaves to work on local plantations. In 1807 the slave trade was prohibited.
The people of mixed ethnic origin are the third largest group in Guyana. Europeans and indigenous Caribbean people constitute just a small part of Guyanese population today.
However, British and Dutch are the most numerous European settlers. Official language is English.
Guyana is the only English speaking country on the continent. The most widespread religion is Christianity. Approximately 60% of Guyanese inhabitants are Christians.
The second most distributed religion in Guyana, for about 27% of the population, is Hinduism. The remaining inhabitants of Guyana are Muslims and followers of other religions. Guyanese population is unevenly distributed throughout the country.
The majority of local residents live in coastal areas. The largest city in the country is the capital Georgetown. The population of its urban agglomeration is over 300 000 inhabitants.
Cuisine. Food traditions from the Caribbean, Western Europe, Africa and Asia are mixed in an extraordinary way to shape the culinary heritage of this small and little-known South American country.
A feature of the local cuisine is that it is quite spicy, especially when preparing meat dishes. Since most of the residents are Indians, one of the most popular spices in the country is curry. It is known for its strong flavor.
It gives each dish a characteristic rich taste. Rice with peas is one of the most traditional dishes, which locals put on the table. It is quite popular in the Caribbean region and is one of the traditional dishes in many island nations such as Turks and Caicos.
Rice with peas can be served as a main dish or side dish to meat or fish. Guyana cuisine is quite diverse, and the meat very often present on the table. Residents express a preference for goat, lamb, fish and seafood, but chicken is most consumed.
It can be prepared in various ways, but is most often served fried, which is typical of Chinese cuisine. Potatoes are the most popular vegetables. In Guyana the wide variety of fruit greatly exceeds that of vegetables.
Bananas, papayas, mangoes, coconuts, citrus and many other tropical fruits are part of the daily lives of residents in the form of fruit salads, garnishes dishes, fresh juices, cakes and sweets, brought here from Western-European settlers, and even in soups. Typical European element is the variety of bread and other baked pasty foods.
When to go? February, March, September and October are the best months to visit the capital Georgetown. The weather in these months is dry, sunny and pleasant. Note that during the rainy season the combination of heavy rainfall and high temperatures can be unbearable.
What clothes should I wear? Since Guyana‘s climate is permanently warm, thick clothes are not necessary. Clothing should be as light and airy as possible.
Open shoes and slippers are suitable all year round. Bring also strong and comfortable shoes, especially if you want to walk amidst the beautiful local nature. Be sure to wear enough sunscreen.
Transportation. The International Airport in Georgetown, Guyana carry out regular flights from the USA, Canada, Britain, Brazil and some nearby Caribbean countries. Flight duration is about 8 hours from London and about 5 and a half hour from New York.