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Georgetown Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Georgetown

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Georgetown is Guyana’s capital and is situated in Area 4, often known as the Demerara-Mahaica region. It is the country’s most populous city. It is located on the Atlantic Ocean coast near the entrance of the Demerara River and has been dubbed the “Garden City of the Caribbean.”

Georgetown is largely a commercial and administrative center. It also functions as a financial services center. In the 2012 census, the city had a population of 118,363.

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Georgetown | Introduction

Georgetown – Info Card

POPULATION :  118,363
FOUNDED :  Established 1781
Named 29 April 1812
TIME ZONE :   UTC-4
LANGUAGE :  English
RELIGION :
AREA : • Water 10 sq mi (30 km2)
• Urban 20 sq mi (50 km2)
• Metro 57 sq mi (150 km2)
ELEVATION :   0 ft (0 m)
COORDINATES :  6°48′N 58°10′W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 50.80%
 Female: 49.20%
ETHNIC :  70,962 (53%) listed themselves as Black/African; 31,902 (24%) as mixed; 26,542 (20%) as East Indian; 1,441 (1.1%) as Amerindian; 1075 (0.4%) as Portuguese; 475 (0.35%) as Chinese; 2,265 (1.7%) as “don’t know/not stated”
AREA CODE :  231, 233, 225, 226, 227
POSTAL CODE :
DIALING CODE :   +592 223

Tourism in Georgetown

Georgetown is largely the country’s financial and political center, but its magnificent wooden colonial buildings provide a unique experience for visitors. Most visitors come to Georgetown as a starting point for exploring the inner jungles.

St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, Stabroek Market, Demerara Harbour Bridge, the Guyana Museum, and the Pegasus Hotel are among the numerous tourist attractions in Georgetown. Georgetown attracts about 450,000 visitors every year, accounting for over 86 percent of all tourism in Guyana. There is a zoo, a lighthouse, and Amerindian dwellings in the city.

Climate of Georgetown

Georgetown enjoys a hot tropical rainforest environment all year. Relative humidity varies throughout the year, with the greatest levels in May, June, August, and December–January; these are often the rainiest months of the year. Between September and November, relative humidity drops, ushering in the drier season.

Georgetown does not have a true dry season; monthly precipitation in all 12 months exceeds 60 mm (2.4 in). Georgetown’s temperatures are mitigated by the North-East trade winds flowing in from the North Atlantic due to its position, and it seldom experiences temperatures exceeding 31 degrees Celsius.

Geography of Georgetown

Georgetown is situated on the east bank of the Demerara River estuary on Guyana’s Atlantic coast. The city is situated on flat coastal plains in this area of the nation. On the east and south, the city is surrounded by a blanket of cane fields, swampy marshes, and savannah regions. The land’s elevation is one metre below the high tide level. This low elevation is secured by a retaining wall known as the seawall, which keeps the ocean out, as well as an inventive network of canals with kokers, which drain the city of surplus water.

Economy of Georgetown

Georgetown is Guyana’s major urban center and the site of most of the country’s business. It is a significant city in Guyana and the Caribbean. The CARICOM headquarters, the Administrative Arm of the Caribbean Regional Integration Organization, is located inside the metro area. Georgetown also has a seaport. Cheddi Jagan International Airport/Timehri, located an hour south of Georgetown, is a destination for Caribbean Airlines (previously known as BWIA or “”bwee””), LIAT, META, and Travel Span GT.

Closer to the city is the recently enlarged Ogle Airport, which has a terminal complex designed to handle regional, international, and inter-Caricom flights linking CARICOM member countries with the CARICOM Secretariat. Although the four-lane East Coast Transportation was finished in 2005, the city has several highway projects under development. Georgetown contributes significantly to Guyana’s GDP.

How To Travel To Georgetown

Get In - By plane

The primary airport servicing Georgetown is Cheddi Jagan Temeri International Airport (IATA: GEO). It is primarily served by Caribbean Airlines from the Caribbean islands and via Port of Spain from Miami and New York as well as by LIAT, which offers convenient connections from Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia, and Grenada via Port of Spain and Bridgetown, Barbados. Two times every week, Delta Airlines departs from New York. Since there are no ATMs in the airport, make sure you have cash when you get there. Additionally, Scotia Bank is the only bank in town where your card will be accepted. You may easily remain in Georgetown without using local money because to the nearly universal acceptability of US dollars for financial transactions. Processing immigration is shockingly slow. It takes a lot of patience to arrive weary on one of the late-night flights.

Depending on traffic, a cab from the airport to Georgetown costs around $25 or G$5000 and takes 45–60 minutes. Take minibus #42 to Timeri bus park, which is behind the parliament building and next to Stabroek Market, for the less expensive but somewhat slower alternative. G$260 will get you a minibus. The minibuses are available at all times of the day and night, however taxi drivers will approach you as soon as you exit the terminal to attempt to acquire a fare. They will assert that it is unsafe to go around Georgetown after dark, which is accurate. However, a cab ride to your accommodation from the minibus stop will cost roughly G$400.

Small Ogle Airport (IATA: OGL), which is utilized mostly for domestic and local aircraft, is situated about six miles closer to Georgetown. A few daily flights are operated by the following corporations between Zorg-en-Hoop Airfield and Paramaribo, Suriname:

  • Gum AirDoekhieweg 03, Zorg-en-Hoop Airport, Paramaribo, Suriname+597 433830fax+597 491740, e-mail: M-Sa(website is broken as of january 2016 but wikipedia also lists it as operational – so call them for information/booking)
  • Trans Guyana Airways (TGA), Ogle Aerodome, Ogle, East Coast Demerara, Guyana,  +592 222-2525, e-mail: M-Sa
  • Roraima Airways,  +592 225-9648fax+592 225-9646Recently started offering flights to Paramaribo. Call for details

Get In - By minibus

From Suriname, there are minibuses from Paramaribo to South Drain in western Suriname, just across the river from Guyana. The trip takes at least 3 hrs and costs ~US$15. From there, you will go through customs on the Suriname side. Then take the 11:00 daily ferry across the river to South Drain. The ferry journey takes about 30 minutes, but you’ll need more time for going through customs on the Guyanese side. On the Guyanese side, you will be in Molson Creek and can take minibus #63a to the minibus station near Stabroek Market in Georgetown. The trip takes at least 3 hrs and costs ~US$10. From there you can get a minibus for G$60/pp to where you are staying in Georgetown or a taxi for G$400.

From Brazil travel to Bonfim on the border and walk across the border. Find a minibus or taxi to take you to Lethem city center and inquire about minibuses traveling to Georgetown.

How To Get Around In Georgetown

In Guyana, when people talk about buses, they really mean minibuses. The most popular mode of transportation in town is the minibus, sometimes known as a route taxi in other places. The cost of a minibus might range from G$60 to G$1000 depending on how far you need to go. Minibuses within the city cost G$60 per passenger. Even though using this means of transportation at night might be dangerous, if the minibus doesn’t take you all the way there, taxis are a very affordable way to finish the journey.

There are many of affordable taxi services that are advertised in phone directories. For travel within the city, the maximum fare should never exceed G$500, and the majority of prices should be around G$400, regardless of the number of passengers. Every taxi’s license plate starts with a “H.” Taxis have predetermined rates for various locations, such as GD$5000 from the airport to the town, GD$24000 from the airport to Molson Creek, etc. It is a good idea to request a driver recommendation at your hotel. The best-known cabs are “Yellow” vehicles. Once you’ve located a driver you can rely on, get his or her cell phone number. You’ll get speedy service if you leave a tiny tip.

Districts & Neighbourhoods In Georgetown

Over the years, Georgetown has grown significantly and may be separated into three geographic regions:

Georgetown – referring to Central Georgetown includes the Business district as well as the seat of the national Government.

Greater Georgetown – Greater Georgetown is home to some of the most affluent and opulent urban neighborhoods. As destinations for the wealthy and powerful, Bel Air Park, Bel Air Gardens, Lamaha Gardens, and Bel Air Springs are widely recognized. High-ranking CEOs or government officials make up the majority of the population. Most of the city’s close-knit gated neighborhoods are located in the northeastern region, toward Greater Georgetown and the Atlantic.

Greater Georgetown contains some notable places such as:

  • The University of Guyana (Headquarters)
  • The Cyril Potter College of Education
  • The Caribbean Community Secretariat (Headquarters of CARICOM)
  • The Guyana International Conference Centre
  • Ocean View International Hotel
  • Guyana Sugar Corporation (Headquarters of the country’s largest corporation)
  • Ogle Airport (Guyana’s local air transport facility)

South Georgetown – South Georgetown is made up of incorporated neighborhoods along the Demerara River’s eastern bank, including Sophia, Roxanne Burnham Gardens, Albouystown, and Agricola. Those are the city’s well-known and admired impoverished neighborhoods. Affluence has persisted at high levels in several regions, like Thirst Park, Ruimvelt, and Houston Estates.

City neighbourhoods

Georgetown, which is revered for its historical significance, continues to serve as the central Government’s administrative hub.

The official house of the Head of State, as well as a number of other significant Government structures, including the Ministry of Finance, may be found on Main Street, which is located to the north of Georgetown. The St. George’s Cathedral and Georgetown’s City Hall building are both situated on the Avenue of the Republic, which is to the east of Georgetown. The location with the highest concentration of executive departments and agencies is Brickdam, which is also on the east side. On Brickdam, you may find the Ministries of Health, Education, Home Affairs, Housing, and Water.

The Port of Georgetown, the biggest and busiest maritime hub in Guyana, is located west of Stabroek Market. The Ministry of Labor as well as the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security are located inside Stabroek Market. Additionally, it serves as the location for the renowned Stabroek markets.

  • Regent Street – Georgetown’s premier shopping district.
  • Sheriff Street – Guyana’s main entertainment area; contains most of the city’s clubs, bars and restaurants.

Suburbs

Suburban Georgetown consists of Greater Georgetown and Uptown Georgetown and contains the following suburbs of the city:

  • Republic Park
  • Nandy Park
  • Providence
  • Felicity
  • Bel Air
  • Vreed en Hoop
  • Kingston
  • Subryanville
  • Lamaha Gardens

Sights & Landmarks In Georgetown

If you have a day or two to spend in Georgetown, visit the markets listed below, stroll down Regent Street or through a market, and take a look at the Umana Yama Church (an Amerindian cultural center) or some of the older colonial structures scattered throughout the area, particularly on Main Street.

Although the neighborhood barrier is unattractive, it safeguards a city that is located one meter below high tide level. The Dutch and subsequently the British erected the sea wall, which aids in drainage and flood prevention by protecting canals from sluices.

In addition to having several streets and avenues surrounded with trees, Georgetown is home to numerous wooden colonial structures and marketplaces. Near Independence Square and Promenade Gardens, in the western part of the town, are where you’ll find the most of the major structures. The Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology, the National Library, the Bank of Guyana, the National Museum of Guyana, the State House, and St. George’s Anglican Cathedral are just a few interesting structures.

  • National Museum of GuyanaOn North Rd & Hinks St+592 225-7191M-F 9AM-4:30PM, Sa 9-NoonTwo separate areas give a brief glance in the history of Guyana as well as the entire Guianas area. free.
  • Walter Roth Museum of AnthropologyMain St (between Middle St & New Market St). A free museum with two floors showing the Amerindian heritage of Guyana. free.
  • Independence Square
  • St George’s CathedralOne of the world’s tallest wooden structures, this cathedral is as attractive inside as out.
  • Stabroek MarketDating back to 1881, the interesting design of this iron structure and clock tower certainly make it the most recognisable of buildings.
  • Parliament BuildingDates back to 1829.
  • Botanical GardensOpen during daylight hours.A large free garden where families and people hangout. The Guyana zoo is located within the grounds of the gardens and south of the zoo there are Victoria Lilies – Guyana’s national flower, they are huge lilies. Free.
  • Guyana Zoo (inside the Botanical Gardens). A very small zoo with DIY cages for the animals. A lot of the cages are too small for the animal(s) they house. However, the zoo is a cheap way to spend an hour or two while in Georgetown. G$200/adults, G$100/children.

Things to do In Georgetown

  • American actor Pauly Shore has a party mansion called the Class Act after his 1992 movie of the same name. The mansion is situated on the outskirts of town in a former mangrove that was drained in order to build the property. During January and February when Shore is in residence, there are many “invite only” parties to attend with B-list semi-celebrities such as Matt Dillon, Carrot Top and Seth Green. However, there are also some open parties for the locals to attend if you can get a ticket. These tickets are even more sought after than one-day-international cricket tickets.
  • VictoriaThis was the first village bought by slaves. Its a place that you will never forget. The Holy Communion Lutheran Church was the first church in the country.
  • Demerara Rum Distillery (15min minibus ride). Tours are offered. G$30.

Food & Restaurants In Georgetown

Budget

  • Demico House – pastries, cakes etc.
  • JR Burgers (A Unique Guyanese Experience), Sandy Babb Street, Kitty+592 226-661409:00 – 23:00Flame-grilled beef burgers, rotisserie chicken, Jamaican patties, ice coffees, milk shakes, smoothies, doughnuts in the morning. Other locations at City Mall (Camp & Regent Streets) and Robb Street.
  • KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) – There are several branches located in the Georgetown area.
  • Popeyes and Pizza Hut, Vlissingen Road.
  • Salt and Pepper – good ‘Creole’ food.
  • Stabroek Market cookshops. The best for local foods, day time only.

Mid-range

  • Barrow Restaurant and Lounge, Linden (Mackenzie). Upscale restaurant – very nice cocktails and local food
  • Brazilian restaurant, Alexander Street. A Churrascaria that offers good food and service, and excellent caipirinhas.
  • New Thriving, Camp St (and other branches). Chinese restaurant. Also has a buffet menu.
  • Night Cap8 Pere Street Kitty,  +592 231 88465pm – 12amExcellent Guyanese and world comfort food in a trendy casual setting with indoor and outdoor seating. Coffee, teas and speciality alcoholic beverages.
  • Oasis Cafe125 Carmichael StAnd in Cheddi Jagan airport departure lounge. A nice range of cakes and pastries, together with coffee, cappuccino and the rest. Free wireless.
  • Shanta’s Restaurant, Camp & New Market street. Good local food such as curries for vegetarian and non-vegetarian, as well as roti, dhalpuri and other Indian food.
  • Sunflower, Cummings St. Wonderful Brazilian food.
  • Peppers, Regent Street. Good Brazillain food – though they weigh their portions.
  • StarbudsAlbert Street. A good selection of pasta, salads, sandwiches etc.
  • WindjammersKitty. Food reputed to be good.
  • Celina’s On seawall, wonderful scenery and view. Food not always predictable in terms of availability and lighting at night so bad that you cannot see what you are eating, although it is usually good.
  • Coal Pot Carmichael Street. An established tradition of good Guyanese food.

Splurge

  • El Dorado, Le Meridien Pegasus.
  • Tic Tac, Middle Street. Excellent Brazilian Restaurant
  • Dutch BottleSouth Road. Lovely colonial ambiance. Good Creole and Continental food – vegetarian and omnivore options. Try the callaloo soup.
  • Bottle Restaurant, Cara Lodge Hotel in Quamina Street. Excellent food.

Shopping In Georgetown

  • Rum. Guyana is famous for its rum . El Dorado has a good store in Departures at the airport but bear in mind that you cannot take a connecting flight carrying liquids unless they are in your suitcase. There are several places in town where you can buy the best brands.
  • The best place for buying souvenirs is The Hibiscus Plaza located outside the General Post office.
  • Buy wood carvings from the artists outside the Hotel Tower.
  • Stabroek MarketA major market in the city centre. Keep an eye on your wallet.

The City Mall on Regent Street is the most contemporary shopping center of its sort in Georgetown and is home to a number of tourist attractions. Hadfield Street on the city’s southern edge, Water Street to the west, Albert Street to the east, and Middle Street to the north define the core shopping district. This area contains the majority of the city’s shops, supermarkets, boutiques, and eateries.

The Royal Jewel House on Regent Street, TOPAZ Jewellers on Crown and Oronoque Streets in Queenstown, Gaskin & Jackson Jewellers on Camp Street, Kings Jewellery World on Quamina Street with a branch on Middle Street, and Fine Jewellery by Niko’s” on Church Street are just a few of the well-known locations where you can purchase high quality handcrafted gold pieces.

Additionally, inquire about the creations of Roger Gary, Pat Coates, and Michelle Cole, three highly regarded local and worldwide fashion designers.

Cost of Living

Georgetown City, Guyana, has an extremely high cost of living. As of January 2010, for instance, the cost of gasoline is around US$5 per litre, the cost of electricity is US$0.33 per unit, and the cost of a home gas cylinder is little over US$20. In central (safe) neighborhoods, the average family’s rent may surpass 750 US dollars per month, and the personal income tax, which is 33.33% of total taxable income, makes life even harder. Employee salaries are typically paid in Guyanese dollars, and the company withholds income tax at the source.

Nightlife In Georgetown

There are small rum shops and bars throughout the city, those of note are:

  • Buddy’s NightClub, Sheriff Street. The nightclub downstairs offers popular Caribbean Music (Dancehall, Soca, Reggae, Dub, etc.) with a dance floor open late into the night. The upstairs pool hall is a good place to start the evening, sit on the front porch to checkout the incoming clientèle.
  • Latino Club, Hatfield St. Despite the name, the club offers more Caribbean-style Music (Dancehall, Soca, Reggae, Dub, etc.) than Latin. A nice little patio outside serves good drinks and has ceiling fans to take cool-down breaks from the hot dance floor inside. Take cabs to and from this location at night as the surrounding areas can be a little dodgy.
  • Windies Bar. A nice little “sports” themed bar that pays homage to Guyana’s national sport – Cricket.
  • Palm Court. Nice outside dancing and sometimes features live Brazilian Music.
  • Le Grande Penthouse. located in central Georgetown,this bar and lounge is a popular spot for both locals and tourists, and the bar’s vibe is still laid back like it was almost 40 years ago.
  • Jerries. A 24 hour drinking spot that plays a mixture of music (dancehall, soca, reggae) from nightfall until morning, and then begins serving breakfast. A nice little bar with a large outside seating area that is busy most nights of the week. Regular DJs also play music but fairly centrally located as well in the Lamaha Newmarket block.
  • Local Rum ShopsAnywhere06:00Located anywhere that you would not find a bar or club. It is mostly found in rural areas. 100.

Stay Safe & Healthy In Georgetown

In General

Georgetown is notorious for petty street crime. Do not walk alone at night, or even in the day, unless you know the area well. Areas such as the Tiger Bay area east of Main Street and the entire southeastern part of the city including, in particular, Albouystown and Ruimveldt are traditionally known as high crime areas but one can be relatively safe if going through these areas in groups and with native escorts. Venturing into the covered area of the Stabroek Market can pose some dangers but if you need to visit it then do so with a group or with Guyanese whom you know well and with whom you feel comfortable. Police are unlikely to help you unless they see the crime in action. Be sensible about wearing jewelry. Even cosmetic jewelry which is gaudy is likely to attract the wrong attention.

It is advised to exercise common sense.

You might have heard of or read about the village Buxton. It is a hotbed of Afro-Guyanese violence, comparable to the American neighborhood Compton. Visits to Buxton ought to be brokered carefully with someone who knows the area well and who is well accepted in the village. If your visit to this village is perceived to be anything other than casual then there could be unwarranted problems. There are a lot of gangs and drug dealers there. Many Indo-Guyanese villages such as Cane Grove, Annadale, and lusignan, are notorious for violence, petty crimes, racism and kidnappings. It is advisable for toursists or people who are not of Indo-Guyanese origin travelling through these areas should also be accompanied by someone known in these areas.

The police response varies depending on the location and time of the crime. Some tourists have reported positive responses.

Discussions of the current affairs of ethnic relations between the two major races, politics and the socio-economic issues in the country ought to be undertaken with much tact and much patience. Be aware that these types of discourses can sometimes lead to very heated and intense debate, and possibly something much worse. Guyanese are generally very open to discussing most issues, but as an outsider, you could be seen as a part of the problem – as absurd as that sounds – so guard your tongue.

Crime is rarely directed at tourists, so don’t feel intimidated. Just be sensible about the company you keep, where you go and how you behave.

The biggest problem I experienced was the high level of noise, particularly in the areas where tourists / backpackers stay. E.g. the noise caused by Palm court disco on main street was so extreme that it triggered alarms of cars in the vicinity to go off. Whenever there is a bar / restaurant in the area there will be noise until late at night until 3 AM or later.


Safety for gay travelers

Homosexuality is illegal in Guyana and carries a sentence of life in prison. However, no one has been charged under the laws. One organization SASOD organizes some events to promote anti-homophobic work. There is no local gay “scene” as most homosexuals remain rather closeted. Private gatherings are known to occur to which one must be invited. Homosexuals who are openly gay are generally left alone providing they are circumspect about their behavior. Public displays of affection among gay people are frowned upon and can make you the target of overt discrimination, attacks and taunts. There are no hotels, resorts or bars anywhere in the country which cater exclusively to gays and lesbian visitors or locals for that matter. The gay traveler is wise to be very cautious and conservative in his/her behavior.

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