Special Travel Circumstances in Guyana

Flights on all airlines can be delayed, rerouted, or canceled without notice. Air travel within Guyana generally depends on demand. On small domestic airlines, flights that are not full may be canceled or passengers may be expected to pay for the empty seats. Travelers to the United States from Guyana have found narcotics planted in their luggage, both in bags registered under their names and in items they were carrying for others. You should not carry any items you did not personally purchase and pack and should take care that no additional bags are registered in your name. Every year several U.S. citizens are arrested at the airport attempting to carry drugs to the United States. Persons arrested usually end up serving lengthy prison sentences in Guyana, as drug laws are strict and pre-trial detention can last for years. In addition, due to the risks of checked baggage being lost, delayed, or rifled through, you should hand carry medications, valuables, and perishable items and make sure to carry a prescription for any medications that you are required to take.

Travel in the interior The interior of the country is largely not policed and emergency services are generally not available. There is no cellular phone reception in much of the interior.

Flooding: There are two main rainy seasons in Guyana (December - January and May - July). However, even at other times of the year, heavy rains are possible and flash flooding can occur. The coastal plain floods occasionally, and there was significant flooding in Greater Georgetown and along the East Coast in January 2005 and in the Mahaica-Mahaicony Abrary area, Canals 1 and 2, on the West Coast Demerara and the Pomeroon River catchment area in January 2006. There was also isolated flooding on the East Coast in early 2009. The incidence of waterborne diseases increases during periods of flooding. Rains are expected to be heavier than normal during the 2011-2012 rainy seasons.

Drinking Water: The water supply system throughout the country should be considered contaminated, and travelers should treat or boil water before consumption, or purchase bottled water.

Changing Currency and Credit Card Use: You should have enough cash or travelers checks to meet your expenses. Although credit cards are accepted at certain institutions in Georgetown, travelers should consider the risk of using credit cards and ATM cards to withdraw cash from an overseas account, due to a high risk of stolen PIN data.

You are advised to exchange currency only with banks, hotels, and licensed money exchange houses ("cambios"). Many foreigners who opt to exchange money on the streets, lured by promises of higher exchange rates, become victims of fraud or receive counterfeit currency. Foreigners have been mugged after completing bank transactions. There is no legal recourse unless the police are successful in apprehending the perpetrator; even then there is no guarantee that the money will be recovered.

Firearms: Guyanese customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Guyana of items such as firearms. If you plan to take your firearms or ammunition to or through Guyana, you should contact officials at the Embassy of Guyana to learn about local regulations and fully comply with those regulations before traveling. Even innocuous items like jewelry that looks like ammunition could result in arrest. You may consult the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site for information on importing firearms into the United States.

Wildlife: Many plants and animals common in Guyana are globally threatened or endangered species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). More information may be found at the CITES web site. The Guyanese Ministry of Agriculture will grant an export permit for taking an exotic bird out of the country only to those persons who have been legally residing in Guyana for more than one year. There have been several U.S. citizens arrested for attempting to leave Guyana carrying birds without having obtained an export permit. If you have legally resided in Guyana for more than a year and would like to take back to the United States any birds or animals, including pets that are listed in CITES Appendices I, II, and III, you must also have an appropriate U.S. import permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). This is a U.S. regulation that applies regardless of distinctions among the three CITES Appendices. You can obtain fact sheets and permit applications from the USFWS Office of Management Authority, Branch of Permits, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203, telephone (703) 358-2104, fax (703) 358-2281.

Disclaimer

You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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