With 90% of Guyana’s population living on the coast, the interior of this South American country is relatively untouched, offering adventure-hungry clients the opportunity to escape the tourist crowds and interact with indigenous people in their villages.
From January to September 2019, UK flight arrivals to Guyana were up by 17% year-on-year, with just under 5,000 UK tourists visiting during this period.
“Though the numbers may be smaller than for other countries, Guyana truly is a quality-over-quantity destination,” said Nicola Balram, senior officer of marketing at the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA).
“Outside of Georgetown, the whole of Guyana is relatively unknown, which is part of its charm. You can stay at an eco-lodge and be the only group there, and travel through the country for hours without seeing another tourist in the area.”
Often referred to as “The Land of the Giants” due to its populations of jaguar, giant anteater, giant otter, black caiman, anaconda, arapaima and more than 900 species of bird, Guyana is a paradise for nature lovers.
It is also part of the Guiana Shield, one of only four pristine tropical forests remaining in the world, which provides outstanding biodiversity.
Bucket-list experiences include a trip to Kaieteur Falls, which receives only a handful of visitors per day and is five times taller than Niagara Falls. “Best of all, there are no crowds and no gift shops,” added Balram.
Guyana’s melting pot of cultures and cultural events provide numerous reasons for clients to visit throughout the year.
One of the most well-known celebrations is the Guyana carnival (known as Mashramani), which takes place each year on 23 February. People flock to the capital, Georgetown, to celebrate Guyana achieving republic status in 1970, with a parade of elaborately decorated floats, dancing and plenty of food and drink.
Next year will be a particularly good year to visit, said Balram. “In 2020, Guyana will hold its 50th republic celebration and on 26 May it also celebrates its independence status from the British since 1966, coinciding with Guyana carnival.”
The GTA is working closely with the UK trade, added Balram. “For 2020, we aim to create an online travel training platform through Lata to support agents.”
Flights: Clients can fly via the Caribbean with Virgin Atlantic or British Airways, connecting in Barbados or Antigua with Liat or Caribbean Airlines.
Currency: Guyanese dollar.
Visa: Brits will get a tourist visa on arrival, valid for up to three months. Language: Guyana is the only South American country with English as the official language.