Cheap drinking water
Corner of Robb & Light streets
(other locations too, but this is most central)
Tap water in Guyana is not to be trusted. And most visitors to the tropics will go through many liters of water a day. This adds up quickly!
Anyone can buy a new bottle or water here for normal prices (~200 GYD for 1L).
However, if you have a bottle (any bottle) up to 2L in size, they will fill it for only 20 GYD ($0.10 US!!). Open 7 days a week, until 8pm on weekdays (not sure open hours on weekends).
Gateway to the Lost World
Georgetown is home to over half of the ~700,000 people of Guyana. Spread among the old colonial buildings, most of them live meager lives in meager homes. The impoverished facades are everywhere in the country, but do not seem to make the locals pause. There are a few humble things to do and see in Georgetown. The museums are free to the public and main streets’ colonial architecture is a step back in time. There are lots of smiles and friendly faces. I met some wonderfully helpful and friendly people.
But unfortunately I was also introduced to the problems with crime, theft and some shady dealings. During my short stay, my camera was stolen right out of my hand. The day after I met some Peace Corp volunteers, they called to tell me that later that same afternoon one was taken from behind and had his backpack, computer, camera and passport stolen. Crime is a byproduct of several factors, and unfortunately Georgetown has plenty of them. Foreigners tend to be targeted for non-violent crimes because the locals have learned that most foreigners are either hesitant to do anything against it, or will leave before they have any opportunity to follow up with the authorities.
I toured Georgetown and explored some of the local river ways to visit the Amerindian villages and swim in the “black waters”. The black water rivers are quite refreshing to swim in, particularly on hot days. It gets its color from leaves that fall into it along the jungle basin. It is clean and safe to swim in.
After Georgetown, I ventured down to the Brazilian border town of Lethem and the jungles of Iwokrama. For information about getting to Lethem, check out my Lethem page. For information about Iwokrama, read my Guyana page.
For more general comments on my trip here, feel free to visit my Guyana page.
(for more pictures, feel free to visit my Guyana Gallery. If you enjoy the pictures, please leave a comment.)
The Caribbean's Garden City
The picturesque capital and port of Georgetown, with its modern hotels and traditional wooden buildings lining broad boulevards, stands guard over the Demerara River. The striking architecture reminds us of its strong 18th and 19th century Dutch and British history and is a fascinating introduction to the land of Guyana. Don't miss St. George's Cathedral, reputed to be the world's tallest wooden building.
Georgetown is almost fairy tale in appearance, thanks to the tree-lined streets (photo) and avenues and the quaint Dutch colonial and Victorian architecture stemming from its days as Dutch and English colonies. Georgetown lies below the high-tide level, protected by a seawall ( photo) with a series of canals crisscrossing the city. When rains are heavy, flooding, as occurred in early 2005, is a risk.
Located on the mouth of the Demerara River fronting the Atlantic Ocean, Georgetown, originally called Stabroek, was an ideal location for European presence in the Caribbean. Orient yourself with this map of Guyana. Rich in timber, bauxite, gold and diamonds, the land supported sugar cane plantations and enriched the colonial governments. The Spanish, Dutch, French and English all had their eyes on this region and for years each struggled to possess it.
The Dutch initially gained the upper hand and established Stabroek on the lines of any tidy, Dutch city. The British occupied the Dutch colony during the Napoleonic Wars and renamed the capital, and largest city, in 1812 as Georgetown in honor of George III.