Find Manatees in the Georgetown Botanic Gardens
Before my trip I'd read about the birdlife to be found in the Botanic Gardens. Reports said it was rich in bird diversity and included some species eg the Blood-coloured Parrot, that is only found along the coastal strip but most easily located in the gardens. I must say I was disappointed. For a start I would have felt uncomfortable wearing binoculars and perhaps a potential target for muggers. There were courting couples and someone with binoculars may have been thought of as a snooper.
The gardens were not formally laid out and whilst they may have contained some interesting plant specimens it didn't seem that way to me as a casual visitor. It was more like a large, grassy open space with trees and shrubs scattered around with a bandstand and some ponds. At least entry was free and there were some guards on the gates. These close at 6pm.
The entrance to Zoo is also from inside the gardens. There is a separate entry fee for the Zoo. I would not describe it a happy place.
However the ponds near the entrance to the gardens did contain some real gems - there were some West Indian Manatees living quietly in these large ponds and they were very tame. Indeed people were feeding them with vines and creepers snatched from the nearby shrubs. The manatees gave every impression of enjoying the food. They have small eyes, large nostrils and two sets of whiskery, moveable fleshy lobes on either side of the mouth that they use to direct the vegetation towards their teeth. They are about 2-3metres in length with a long, rounded body and a broad, flattened, circular tail. I had no idea these creatures were to be found in the gardens and I was thrilled to find them there. Certainly the locals I saw feeding them seemed pleased and happy to come close to these peaceful, slow moving, harmless herbivores. Stories abound that Manatees are the source of sailor's tales about Mermaids but frankly I think it would need a huge amount of imagination and intoxication to see the similarity between a Manatee and the popular image of a mermaid. Besides Manatees don't have long flowing golden hair!
This park is a' souvenir of Georgetown', known as a 'garden city'.
Promenade gardens has been rehabilitated in 2006.
It is a good place to watch birds at Sunset as they arrive in each tree.
It was part of the independance park which is now divided with a playground.
- Hiking and Walking
- Theme Park Trips
Stabroek, the former name of Georgetown during the dutch time.
The beautiful Stabroek market is an important center of attraction in Georgetown.
A very well organized chaos. Sadly, some guyanese don't recommend this place for tourists.
Try to overcome the negative impressions you are receiving and visit for the atmosphere and also the architecture.
Some say that it has been built to be a train station, info not verified, but there is no more train in this country.
- Budget Travel
Admission is free, while donations are accepted.
A very friendly woman at the front desk explained the whole museum to me (it's not that large!), and I spent about an hour wandering around looking at the somewhat ramshackle and random, yet interesting exhibits. On the first floor, there are scale models of various colonial buildings in Georgetown and sailing ships; artifacts like old bottles and carved pipes (some of the pipes are pretty cool); a life-size model of a "pork-knocker," which is the term used for small-scale gold and diamond miners in Guyana, complete with mining equipment; and a 60s-era Rolls Royce that was used by Guyana's first post-independence prime minister. There are also exhibits of old machinery, household articles, and posters about Georgetown's history and development. Head all the way to the back room to see the Giant Sloth, passing a weird jumble of disused cabinets containing things like a US Saturn rocket (!), a moon rock, stamps, and coins. The Giant Sloth really is pretty giant--about 15 feet tall, as far as I could tell.
Continue past the sloth through the unmarked painted doors to the blissfully air-conditioned Map Room--there are lots of great old maps and reproductions dating as far back as the late 1500s, plus mapmaking and surveying equipment. The first European explorer of Guyana was Sir Walter Raleigh in 1595-96, for the historically minded.
The second floor is devoted to natural history, from giant fish and crustaceans through reptiles, insects, birds, and mammals. At the time of my visit there were some partially constructed papier-mache sculptures around that looked like they were getting formed into things like trees and rocks. I'm not sure this will really do much for the atmosphere, but it can't hurt!
No photography is allowed inside, so unfortunately I can't show any of the exhibits.
Commercial areas of Georgetown
The main commercial area in Georgetown centers around Regent Street and the streets just near it. You can buy more or less anything made of plastic, cheap clothing, various consumer goods, watches and jewelry, etc. Foodstuffs like produce, staples, meat, fish, etc. are best found in and around the very bustling Stabroek Market or the slightly less bustling Bourda Market. Both of these also have dozens of stalls and vendors selling household items, clothing, and so on.
Wandering the streets of Georgetown
I spent about 8 hours wandering around Georgetown, which is probably about 3 hours more than necessary to see more or less everything. It's also about 7.5 hours too many if you are bothered a lot by heat. I was there in late October and the temperature was in the 90s, with very bright sunshine that definitely required sunscreen.
Still, it is an interesting place to explore, with colonial-era wooden architecture all over, from regular houses to office buildings, institutional buildings, churches, and markets. There are very bustling market areas as well as very sleepy parts of town just a couple of blocks away. The government buildings are charmingly small, like the Dept. of Education--which seemed to be housed in a couple of two-story wooden buildings that looked more like law offices than anything else.
St. George's Cathedral
This cathedral looks fairly decrepit from the outside, but don't let that stop you from going in. The interior, well worth seeing, is in much better condition--take some time to explore it. The spacious, airy nave is entirely made of wood--the barrel-vaulted ceiling is striped with light and dark material. A filigreed white metal fence encloses the altar area, which also features a beautifully painted pipe organ. Around the walls, fascinating plaques memorialize British colonial residents who lived and died in Georgetown in the 19th and 20th centuries. Like pretty much every building in town, the church is not air conditioned, but louvered windows are open 24/7 to let the breeze blow through. When I visited, there was a Sunday school class in session--as pretty much the only other occupant, I tried to stay as unobtrusive as possible so the kids would pay attention to their teacher instead of me!
You should go to Kaieteur falls, it is the most beautiful experience in your life. We went with Wilderness explorers and payed 205 dollar each. It is the only place in the wordl where you can see the golden frog. You certainly will see the frog. It takes you 50 minutes to fly over the wilder ness to get there. Lunch, guided tour and drinks are included.
- National/State Park
- Adventure Travel
The zoo was better then expected. They do their best to make it work. There were monkeys in the caches and outside. Most animals are typical South-American. We laughed about the otter, see my movie.The Guyana Zoo is open to the public from 7:30a.m to 5:30p.m every day of the year.
Originally built in 1881, it has survived the ups and downs of Georgetown's life. It still maintains the Dutch name that the city used to be called before the British came in. It is a lively market with fish, vegetables, dry goods, clothing, and miscellaneous bits. Market opens early and closes early. Best to get there around breakfast time when the crowds are busy and the heat of the day are not too hot. **Beware that pick pockets and non-violent theft is common in this area.
The interior market is open standard hours and offers everything from shoes and clothes to electronics and food. The streets around the perimeter form a 24-hour day/night market. There are small food stalls along with produces and odd random tidbits. Walking through here you may get some strange looks since foreigners do not often find themselves here, but since there are many people, you will be safe enough. It is not recommended to walk through the market area at night. I've been told by locals that Bourda has better fruits while Stabroek has better vegetables.
The museums in Georgetown are free. Just check your bags and turn off your camera. They will have a guest book at the end to sign and offer any comments you may have.
The two museums that I'd recommend are:
Walter Roth Museum - it has archeological and cultural artifacts from the interior and Amerindian societies. The displays on weapons and basketry are quite informative. A complete tour of this facility will take about 30 minutes.
National Museum - the original museum was destroyed by fire and with it, many of the artifacts. This museum has several 3D models of what the city looked like in the past, several historical displays and artifacts. The upstairs is dedicated to the wildlife found in the Guianias.
St Georges Cathedral
You don't have to be an afficianado of architecture to marvel at this place. It is said to be the world's tallest wooden building and it seems miraculous that it has lasted so long and is in such (reasonably) good condition. Like most of Georgetown, it could do with some attention to repairs and maintenance but is well worth a visit. Don't visit Georgetown for the sights, though - there are few that I saw. However the warmth and friendliness of the people will delight the visitor and I doubt that any visitor will leave the country hungry or thirsty!
Constructed to protect the city from the sea - many of the houses are built seven feet below flood level - the wall was completed in 1882 and built mostly by convict labour. It is a popular place for joggers, strollers and lovers to meet.
Go to the botanical gardens at the end of the day and watch the birds. In the ponds there are manatees, you can see them come up and eating. A lot of weddingparties go here for their pictures.