No matter which part of the world you visit, ‘safety’ is something that all solo travellers are mindful of. While some countries are considered safer than others, news of stray incidents reach us every day from all parts of the world.
The same goes for Guyana. In its formative years came problems of petty crimes, robberies, pick pocketing and assaults. This period of instability marred to some extent the nation’s reputation in being one that is unsafe for solo travellers. Guyana is now on the rise and this impression is being firmly dusted off with better infrastructure, connectivity and law and order over the last decade.
Trusting strangers is one of the implicit rules of travelling solo that makes the journey exciting. Having said that, personal discretion and relying on instinct are integral too. Consider Guyana just as safe as any other country that you would travel to. The tenets of safety are the same as any other destination or even your home country. However, there are some precautions that solo travellers can take while traversing through.
Interacting with locals
Local interactions are the best part of any journey, and Guyana is no exception! Guyana is an extremely hospitable country, where locals are happy to show you around and help you out if you need some assistance.
Unexpected invitations for food and sharing in people’s culture are common and heartwarming aspects of the country. However, use your discretion during interactions and go by your instinct when trusting someone. There is hardly a rule that can guarantee safety when meeting new people but keep your guard up and look out for any undesired or uncomfortable cues.
Traversing the roadways
Whether you’re in the capital city, major towns or in remote locations, try and get off the road before dark. In Georgetown, you can book reliable cab services, which can be traced, but in far-flung places, you will have to rely on public transportation or transportation that you might have booked earlier.
It is prudent to get to your destination by the evening, so you’re not vulnerable travelling alone in the night. In sparsely populated interiors getting help at night might be more difficult.
Staying accessible and connected
Ensure that you share your travel plans and itinerary with someone back home at all times. It is always advisable that your loved ones have contact details to reach you through the travel agent or tour operator you’re travelling with or the lodges where you’ll be staying.
When on the road, there might be some days when you’re not connected by Internet or phone. In this case, let someone know where you will be travelling to and when you’re likely to be in connectivity. Even if you’re getting a local SIM card, chances are that you will not have any service in parts of the interior, especially outside of the villages.
Carrying money and valuables
Chances are that you are carrying photography and video equipment, along with other valuables like smartphones, laptops and tablets. If you can, avoid carrying too many gadgets so you don’t have to keep an eye on them at all times and also carry them around with you.
Booking ahead leaves you without the stress of carrying too much money in cash. Even when withdrawing money in major towns, you’re allowed to withdraw only small sums from the ATM (usually ~US$350). It is also advisable that you pack in a manner that you can carry your stuff on you with ease.
It is only natural to want to meet with new people when travelling. Food and drinks are a natural extension of hospitality and spending time. Be conscious of the amount of alcohol consumption, and exercise caution on with whom and where you are drinking. Local beverages can be very potent and you may become tipsy before you realise it. Being cognizant that with lower inhibitions, it is always best to be cautious of making bad decisions.
Overall Guyana is a safe place for you to visit either solo or as a family. Remain vigilant like you would in any major tourist destination around the world, and you will have an experience to cherish for a lifetime.
Travel Better in Guyana: Guyana is working hard to conserve its vibrant wildlife and ecosystems and protect its culture and heritage. We realize that it is often difficult to understand how you can support these aims and make a difference when you travel. That’s why we’ve set out to help you by creating Visitor Guidelines for Sustainable Travel. All passionate globetrotters, curious culture seekers, and bold adventurers are encouraged to do all you can to leave a positive impact on the people and places you visit in Guyana.