Size and Description
Translated, Guyana means “The Land of Many Waters” and, of their total area, more than 8% of it is made up of water.
Guyana is about the size of Minnesota, Utah, Idaho or Kansas (I know, all pretty boring-ly shaped states).
Put differently, and more appropriately for my narrow view, it’s the size of North Carolina + South Carolina combined. Or about 1/3 of France:
Its population is only about 750k people (similar to that of North Dakota or Alaska). As such, it has one of the lowest population/mi2 figures in the world (they’re 230th of 242 countries).
Guyana’s economy is driven by rice & sugar production and gold mining.
Crazy stat: the employable workforce in Guyana is only appx 450k people. To put that in perspective, the largest Foxconn Factory (iPhone producer) in Shenzhen, China employees somewhere between 230k to 450k people at one factory!
Very Brief History
- In 1616, the Dutch settled the area. Check out the Dutch trade route below showing that Guyana received slaves from Western Africa while exporting sugar.
- 1746: in an effort to attract more immigrants, the Dutch opened an area up to the British.
- By 1786, so many British had settled there that the country was effectively under British control.
- Between the 1780s and 1814, the Dutch, British and French all fought back home in Europe.
- 1814: the dust settled and the Dutch ceded the colony to British control (thus explaining the Dutch-style architechture but English-speaking inhabitants).
- 1966: Guyana was granted its independence from the British
In short, you’ll be fine in Guyana – just exercise as much caution as you would in an unfamiliar/dangerous neighborhood in your home town. The detailed U.S. Department of State report can be found here: Guyana Report. The most important things to take away when visiting Georgetown:
- “The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens to be cautious and vigilant, particularly near any sites associated with political activity.”
- “You should avoid walking around Georgetown alone, even in the main areas and especially after dark.”
- “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.”
Why Would You Want to Go There?
The most popular reason to visit is eco-tourism, where you can experience a ton of undisturbed nature in the following places:
It’s far from impressive, but it’s a decent-enough place to visit once and will provide you with cheap lodging while in Guyana.