Things To Do In Georgetown
Guyana is the only South American country where English is the main language. Once known as British Guiana, it was ruled by Britain for over 150 years until it became independent in 1966. Today, British traditions such as the game of cricket still survive. As a result, the country often seems to have more in common with the English – speaking Caribbean islands than with the rest of South America. The City Hall in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital city, is typical of the days of British rule when many of the public buildings in the city were built from wood.
Georgetown is a cosmopolitan city that is situated on the fertile plains near the coast. This is also where most people live. It is composed of rugged hills, cloaked in the tropical rain forest that covers over three-fourths of the country and provides Guyana with valuable timber. Large deposits of bauxite, manganese and gold are mined in the country. Mining is a significant economic activity here and Guyana is one of the world’s largest producers of bauxite.
When To Go:
Georgetown delights in a tropical atmosphere all year round. The temperature stays warm with high precipitation, bringing in enough rainfall and humidity. The temperature ranges around a tolerable 16° Celsius up to a high of 34° Celsius. If you tour around the coastal attractions the range of humidity is similarly 80% higher than 65-70% in the savannah territory. The normal daytime temperature stays at 25° Celsius.
The city experiences dry and wet seasons twice in a period of 12 months. The primary wet season with enduring overwhelming showers happens during the months of December up to January, while the next wet season with less extraordinary rainfall occurs from the months of May through August.
Inside the dry season, the 'no-downpour' months begin from September till November though the second dry season incorporates the months of February, March, and April.
Therefore, the ideal time to enjoy a holiday is during the summer season (September – November) and during the end of the wet season (January – February).Travel is not advisable at the peak of the rainy season months (December, May, June, and July)
Here are the best things to do and places to admire in the city of Georgetown, Guyana:
St. George's Cathedral
The St. George's Cathedral is an ancient wooden mansion overlapping the Guyana landscape. It is a gorgeous old church that is visible from all points of the city. Located in the heart of Georgetown, this church has a unique architecture that is worth the visit. The Cathedral of St. George is the center of faith in Georgetown and was constructed in 1842. It is reported to be the largest wooden structure in the world. It is certainly the largest church in Guyana. Inside, there are stained glass and phrases of Jesus Christ. Picture taking is allowed and you can take several photos of the exterior from all sides as well as its impressive interior.
There are lots of images and sculptures of saints and a wall full of the famous icons of the Christian faith that also traces its existence to the 1800’s. The religious structure was officially declared a National Monument in the year 2000. St. George's Cathedral dominates the skyline of Georgetown, along with six or seven historical buildings of the city hall, also made of wood. Despite being painted in immaculate white, the cathedral is in urgent need of renovation. The windows are not in good condition, and when compared to the wooden Cathedral in Paramaribo, it is an eyesore. However, both inside and out it is still worth seeing, even though there has been a sharp decline in some parts of its construction.
The Promenade Gardens is a delightful place to relax with plenty of seating in the shade. The garden is well maintained and comfortable. It is clean and filled with collections of plants and flowers. The flowers go in full bloom during the month of March. The garden also has a pair of ancient large trees and a small pond with water lilies. There is even an area for birds on the premises of the Promenade Gardens. This makes it the perfect place for those who like the plants and birds!
The gardens are an ideal place to find relaxation and tranquility. There are lots of old trees and some of them are believed to be more than 200 years old. A statue of Gandhi is also located in the middle of the park. It is easily accessible and stands next to the zoo of the city (Guyana Zoological Park). National feasts and event celebrations are also usually held on its grounds. This park is kept safe and secure and you can take a few walks even at night or bring along your partner and enjoy the peace and quiet as you head for a romantic walk under the moonlit sky and a tranquil nature scene.
Guyana Zoological Park
The Guyana Zoological Park stands right next to the botanical garden (Guyana Botanical Gardens). It costs very little to purchase a pass where you will have time to visit several species of birds, animals and reptiles. It is a mixed atmosphere - some areas are nicely placed and other enclosures still need better facilities. But this zoo is definitely worth the ride! Especially beautiful is the aviary section where the zoo birds live in a cage (various parrots, toucans and other hornbill), and some are in the wild, (storks, herons) making their nests in the trees.
They also have an excellent selection of monkeys, capybaras, and ocelots. Some of the animals can be found in the zoo’s small lake. The trip to the zoo can last less than an hour because it is so small.
The Guyana Zoo and Botanical Park is located adjacent to each other in a serene area of Georgetown. The zoo contains animals from Guyana, and even as far as Manate. However, the Zoo area is limited to a corner of the Botanical Garden. Ideally, the whole area should be moved so the animals can have more space to move in and feel more comfortable in this enclosed natural habitat.
Guyana Botanical Gardens
The idea of creating the Guyana Botanical Gardens was brought about by the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society. Back in 1877, they passed a national resolution sent to the Governor for the creation of the Botanical and Horticultural Garden in Georgetown City. Subsequently, the administration purchased the adjacent land (Vlissengen) and incorporated it as part of the proposed garden plan. A huge part of this area was maximized for the garden section.
Together with the efforts of John Frederick Waby, (a great landscape artist and botanist from Trinidad) and the auspices of the government from then British Guiana, the project of the construction and arrangement of the park began in 1878. First, the area was emptied and drained. Trenches were unearthed and the ground was elevated to a higher level with most of the soil transferred from where the lake is currently situated. The original idea was to create an enclosure for wild animals and birds. After building the resort for animals, they proceeded with the creation of flower beds, park designs, and exotic plants to spruce up its natural vegetation. To better understand this horticultural garden and its fascinating history, it is best to tour around the park with a guide that is trained on the variety of wildlife, flowers, trees, and plants there.
Guyana National Museum
The Guyana National Museum is an impressive historical center in which you can acquire a finer understanding of Guyana's political and characteristic history. Tourists are most delighted by the map room and the exhibit about the territorial and border issues with Venezuela and Brazil. However, taking pictures is not permitted inside. Admission is totally free, but a donation is encouraged for the upkeep of the museum. The museum is well lighted and exceptionally detailed. If you are curious about the flora and fauna of the region, this is the right place to learn about them. The historical perspective presented here is superb and you’ll find information on almost everything about Georgetown and Guyana.
The museum is housed in a two-story building and the entire experience can last about 1 hour. The huge sloth is the major attraction that is frequently visited by guests. It is prohibited to touch or feel it because the staff will advise that it is coated with a toxic chemical to keep it preserved. The Museum is in a reasonably great condition and in a much better situation than other sites in the city. It is an incredible spot to visit and to get educated about the history and the people of Guyana. Be sure to see it when you are in Georgetown.
The Georgetown Lighthouse is a very ancient landmark of the city. It has exceptionally steep and cramped stairs that go all the way to the top. You must be careful when you climb to the top because the narrow space does not allow a room for mistake and there are not enough handrails to secure the climb. The landings are little, and can only fit no more than 2 individuals at once. Once at the top, you will get a bit apprehensive to walk up to the ledge area. But after the entire challenging climb, the best reward awaits - an idyllic view of Georgetown from above an imposing lighthouse.
The current lighthouse goes way back to the time when it served as a replacement for a wooden one that was created by the early Dutch colonizers. It was constructed in 1803 and stands 113 ft tall. The strenuous climb to the top is no simple task yet once fulfilled, it is worth each exertion. The view is fabulous. Everything looks like a fairy tale from above because of the utterly captivating panorama of the city and the nearby coast. If you feel challenged to try this, secure a permit first from the tourism information to be allowed access to the entrance door of the lighthouse. This is one of the must-sees when traveling to Guyana because of its 360 degree perspective of the capital city of Georgetown.
The Stabroek Market is an enticing place for people to explore the city center of Georgetown. It is a large local market located next to the bus terminal. It is always full, inside and out, from all sorts of people who want to try out what the city has to offer. There is a wide selection of choices, from fresh produce and dry goods at affordable prices, to souvenirs you can bring home to friends and families. Try sneaking in and out of the congested market aisles to see the kind of products being sold in the city. Unfortunately its beautiful architecture, including the clock, is in states of abandonment and obviously neglected. But still, it is worth a visit when in Georgetown.
Rewa Eco Lodge Park Tour
One of the amusing things to do while in Georgetown is to have a tour of their natural park. The Rewa Eco Lodge Park Tour is like having a piece of paradise while in the enchanting capital of Guyana. Just getting there is a unique experience because you need to spend a good 2 hours in a small motor boat that sails through the beautiful and un-spoilt rainforest, pass caimans, birds and a few fishermen in their small dugout canoes. The friendly reception by two employees of the lodge on the banks is the beginning of an unforgettable journey. In the beautifully manicured park, there are some spacious wooden huts that house the guests, the restaurant, and the tour operator’s office.
The huts are very basic but solid and stationary with typically tasteful furnishings like; ordinary and large beds with good mosquito nets. Outside the protected view there is a clean bathroom area with shower and toilet. The fact that the shower is cold does not bother anyone at all because it is rather refreshing!
Air conditioning is not even needed here, electrical power is also not accessible and most gadgets run on generator or batteries. If you need to totally rest from the busy city life, there is one more positive thing about your stay here; there is NO wireless network. For a busy traveler who needs an escape from everything, this is greatly appreciated. The excursions in the surrounding area with the very friendly and knowledgeable guide are unforgettable. One can only hope that this place remains the same as it is and is not extended or messed with unnecessary luxury and commercialism. It is an experience off the beaten path that is definitely worth trying.
National Library of Guyana
The National Library of Guyana was first opened to the public in 1909. It is equipped with a reading room, book lending and complete reference for public consumption. An elaborate iron grille distances the audience from the books. On the external side of the grille is a table with the entire catalog of the books listed on it.
This library is open to every curious traveler. Because of their wide selection of books (almost 500,000 book titles in their collection) and archived images that shows what Georgetown use to look like it is an attraction. There is no entrance fee and the resident librarian will gladly answer questions regarding the creation of this old structure.
Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology
The Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology is a small gallery that provides a peek into the lives of the Guyana’s local Indian populace. Roth’s book was the inspiration for the creation of this museum. Taking pictures is not allowed inside. The Amerindian society is portrayed and clarified in this pilgrim style building fitted with Demerara screens, a reminder of their past days in Georgetown.
The exhibit and the tour are very informative and educational. The collection of photographs from history is worth seeing. If you want to buy souvenirs about Georgetown, you can do so on the second floor. This building which was initially built for private purposes in the 1880's. It houses a noteworthy anthropological and archeological collection. It is the only historical center of its kind in the Caribbean that contains a huge accumulation of pre- Columbian artifacts.
The tour of the Demerara Distillery is a fun thing to do when in Georgetown, plus, you can try some of the best rum in the world. The production line is exceptionally impressive, the workers and the staff are all friendly and the rum is clearly phenomenal. At the end of the visit, you can rest at their own bar, where you can try shots of distinctive flavors. Tickets for the tour can be obtained in the adjacent wine wholesale shop located on the right side of the road, just before the rum processing and distillery plant.
There are not many cities around the world that offer pure adventure in a country that is as diverse and forested as Guyana. In spite of the fact that the Caribbean nation has a deep history of political turmoil and racial disputes (there is regular news of corruption, economic, and political instability) a cheerful and inspired group of people are transforming the nation and Georgetown City into one of the country’s leading ecotourism destination. From the city’s row of wooden structures up to the nestling ocean turtles in the coastal shores to the Amerindian museums, Georgetown has plenty to offer. Mix it with great Amazon flavor, and Georgetown is worth all the bumps on its rough road. It’s a magical adventure that is truly worth getting to know- a hidden gem in South America’s Demerarra - Mahaica territory.