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Living in Georgetown
A comprehensive guide about living well in Georgetown
Georgetown is the capital city of Guyana and it is famous for its cultural resorts and historical buildings. The official language in Georgetown is English. If you plan to live in Georgetown, please check out our guide for more information about local life.
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Life in Georgetown
Culture and Leisure
Georgetown is an interesting city with some colonial architecture that is quite fascinating. In the city are several markets, and there are also museums and historical buildings which show a lot about the history of the country. The Guyana National Museum shows a glimpse of history, and there is also the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology. The center of the city is Independence Square, a gathering point for locals, tourists and expats alike. St George’s Cathedral is an impressively large wooden structure, acting as a classic display of the architecture of Georgetown, which is quite unique.
Transportation in Georgetown
Georgetown’s main airport is the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, which mainly runs flights from the United States and the Caribbean islands. There will not be anywhere to exchange money at the airport, but US dollars can be used for most purchases, and it is not difficult for people to stay in Georgetown and not need any local currency at all. There is only one cashpoint at the airport from which you will be able to access a foreign bank account, and this will dispense dollars, but it is best to take dollars with you when flying into the country. Once you have arrived, a short taxi journey or minibus will usually take less than an hour to get to the center of Georgetown.
Once you have arrived in Georgetown, the easiest way to get around the city is by minibus, which is inexpensive, but will not always take you to your exact destination, in which case taxis are also a cheap way of getting around. For expats wanting to drive in their new home, there are a couple of important things to remember. Firstly, Guyana drives on the right. Secondly, foreigners wishing to drive in Guyana must apply for a “Driver’s Permit” at their nearest Guyanese Embassy. This lasts for a month, after which you must apply for an International Driver’s Permit.
Safety and Security
The city of Georgetown is rife with street crime, which can be very off-putting for expatriates. Avoid areas that you do not know well at all times, and always avoid walking alone at night. It is a good idea to find a taxi driver you can trust and get their number so that you feel safe getting from place to place at night, and even during the day in the less secure areas, particularly the south-eastern part of the city, the Tiger Bay area, Albousytown and Ruimveldt. Walking around with a group of people is a lot safer. Buxton is another village which should be avoided; try not to visit unless you are with someone who is very familiar with the area and is known and trusted in the village.
Crime is not usually directed at foreigners, but being smart and using common sense is essential. Homosexuality is still illegal in Guyana, but no one has ever been charged under Guyana Law for this. There is also a great deal of political tension between different ethnicities, so it is smart to be respectful and not get involved in such conversations.
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