Georgetown Guyana...
The Garden City of the Caribbean

Boy with the Guyanese flag painted over his face.
Boy with the Guyanese flag painted over his face - ©D. Walker/Istockphoto

The history of Georgetown Guyana began in the XVIII century (1753), when the Dutch created a small town - Demerara colony - at Borsselen island, one of the three little islands some twenty miles up the Demerara river

Things changed in 1781, when the British gained control of Demerara and erected Fort St George near the mouth of the river. But it didn't last long.

In 1782, the French - then allied of the Dutch - came in a demolished Fort St George, however, the need to create some kind of capital or administrative center was already there.

The foundation of the city began to take shape as La Nouvelle Ville. Not long after, in 1784, the colonies of Demerara and Essequibo were restored to the Duch, who renamed it Stabroek, after the President of the Dutch West India Company: Nicholas Van Gleevink; Lord of Castricum, Buckum and Stabroek.

The city's final name, Georgetown, occurred in 1812 - in honor of King George IV - when Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice were finally handed over to the British. It was given official city status on 24 August 1842, during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Guyana (Guiana) became known as British Guiana for a period that lasted until 1966, when it gained independence from United Kindom. In 1970, it became a Republic: Co-operative Republic of Guyana. Third smallest country in the continent - after Suriname and Uruguay - it is the only South American nation whose official language is English.

Georgetown Guyana - and it's important to make the distinction due to the number of cities and places bearing the same name in the world - has a profusion of architectural styles that reflect the country's colonial past. A remarkable feature of its buildings is that they are virtually all made of wood. with broad avenues lined with saman trees (rain trees) which has given it the nickname of "Garden City of the Caribbean".

With a population of 800,000 (July 2013 est.), Georgetown is a colorful mix of various ethnic origins, mainly represented by East Indians, Africans and Amerindians. It has a hot tropical rainforest climate that it doesn't truly have a dry season, with annual average high temperature of 30°Celsius and lowest average of 24°C. Observe Georgetown map here.

As a word of caution, Georgetown Guyana is not regarded as a safe town to freely walk alone day or night unless you know the area, you are part of a group or walk around with a local Guyanese you know or trust. In fact, it's notorious for petty crime, but don't get paranoid, exercise common sense and you will be fine.

By the way, check some tips for safe travel to South America that would help you throughout, nothing fancy but simple things we tend to forget at times.

Georgetown Guyana Attractions:

Stabroek Market. Georgetown, Guyana
Stabroek Market - ©Guyana Tourism Authority

Just outside town, don't leave out a visit to Victoria, some 18 miles away. Originally known as Plantation Northbrook, it was renamed as Victoria when a number of former slaves bought it in 1839. The village grew and later became one of the leading exporters of products made from coconuts and cassava

Another historic sight is the Demerara Rum Distillery. Located at Plantation Diamond, on the East bank of the Demerara River, its history goes back to XVII, when a group of sugar estates formed a co-operative to export rum to sailors. In those days, there were over 200 small distilleries in the region, each of them producing its own style of rum.

Georgetown Guyana will likely be your entry point to explore other well known country attractions such as the Rupununi Savannas, Iwokrama Rainforest, Bartica, Kaieteur Falls and the Kanuku Mountains.

How to Get There:

Cheddi Jagan International Airport (GEO) - formerly known as Timerhi International - is located in the town of Timerhi, 41 kilometers (25 mi) to the south of Georgetown. Visit the Official site. It's mainly served by Caribbean Airlines from Miami and Ney York. LIAT Airline provides regular connections to Port of Spain and Bridgetown. There are also daily flights from London (UK).

A second, smaller airport (Ogle Airport - OGL) is closer to town (6 miles) and used by private charter companies.

To/from Paramaribo (Suriname's capital) there is an overland connection, using a combination of bus-ferry-bus, a journey that takes around 8 hours to complete. Coming from Brazil, travel to Bonfim (State of Roraima) and do the border crossing to Lethem city. From there, take a bus to Georgetown (14-18 hour journey).

Where to Stay:

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