Relaxed yet vibrant, the capital city of Guyana is where almost a third of the country’s population lives and works. Georgetown is brimming with diversity and is a fun city to explore as a traveller. Skirted by the Atlantic Ocean on the northern edge, the city is cooled by the trade winds. The year-round summer climate makes it a breeze to wander through the streets and bazaars all year around.
Exploring the city’s monuments, relics, parks, museums and churches is fun and exciting for visitors and residents alike. Spend at least two to three days in Georgetown to get your bearings and gain a deeper understanding of the rich cultural tapestry of the country. Chatting with locals is a fun way to start building up your Creolese vocabulary and to start feeling like an insider. Some of the top attractions to explore include:
St. George’s Cathedral
Georgetown’s most famous landmark is the St. George’s Cathedral, built in the 18th century. Found in the heart of the city, it overshadows the modern buildings that occupy its surrounding areas. The high wooden ceiling supported by arches, a dazzling chandelier gifted by the Queen of England and the stained-glass paintings of the cathedral are the real highlights of this building. It is said that this fourth version of the wooden cathedral was the work of British Architect Sir Arthur Bloomfield, who ironically did not even visit once. It is also reputedly one of the tallest wooden structures in the world!
Lighthouse and Seawall
The red and white lighthouse that was once the tallest building in the city, now stands as #2 on that list. Climb up to the top (after seeking permission of course) to get a bird’s eye view of the sprawling city below and look out to the ocean to the north. From here you can spot the long stretch of the Seawall, a 280-mile dyke constructed by the Dutch, to stop the Atlantic from ravaging the city.
A moving ode to a slave, Cuffy, who valiantly fought for the liberation of workers on the sugarcane plantations, the monument is a reminder of Guyana’s foundational struggles. Ringed by a fountain, the statue of Cuffy stands tall, reminding people of the great rebellion that took place against colonial rule. The monument serves as a constant symbol of the journey Guyana has taken from the past to the present.
The current Umana Yana structure was completed in 2016 after the old building was burnt to the ground in the preceding year. The structure is a true reflection of an Indigenous home, all built with local materials. The structure is almost 17 meters tall and highlights the intricate creation of a large and sturdy thatch roof held by minimal rafters. It is now used as an official meeting place for conferences and events.
Botanical Gardens and Around
The green patchwork of gardens and parks offer much-needed freshness to the city. The zoo in Georgetown offers most visitors their first glimpse of the mighty jaguar and host of other endemic species such as boa constrictor, sloths and even a harpy eagle! The nearby Botanical Gardens boast of 200+ species of birds and ample picnicking space to enjoy a get-together. While visiting the Botanical Gardens, don’t miss the amazing manatees that live just below the famous Kissing Bridge, where many couples take their first wedding photos after tying the knot. Speaking of, it’s easy to catch multiple wedding celebrations on the weekends.
Visit the Walter Roth Museum to see detailed exhibits that showcase the life of the Indigenous Peoples of Guyana or explore the county’s great biodiversity at the National Museum. Apart from these two stand-out museums, make time to visit the Museum of African Heritage for a slice of African lifestyle. Georgetown’s museums are perfect to see the past and present juxtaposed in extensive exhibits. For a touch of urban culture, see the Roy Geddes Steel Pan Museum, where photographs, drums and souvenirs that document the musician’s life can be seen. At the National Gallery, you will be walking inside what was once the home of political leader Forbes Burnham.
No visit to Georgetown is complete without exploring the bustling alleyways of Stabroek Market. Prepare to be dazzled by rows of shops and vendors selling everything from veggies, fruits, clothing, toys, books, electronic gizmos and much much more. For a taste of local flavour, walk through the market via the clock tower entrance and venture through the maze of narrow lanes to vendors selling all types of local food dishes and beverages. Further in you get to feel the true local thrum – think of soca music, fresh fish sellers, boats loading and unloading their wares brought into town on the Demerara River, and so much more!
For those interested in experiencing Georgetown like a local, we also recommend visiting Bourda Market where most locals prefer to shoot for an ever-changing variety of fresh fruits and veggies. The city’s Seawall comes to
life on Sundays when locals descend on it to enjoy tasty snacks, sea breezes and liming (chilling out) with friends and family. Similarly, the National Park is not to be missed on weekend afternoons when impromptu cricket and football matches and birthday parties are in abundance.
Immerse yourself in Guyana’s unique vibe. Georgetown is the perfect entrée and stepping stone for travellers, eager to explore the amazing adventures that the rest of the country has to offer.
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