Although Guyana is actually a South American country, many consider it to be part of the Caribbean. So, what exactly makes it more West Indian?
The country’s history is much more Caribbean by nature than it is South American. One reason for this is that Guyana was once a British colony, like many of the Caribbean islands. No other South American countries were ever British colonies and Guyana is therefore unique in this sense. This part of the country’s history has undoubtedly affected the lives of the people who live there and also given them a shared history with many Caribs.
Guyana has a massive Indian and African community. Most other South American countries have a larger Latin American population, which makes Guyana distinctive to the continent. In fact, in terms of citizens, Guyana is most similar to the dual-island state of Trinidad and Tobago.
Another element of the country’s culture that makes it more Caribbean than South American is its official language. Guyana is the only country in South America whose official language is English, like the majority of the Caribbean islands. This is because of the former English education model that the country implements.
Other aspects of culture that Guyana and the Caribbean share are their food, festive events, music and sports. The Guyanese are quite into cricket and calypso music, they celebrate carnival http://www.guyanacarnival592.com/ and their food is a unique mix of traditional Caribbean, Asian and Latin American dishes.
Some people also say that Guyana just has a Caribbean “vibe”, if that helps.
Guyana is a founding member of CARICOM (the Caribbean community) and as such, it is a part of the single market and single economy of the other member states. CARICOM aims to provide economic integration, foreign policy coordination, human and social development, and security for its members. This makes Guyana very dependent on the other Caribbean nations and vice versa. In fact, the CARICOM Secretariat is actually in Guyana!
Guyana is a beautiful place to visit, often called the ‘Garden’ of the Caribbean, and has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. There are so many things to do and see here that even trying to put it all into one post seems futile, but here are some of our top picks.
Things to Do
Guyana has a plethora of things to do. Since it is an eco-centric country, you can visit many different conservation sites, botanical gardens and wildlife reserves. There are also numerous waterfalls and mountainous areas with jaw-dropping views to take some great photographs. You could even hire a bike and go on a nice, relaxing ride around the forests – or hire a horse for a ranch-themed day out!
If you fancy something a bit sportier, then Guyana also has plenty of popular sports grounds where you can watch live games such as cricket, basketball, football and volleyball. Cricket is the most popular sport in the country and with the new 15,000-seat Providence Stadium, you’ll have more than enough opportunity to catch one of the playoffs.
To wind down after a long, exciting day, why not sample some of the local cuisine? Guyana has food to suit everyone’s tastes with a focus on Caribbean, Asian and Latin American recipes. After your meal, you could take a long stroll along the beach and take in the fresh ocean air before heading back to your hotel.
Places to See
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the country’s main Catholic Church in Georgetown. The tall, white structure was built in the 1920’s and designed by architect Leonard Stokes. Reaching a peak height of 74 feet, the Romanesque cathedral is a truly beautiful sight to behold and well worth a visit.
Demerara Harbour Bridge is Guyana’s longest floating bridge at 2km in length. It is held up by 114 pontoons and can be traversed either by motor vehicle or by foot. The way in which the bridge is built allows it to be split up to let boats through, and the retraction schedule https://harbourbridge.gov.gy/retraction-schedule/ on the website will show you exactly when the bridge will be offline.
The Parliament Building of Guyana was finished in 1834 and features many beautiful, intricate mouldings throughout. The Parliament Chamber walls have mahogany panels, and the building is decorated with giant pillars outside. This is a great stop off for those who love history and politics, or simply those who love architecture.
Kissing Bridge can be found in between the Botanical Gardens and the Zoo. This is a small, wooden bridge where it is commonplace to see newly-weds sharing a kiss or two. You also have a lovely view of the Zoo’s manatees, so definitely make sure to see this one, even if you don’t have anyone in particular to smooch!
Georgetown Lighthouse is a tall, red & white striped structure in the middle of the capital city. Although you can’t exactly have a look inside since the lighthouse is closed to the public, it’s definitely worth passing by to take a few photos.
We offer cheap flights to Guyana at both major airports in Georgetown and Ogle. With our community links to various West Indian locations, we can offer you the best rates on flights, hotels and package holidays. You can also join our travel club to receive advance notice of exclusive offers before anyone else.