We’ve found a distinct lack of information is available about travel in Guyana, so these posts are going to be very detailed. The Lonely Planet guides say you can go from Brazil, but then most of the information provided is geared towards somebody flying into Georgetown (the capital) and flying to all the attractions. Something way beyond our budget.
So here it is. Guyana on a budget, over land, from Manaus in Brazil.
NB. There are no ATMs outside of Georgetown in Guyana so bring enough US dollars or Reals to change once you cross the border. The USD is pegged at $1=G$200 but I don’t know what the street rate would be. We changed Reals for two different rates in Letham, G$80 and G$85. The better rate was found by walking into D&Ds Creole Restaurant and asking.
First you need to get a bus to Boa Vista, also in Brazil. This is roughly a twelve hour coach (Eucatur company) which costs R127.60. They leave from the bus station at 8pm each night. To get to the bus station LP says take #205, #209 or #315. When none of these materialised we asked a local who suggested #201, #206 or #214. Eventually we took a #207 after asking if it went to the “rodoviária” – the bus station.
The coach will drop you at Boa Vista bus station from where you need to take another bus to Bonfin, the Brazilian side of the border. The LP is accurate when it says these leave four times a day. Amatur (office in the bus station) have departures at 7am, 10am, 2pm and 4.30pm, these cost R18.50 and take about two hours.
Our bus dropped us at the Policia Federal where you need to stamp out of Brazil. Here we met Nicholas a fellow Brit.
From the Brazilian town of Bonfin you need to get to Letham on the Guyanan side. There is a snazzy bridge which smoothly switches cars from the right hand side to the left. Guyana used to be a British colony so they clearly drive on the correct side… A taxi driver wanted to charge us R10 each to go to Guyanan immigration. Instead we paid a driver R10 each to go to immigration, and then our hotel of choice, a much better deal.
A strange quirk at immigration was our entry stamp only allows you the amount of time you request. Usually you are automatically given the maximum time within a country, in Guyana Liam and I received two weeks as that’s how long we thought we’d be there. Better not like the country too much then!
Arriving at Takutu Lodge we asked where we could hang our hammocks. For G$500 per night (around $2.50) we were directed to what was described as “a structure out the back”. For argument sake, lets call it a bandstand.
Here we could sleep in the great outdoors, much cheaper than the G$5,500 rooms. And the mosquito bites were an added extra! Maybe this wasn’t so sensible when Guyana does have malaria, but in true “winging it” fashion, we’ll worry about that if we need to. We’re both taking doxycycline.