Georgetown - Guyana.

We are currently parked on the grounds of the Meridian Pegasus Hotel's tennis club (N06.825270 W58.160805), thanks to very helpful hotel management. We have not been charged to park here, but have agreed to eat some of our meals in the hotel's restaurants. Not difficult! Last night we had one of the best meals we have had in South America at the splendid pool-side restaurant! Highly recommended.

Since we are the first overland group to ask the hotel if we can park here, we don't know if they will be so accommodating to any subsequent requests. If not, then the area around the hotel (in the Kingston district near the police headquarters) looks possible for on-street parking.

Getting to Georgetown from the Iwokrama Field Station took us two days. The enjoyable road varied from good dirt (with occasional sections of soft sand) to wide well graded gravel, much of it right through the tall lush jungles of Guyana. The last part from Linden to Georgetown was good tarmac, passing interesting small towns with wooden clapperboard houses and odd religious buildings.

Whilst the "new" road followed the old cattle track as far as Kurupukari, after that it did not correspond with anything on any of our maps, including the 2005/6 tourist map we were given in Georgetown. To see the actual position of the "new" road (shown in blue), click on the map to the right (it is a big file!)

Immediately after leaving the field station, we had to cross the Essequibo river by ferry (only from 06:00 to 18:00). We had been warned by the staff at the field station that the ferry was very expensive. Figures of between $70 and $140USA (return) were talked about for a very short ride.

Surprisingly, we were told on the ferry that it was free! (Even Clive did not feel the need to negotiate a better deal!) At the time, we wondered if this was a special concession for foreign vehicles, but we have since learnt that a number of bridges and ferries in Guyana are free, going - one way (towards Georgetown).

Often the edge of the dirt road was very soft sand. On one occasion Mel drove a little too near the edge.

  • Question: Mo, how do you feel now that Mel is stuck in the sand?
  • Answer: It is all part of life's rich pattern!

In other places there were sharp flints, and Mel had her second puncture of the trip. (Clive is not performing a war dance, he is helping Mick by jumping on the wheel-wrench to loosen the nuts.)

Georgetown has surprised us by being far more attractive than we were expecting.

Many of the old buildings are remarkable, with ornate metal railings and balconies. St. George's Cathedral, in the centre of town, is one of the worlds tallest all-wooden buildings at 44 meters.

As well as enjoying the sights of Georgetown, our other reason for being here is to get our visas for Suriname (the only country in both Central and South America that UK passport holders need a visa for).

We have already completed the three page application form and left our passports at the embassy. We should be able to collect our visas in two days ($30USA).

Stephen Stewart.

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