Stories

550 km from Lethem to Georgetown on unpaved roads

by Thomas Buechler - 1 year, 11 months ago

The landtrip from Manaus, Brazil, to Georgetown, Guyana, promises  to be a real adventure, about 1550 kilometers, one third of it on unpaved roads! The first leg of the  journey takes me to Boa Vista, the modern capital city of Brazil’s Roraima State. This can be done with a modern coach during a night trip, or several  domestic airlines also fly the route. From Boa Vista, the collective taxis going to Bonfin at the Guyanese border, leave from a different terminal, they are clearly marked Bonfin, and leave when full. Early morning  is the best time to leave, during the day it can take longer for the cars to fill up. It takes about 90 minutes to the Brazilian immigration office where your passport is stamped out. For a few dollars extra, the same driver might want to bring you over the border bridge, otherwise it’s a long walk in the hot sun.  The Republic of Guyana takes immigration seriously, the first stop is the Health Authorities where they check your yellow fever vaccination, and if it’s still valid, plus you have to fill out a health card with all kinds of questions like what countries you have visited in the last 7 days. Don’t forget to write Brazil there! The immigration at Lethem gives you a handwritten entry stamp. There is no visa on arrival for people who are not visa exempted. By now, some guys must  have approached your during the border crossing to change money, and also about your onward connection, as very few people want to have a longer stay in Lethem. They will direct you by car to the right booking office for the  550km bus ride to Guyana’s capital Georgetown. It currently costs 50 USD, and buses generally tend to leave in the evening with an overnight stop (there it’s possible to rent some basic rooms for 15 USD, or sleep in the minibus for about 6 hours). The journey continues, crossing the Kurupukari , South America’s third longest  river, by barge. You might be hungry by now for a looking for breakfast?! That’s exactly what’s being served alongside the car ferry by some enterprising local women, sandwiches, coffe or tea. I did not stop at the Canopy Walk of Iwokrama , but technically that should be possible, and continue the next day if minibuses are not full. The whole trip takes about 13 long hours on the road, and you should arrive in Georgetown early afternoon. Of course, it is also possible to do it the opposite direction, also for instance going via Boa Vista by land to Venezuela. But this is even a longer trip through the rain forest! Interestingly, the Curacao based Budger airline Inselair now has  flights out of Georgetown to Aruba and Curacao, connecting with a lot of interesting destinations in the Carribean, but also going to Brazil/ Colombia and Venezuela, just in case you are not a friend of long bus rides.



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