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Deciding what to wear on a trip to Guyana is easier said than done. This small country in South America has two seasons: the dry one (though it occasionally rains even during the dry season), and the rainy one. What doesn’t change throughout the year is the heat, which paired with the highest humidity levels you can think of means only one thing: it’s hot – unbearably so.
Malaria and yellow fever warnings (by the way, you need proof of yellow fever vaccination to enter the country), however, mean that you have to dress appropriately to minimize the risks of being bitten.
Before going into the details of what you should pack (and what you should leave at home) when traveling to the Amazon rainforest of Guyana, here are a few other helpful hints.
Guyana is an incredibly beautiful, unexplored country, but it’s as uncomfortable as it gets. There’s nothing remotely luxurious in the Amazon rainforest. There’s no reliable electricity other than solar panels and generators, which means you won’t have air conditioners in your accommodation, let alone a fan.
You will be sweaty, muddy, and dirty on a regular basis. So, don’t take any fancy clothes, but pack stuff you’re happy to throw away if it gets ruined. Moreover, you will be most likely moving around the region on a combination of 4 x 4 vehicles with limited room for luggage; small boats; and tiny charter flights (maximum 12 seats) where they will be weighing you and everything you carry.
In other words, only take what is strictly necessary, and nothing else.
It’s always, invariably, unbearably hot in Guyana. The temperatures vary between 29 and 32 degrees Celsius, which doesn’t seem too bad since it gets far hotter than that in the northern hemisphere during summer. But the humidity plays a huge role, and what’s even worse is that there are hardly any changes in temperatures between day and night. Be prepared for rolling around your bed in search of a cool corner, which (since you won’t even have a fan) will be hard to find.
The minute the sun is out, people in Europe and North America ditch their jeans, shirts and shoes to walk around in shorts, tank tops and sandals.
In Guyana, you just can’t do that. With such high humidity levels, and such thick vegetation, the Amazon rainforest is the perfect environment for insects to thrive. Mosquitoes, chiggers and other small parasites will attack every inch of exposed skin you have. Make sure you cover as much as possible, to minimize the risk of being bitten.
I realized how important it was to wear neutral colors during my trip to Botswana. If you want bugs to stay away from you, make sure to wear neutral colors as much as possible – sage, khaki and similar colors work perfectly.
You may be tempted to think that since it’s so hot in Guyana, whatever you wash will dry in no time. That’s only true for small, very thin items that you can hang in the sun during the day. Anything thicker and out of direct sunlight will take forever to dry. Make sure to only take quick dry fabric clothes!
A trip to the Amazon basin of Guyana is not about looking pretty. It’s about discovering incredible nature and wildlife, and getting close to the local indigenous communities. Always dress appropriately, and protect yourself against the sun and mosquitoes!
Claudia is a former human rights lawyer who changed careers to follow her true calling. She’s now traveling around the world in search of adventures and unique hiking experiences. Follow her travels at My Adventures Across the World.
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