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Lethem

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Lethem is a border town of 3,000 in Guyana.
Lethem
Kunuku Mountains

Get in[edit]

The Guyana/Brazil road: The Linden to Lethem roadway is being kept up despite the frequent need for repairs to bridges and hill slides. The road link from Bonfim in the Brazilian state of Roraima to Lethem is the only way to the Guyana Coast. This Guyanese-Venezuela road link, under the aegis of the Integration of Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA) process has been the focus of efforts made by Guyana and a litmus test for reciprocity for continued investment in the relationship by Brazil.

The road between the capital of the Brazilian state of Boa Vista and Bonfim has been a top class highway since the late nineties. There are four daily buses run by Amatur between Boa Vista (18 BRL) departing from the rodoviaria daily (7am, 10am, 2pm an 4:30pm) in addition to shared-taxis (25 BRL) that run throughout the day between circa 6 am and 5 pm an take half the time of the bus (circa one hour as opposed to almost 2 on the bus). These shared taxis leave from a terminal close to the rodoviaria in boa Vista (ask locally) however also pass in front of the rodoviaria searching for additional passengers as they often leave the terminal with extra capacity.

Trans Guyana Airways [1] an Air Services Limited have twice daily flights between Georgetown and Lethem. These flights leave from the small municipal airport in Georgetown. Luggage space is very limited an you will be provided with a stored baggage limit of only 9 kg, however the excess baggage charges are very reasonable. If carrying a lot of baggage then it is advisable to arrive early (i.e. 2 hours before the flight) to ensure you are not offloaded as the airlines work on a first-come, first-served principle. Excess baggage is calculated on stored baggage only as hand luggage is not included in the excess calculation. Hence it is advisable to store heavier items in your hand luggage (which will be weighed along with passengers separately though not charged for).

For travellers arriving from Brazil there is a travel agency in the rodoviaria in Boa Vista selling tickets for these airlines though tickets can be purchased upon arrival at the airport or via contacting the airline directly (purchasing online not currently available). Although this is an internal flight, a passport is required for non-citizens.

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

There are many tourists attractions in Lethem area such as the Kanuku and the Moco Moco mountains and falls.

Do[edit][add listing]

A rodeo takes place in Lethem around Easter time. It is a draws a large number of tourists from Guyana and from the bordering areas of Brazil.

Buy[edit][add listing]

There is only one bank in Lethem and that is Guyana Bank for trade and Industry Ltd (GBTI) or so cash is the better way to go. Besides the Guyanese dollar, some places might accept the US dollar. Brazilian currency is readily accepted.

Next to the Takutu Hotel is a small establishment that sells Amerindian crafts. It has some unique items but business hours are very random.

Cash exchange rates in Lethem do not always reflect true exchange rates, so with enough cash in your hands in the right currency you can make some money off scalpers (cambistas in Portugese). In December 2010, 1 BRL can be traded for 100 GYD (bought back at 110 GYD), and 1 USD can be traded for 195-200 GYD (bought back at 210 GYD), yet 1 USD is traded at 1.83 BRL (and bought back at 1.90 BRL). In Manaus or Boa Vista, buy USD to exchange for GYD in Lethem or Georgetown. If you are going to cross into Brazil from Guyana, make sure you have a lot of Guyanese dollars to buy Brazilian reais. If crossing from Brazil into Guyana then it is best to exchange your BRL to GYD on the Guyanese side of the border as better rates are typically offered.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Stay safe[edit]

Malaria is a concern. Arrive with proper medication and insect repellent.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Takutu Hotel. This is a friendly little establishment. The water may not be hot but the service is personal. There are a few rooms that have air conditioning. The restaurant serves good food but orders usually need to be placed in advance. A bar located on the grounds can get rather noisy, so it is wise to request a room that does not overlook the popular establishment.
  • Savannah Hotel. 4 minutes walk away from the border. Friendly staff. 5,000-10,000GYD for rooms.

Get out[edit]

St. Ignatius near Lethem

When crossing the border into Brazil, travellers will be asked to prove that they have been vaccinated against yellow fever. These shots can be obtained on the Brazilian side of the border. Visas are required before Canadian, US, Australian, Japanese, and Mexican citizens can enter Brazil. A visa cannot be obtained upon arrival so be sure to arrange one before stamping out of Lethem. It is possible to obtain a visa at the Brazilian Embassy in Georgetown, but this will require a few business days. There is a Brazilian consulate in Lethem where the visa can be obtained before crossing the boarder.

Walk across the wooden bridge in Lethem to visit St. Ignatius. There are no businesses other than a cashew factory cooperative run by local women. You will, however, witness the daily lives of the Amerindian population.

The Kunuku Mountains can easily be visited as a day trip.

There's a 10am daily big bus to Georgetown (10000GYD) and G/town - Lethem in the evening from the bar Jerries. Buy tickets by the airfield.

There are also alot of minibuses that leave around 18:00 for about 9-10000GYD and get to Lethem around midday, including 4 hour sleep somewhere along the way. One good drivers is Carle 616-5984 for 9000.

From the border there are minibuses costing approximately 1,000GYD (c.$US5) to the airport. The drivers tend to prey on non English speaking Brazilians and hence you may be able to receive a substantial discount by asking.



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