This article was first published on the 12th November 2017 by Patrick Carpen.Last updated: January 23, 2020 at 15:12 pm
Taking the Trail: Your Options
When traveling from Georgetown to Lethem, or from Lethem to Georgetown in Guyana, South America, you have two options:
- The Bus Service
- The Plane
Currently, there are two airlines operating from Lethem to Georgetown, and about two or three local bus services. In this article, I will give some tips for taking the bus down the trail.
The buses leave Lethem at 6 pm every night and arrive in Georgetown around 3 pm the next day. They also leave Georgetown around 6 pm, and arrive around 3 pm in Lethem. Usually, you can pop up the same day and reserve your seat at Carly’s or Cindy’s Bus Service, but it is safer to book a day in advance.
The cost of a one-way trip at the time of this writing is about 60 US dollars.
First of all, be forewarned that if you are not strong enough to take a good rocking, the trail is not the right option for you. The trail by bus is a tiring 15-20 hours of really rough riding, and from my perspective, relatively dangerous, although there has been very few reported accidents along the trail.
That said, I must add that most of the drivers of Cindy and Carly Bus Service are very experienced drivers who have safely crossed this trail hundreds of times.
If you do plan to take the trail from Lethem to Georgetown or vice-versa, here are a few things to bear in mind.
Taking the Trail: Your Hand Luggage
Your suitcase and major luggage will be packed away on the top of the bus. Therefore, keep a hand luggage, such as small haversack, with you in the bus. Your hand luggage should contain some essential items which you will need along the way. These include:
Your ID Card or Passport – When traveling the trail, you will need to present yourself to police outposts three times. Each time, you may be asked to present your ID Card or Passport, so keep this in your hand luggage with you in the bus.
Toothbrush and Toothpaste – During this 15 + hours drive, your mouth is sure to get dirty. The bus will stop at least twice for you to eat, rest and use the washroom. The location it stops at might have a shop selling these items, but don’t bet on it – they could be out of stock. For this reason, keep a toothbrush and toothpaste safely stowed away in your hand luggage with you in the bus.
Some Snickers. Ever saw the commercial: Hungry? Grab a snickers? Well, this might be the case with you several times down the trail. Although the bus has several scheduled stops down the trail where you can purchase food, there is a good chance your belly might start grumbling during the driving. For this reason, stow away four or five snickers bar, or any other of your favorite snack, for you to grab a bite, if you don’t want to half-starve yourself. You might not need all of it, but it’s better safe than hungry. Besides, you can always offer one to the person next to you.
Water, Juice and Coke. Yes, you may need these along the way too. You may need to sip something lightly if you get thirsty during the drive. Don’t over drink though. Remember there aren’t washroom stops every fifteen minutes. And if you gulp down too much liquid, you may find yourself in a bit of inconvenience, and may end up stopping the bus. Be careful with the snakes!
Taking the Trail: Comfort and Conveniences
A pillow. Why do you need a pillow? Most of the buses presently do not have these beautiful push back seats like in Brazil. You will be traveling real fugitive-style. You’ll have to master the art of falling asleep while sitting upright and resting your head backwards or sideways. Sometimes, I found myself falling asleep only to get awakened by my head banging against the window. For this reason, many passengers keep a pillow handy to rest their head on or cushion a good blow.
Wear slippers, not shoes and socks. This is my opinion based on my personal experience. In the bus, my feet would get hot and I’d take out my shoes and socks, only to have the inconvenience of having to put it on and take it out again…and again and again, during the many stops for police, customs, meals, resting, etc. So, I found it more convenient to travel down the trail with slippers rather than shoes.
Keep the equivalent of about 40 US dollars handy during the trail. You might not need it all, but just keep it just in case you need to rent a hammock to rest in, buy food and water, etc.
Keep a good camera handy. You might have the opportunity to flash some great scenes down the trail. So you’ll now have something to show for that 15 hours of roughing up, other than a tired spirit and a worn out body.
Customs and Duty Receipts. If you’re coming from Brazil and traveling with commercial quantities of goods, make sure that you have paid the necessary duties and have the slip to show to the customs unit along the way, if they ask for it. Otherwise, they might seize all the goods or you might have to pay a bribe.
Empty your bowel and your bladders. Remember, you’ll be traveling sometimes down the trail for six to eight hours non-stop. So keep your bladders and your bowels as empty as possible before boarding the bus.
Say two prayers. Yes, although there has been very few reported accidents and losses along this trail, you should definitely ask God’s divine protection during this trip.
Other than that, good luck and God Speed!
-The Guyana, South America Team.