HomeIsland InsiderGuyana Insider | Lesa Fleming, Co-Founder and Head of Sales and Marketing at Tourism Guyana

Guyana Insider | Lesa Fleming, Co-Founder and Head of Sales and Marketing at Tourism Guyana


Located on South America’s northern coast, Guyana is a land of remarkable diversity and rich history. Its population is a vibrant mosaic of ethnicities, including Indigenous peoples, Afro-Guyanese, Amerindian, Indo-Guyanese, Chinese, and Europeans, reflecting its colonial past under Dutch and British rule. This cultural blend manifests in Guyana’s festivals, cuisine, and traditions Its capital, Georgetown, showcases colonial architecture, while the interior is famed for lush rainforests, majestic waterfalls like Kaieteur Falls, and biodiversity, making Guyana a captivating destination.

This year, Guyana is host to six ICC Men’s T-20 Cricket World Cup games, including one of the semi-finals. The games will take place at Guyana National Stadium, which was originally built for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. If you’re going to be in Guyana for any of the matches, or at any time, read on for some amazing insights into this beautiful country.

Get curated recommendations for Guyana in our Ultimate Destination Guide for the Cricket World Cup 2024

Lesa Fleming, Co-Founder and Head of Sales & Marketing for Tourism Guyana, speaks to Anjali Datwani, Founder of Urban Journey

In an exclusive interview with Urban Journey, Lesa Fleming shares everything she loves about her country, what she’s most excited about during this year’s Cricket World Cup, the best eats, hidden gems, and so much more. Visit Tourism Guyana and follow them on Instagram at Tourism Guyana.

With Guyana being a host venue for the Cricket World Cup, how do you think this event will impact the island’s atmosphere?

The spotlight is definitely on Guyana for many reasons and cricket is right at the top of the list! The ICC Men’s T-20 Cricket World Cup will be opening our country to the international stage of cricket and cricket lovers globally and will impact our hospitality industry on a massive scale. It will certainly escalate the demand in our service industry, entertainment, transportation, tourism, and much more. In a nutshell, nothing but positivity, growth, and improvement are to be expected from hosting such a prestigious event.

What makes Guyana special to you personally?

Iwokrama Canopy Walkway - Guyana

Iwokrama Canopy Walkway – image courtesy of Tourism Guyana

Oh wow, where do I begin? It’s the country of my birth, my homeland, and a huge part of my cultural and ethnic heritage and my identity. I am a true child of the soil. A combination of our ancestors with a rich and diverse culture I am super proud of. I tear up when I think about experiencing the beauty of my LAND and the kindness of our people. Yes yes, this land is my land from the Rupununi to the Corentyne!

What’s your favorite festival in your country and why?

I love them all! I truly cannot pick a favorite because I appreciate the meaning and history behind each. And most of all how it brings people together. Whether it’s Mashramani, Emancipation Day, or Phagwah, I must say on record that Guyana’s festivals are our ethnic and cultural love language to the world.

  • Mashramani, also known as Mash, is an annual festival in Guyana that celebrates its becoming in 1970. Mashramani, meaning “celebration after hard work or cooperation” is an Amerindian word. It takes place on Guyanese Republic Day, February 23, and is celebrated with a parade, masquerade bands, calypso, soca, chutney-soca, cooking, and more.
  • Emancipation Day is a day of remembrance and commemoration of the liberation of the African people. It is celebrated all across the Caribbean on August 1st. On this day, families come together and celebrate African culture with music and delicious food. There are also rituals and vigils to remember the sacrifice and courage of the enslaved men and women.
  • Phagwah (Holi) is a Hindu celebration and annual festival of colors that marks the beginning of spring. It also signifies the victory of light over dark, good over evil, and is a time for forgiving and forgetting. The day brings families together and everyone gathers and throws colored powder over each other.

Can you share your top five favorite restaurants?

I appreciate various spots based on key items on their menu which I enjoy and the overall vibe based on how I’m feeling. These are my top five, in no particular order.

  • Mandy’s Sip & Chat (Sixth Street, Albert Town) I love the food. There are a lot of local dishes to enjoy such as seven curry, cook-up, and lots more. I also like the little hide-away reggae vibes. The drinks are always cold and the vibe is great. Find them on Facebook.
  • Aagman Indian Restaurant (Sheriff Street) I love their Naan! They offer up Indian fine dining. Their food and service are great. Find them on Facebook.
  • Montra Lounge: (Lamaha St, Kitty) It’s a restaurant during the day and a club at night. They offer up great local cuisine and I frequently lunch there. Find them on Facebook.
  • Leo’s Brazilian Restaurant (Church st between Cummings Street and Light Street)
    I enjoy how Leo’s has diversified the taste of his food to become more Guyanese. The flavors are great however we get that Brazilian twist and variety I enjoy. See the video on TikTok.
  • Bistro Cafe & Bar (Middle Street) – I like that I can eat here and have drinks after dinner. But what makes it my favorite is how they treat their guests. Consistency is key. Find them on Facebook.

Can you share some lesser-known spots or activities that you believe every visitor should experience and not found in the guidebooks?

We have some great hidden gems and activities in Guyana that visitors can experience. Caiman catch and release is a very exciting experience in Berbice. This is done at night and it’s very thrilling. Caimans are relatives of alligators and can be found in North, Central, and South America.

A great hidden food spot is Burns Bar located on the West Coast (Vergenoegen, over the River). Burns Bar has a variety of local dishes cooked the Guyanese way, curried, grilled, and pickled.

What are your favorite local dishes?

I love a good pepper pot with nice hot bread! You cannot go wrong there. Honorable mentions are Eddo leaf with coconut milk with shrimp and Oil roti, Metemgee, and curry anything. Restaurants like Mandys Sip & Chat, Montra Lounge, Grand Coastal Hotel, Sunny and Sweety, and Palm Court on Main Street in Georgetown offer these dishes.

Are there any hidden historical or cultural sites that tourists often overlook?

Yes! Most definitely. Fort Nassau is located in Berbice and Fort Zeelandia is in Essequibo. These locations have great historical evidence and structures to explore. Fort Nassau was established as a Dutch Trading post in 1627. Traces of the Fort are still visible and are 88km from the mouth of the Berbice River. Fort Zeelandia was built around 1679 to protect from Spanish attack and is located 16km from the mouth of the Essequibo River.

Can you suggest any unique ways for visitors to immerse themselves in the local community and culture?

Stabroek Market Guyana

Stabroek Market, Image source: Guyana Tourism Authority

One great way is with a market tour and a culture tour. These experiences are great ways to connect and relate to Guyanese and understand our Caribbean culture. Bimichi Eco Lodge offers a great cultural experience. It is situated in a gorgeous Indigenous village where visitors can immerse themselves in nature and local Arawak culture. For a city/market tour, check out Ride Along Gy and take the Bourda Market tour. These tours cater to locals and visitors to Guyana.

Are there any hidden gems in terms of accommodations, such as boutique hotels or eco-friendly resorts?

Waynes World Cuyana

Wayne’s World

Wayne’s World in Linden (my favorite getaway) is a great little Amazon-like oasis to experience. It has very comfortable cabins, AC, wifi, great food, and a wonderful host. It is especially great for bird enthusiasts. There are only two cabins so it’s an extremely relaxing experience. A tour of Linden is a huge plus! Find Wayne’s World on Facebook

Lastly, what advice would you give to travelers looking to discover authentic Guyana?

As a traveler, one must remain open-minded to each country’s culture and heritage. Guyana is a small country with a rich history and eclectic blend of culture and heritage. It is dynamic, it has a festive environment and amazing people. I would say just have an open mind. It’s the best way to enjoy, understand, and connect with authentic Guyana.

Get curated recommendations for Guyana in our Ultimate Destination Guide for the Cricket World Cup 2024

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