This guidance is designed to describe appropriate clothing, the cultural context where you will be living and working, and the professional expectations of your workplace.
As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on checked baggage.
In general, most items you will need are available in country and locally acquired items are often the best at helping you integrate into your community. However, locally available items may not be the brands, quality, prices, or sizes you are used to. Bringing some key items from home might make your transition to service more comfortable.
This guidance has been compiled by Peace Corps staff and Volunteers and is based on their experience. Use this information as an informal guide as you make your own packing list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect packing list!
This packing guidance is designed to help you think through different categories of items and consider what you might want to bring, considering work expectations, cultural considerations, and your own personal preferences.
Guyana’s climate is hot (average of 80+ degrees) and humid (60-80% humidity) with two annual periods of heavy rain. Invitees are encouraged to keep those conditions in mind as they choose which clothing to bring.
- Medical kit, including anti-malarials, bug repellent and sunscreen
- Funds for female hygiene products, if applicable
- Fire extinguisher and smoke/carbon monoxide detector
- Life jacket
- Bicycle and helmet
- Mosquito net
- Library of books to borrow
- Peace Corps Volunteers Guyana cookbook
- Water bucket and filter
Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take:
- Radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted)
- Automobiles or motorcycles
- Flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers
- Valuables such as precious jewelry or family heirlooms
Do not bring any drug that has not been authorized by the Peace Corps for medical purposes without prior consultation with Office of Health Services Pre-Service. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Illicit drugs, including marijuana and related products such as CBD and herbal substances such as kratom, are prohibited during Peace Corps service, even if they are legal in your home of residence. If you use, possess, or distribute illicit drugs, you will be administratively separated from service.
Most Volunteers do laundry on a weekly basis. Both professional and casual clothing options are available in Guyana for a broad range of sizes, both through stores and tailoring; options and quality may be limited and prices can be on the expensive side, so it is important to approach such shopping with an open mindset and plan accordingly.
- Professional dress is a firm expectation of teachers in classrooms across Guyana, including Peace Corps Volunteers. At work, teachers wear dresses, skirts, or khaki pants and collared shirts or blouses. Dresses and skirts should be below-the-knee and shoulders should be covered.
- Invitees should note that this standard of dress is also expected during pre-service training.
- There are some occasions (professional, holidays, weddings, swearing-in) that invite more formal attire, such as a fancier dress, a jacket or a tie.
- Photos with examples of workplace appropriate attire are included at the end of this list.
Leisure and recreational clothing
- Outside of the workplace, more casual attire is appropriate. In the home, Volunteers often wear t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, jeans or casual pants and casual skirts or dresses. In the community, Volunteers should wear loose-fitting clothes that are at least knee-length. Tank tops with broad straps are appropriate (spaghetti straps are not), though covered shoulders are recommended. Tight fitting clothes (including yoga pants) and gym clothes are not appropriate.
- If desired, there are many opportunities for exercise, both independently and as a part of a group or team. Volunteers who plan to participate in such activities should plan accordingly following the guidelines above. For swimming, Guyanese typically wear modest swimsuits (one-piece or trunks).
- Given Guyana’s periods of heavy rains and hot sun, rain jackets, brimmed hats and lightweight long-sleeved shirts can be helpful. For undergarments, cotton is encouraged for this reason.
In workplace settings, professional, close-toed shoes are the norm. Many Guyanese teachers wear heels, but flats are acceptable. Volunteers walk and stand a good deal in their workplace footwear, so shoes should be durable, comfortable and take the elements into account.
In casual settings, sandals, sneakers and other comfortable shoes are acceptable. Outdoor shoes are removed inside Guyanese homes and so many Guyanese have indoor sandals or slippers (like flip flops).
Volunteers do a lot of walking and also have many opportunities to participate in hiking or athletic activities in Guyana. Durable, comfortable walking shoes (like sturdy boots, sneakers or sandals) are encouraged.
Both professional and casual footwear options are available in Guyana for a broad range of U.S. sizes, but only in medium width. Options and quality may be limited so it is important to approach such shopping with an open mindset.
You should bring a three-month supply of any prescription and/or over the counter medications you use that are authorized/approved by the Peace Corps.
Note: Prior to service, Peace Corps supplies all volunteers with a medical kit containing basic, over-the-counter medications, as well as multivitamins.
The medical unit will replenish prescriptions after the initial three-month training.
If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs (of the current prescription) with you. Contact lens use will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Additional guidance for Guyana
- Most toiletries (such as shampoo and conditioner for a variety of hair types, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, razors, etc.) can be found locally in Guyana.
- Please note that tampons are not widely available in Guyana, and are very expensive when they are available.
Guyana operates on 120/240V supply voltage, and 60Hz. No adapters are necessary for U.S. electronics to operate here.
Volunteers who have brought their smart phones, laptops or tablets in the past have found them to be helpful. Peace Corps asks you to bring a personal phone that is unlocked so that it can accept a Guyanese SIM card and be used here.
Flash drives are quite expensive in Guyana, and so useful to bring if possible.
A headlamp or flashlight may be helpful for Volunteers placed in communities with limited electricity.
Based on your interests and personal preferences there may be additional items you will want to consider bringing with you. This list is compiled from what different Volunteers have said they enjoy having and may be hard to find in country. Note: these items are not required or even recommended, but might be nice to have.
Most kitchen supplies are available here. However, past Volunteers recommend the following:
- Vegetable peeler
- Can opener
- Sharp knife
- Tupperware, a lunch bag/box and a reusable travel cup
- Resealable plastic food storage bags
- Measuring spoons and cups
- French press (for coffee drinkers who prefer not to drink instant coffee)
- Arts and craft supplies
- Card or board games
- Books (some Volunteers recommend an e-reader, while others rely on the Peace Corps Volunteer library)
- While sheets, pillows and towels are easily available in Guyana, some Volunteers choose to bring their own.
- Small items that make you feel at home.
- Photos of family and friends at home
- Small gifts to share with your community coach family
- Ear plugs (at holidays and events, music can be played very loud)
- Stickers, pencils or other small tokens to share with children in your community