What does Jonestown look like today? Is it possible to visit the site?

It is possible to go to the site where Jonestown once stood, but it is also extremely difficult.

First of all, Jonestown has been largely reclaimed by the jungle. Visitors to the site in 1998 found few remains of the community, and as Jeff Guinn wrote in 2015 following his visit, “The site is almost completely overgrown now. The road in has been smothered again with trees and vines and thorn bushes.” Proposals have been made over the years to memorialize the Jonestown site – or, conversely, to develop it for other purposes – but so far nothing has come of them.

Secondly, Peoples Temple picked the location for Jonestown in part because of its isolation and remote location. That holds true today. Even though the Northwest District has seen some development since 1978, it is still difficult to access and requires a great deal of planning and research. There are no roads to Jonestown from Guyana’s capital of Georgetown, and commercial air travel is available only on a limited schedule. It is possible to charter flights to the small airport at Matthews Ridge – which Guyana Airlines services – or to the improved airstrip at Port Kaituma. However, anyone planning to travel this way should plan to spend a few days in Georgetown ahead of time to allow time for final arrangements.

Several people have visited Jonestown in recent years and have written for this site, including:

An episode of the Guyanese TV show “Let’s talk” featuring pilot Gerry Gouviea who visited Jonestown in the 70’s can also be found on Youtube. The program gives an impression of the conditions of the site today. The first installment can be found here.

Last modified on January 6th, 2017.
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