Leishmania (Viannia) guyanensis is one species that causes cutaneous leishmaniasis in the New World. The incidence of infections with this parasite is probably underestimated and few studies exist on this species, despite its epidemiological importance. In particular, there are no studies concerning L. guyanensis metacyclogenesis and no technique for obtaining metacyclic promastigotes for this species is presently available. Here, we have studied L. guyanensis metacyclogenesis in axenic culture, describing the main changes that occur during this process, namely, in morphology and size, sensitivity to complement-mediated lysis, surface carbohydrates and infectivity to macrophages. We have shown that metacyclogenesis in L. guyanensis promastigotes is basically complete on the 4th day of culture, as determined by decreased body size, increased flagellum length, resistance to complement-mediated lysis and infectivity. We have also found that only a fraction of the parasites is agglutinated by Bauhinia purpurea lectin. The non-agglutinated parasites, which also peaked on the 4th day of culture, had all morphological traits typical of the metacyclic stage. This is the first report describing metacyclogenesis in L. guyanensis axenic promastigotes and a simple and efficient method for the purification of metacyclic forms. Furthermore, a model of human macrophage infection with L. guyanensis was established.