The Guianas comprise of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Because they are hidden in the South American jungle, many have a hard time pin pointing them on a map.
These countries are home to some South America’s largest and most rare creatures. Information is scarce, and infrastructure is even scarcer. There is a strong possibility that if you visit, you will find very few visitors. This is a trip to be taken by the very adventurous since it is a total disconnect from resorts with modern technology. However, if you are in search of an adventure, this is a perfect trip to take.
Languages spoken in the Guinas vary, from English to Dutch to French. Ethnically, the region is comprised of Amerindians, European colonists, and ancestors of escaped African slaves, along with indentured Asian labourers.
The North Coast geography of the country makes the culture is more Caribbean than South American. You may visit all three countries over land or by a small aircraft. Each country has its own unique experience and charm.
Although technically on the South American continent, this is often seen as a Caribbean country. Of the three other countries making up the Guinas, Guyana has the least infrastructure and also the worst reputation for safety. Most tourists book all-inclusive tours to the interior of the country where they can visit Amerindian villages as well as view animal safaris. These safaris allow you to spot giant anteaters, Jaguars, harpy eagles or the arapaima (the world largest scaled fresh water fish).
Minibuses and regular flights operate between George Town and Lethem at the Brazil border, however, getting to the jungle requires patience and advanced planning. This trip can also be very expensive.
All flights and bus trips will take you through the charming colonial Georgetown. While there, it is recommended to visit Kaieteur Falls, which you can get to by taking a small plane. The falls has the largest single drop in the world.
The most vibrant of the colonial Guiana capital, Paramaribo offers a lot of things to do. Rent a bike for a tour along the gigantic Commewijne River, visit old plantations and natural areas filled with tropical birds, or take a sunset cruise on the river and watch for pink river dolphins.
Like Guyana, most of Suriname’s magic lies in its wild interior. In Suriname’s jungles you will find Maroons, who are descendants of run- away slaves. They have created a life for themselves deep in the forest and were for many centuries forgotten. Many of these villages have opened lodges that can either be luxurious or serve as basic shelters.
Of the three countries, French Guiana boasts the highest standard of living. However, it is also the most difficult of the three to travel through. French Guiana is very expensive because of the Euro. What is even more of an obstacle is the limited amount of transport. Further, the interior can only be reached on the very infrequent tours, which need to be organized well in advance of taking the trip there. English is also rarely spoken.
However, the independent traveller can still have a good time. Visit the capital Cayenne and enjoy the French- Caribbean chic. Hang out with a cold beer or cafe au lait at a colonial inspired sidewalk bar.
You may also take a visit to some of the prison camps, or book a tour to a river trip along the Maroni River to visit the native Amerindian and Maroon villages.