South America Travel

Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana

Squeezed between its neighbors Guyana and French Guiana, Suriname is a rugged, unspoiled landscape made up of mostly dense rainforest and sleepy coastal villages. In Paramaribo, the capital, it is apparent of the remnants of colonial rule, with its beautifully fading wooden buildings that line the Suriname River. There are many places to explore on day trips, such as the Dutch fort of Nieuw Amsterdam, which is just a boat ride away on the other side of the river.

Suriname also features one of the few unspoiled rainforests in the world. The typical route into this wild terrain is a flight to the Kayana Airstrip and then a canoe ride through rapids up to the Awarradam Lodge. From there you can take a day trip to Kavalu Island, which is a great place to greet the friendly indigenous tribes and see a glimpse of the vast array of exotic plants and animals.

Like it's neighbor Suriname, Guyana is a lush, richly forested paradise of rainforests, waterfalls, mountains, and mighty rivers. Guyana means "Land of Many Waters" in the local indigenous language. The Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice Rivers weave through the dense rainforests and act as byways into its interior. The capital, Georgetown, is a typical colonial village with old wood buildings set on the east bank of the Demerara River. The city also features the largest wooden building in the world, St. George's Anglican Cathedral, which fills the skyline.

Kaiteteur Falls is one of the top places to visit in the country. It is the world's highest single-drop waterfall. You can get there by driving to the mining town of Linden and then along through the rainforest and then a four day boat ride across the Potaro River. The journey is worth it, with some of the most spectacular views in South America.

Next to Suriname is French Guiana, which is similar to Suriname with its dense rainforests and coastal regions. The country is also home to France's renowned space center. The majority of the population resides in the coastal towns, which provide a tranquil setting for a holiday in paradise. The interior of the country is a wonderland for naturalists and adventure-seekers with its diverse ecosystem. Just south of the capital of Cayenne are the Kaw Marshes where you can find the rare black caiman and other exotic birds and mammals. Accommodation is available on houseboats in the village of Kaw. Close by is the village of Montsinery, which features several botanical hiking trails that lead to waterfalls and creeks.

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