The Guianas

The Guianas are certainly not the countries with the most hyperboles in South America. And sadly, the hyperboles that these three little countries of Guyana, Suriname and the French Guiana can claim are not usually positive: They are the most dangerous, claim the highest AIDS/HIV rates, have the least developed tourism infrastructure and are probably the least visited three countries in South America. That said, there are a few hyperboles the Guianas possess that may just make you test the waters. The very fact that the Guianas are so undeveloped for the tourist masses can be an attractive aspect to many wanting to see nature in its virgin form. Guyana is home to the highest single-drop waterfall in the world, the Kaieteur Falls. And the very fact Guianas are so different from their South American neighbors can be appealing; the culture is rich and has strong roots to western African cultures.

Travel in Guyana requires a truly adventurous spirit: the weather is hot and muggy year-round, 93% of the country’s roads are unpaved, and crime is a serious problem in the waterfront capital of Georgetown. However, for those willing to sacrifice a few comforts for spectacular natural attractions, Guyana is well-worth the effort. Some highlights include one of the world’s highest waterfalls, lovely grassland cattle ranches, and fascinating riverboat tours.

Suriname, the smallest country in South America, is a perfect destination for adventurous, nature-loving travelers who don’t mind sacrificing a few comforts. National parks and reserves are especially good travel destinations.

The only non-independent portion of South America, French Guiana, or as it is locally known, Guyane, is also the only French-speaking nation in South America. This tiny country in the northeast corner of South America bordered by Atlantic Ocean to the east and north, Suriname to the west and Brazil to the south, consists mostly of unsettled wilderness. Despite the fact that French Guiana has 378 km (235 miles) of coastline, it has practically no beaches. The coastline is dominated by marshland and muddy spots of shore where river, ocean and land intersect.

All information on this page was researched and written by Dawn Wohlfarth.