Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, has been described as the most dangerous place in South America and visitors are advised to be alert at all times and never to walk alone after dark. But in spite of the danger the people are still reputed to be open and friendly. The vibrant character of Georgetown is perhaps most tangible in the hustle bustle of the city’s lively East Indian markets, which sell everything from all types of spices to bananas and even birthday cards. Guyana’s colonial past guarantees some rich historical pickings which can be seen in the plentiful colonial architecture and the Georgetown Museum which houses an eclectic collection ranging from original papers documenting Guyana’s history of slavery to the former Prime Minister’s 1960s limousine. However the colonial influence has not completely erased the South American feel of the town; the traditional ramshackle houses raised on stilts with tin roofs that line Georgetown’s broad boulevards stand as living proof of this.
Kaieteur Falls are situated in the heart of Guyana and this location could not be more apt. Standing at a spectacular 741 feet they are Guyana’s most prized natural possession. The awe inducing sight of the powerful, cascading waters of Kaiteur Falls is amazing within itself, but the experience is taken to a whole other level in combination with the tropical jungle setting and the fascinating wildlife, particularly the bird species that inhabit that area. The easiest way to get to the falls is by air and if you are really keen you might be best to consider chartering a small plane because the organized tours can often be disappointingly short.
The Rupunini Savannah is an area of vast grasslands in the southwest of Guyana which, despite its relative inaccessibility, is the most worthwhile region to visit in the country. The savannah is bisected by the Kanuku Mountains where it is rumored that around 80 percent of known mammal species in Guyana are to be found. The majority of the peoples in this sparsely populated area are Amerindian and a short distance away is one from the Kanuku Range is one of Guyana’s oldest Indian settlements – Wai Wai. During Easter you can also take the opportunity to go to see one of the many rodeos that the cattle ranches in the area traditionally host during this season. It is probably best not visit the region during the wet season because you could be in for some serious flooding.
Shell Beach is 90miles of uninterrupted coastline made up, true to its name, of countless numbers of tiny shells. Most remarkably, this unusual natural setting is a nesting site to four of the world’s eight turtle species. Every year between March and July these awkwardly beautiful creatures choose to emerge from the ocean, to slowly amble up this particular beach to dig their nests and lay up to ten dozen eggs. It goes without saying that the experience of witnessing this extraordinary event will be unforgettable.
Surinam’s colonial capital, Paramaribo, is a potent blend of European, Asian, African and Latin American cultures. This fusion is duly reflected in the predominantly Creole (racially mixed) population and the town’s colorful street life. Paramaribo’s greatest charm is definitely its diversity. East Indian and Javanese street vendors jostle along with Maroons selling their woodcarvings while Dutch-speaking Creoles sit around chatting and enjoying a beer. On the down side, accommodation in the town may be difficult to find because Surinam is yet to fully gear itself up to tourism but at the very least you can expect to get a good meal: Paramaribo has a wealth of cafes and food stalls to eat to your heart’s content, providing everything from Indian and Chinese to Creole and Indonesian cooking.
Brownsberg Nature Park
Brownsberg Nature Park is an eco-paradise of tropical rainforest and mountainous terrain. It lies about two hours from the Paramarimbo and from there it is possible to take a day trip to theMazaroni Plateau, where you can take a hike down the canyon to view the impressive waterfalls, exotic bird-life and primates that are common to this area. You can also take an educational trip to Tonka Island to investigate the environmental project that is presently being run there.