Suriname, French Guiana & Guyana
The northeast corner of South America is the continent’s least-explored territory. Suriname – formerly Dutch Guiana – is located on the Caribbean coast of South America between Guyana and French Guiana. It is a heavily forested country covered by large areas of biological diversity. Most of Suriname’s small population speaks Dutch and lives in the coastal area in and around the capital city. Suriname’s interior forest is occupied by very small populations of Amerindians and descendants of African slaves – the Maroons – who live scattered along its major rivers.
French Guiana is known to Francophiles and locals as Guyane and yes, this causes no shortage of confusion with similarly-named Guyana a few hundred miles to the west. Nonetheless, French Guiana is a singularly unique place from a political point of view. Its 84,000 km² (32,500 square miles) is a department of France and this territory is legally part of the European Union. President Emmanuel Macron is the head of state, French is the lingua franca, and transactions are handled in Euros. Espresso and wine are in ample supply.
Guyana has preserved the vast majority of its rainforest in pristine form, replete with all the creatures, big and small, who call it home. This presents an opportunity for first-hand exploration found in few other places on Earth. No touts; no tour bus traffic jams; even postcards and souvenirs are in short supply. When you visit Guyana, you encounter something that’s hard to find these days: a magnificent, untrammeled place.
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