Skip to main content

 
 

The Guianas

 

The Guianas are rich in cultural heritage with a deep indigenous culture fused with influences from around the world. Add to that their biodiversity and unparalleled wildlife-viewing opportunities and you have three exciting destinations to explore.
 
Guyana offers the lively capital of Georgetown, Kaieteur Falls (the largest single-drop waterfall in the world) and Iwokrama Rainforest Reserve with its canopy walkway and opportunities to see giant river otters, turtles, anteaters, the hoatzin (national bird) and maybe even the elusive jaguar.
 
French Guiana offers its colourful capital Cayenne rich in French colonial architecture, the Space Centre at Kourou, the vibrant Sunday market in the Laos Hmong village of Cacao and of course the infamous prison islands of Îles du Salut.
 
In Suriname, the capital Paramaribo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and not to be missed. Also worthwhile visiting is the Jewish settlement of Jodensavanne, the former plantations taking you back to colonial times and of course the UNESCO Central Suriname Nature Reserve home to a vast array of flora and fauna.
 
Did you know?
  • Ÿ Ÿ Cayenne Pepper is named after Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana.
  • Ÿ Ÿ Kaieteur Falls in Guyana is the largest single-drop waterfall by volume in the world.

Ÿ Ÿ Suriname is the only country in South America where Dutch is the official language.
 

Visa

 
Guyana
 
A pre-arranged visa is not required to enter Guyana for citizens of the following countries.
 
  • Ÿ Ÿ Australia
  • Ÿ Ÿ United Kingdom
  • Ÿ Ÿ The United States
  • Ÿ Ÿ Ireland
  • Ÿ Ÿ Canada
  • Ÿ Ÿ New Zealand
  • Ÿ Ÿ European Union
  • Ÿ Ÿ South Africa
 
A 90-day visa is issued on arrival.
 
For other nationalities please visit the website of the relevant consulate.
 

 

French Guiana

 
A pre-arranged visa is not required to enter French Guiana for citizens of the following countries.
 
  • Ÿ Ÿ Australia
  • Ÿ Ÿ United Kingdom
  • Ÿ Ÿ The United States
  • Ÿ Ÿ Ireland
  • Ÿ Ÿ Canada
  • Ÿ Ÿ New Zealand
  • Ÿ Ÿ European Union
 
For other nationalities please visit the website of the relevant consulate.

Suriname
 
A pre-arranged visa is not required to enter Suriname for citizens of the following countries.
 
  • Ÿ Ÿ United Kingdom
  • Ÿ Ÿ The United States
  • Ÿ Ÿ Ireland
  • Ÿ Ÿ Canada
  • Ÿ Ÿ European Union
 
Visas can be obtained at the point of entry at a cost of US$ 25 or Euro 20.
 
A pre-arranged visa is required to enter Suriname for citizens of the following countries:
 
  • Ÿ Ÿ Australia
  • Ÿ Ÿ New Zealand
  • Ÿ Ÿ South Africa
     
Please check with your local embassy or consulate for visa regulations and requirements.
 
For other nationalities please visit the website of the relevant consulate.

Time

 
French Guiana: GMT -3
Guyana: GMT -3
Suriname: GMT -3

Money

 
The unit of currency in Guyana is the Guyana Dollar (GYD); in French Guiana is the Euro (EUR) and in Suriname is the Suriname Dollar (SRD).
 
Please check websites such as www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for up to date exchange rates prior to your departure.
 
Guyana: The Guyana dollar is a stable currency linked to the US dollar, which is also widely accepted. Some places will also accept Euros and British pounds. Some higher-end hotels and restaurants will accept credit cards but there is usually a 5% service fee. Some ATMs will accept foreign cards but these are not widespread and mainly limited to Georgetown. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and foreign exchange bureaux as well as at some hotels for a small commission.
 
French Guiana: French Guiana is one of the most expensive countries in South America, partly because it uses the Euro and partly because many goods are imported from France. The only foreign exchange bureaux for currency exchange are in Cayenne but there are ATMS in most midsized and large towns where you can get cash advances using Visa or MasterCard. Credit cards are widely accepted.
 
Suriname: Although the official unit of currency is the Suriname dollar some businesses quote prices in Euros and/or US dollars. Most banks will exchange major foreign currencies but there are also ATMs that accept foreign cards. Generally only large hotels and travel agencies accept credit cards and a service fee will be charged.
 

LDD, Emergency Numbers, Internet

 
Country codes: French Guiana: + 594
Guyana: + 592
Suriname: + 597
 
Emergency Numbers: 
 
French Guiana: Police 112 or 17, Medical 112 or 15
Guyana: Police 911, Medical 913
Suriname: Police 115, Medical 113
 
In Guyana, there are internet cafes in Georgetown and free Wi-Fi is widely available.
 
In French Guiana there are internet cafes in Cayenne, Kourou and Saint Laurent with libraries and some hotels also providing internet access.
 
In Suriname there are affordable internet cafes in the main cities, but many guesthouses and hotels and some cafes offer free Wi-Fi .

Climate

 
Guyana has a tropical climate and is hot and humid throughout the year. Average daytime temperatures are 28ºC with temperatures seldom rising above 34ºC during the day or falling below 25ºC at night. There are two wet and two dry seasons. The first wet season, from mid-November to mid-January is typified by long heavy showers. The second wet season from May until mid-August has less intense regular downfalls. September and October are usually the driest months.
 
French Guiana is also tropical with a wet and a dry season and a constant equatorial climate. The average temperature hovers around 27ºC throughout the year. The rainy season starts in late November/early December and runs through to July, with May having the highest monthly rainfall and March usually the lowest.
 
Suriname has a tropical climate and is warm and humid year round. There are two wet and two dry seasons, but there is often rain during the dry season and there may be little or no rain in the wet season! The average annual temperature is 27ºC and maximum temperatures rarely rise above 32ºC.
 

Cuisine

 
Guyana: The food in Guyana is varied and includes curries and roti, Guyanese style chow mein, Pepperpot (an Amerindian meat stew) and cassava bread. The national dish is the one pot meal and the most popular drink is dark rum.
 
French Guiana: The cuisine of French Guiana is again diverse and can be quite spicy. A traditional dish is bouillon d’aoura prepared with smoked fish and flavoured with aurora fruit. Pimentade is fish with a tomato sauce, spiced and seasoned with lemon.
 
Suriname: Surinamese cuisine includes roti, nasi goreng, the casserole pom and chicken masala. 
 

Language

 
Guyana is the only English speaking country in South America. Although English is the official language, most of the population speak Guyanese Creole.
 
French Guiana has French as the official language although a number of other languages are spoken including Creole, Amerindian languages, Maroon dialects and Hmong Njua.
 
Suriname uses Dutch as the official language and it is spoken by the majority of the population. Sranang Tongo, a local Creole language was supressed by the Dutch for many years but is now also widely used.