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Discovering the hidden Guianas

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Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Transfer to your hotel in Paramaribo.

Day 2

By road and motorised canoe to your riverside lodge.

Day 3

Visit indigenous village and the Maroon museum.

Day 4

Return to Paramaribo by river and road. Sunset dolphin spotting tour.

Day 5

Guided city tour of Paramaribo.

Day 6

Travel to French Guiana (Guyane) and visit the Space Centre at Kourou.

Day 7

Guided visit to Devil’s Island.

Day 8

By road to Guyana via French ex-penal colonies.

Day 9

City tour of Georgetown, its principal buildings and markets; Demerara river tour.

Day 10

Fly south to Kaieteur Falls in the deep interior.

Day 11

Fly to Iwokrama, hike up Turtle mountain, go jaguar spotting

Day 12

Explore the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway.

Day 13

Ascend Surama mountain; river otter-spotting canoe ride.

Day 14

Transfer to Rupununi airstrip, fly to Georgetown.

Day 15

Transfer to the airport for your international flight.

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Places visited on this holiday

Discovering the hidden Guianas

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The people of Suriname
Suriname is the smallest independent country in South America but what it lacks in size it makes up in ethnic diversity: its friendly inhabitants are composed of Dutch and British colonialists, Amerindians, Chinese, Indians and Maroons, and any combination of them. The country can be divided into two main regions - the northern lowland coastal area where most of the population lives and the dense tropical rainforest and sparsely inhabited savannah which covers the rest of the country. 

The inland forest is occupied by very small communities of Amerindians and descendants of African slaves - the Maroons – who escaped into the jungle in the 17th and 18th centuries live scattered along the banks of its major rivers.  The Dutch colonial centre of Paramaribo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The city is also a melting pot of religious cultures including Jews who moved here from Jodensavanne - home of the oldest synagogue in the Americas. The wilderness interior is pretty impenetrable and is accessed by river, forest road or light aircraft. The biggest attraction of the country for visitors is its unique ethnic and social fabric. 


Do I need a yellow fever vaccination for Suriname?

The Ministry of Health in Suriname advises passengers travelling to Suriname to be vaccinated against Yellow Fever. This is also valid for travellers departing from Suriname towards countries in the Caribbean region. You will be required to present your ’International Certificate of Vaccination’ booklet, which will be checked before departure. You may be denied entree to any country if you fail to present this document. You should be vaccinated at least 10 days before departure.

When's the best time to go to Suriname?
Suriname has a tropical humid climate. There are a short rainy seasons Dec-Jan and Apr-Jul. The most pleasant times to visit are the dry seasons Feb-Apr and Aug-Nov. Throughout the year the average daily temperature varies between 21 and 32°C. Suriname lies outside the hurricane zone and the most extreme weather condition is the "sibibusi" (forest broom), a torrential rain shower which passes quickly.
What's the official language in Suriname?

Dutch, English and Sranan Tongo, originally the language of the creoles.

What's the official currency in Suriname?

Suriname guilder.  Currently, only one bank, the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (RBTT) has ATMs which accept foreign ATM Visa cards. You can exchange currency at banks, hotels, and official exchange houses; in no circumstances change money on the street. Only a few tourist-inclined establishments accept credit cards.

Time difference

GMT -4 hours  

Combines with

A visit to the two other Guianas, which sit alongside Suriname on the coast: Guyana, the former British Guiana and Guyane, still a French overseas département. It’s not easy to do independently: we recommend you join our annual small group guided tour, named Coq of the Rock.

Getting there
Average flight time to Paramaribo is 12 hrs. There are no direct flights from the UK to Suriname; popular routes involve a change of ‘plane in Amsterdam. 
Key events

The religious festivals of all the main religions represented by the population are celebrated, Christian Christmas and Easter; Hindu Diwali; Muslim Eid al-Adha and Amerindian Mashramani.
Suriname Jazz Festival, Paramaribo; Oct.
Surifesta, Paramaribo; mid Dec-Jan. A festival of shows, street parties, parades and flower markets.

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French Guiana
Guyane (French Guiana) is not an independent nation; it’s an overseas department of France and therefore part of the EU. The country is a melting pot of ethnic diversity – creole and immigrants make up 80% of a population which also includes metropolitan French, Amerindians and Maroons - the descendants of escaped slaves.

Geographically, the country is a tangle of rainforest with an incredible biodiversity. The mangrove swamps of Kaw are one of Guyane’s most accessible wildlife areas.

However, Guyane is most famous for the former penal colony immortalised in the film Papillon. The abandoned penal colonies are now historical monuments in themselves, and visitors are drawn to the Îles de Salut including Devil’s Island. The main island, Île Royale, offers an evocative insight into the conditions the prisoners faced, since many of the cells can still be visited.

Guyane seldom hits the news - except when there is activity at the European Space Station at Kourou. The space station visitors' centre is open except when the next launch of the Ariane rocket is imminent.
When's the best time to visit French Guiana?

Temperatures are tropical and consistent, averaging 27°C throughout the year, although it can be cooler at night in the highlands than on the coast. The rainy season is Nov-Jul with substantial rainfall beginning in May.

What's the official language of French Guiana?

French

How do I get hold of Euros in French Guyana?

Euro. Rates are better if you buy the currency in the UK but € notes can be withdrawn from ATMs in Cayenne using a UK credit or debit card. Some banks will offer advances on credit cards, which are widely accepted. ATMs outside Cayenne are intermittently out of action.

What's the time difference between GMT and French Guiana?

GMT -4 hours

Which other countries combine well with french Guiana?

A visit to the two other Guianas, which sit west of  Guyane alongthe coast: Suriname, colonised by the Dutch; and Guyana, the former British Guiana. It’s not easy to do independently: we recommend you join our annual small group guided tour, named Coq of the Rock.

What are the festivals, cultural and sporting events in French Guiana?
Carnival, Cayenne, Feb/Mar. This is very animated and involves Caribbean-influenced parades and parties. Each day has its own theme and costumes are elaborate. Originally a creole festival, it now welcomes participants from Brazil and Haiti.
Abolition of Slavery Day, Guyane, 10 Jun.
National holidays are the same as in France.

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Guyana
Guyana isn't Latin: it sits alone on the continent of South America as an ex-British colony, sharing a Caribbean flavour where English is the first language and cricket the national sport. Culturally it's a remarkable and unique melting pot of Afro-Caribbean, Amerindian, European, Brazilian and Asian influences: in the capital, Georgetown, a Hindu temple may sit happily next to a jerk-chicken fast food outlet while reggae music thunders from the bar across the road.

The country is composed of vast areas covered by virgin rainforest, savannah and ancient tablelands over one of which spill the stunning Kaieteur Falls. Deep in the almost untrodden interior there is magnificent jungle scenery and a plethora of wildlife unrivalled on the continent. Jaguars, giant otters, tapirs and over 800 bird species roam undisturbed.

This is true wilderness. It isn’t easy to get around. The Caribbean coastline is a steamy, stretch of muddy mangrove forest, through which a paved coast road runs eastwards from Georgetown towards Suriname; there are just a few dirt roads heading inland. Travel is by river, dirt road or by light plane.
When is the best time to go to Guyana?
The climate in Guyana is typically hot with average daily temperatures of 27oC and it stays warm throughout the night. The north of the country experiences two wet seasons – May-Jun and Dec-Feb. The south and the Rupununi has only one wet season, May-Aug. The best months to visit for wildlife viewing and exploring the interior are Feb-Apr and Oct-Dec.
What's the official language of Guyana?

English.

What's the official currency in Guyana?
Guyanese dollar. Notes can be withdrawn from ATM at the Scotia bank in Georgetown (protect your PIN number) using a UK credit or debit card. Some other banks will offer advances on a credit card.  Otherwise you can change cash at hotels and money exchanges. Never change money on the street. Guyana is largely a cash economy though credit cards are accepted in some establishments used by tourists.
What's the time difference between GMT and Guyana?

GMT -4 hours.

Which countries combine well with Guyana?
A visit to the two other Guianas, which sit east of Guyana along the coast: Suriname, colonised by the Dutch, and Guyane, still a French overseas département. It’s not easy to do independently: we recommend you join our annual small group guided tour, named Coq of the Rock.
What are the cultural events in Guyana?
The religious festivals of all the main religions represented by the population are celebrated, Christian Christmas and Easter; Hindu Diwali; Muslim Eid al-Adha and Amerindian Mashramani.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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