Most visitors to South America never think of visiting Guyana, the small nation bordered by Venezuela, Brazil, and Suriname. But with the country’s population mostly clustered on the Atlantic coast, the interior is a pristine rain forest waiting to be explored. Wilderness Explorers’ “Amerindian Guyana” tour, one of Traveler’s 2011 Tours of a Lifetime, penetrates deep into the largely untouched Guiana Shield.
Visit eco-lodges owned and run by Amerindian villages such as Nappi, near the Brazilian border, and Yupukari on the Rupununi savanna, the headquarters of a caiman conservation project. Due to its British colonial past, Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America, and travelers will be able to speak directly with many residents of these communities.
Other highlights include a climb to the top of Surama Mountain and a chartered flight to Kaieteur Falls, nearly five times higher than Niagara and one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world.
Can’t make the trip? Travel to Guyana through the pages of a good book. The country is the focus of the novel The Sly Company of People Who Care, featured in this month’s Trip Lit. Like his main character, author Rahul Bhattacharya moved from India to Guyana to work as a cricket journalist. After exploring the capital, Georgetown, his protagonist heads into the jungle, where he encounters diamond hunters.