A first-timer’s guide to the Guianas

The Guianas: Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana hide so well under their blanket of South American jungle that even geography nerds have a hard time pinpointing them on a map. Those intrepid enough to go are rewarded with virgin forests that are home to some of the continent's largest and most rare creatures, raw, unvarnished culture and a palpably bizarre mish-mash of history.

Information is scarce, infrastructure scarcer, and chances are you'll meet no more than half a dozen other travellers when you visit. This is a mud-in-your-shoes, disconnect-from-the-modern-world destination that requires wads of cash instead of a bank card (ATMs are rare), a sturdy rear end (dirt roads plus worn shocks equal mega bumps) and an old-fashioned sense of adventure.

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