Overland through French Guyana, the former Dutch Guyana (Suriname) and British Guyana
Novotel Cayenne ****
Hotel Rocher, Kourou ****
Hotel du Fleuve, near Kourou ***
Royal Torarica, Paramaribo *****
Regency, Nieuw Nickerie ***
Pegasus, Georgetown (ex-Meridien) ****
The three Guyanas were less exotic or difficult than I thought.
The shared taxi from the “Central Hotel” in Cayenne to the Surinamese border leaves at 8am for €35, switching vehicles once, taking ca. 3,5hrs on perfectly tarred roads. A normal taxi would cost € 350 – 450. If I’d do it again, I’d try to get a one-way car hire at the airport which seems possible. There is an interesting looking hotel halfway, called “Hotel du Fleuve”, 30 mins after Kourou.
Suriname is the only country in south America requiring a prior visa, however some tourists enter illegally on the so-called “back-track” in St. Laurent du Moroni. To enter Suriname the easiest way is by motorized canoo for € 5. There is also a regular car ferry several times a day. The border post in St. Laurent du Moroni is open during normal business hours. Easy.
The taxi from that border to Paramaribo is € 90 for ca 2,5hrs on a good dirt road. The best hotel in Paramaribo is the “Royal Torarica”. The taxi from there to the border town of Nieuw Nickerie is € 150, taking 3hrs on a scenic tarred road. The best hotel there is the “Regency”.
The legal way to enter Guyana is by car ferry, which leaves another 30mins down the road at 11am. There is again an illegal way to enter on motorized canoos, which they call “back track” for € 70 (alone), leaving from the edge of town. The ride takes ca. 45mins on pretty open water and may be a bit dangerous – for several reasons. I would have taken that canoo at 5h30 am to get my 10h30 flight from Georgetown, but some wonderfully dodgy characters said the first boat would not be ready before 8am.
I figured out I could just as well take the official ferry – with an official entry stamp. That probably saved me a lot of hassle at the very bureaucratic airport controls when leaving Guyana.
The shared taxi to Georgetown took 2,5hrs and € 10 on a good tarred road. The best hotel there is the “Pegasus”, although quite worn out. The airport is a bloody 45mins outside town. Very few flights, so when I missed mine, I had to go back to town to leave next morning to Trinidad (3 flights there per day, 2 others to Barbados).
Crime in Guyana: like in many other countries, the police are part of the problem, not the solution.
What made Guyana even more (in-)famous: the Tragedy of the “Peoples Temple” sect leader Jim Jones, leading 918 followers into mass suicide in Jonestown Guyana in 1978
My trip of 11 days, at almost suicidal speed:
1.250 km overland in 22 taxis and 3 minibuses, 400 km overwater in 6 boats, 17 flights (although missed those to Barbados, St. Vincent, Grenada, Tobago), 14 country points
(click on map for details)