Countries Visited

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Myanmar Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fasso Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria
Map Legend: 28%, 75 of 263 Territories

Monday, August 17, 2009

Financing the Guianas (and travel tips)

You have seen the great photos from Guyana, Suriname, and French Guyane (collectively called the Guianas down here), but there is a darker side to these places: the cost. They are some of the most expensive countries to visit in South America. Here is a bit more of the breakdown:

Suriname: $190/day. We covered most of this one already. Food is reasonable and cheapish accomodation can be found, but transport is really expensive to the interior. Might have been possible to get their cheaper, but we had heard some bad stories. The $100 for visas is also ridiculous, and really brings up the average since we were only there for 6 days, but they are quick to remind you that the US levies similar visa fees on them. Oh, and on the visa side, if you are getting your Suriname Visa in Georgetown, it isn't hard, but you must pay them in US dollars and they only accept newer $10, $20, and $50 bills. This is true no matter what country you are from. They absolutely will not accept local currency, their own currency, or $100 bills. We can recommend Blue Frog Travels for arranging trips to the interior. They were really great for us, though the A/C was unfortunately broke on their vehicle at the time. Jodensavanne and Brownsberg National Park are both nice places.

French Guyane: $165/day. Had it not been for the kindness of Dan the American and Manuela and Max the Italians, this would have been much, much higher. French Guyane really does cost more than France. Dan was nice enough not only to drive us half way across the country, but to take us to dinner as well. Manuela and Max were kind enough to put us up for about the price of the cheapest hotel rooms, which were all booked, and they helped us get around. Hotel rooms cost a minimum of 50 euros ($70 at present) for less than great places, though they do all have A/C. Try to find people with whom you can stay. Definitely try couch surfing here if you can lock in your dates (we couldn't). A lot of people apparently hitchhike. Consider it. If you don't speak any French (Tara does), it will be difficult. I was excited to go to Cayenne because it is the city for which Cayenne pepper is named and that seemed to give it a fun aura. It turns out that Cayenne is a boring town, especially in the summer. Go to the prison camp in St. Laurent (try to find a guide who speaks English), go to the space launch tours in Kourou (free, but in French--probably interesting even if you don't have Tara translating), and go to Glacier for ice cream in Kourou.

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