Up on the top right corner of South America (northwest for those cartographly inclined) are three sections of land: two countries and a territory that seem curiously out of place. Not geographically, as they clearly are part of the continent, but that only makes it more odd that they typically are associated with the Caribbean. These would be the Guianas, or Guyanas, depending on your spell checker.
As they are known in Spanish, Salto Angel, is the largest single drop waterfall in the world, plunging almost a kilometer from the Auyantepuy plateau in the south eastern Venezuelan province of Bolívar. It’s scenic location and wonderful surroundings lead it to be a finalist as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
For getting up close and personal to the falls, the Argentine side is a lot better. There are two routes: the paseo superior and the paseo inferior. They both are a series of trails, bridges and catwalks that give you spectacular views of the falls. The paseo superior goes over the top, while the inferior climbs down to the base of the falls, so you can get a good view looking up.
Another advantage to the Argentine side are the two free boat tours that will get you close to the falls as well. It seems the locals will do anything to get you wet.
One of the things that you can’t miss when traveling in South America are the Iguazú Falls. They are called Cataratas de Iguazú or Foz do Iguaçu depending on which side you are standing on, because they are exactly on the border between Argentina and Brazil. Seeing the falls from both sides is definitely worth the trip, and each side has its own advantages.
Surinam is one of the “top three”, three countries in the extreme north of South America, previously known as the Guianas, and somewhat separated from the rest of the continent in history. Unlike the rest of South America which was colonized by the Iberian countries, and provided something of a shared heritage among them, Surinam was colonized by Dutch settlers. There is a broad mix of languages among its people, but Dutch is the most common, and as a consequence, Surinam is not part of Latin America.
Guyana has managed to stay out of the well-beaten South America travel trail, and it’s hard to see why. There is a wonderful array of attractions and reasons to visit this country, yet it has slipped the mind of most tourists. This makes it ideal for anyone looking to have a pristine look at one of the undiscovered treasures of Latin America. But hurry! After this article, it might be too late…