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Guyana Hotels

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Guyana has an area of 215,084 square kilometers, nearly the size of Britain, but only about 2.5 percent (or 537,710 hectares) is cultivated. About 90 percent of the population lives on the narrow coastal plain, either in Georgetown, the capital, or in villages along the main road running from Charity in the west to the Suriname border. Most of the plain is below sea level. Large wooden houses stand on stilts above ground level. A sea wall keeps out the Atlantic and the fertile clay soil is drained by a system of dykes; sluice gates, kokers are opened to let out water at low tide. Separate irrigation channels are used to bring water back to the fields in dry weather. Most of the western third of the coastal plain is un-drained and uninhabited.

Four major rivers cross the coastal plain (from west to east) the Essequibo, the Demerara, the Berbice, and the Corentyne (which forms the frontier with Suriname). Only the Demerara is crossed by bridges. Elsewhere ferries must be used. At the mouth of the Essequibo River, 34 kilometers wide, are islands the size of Barbados. The lower reaches of these rivers are navigable (120 kilometers up the Demerara to Linden and 72 kilometers up the Essequibo to the mouth of the Cuyuni River); but waterfalls and rapids prevent them being used by large boats to reach the interior.

Inland from the coastal plain most of the country is covered by thick rain forest, although in the east there is a large area of grassland. Towards the Venezuelan border the rain forest rises in a series of steep escarpments, with spectacular waterfalls, the highest and best known of which are the Kaieteur Falls on the Potaro River. In the southwest of the country is the Rupununi Savanna, an area of open grassland more easily reached from Brazil than from Georgetown.

The area west of the Essequibo River, about 70 percent of the national territory, is claimed by Venezuela. In the southeast, the border with Suriname is in dispute, the contentious issue being whether high or low water is the boundary (in the area of the Koeroeni and New rivers).

Until the 1920s there was little natural increase in population, but the eradication of malaria and other diseases has since led to a rapid growth in population, particularly among the East Indians (Asian), who, according to most estimates comprise about 50 percent of the population. The 1992 census showed the following ethnic distribution: East Indian 48.3 percent; black 32.7 percent; mixed 12.2 percent; Amerindian 6.3 percent; white 0.3 percent; Chinese 0.2 percent; other 0.02 percent. Descendants of the original Amerindian inhabitants are divided into nine ethnic groups, including the Akawaio, Makuxi and Pemon. Some have lost their isolation and moved to the urban areas, others keenly maintain aspects of their traditional culture and identity. Click here to go to Guyana web site.



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