Guyana (‘land of many waters’) is the only South American nation with English as its official language.
It has large unspoiled rainforests, parts of which are inaccessible. This environment has created one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world.
The tapir is the country’s largest mammal. The jaguar is the fiercest of its cats. Next to monkeys and deer you’ll find sloths, great anteaters, bush pigs and armadillos.
The caiman (similar to the alligator) is common. The giant anaconda or water boa is the largest of Guyana’s snakes. The bushmaster is the most vicious.
The national bird of Guyana is the hoatzin, also known as the stinkbird. It has a large head crest and its chicks have claws on two of their wing digits.
Guyana has sugarcane plantations, rice fields, bauxite and gold reserves.
The culture of some of the country’s indigenous peoples is largely untouched by modernity. It’s recognised as an important element of Guyanese life and an inspiration for local music and art.
Guyana joined the Commonwealth in 1966.
It has attended every Commonwealth Games since 1930, bar three. Medals won include Gold on the athletics track in 1934 and 2002, and in the boxing ring in 1978.
Continuing its success on the track, Guyana’s Aliann Pompey won Silver in the Women's 400m at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.