Guyana is situated on the northeastern coast of the continent of South America between l degree and 9 degrees north latitude, and 57 degrees and 6l degrees west longitude. It is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by Suriname, on the south and southwest by Brazil, and on the northwest by Venezuela. Its coastline stretches for some 270 miles and it extends inland for about 450 miles. About 35 percent of the country, the area approximately below 4 degrees north latitude, lies within the Amazon Basin.

The area of Guyana is 83,000 square miles (215,000 square kilometers), which is slightly larger than the state of Idaho or slightly smaller than the United Kingdom, excluding Northern Ireland.

Land boundaries: total 2,462 km, Brazil 1,119 km, Suriname 600 km, Venezuela 743 km

Coastline: 459 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf 200 nm or the outer edge of continental margin
exclusive fishing zone 200 nm
territorial sea 12 nm

International disputes: all of the area west of the Essequibo River claimed by Venezuela; Suriname claims area between New (Upper Courantyne) and Courantyne/Kutari Rivers (all headwaters of the Courantyne)

Guyana Standard Time is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time and one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time. (GMT-4).

Natural resources: bauxite, gold, diamonds, hardwood timber, shrimp, fish

Land use:
arable land 3%
permanent crops 0%
meadows and pastures 6%
forest and woodland 83%
other 8%

Irrigated land: 1,300 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues water pollution from sewage and agricultural and industrial chemicals; deforestation
natural hazards flash floods a constant threat during rainy seasons
international agreements party to - Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber; signed, but not ratifed - Biodiversity, Climate Change

Physical Features

The name Guyana is derived from an Amerindian word meaning "land of many waters". The word aptly describes the country with its extensive network of rivers and creeks and its large number of rapids and water-falls, including the famous Kaieteur Falls, which, with a perpendicular drop of 741 feet, is about five times the height of Niagara. The country is divided into four natural regions:

(a) The Coastal Region: This is a low coastal plain varying in width from about l0 miles in the West, to about 40 miles in the East. Much of the coastal area is below sea level with some areas being as much as 8 feet below the high tide mark. This low elevation necessitates an elaborate sea defence and drainage system consisting basically of sea walls or dykes to keep out the sea, and a network of canals controlled by pumps and sluices, or kokers, as they are commonly known. The system was first constructed by the early Dutch settlers and many of the original structures have survived to this day.

(b) The Hilly Sand Clay Belt: This region extends across the country immediately south of the coastal plain. It is an undulating expanse of white and brown sands increasing in width from west to east. The area is covered with scrublands and hardwood forests with hills rising up to almost 400 feet. The region covers over l4 percent of the country and contains extensive deposits of bauxite with proven reserves estimated at around 300m tons.

(c) The Highland Region: This region covers about two-thirds of the area of the country. There are four mountain ranges - the Imataka in the Northwest, the Pakaraima in the West, the Kanuku in the Southeast and the Akarai in the South. The mountains range in height from 300 m to l200 m (roughly l,000 to 4,000 feet) with several peaks above this level. The highest peak, the Roraima Mountain (9,091 feet), in the Pakaraima range, is at the point where the boundaries of Guyana, Venezuela and Brazil converge. The region is composed mainly of ancient pre-cambrian rocks and is rich in minerals including gold and diamonds which have been exploited for over a hundred years.

(d) The Interior Savannahs: There are two savannah areas: the Rupununi Savannahs and the intermediate savannahs. The largest, the Repununni, is about 6,000 square miles in extent. It lies in the southwestern part of the country and is divided into the North and South Savannahs by the Kanuku mountain range. The intermediate savannahs lie about 60 miles from the mouth of the Berbice River. These smaller savannahs cover over 2,000 square miles of territory.