If you want that real, Heart of Darkness-like trip into the depths of the jungle, may we suggest a trip to French Guiana? While flying here is possible through the capital city of Cayenne, that can literally be a multi-day undertaking from anywhere in the United States. It’s often faster to travel to neighboring Suriname and haggle with local villagers along the Morowinje River for passage across. Then there’s the issue of what to do once you get to the other side.

Once you’re in French Guiana, you’ll find few crowds in the jungles, wetlands, and beaches, and relatively solid infrastructure since this is, after all, part of France. You’ll also find the EU’s main spaceport, located here thanks to its latitude and abundance of land — if Florida’s not for you, it’s a great place to watch a shuttle launch. The culture is also distinctly Caribbean, and going for carnival will be the best time of year to visit. You’ll find plenty of reasons to visit French Guiana in the pages below; you’ll just need a little bit of patience to get there.