Things to do in French Guiana

| June 11, 2020

Things to do in French Guiana

Off the beaten track, yet still accessible, the sights of French Guiana can be covered in just a few days and the country is easily combined with a trip to neighbouring Suriname or Guyana.

The capital, Cayenne, lies between the estuaries of the Cayenne and Mahury rivers, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and is home to around half the population of French Guiana, some 50,000 people. This small, colourful and laid-back creole town can be easily explored on foot. Further inland lies the jungle town of Cacao, home to a community of H’mong immigrants from Laos, where one can find a fascinating Sunday market.

Just one hour from Cayenne is the coastal town of Kourou. A relatively modern town, it is closely linked to the nearby Guiana Space Centre, a major commercial satellite construction facility and rocket launch pad. It is also the departure point for catamaran trips to the Iles du Salut. These beautiful little tropical islands, famously featured in the novel Papillon, once served as French penal colonies and the ruined and overgrown prison buildings can be explored on a day trip.

On the Maroni river border with Suriname is the town of St Laurent du Maroni, which can be visited when arriving from or departing to Suriname. A site of note is the historic ruined transportation centre, a processing facility for slaves and, later, European convicts.

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