Top 50 Things to Do and to See in French Guiana

French Guiana
The region of French Guiana lies off the Atlantic coast between the Caribbean and the Amazon and it is said that this location gives this region a magnificent environment that is extremely rich in flora and fauna and is home to many protected species. The political and also the administrative organizations are similar to the department of France. Fifty things that you can enjoy in French Guiana with your family are as follows:

1. Îles du Salut

Îles du Salut is also popularly known as the “Salvation Islands” used to be the favorite destination during the eighteenth century colonists until they were transformed into a penal colony. It is one of the historical places of the country. Approximately 2,000 convicts where held in its prison here many of them died because of inhumane conditions. It is today a peaceful place which has a lot of offer its visitors. You can learn more of its dark past at Île Royale, Île du Diable, and Île St. Joseph where the administrative headquarters, political prisoners, and solitary confinement cells are respectively located.

2. Rémire-Montjoly

Rémire-Montjoly encompass of 2 towns that are distinguished by long stretches of beaches. It is considered one of the spectacular tourist attractions of the county. To be found side-by-side, they are said to create the best waterfront in the country and indeed are among the top tourist attractions in French Guiana but Montjoly is particularly known for its historic remains, hiking trails, and Plage Montjoly, the fantastic beach in the area.

3. Cacao

Another most amazing tourist attraction of this country is Cacao is a picturesque village with beautiful wooden houses on stilt. The fascinating Sunday market held here features Hmong embroidery and weaving and local noodle soups. Hmong refugees who came all the way from Laos had been living here since the 1970s. Cacao’s marketplace is worth a visit mainly because of the Hmong weaving, embroidery, and Laoatian delicacies.

4. Kaieteur Falls

Kaieteur Falls is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the country. The Kaieteur Falls are immensely popular and gives a spectacular view to the tourist. The falls have the largest single drop of any waterfall in the world. The Kaieteur Falls are usually grouped with the Orinduik falls in a complete tour that lasts one day. You will be able to get enormous areal pictures of both the city of Georgetown and the falls as well.

5. Maison de la Reserve Natural l’Amana

Maison de la Reserve Natural l’Amana is one of the most sought after tourist attractions of the country. It is a famous nature reserve with one of the world’s largest nesting sites for giant leatherback turtles. You will also find a small museum where tourist can know more about these gentle giants. Visit this place of French Guiana for some of the long lasting memories. Turtles nest at Plage Les Hattes from April to July but the eggs don’t hatch until July to September. In these months, the nature reserve is one of the top tourist attractions in French Guiana.

6. Camp de la Transportation

Camp de la Transportation is to be found in St. Laurent du Maroni is another famous tourist attraction of the county. It is considered as a peculiar destination. It is an old prison with small cells, leg shackles, and dormitory-style toilets. Camp de la Transportation also features public execution areas which have been partially restored. Guided tours are available for tourists for detailed explanations.

7. Canoe

Canoe is another popular tourist destination of French Guiana. You can even organize a trip in a dugout canoe. Visit this part of the county for a fun filled tour. Here trips range from an hour and a half to full day adventures and take place throughout the country including, the Kourou, Iracabo, Counamana and the lower Sinnamary. The rivers are a mixture of calm water and more challenging rapids, such as those at Hermina.

8. The Jungle

The Guiana is considered as a best gateway to the Amazon Jungle. Roughly only 15% of the land across all three countries is developed. The Amazon Jungle has a vast array of things to see and in Guyana they actually have a popular canopy walkway in the Iwokrama forest will take you close and personal to a variety of birds you couldn’t see from the forest floor. Once here you can not only see flora and fauna but you can also discover the Amerindians which are the natives of the region.

9. Cayenne

Centered on the Cayenne Peninsula is the capital city of Cayenne. It is the administrative and commercial center of French Guiana, along with other neighborhoods such as Rémire-Montjoly with its deep sea harbor and Matoury with the country’s Rochambeau airport. Further upstream are Montsinery and the Hmong village of Cacao.Some of the interesting places to visit here are the Jesuit-built residence of the Prefect in the Place de Grenoble, the Canal Laussat, and the Botanical Gardens. In the centre of town, the Musée Départemental Franconie and the Musée des Cultures Guyanaises feature good exhibits on indigenous peoples and the notorious penal settlements on Devil’s Island.

10. Fourgasse falls

Fourgasse falls are one of the most fascinating tourist attractions of the country. It is considered as an ideal spot for picnicking, the area here is simply beautiful. You will find this spectacular Fourgasse falls situated about an hour from Kourou.

11. Haut-Maroni and Haut-Oyapoc

Visit the Amerindian villages in Haut-Maroni and Haut-Oyapoc for some of most fascinating experience of your tour. Here visits are restricted and permission must be obtained from the Préfecture in Cayenne before arrival in the country. It is said to be one of the adventures experience to visit these places.

12. Kourou

The major French Space Centre is something of a European enclave, and considered one of the must visit places of French Guiana. Ultra-modern buildings now dominate the city, and there are numerous restaurants and a couple of excellent hotels. A tour of the Space Centre is a must. Kourou, the second-largest city in French Guiana, is an appealing modern town surrounding a more traditional colonial core. Today it is now home to the busiest commercial space centre Centre Spatial Guyanais that dominates the country’s economy, accounting for 25% of the GDP and employing around 1,700 people.

13. Mouragues Nature Reserve

Mouragues Nature Reserve is one of the most popular tourist attractions of French Guiana, here you can explore nature and wildlife, which stretches from Roura to Régina and is prominent for its diverse scenery and flora, and it, is just a perfect place to enjoy with the entire family. The Kaw Swamps, near Rora, are host to many species of birds, such as the Toco toucan and the flamingo.

14. Carnivals

Carnivals of French Guiana are other famous tourist attractions. King Carnival starts after Epiphany and goes on until Ash Wednesday. Carnival groups pleasure the thronging crowds with their multicolored costumes and the frenetic rhythm of their music, the locals and also tourist enjoys the carnival alike. On Mardi gras, the towns are literally painted red for the parade of the red devils, celebrated with so much enthusiasm. Ash Wednesday sees the crowd dressed in black and white and ready to witness the final moments of the life of King Carnival, soon to be burnt at the stake amid a seemingly incessant hullabaloo.

15. Centre Spatial Guyanais 

The space center is Kourou’s star attraction, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country. It is said that from the year 1980, two-thirds of the world’s commercial satellites have been began from here. The launch site is the only one in the world this close to the equator, where the earth spins significantly faster, giving the rockets a slingshot effort.

16. Microlighting

Microlighting is other famous tourist attraction of the country. Tours can be arranged, and mountain bikes can be hired in Cayenne, Saül, Montsinery-Tonnegrade, St Laurent and St Georges for trips through the primary forest. Visit this place for a fun filled tour.

17. Sea fishing

One of the popular tourist actives of this county is Sea fishing. It is very famous here and can be undertaken from rocks, and also from boats. It is considered to be an exiting activity loved by everyone. Fishing for sharks and other big fish can be done in the open sea. Devil’s Island is popular with swimmers and fishermen alike. Freshwater fishing and fly fishing are also popular.

18. St Laurent

St Laurent is another popular attraction for tourist in the county. Often referred as lethargic place with some of the finest colonial architecture in French Guiana and, even 60 years after the penitentiary’s closure, is dominated by penal buildings as well as the ghosts of its prisoners. You will find along the banks of the Fleuve Maroni, bordering Suriname, St Laurent is also famous spot to take a river trip to Maroon and Amerindian settlements.

19. Turtle Spotting

Turtle Spotting is also famous among tourist as well as locals. Montjoly which is Cayenne’s best beach is a little drive away from the city. Watch leatherback turtles lay their eggs here from April to July. It is considered as one of the most enjoyable activity.

20. Javouhey

This Hmong village has a wonderful Sunday market with fewer crowds found in Cacao. It is one of the famous tourist attractions of the country. It is largely populated by refugee families from Thailand, the relatively recent Hmong settlement has proven to be one of the most successful in the world.

21. Mana

Mana is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country which is to be foune towards the northeast of St Laurent by an oft-potholed road lie this rustic village of Mana, which boasts a chiefly picturesque waterfront on the Mana River, considered one of the loveliest and least-spoiled rivers in northern South America.

22. Arche de Noe

Arche de Noe is another most popular tourist attraction of this country. If you ever wanted to nuzzle up to a giant anaconda, here’s your opportunity at Arche de Noe, an interactive zoo that is also home to the world’s only ‘ocema,’ a cross between an ocelot and a puma. It is just a perfect place to spend time and enjoy with your whole family.

23. Devil’s Island

Île du Diable or the Devil’s Island is the tiniest place located towards the southernmost side of Îles du Salut. It was majorly used for political prisoners. The island’s name became synonymous with the horrors of the penal system. Here you will find a restored museum for visitors. The most widely read of Devil’s Island’s prisoners are the author Henri Charrière, a Frenchman convicted during the year 1931 of a murder he did not commit. The book “Papillon” recounts his ordeals.

24. Royal Island

Île Royale is the largest among all the three Îles du Salut. It was the administrative headquarters for the colony. The complex was a self-contained community of houses and offices plus a hospital, bakery, butcher shop and church. It is said about this place that here, they decapitate to execute convicts who committed crimes while imprisoned.These buildings have been converted to hotels and visitors facilities. Cruise ships dock in the harbor where prisoners were once unloaded.

25. Emerald Jungle Village

Emerald Jungle Village is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the county and it is considered as the finest eco-tourism opportunity in the Cayenne region. The building contains a library and there is a botanical trail on the property. You will also find some of the best excursions which will take you through eastern French Guiana and canoes and mountain bikes are rented.

26. Tresor Nature Reserve

Tresor Nature Reserve is one of the interesting tourist attractions of the country. The rich marshes in the Kaw area cover thousands of sq km/sq mi in area. It encompasses a large area of the Kaw eco-system and is a good place to observe black caimans, a smaller relative of the American alligator, and a variety of bird life such as the scarlet ibis and it is one of the country’s most accessible wildlife areas. This famous Nature Reserve features hiking trails and petroglyphs.

27. St George’s de l’Oiapoque

St George’s de l’Oiapoque is another famous tourist attraction of French Guiana. It is situated towards the Brazilian border is reachable only by plane. This famous place hosts an ethnic mix of Palikur Amerindians, Creoles, Europeans and Brazilians. It is considered as the starting point for discovering the large border river and its rapids, or for journeys into the Amapá region of Brazil with its native Amerindian population.

28. Degrad des Cannes

Degrad des Cannes is the major port of French Guiana which is to be found on the Cayenne Peninsula on the northwest bank of the Mahury River. It is one of the famous places to visit in French Guiana. The entrance is lit and maintained, and yachts usually anchor outside the main channel by the shore.

29. Zoo, Macouria

The Macouria zoo is one of the most attractive tourist destinations of French Guiana. Here you will find a huge range of Guianese animals which includes jaguars, black caimans, monkeys, snakes, tapirs, giant otters, parrots, and anteaters can be seen at the Macouria Zoo. It is considered one of the perfect locations for family picnicking.

30. Vidal de Lingendes Estate Ruins

Another priming place of French Guiana to visit is the Vidal de Lingendes Estate Ruins. This famous town was named after an ex- governor features an early colonial sugar mill. Hiking opportunities through the forest are available. The path crosses what was once French Guiana’s largest sugar plantation in the 18th Century. It is an interesting place to visit in this country.

31. Roura

Roura is one of the beautiful towns of French Guiana. You will find this village towards the east bank of the Mahury River has an interesting 19th century church. Quite close to Roura is the village of Dacca where Laotian immigrants have made the area home. It is an interesting place to visit with your entire family.

32. Montsinery

Montsinery is a famous town located on the Montsinery River has a little zoo whose major attraction is the feeding of the spectacled caiman. You will also find a beautiful orchid garden which is situated quite close to it.

33. Les Nourages Nature reserve

Les Nourages is a famous spot in French Guiana, which is found at a remote site not far from Régina. It is considered one of the best bird watching areas in French Guiana. This research station is technically off-limits to travelers, but trips to the edge of the reserve can be arranged.

34. Approuague River

Approuague River is considered one of the favorite tourist destinations of the county. You can also arrange some eco-tourism tours to this place. In fact it is the fourth largest river in French Guiana. It is an ideal place for family picnicking.

35. Saul

You will find Saul isolated in the right in the center of the Amazonian forest and reachable only by plane. It is a famous little mining town of French Guiana, retaining substantiation of the gold fever which is said to happen in the area in the late nineteenth century. In the intact rainforests that surround the town is a network of hiking trails and study sites have been established by the New York Botanical Garden and colleagues from ORSTOM, the French Overseas Research Institute.

36. St Laurent Du Maroni

St Laurent is famous because it had retained some beautiful colonial buildings and also offers some of the best nightclubs and cinemas. It is an old port town of 22,000, sitting along the river which forms the boundary between French Guiana and Suriname. It was once a reception camp for newly arrived convicts, Boat trips can be arranged to the area’s Maroon and Amerindian settlements.

37. Hattes Beach

Plage les Hattes is the most significant solitary nesting location in the entire world for the giant leatherback turtles that come ashore to nest from April to July. It is said that during this most popular season more than 200 leatherbacks come ashore in a single night. Their eggs hatch between July and September. This beach is also an essential nesting site for green turtles. Olive ridley turtles and hawksbill turtles are occasional nesters. There’s also a local museum with turtle information.

38. Awala-Yalimpo

You will find here, the Amerindian settlements at Awala and Yalimpo at the heart of the Maroni River. Excursions are taken from the Awala-Yalimpo area up the river to a permanent traditional village on the Coswine Creek. It is an interesting place to visit in French Guiana.

39. Mana River

One of the popular tourist attractions of the country is the Mana River. It is considered to be one of the most unspoiled rivers in Northern South America. The third largest and wildest of French Guiana’s rivers was a gold seeker’s river, which give a spectacular view.

40. Sinnamary

Sinnamary is a village which encompasses a craft-producing Indonesian community which stretching along the Sinnamary River. It is completely surrounded by savanna and lies quite close a large estuary important for sighting shorebirds. Unfortunately many crafts sold in Sinnamary depend on the killing of the scarlet ibis. Restaurants feature Indonesian food and open-air markets sell fresh fish and fruit. Here you will also find some good opportunity for fishing is also available on the open sea or on the Sinnamary River.

41. Petit-Saut lake

Petit Saut is one of the most visited tourist attractions of the country. It is a lake formed during the year 1994 from the damming of the Sinnamary River 60km/37mi upstream from its mouth. In this lake of 300 sq km/114sq mi are little islands and many little rivers flow into its surrounding environment of Amazonian rainforest.

42. St Elie & mining trail

St Elie was a gold prospector’s village and quite famous tourist attraction of the county. From the village is an old 20km/13mi mining trail lined with some of the finest forest and good bird watching. Here you can also find the Sooty Barbthroat, Spotted Antpitta, and a number of rare cotingas, including the incredible Crimson Fruitcrow.

43. Kourou River

The Kourou River is also a famous tourist attraction of this country. It crosses an area of typical French Guyanais vegetation. Here you can arrange a lot of short trips to the river and the surrounding creeks. Here you can find a fairly good botanic footpath where the great diversity of forest can be discovered.

44. Musee de I’Espace

The Musee de I’Espace also popularly known as the Space Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country. It is one of the must visit places of French Guiana. You will find it located inside the Centre Spatial Guyanais. The informative displays depicting the launch history of the center are in English and French. Even if you’re not a wannabe astronaut or closet Trekkie, there’s lots of absorbing stuff to get through here.

45. Main Market

Cayenne’s Main Market is very popular in the county. Here you will find some of the country’s best articles. it is a vibrant jumble of Hmong handicrafts, African-style paintings, piles of exotic spices and science fiction-looking fruits and veggies. The indoor soup stalls serve up the best Vietnamese pho in the Guianas.

46. Fort Cépérou

The ruins of the seventeenth century Fort Cépérou might not look like much, but the spectacular views of the town, the port and the Cayenne River make a visit worthwhile. The fort was constructed on land bought by the first French colonists from the Galibi Indians during the year 1643.

47. Musée des Cultures Guyanaises

The Musée des Cultures Guyanaises devotes itself to Guiana’s early history, from its geologic formation through pre-colonial, Amerindian times. You will also find a very relaxing, air-conditioned interesting library with publications in French, English and various other languages.

48. The wildlife

The Amazon is where they have 30 foot Anaconda’s that eat small dogs and other large predators. Here you can also get close to a variety of exotic animals through all 3 countries. The country of French Guiana specializes in the massive sea turtles that come and lay their eggs on the coastline. In Guyana, you can find the largest species of otters on the northern coastline. Across all three Guiana’s you will find a variety of birds, insects, monkeys, and more. One very cool animal to see is the poisonous arrow dart frog!

49. Réserve Animalière Macourienne

Réserve Animalière Macourienne is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the county. What starts out looking like a few depressing caged snakes and birds, leads into a Heart-of-Darkness-like jungle with huge jaguar attachments, harpy eagles, caimans and sloths. Additionally on there’s a 2km nature trail where wild monkeys abound; apparently there’s a jaguar that frequents the area.

50. Director’s house

The old director’s house on Île Royale contains an interesting English-language history exhibit and temporary exhibits. Astonishingly abundant local wildlife includes macaws, agoutis, capuchins and sea turtles. You can also take advantage of the white-sand beach on St Joseph; it’s a refreshing place for a shallow dip but is extremely careful of the dangerous currents. The Centre Spatial Guyanais has a huge infrared camera on Île Royale and the islands are evacuated when there is an eastward launch from the space center.

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