A kingdom of forests, rivers and animals, French Guiana seduces all nature lovers. Located between the Republic of Suriname and Brazil, French Guiana is, with its 90,000km², the most vast, but also the only French department on the South American continent. The population is essentially concentrated in the towns of Cayenne, Kourou, and Saint-Laurent. The temperatures remain between 27°C and 32°C (~80° – 90°F) throughout the year. However, the two rainy seasons (November to February, and April to June) are very humid.
A paradise for ecotourism, Guiana is situated in northwest South America, between Suriname and Brazil. Traveling the Maroni allows one to discover the Amazon forest, as well as the pleasure of being able to share the culture, and the way of life of the river people.
In the southwest of Cayenne, the marshlands of Kaw are a veritable nature reserve, with around 100,000 hectares (~250,000 acres) at the depths of the mountain. Guiana presents a great opportunity to observe nature, easily accessible thanks to the presence of fauna and flora specialists. Finally, do not miss the carnival, the period of festivities that brings the Guyanese capital to life.
French Guiana National Parks & Mangroves
Back down to earth, but with a very aquatic ambiance, “soft” exploration of the marshlands of Kaw and Sinnamary will provide a window into the exotic countryside. These protected areas, at the heart of a very young and vast regional natural park, constitute the ideal sanctum of the Caiman, and is also home to the dazzling Scarlet Ibis, an emblematic bird. The “tropical version” of the Atlantic seashore mixes it up again, with its zones of mangrove, or its nesting Luth tortoise, which holds a world record for being the biggest anywhere. The beautiful beaches of the small islands of Salut are rocked by the trade winds. On the coast, one can also “flee” off shore, which is to say to embark on a fishing trip in the same area where the first world championship was held.
Fun Facts on French Guiana
French (official); Guianese Creole French; several indigenous languages, including Wayampi, Carib, and Emerillon
32,373 Square Miles
Amazing Attractions in French Guiana
• The historic center of Cayenne
Every visit to Cayenne begins by exploring the symbols of the historical, cultural and natural heritage of this city. Cayenne has inherited a particularly valuable architectural and natural domain, like the elegant Creole houses that dot the city center.
• The town of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni and its unique architecture
This Guyanese city lies on the edge of Maroni river, on the border with Suriname. Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni’s former penal colonial history is told at the “Museum of Transportation,” inaugurated in 1958. This is where the author of Papillon, Henri Charriere, was reportedly detained.
• The botanic gardens of French Guiana
Located in the town of Macouria, this botanical garden covers sprawls over 3 hectares (7.5 acres), home to more than 4,500 plant species and a vast collection of 750 species of orchids.
• The Maroni river
Forming a natural border with Suriname, the Maroni is the longest river of French Guiana. Traversing part of the Maroni when you’re here is a must, as it’s an essential communication route to the villages of French Guiana. Several islands and 90 rapids punctuate its course, creating a stunning setting!
• The beaches of Montjoly
Near Cayenne, the long expanses of sand at Remire-Montjoly encourage relaxation in a wild and preserved setting, under the shade of coconut trees. Ideal for swimming or for water sports like sailing or surfing, these beachs are also a nesting site for turtles.
• The French Guiana zoo
French Guiana’s zoo, which boasts species unique to French Guiana and those from around the world, is home to more than 450 animals of about 75 different species. The visit can be done in two hours on a forest path (open even in case of rain), snaking through the heart of French Guiana’s flora.