French Guiana

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French Guiana

Welcome to French Guiana

Marked by thick jungle, a film-worthy prison-camp past and even a space shuttle launch pad, French Guiana offers a wealth of experiences. Ply your way into the lush rain forest, to the rugged beaches and to the remote Amerindian villages you’ll find here.

Feel French, Asian, African and Brazilian influences in the capital city of Cayenne. Dive deep into eco-tourism, including visiting the giant leatherback, green, Olive Ridley and hawksbill turtles who nest at Plage les Hattes at Awala-Yalimapo. Take a boat tour of the marshes of Kaw, watching for black caimans and the scarlet ibis.

Let one of the friendly monkeys at Ilet la Mere jump on your shoulder for a quick photo op. Paddle the Maroni River, encountering the local Maroons and learning about their culture.

Don’t miss infamous Devil’s Island, where Frenchman Henri Charriere was wrongfully imprisoned and spent 12 years hemmed in by shark-infested waters. Choose your own adventure in this unspoiled French outpost.

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Need To Know

Unique Facts

  • French Guiana is home to the European Space Center. There are approximately nine launches a year to deliver supplies to the ISS and to launch telecommunication satellites. Free, guided visits are available with advanced reservations. If you’re lucky enough to visit during a launch, you can reserve a spot to observe the launch from inside the space center.
  • French Guiana is a department of France. It can be likened to Alaska – similar to a state, but not connected to the mainland. If you’re visiting French Guiana, then you can say you have “been to France”!
  • From the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century, French Guiana was the locatin of penal settlements, including the infamous Devil’s Island, one of the Iles du Salut.
  • There is a large Hmong refugee population from Laos. Approximately 2,000 Hmong people settled in a region called Cacao after their relocation in the 1970s.

Language

French Guiana’s official language is French.

When To Go

The best time to go to French Guiana is from mid-August to mid-November. Within that timeframe, September and October are the driest and sunniest.

Airports

Cayenne – Félix Eboué International Airport

Passport Validity

Passport must be valid at time of entry for three months beyond arrival date.

Visa Required By US Citizen?

None required for stays of 90 days or less

Vaccinations

The CDC recommends the following vaccines for most travelers when visiting French Guiana: Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Depending on where you are traveling, you may also need Hepatitis B, Malaria and Rabies vaccines.

Electrical Outlets

Power plugs and sockets: types C, D and E. Standard voltage: 220V. Frequency: 50Hz.

Currency

Official local currency: Euro

Getting Around

Primary roads are paved and well maintained, while roads in rural areas are less developed. Try to avoid driving at night.

Public transportation is in the form of taxis and vans, which are relatively safe. Some bus service is available from city to city and within the capital city of Cayenne.

Driver’s License

Valid US driver’s license and international driving permit required.

US Embassy Info

U.S. Embassy Paramaribo
Kristalstraat 165
Paramaribo, Suriname
Telephone: (597) 556-700
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: (597) 710-1112
Fax: (597) 551-524
caparamar@state.gov

Local Visitor Info

Tourist Office
Rue Louis Blanc
Cayenne, French Guiana
Tel: +33 5 94 39 68 83
tourisme@ville-cayenne.fr

Local Emergency Phone Numbers

Ambulance: 15
Police: 17
Fire: 18

Safety and Security

The crime rate in French Guiana is low. Petty street crime does occur in major cities.Petty street crime occurs throughout the major cities. Take precautions, such as not wearing expensive jewelry, not displaying large amounts of money in public, avoiding isolated areas after dark, driving with windows close and doors locked and keeping valuables out of sight.

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