10 things I wish I knew before going to French Guiana

Alisa Ruda08 January 202115532 views11 min. read
10 things I wish I knew before going to French Guiana

Are you wondering where is French Guiana? French Guiana on the map is the northeastern part of South America, officially the region belongs to France. Here come the most curious and fearless tourists to see the wild jungle, Devil's Island and the Kourou spaceport, not for nothing Devil's Island French Guiana, or rather it is the unofficial name of one of the islands of the country. By the way, this is very justified and further, we will find out why.

The capital of French Guiana is the city of Cayenne. At first glance, it is difficult to understand that this city is the capital. All because the buildings are very shabby, and shopping centers can not be called modern. The beaches in the capital are dirty and muddy, not suitable for swimming water. And this is despite the fact that money from the French budget is invested in the development of Guiana.

This review contains 10 important facts that you should definitely read before your trip. The list of facts also includes French Guiana attractions that are definitely worth visiting if you are planning a trip to this region.

1. Guiana is home to the Kourou Space Center

ariane launch area

It was here that the spaceport was built. The territory for such a structure is ideal - it is sparsely populated and has a close location to the equator. Many tourists come to Guiana to come on a tour of the spaceport.

Ego is an area of 1200 sq. km, which is surrounded by forests, where there are no earthquakes and destructive hurricanes. In 1973, the maximum number of rockets per year was launched at the cosmodrome - 75. Today, due to the favorable position of Kuru, they predict a good future, as space exploration is developing at a rapid pace. The military protects this facility to ensure maximum security, the annual maintenance of the Kuru costs 172 million dollars.

For visitors to the cosmodrome, there are special performances when the rocket launch can be viewed while in the jungle. Rocket launches do not occur often, so this point should be clarified before travelling to French Guiana. Tickets to watch the launch are free.

The Kourou Cosmodrome is an old, but still popular European spaceport in South America, one of the main attractions of French Guiana.

2. In Guiana is the "Devil's Island"

devils island

Now this prison is closed, but in the last century for 100 years, there was a place for the imprisonment of terrible criminals who were sent here forever. Every year, the Devil's Island territory is visited by more than 50 thousand tourists from all over the world. The existence of the island is shrouded in mystical eerie stories and legends, the prison is compared to hard labor in Siberia and called an even more sophisticated place. In addition to the real criminals, all those who did not recognize Napoleon III as emperor were sent here. Devil's Island became a dumping ground for French Guiana people who refused to put up with the government. Today, you can see unique exhibits and cells where prisoners were held.

Devil's Island French Guiana - today these are two concepts that are closely related to each other. The rocks, the noise of the ocean, and a large number of sharks around the island frighten and attract tourists at the same time.

Also, you can often find other names for this area - the land of hell or the cursed triangle. But anyone who loves mystical stories and legends should visit Devil's Island French Guiana to feel its enveloping eerie atmosphere.

3. The country is home to three cultural communities-Mulattoes, Creoles and the Haitian community

annual carnival

This naturally influenced the cultural traditions of the country. But during the entire period of Guiana's stay under French rule, European culture also had a significant impact on the country.

French Guiana on the map is far from us South America, but here you will find French culture and the Catholic faith. This is especially noticeable on public holidays. So in French Guiana they celebrate Christmas and Bastille Day, and on May 8 they celebrate the victory over Germany. Holidays in the country are very diverse, because they came from different cultures and have become an integral tradition for local residents.

Many tourists come to the capital of French Guiana at the end of February, which is when the colorful carnival begins for about two months. This holiday is considered the brightest and most revered in the territory of French Guiana for many decades. This separate country, which has very close relations with France, can hardly be called a European part. Most likely the opposite. But still, cultural traditions that are intertwined with local rituals remind tourists who exactly owns this land.

4. The city of Cayenne

cayenne buzare

The capital of French Guiana is the city of Cayenne, which is where popular tourist attractions are located. For example, the Place de Grenoble, the Museum of Culture, the French fort's ruins and even the Lussauds Canal. People come to the capital of French Guiana for excursions and walks, it is the most populated city in the country, where about 100 thousand French Guiana people live. This is the most civilized city in the country, so if you need supermarkets, cinemas and various service centers, it is better to travel to Cayenne.

5. Montjoly Beach

gosselin beach

Beach holidays in French Guiana are also available. Not far from the capital is the most popular and beautiful beach de Montjoli. +26 degrees is the average annual temperature on the Atlantic coast, there is really golden sand and a pleasant breeze. Tourists and locals come here for surfing, underwater surfing and fishing. If you haven't surfed before, there are local instructors who will teach anyone the basic rules of surfing. In addition, there are often strong winds that attract windsurfers.

In the middle of the summer de Mongole can close to see the turtles. In general, this place is suitable for spending time on the ocean, but you will not swim here, since the water is not very clean and constant waves. Montjoly beach is suitable for photo shoots, because this area is known for beautiful seascapes.

6. Best months of the year to visit Guiana

local village

And all because of the fact that it is in January and February that the rainy season falls. Amazonian forests surround French Guiana, so you can never get on the street if you come here in these winter months. Rains in Guiana are torrential, can go for weeks and do not stop. This is a feature of the climate of the region of South America and an amazing feature of nature near the Amazon.

From mid-April to July-the recovery season, a real summer, when you can enjoy the sunshine and warmth. Therefore, it is recommended for tourists to come at this time of year, when you can allocate enough time for excursions around the country and even go to the jungle.

7. Plage-les-Hattes-a beach

grande bas vent beach

Do you want to see something unusual? Then the beach of Les Hattes will pleasantly surprise you, it attracts not only tourists, but also zoologists from all over the world. This is a place where huge leather turtles nest in the summer. On 3 kilometers of the beach you can see many species of turtles and most importantly the process of their birth from an egg. You can also visit the local turtle museum, where you can learn all about these extraordinary animals.

There are many local settlements near Plage-les-Hattes, where you can go on a tour to get acquainted with this mysterious region's traditions and history. French Guiana attractions - not only a spaceport and an island for criminals, it is also an amazing nature near the Amazon, where a large number of wild animals live and unique flora grows.

8. The Kau Swamps

observation point in the marsh

Wildlife in Guiana is the main attraction, which attracts thousands of tourists. Kau is a nature reserve, home to relatives of crocodiles-black caimans and many varieties of birds. Kau swamps are a variety of swamp inhabitants, such as yellow or purple frogs, which are also poisonous.

Here they go on day and night extreme excursions, get on special boats, and spend the night in Indian huts. This type of wildlife recreation can be tried in French Guiana, where wildlife is available in all its glory. The reserve can be reached in 2 hours from the capital of French Guiana.

In addition to the reserve, you can also visit the zoo, which is home to more than 450 animals of different species. You can meet anteaters, funny sloths, fearsome jaguars, crocodiles, and a large number of birds at the zoo at the zoo, including colorful parrots of different sizes.

The fauna of French Guiana is very rich and you definitely need to go here to see all the amazing wild animals up close.

9. Monkeys

squirrel monkeys

Have you ever seen a squirrel monkey? And this species lives in the territory of Guiana. On the deserted wild island of Ile-la-Mer live these beautiful little animals. You can get to them from the capital directly by boat, the road is only half an hour.

Despite the fact that monkeys are very cute, you should be on your guard with them, they can steal things.

Visiting the island is a separate excursion that is offered for tourists. In addition to photos with monkeys, you can have a picnic here, as well as swim on a small but clean beach. The island of Ile-la-Mer is a great place for family holidays and exploring the wildlife of Guiana.

10. French Guiana is a great place to buy household goods

woman selling handicrafts

Many people are surprised by the fact that you can go shopping in French Guiana. And it really is. Foreigners buy here primarily appliances and electronics for the home, in second place - jewelry, clothing and shoes from the United States and Europe.

You can also bring very interesting souvenirs from French Guiana, such as hand-painted dishes, wood products, and Indian weapons - bows and arrows. All this can be purchased at local shops, fairs and markets at a low cost. The most popular market in the Cayenne is the Victor Schelcher market (named after the figure who ended the era of slavery in the country). It is here that you can buy unique handmade products.

Here are just 10 facts you need to know before travelling to French Guiana. This country, despite its simplicity, is very interesting and attractive for tourists from all over the world. People travel to French Guiana to watch the launch of rockets, visit Devil's Island, visit the real jungle, meet wild animals and even go shopping. Each traveler has his own reason for choosing a trip to this unusual country. French Guiana attractions are everywhere, you just need to be able to see them, because the country is really unusual.

It is worth noting that the French Guiana language is French, the French Guiana currency is euro, compared to Moscow, the time difference is 7 hours. As such, there are no sea resorts here, but if you like extreme wild holidays and exploring the breathtaking world of nature, then French Guiana is the perfect place for your holiday.

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