French Guiana, located on the northeastern coast of South America, is a French overseas department known for its diverse culture, rich history, and stunning natural beauty. With a population of around 300,000 people, it offers a unique blend of French and South American influences, making it a perfect destination for travelers looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience. Here are the top 10 things to do in French Guiana:
1. Visit the capital, Cayenne
Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana, offers a vibrant culture, rich history, and delicious cuisine. Visitors can explore the historic city center, visit the Musée Départemental Franconie, and enjoy the local nightlife scene.
2. Explore the beaches
French Guiana has some of the most beautiful beaches in South America, with miles of unspoiled coastline and crystal-clear waters. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and water sports, especially in the summer months.
3. Visit the Kourou Space Center
The Kourou Space Center is a major space launch facility and one of the most important in the world. Visitors can take a tour of the center and learn about space technology and the history of space exploration.
4. Visit the Devil's Island
Devil's Island is a small island located off the coast of French Guiana, it was once a notorious prison colony, and now it's a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can take a boat tour to the island and explore the ruins of the prison and the nature around it.
5. Visit the Amazon Rainforest
French Guiana is home to one of the most diverse rainforests in the world, with a wide variety of plant and animal species. Visitors can take guided tours to explore the rainforest and see the wildlife.
6. Visit the Maripasoula
Maripasoula is a small town located on the Maroni River, and is a great place to experience the culture of the Hmong people, who have settled in the area. Visitors can take a boat tour to the town and learn about the traditional customs and culture of the Hmong people.
7. Visit the Musée des Cultures Guyanaises
Located in Cayenne, this museum offers an interesting insight into the history and culture of French Guiana, with exhibits on the various ethnic groups that have settled in the area, including the Hmong, Creoles, and Maroons.
8. Visit the Îles du Salut
Îles du Salut, or Salvation Islands, is a group of three small islands located off the coast of French Guiana. The islands were once a prison colony, and are now a popular tourist destination. Visitors can take a boat tour to the islands and explore the ruins of the prison and the nature around it, and also to visit the famous island where the movie "Papillon" was filmed.
9. Visit the Montsinéry-Tonnegrande Reserve
The Montsinéry-Tonnegrande Reserve is a protected area located in the north of French Guiana, known for its diverse wildlife and stunning natural beauty. Visitors can take guided tours to explore the reserve and see the wildlife, including monkeys, parrots, and jaguars.
10. Visit the Saint Laurent du Maroni
Saint Laurent du Maroni is a town located on the Maroni River, and is the main port for the interior of French Guiana. Visitors can take a boat tour to the town and learn about the history of the region, and also to visit the local markets and try the delicious creole cuisine.