Destination Information for French Guiana
French Guiana, on the Northeast of South America, is an overseas region of France that was first settled by the French in 1604. It is the only part of mainland South America that is still governed by an overseas country. The landscape of French Guiana is mainly tropical rainforest, separated from neighbouring Brazil and Suriname by the rivers of Oyapock to the East and Maroni to the West. The capital city is Cayenne, which is home to the ruins of the 17th-century Fort Cépérou. Cayenne is a pretty city of colourful houses and street markets, with a plethora of excellent restaurants serving a variety of delicious cuisines.
One of the most famous sites in French Guiana is the notorious penal camp for political prisoners, Devil’s Island, the horrors of which were recreated in Henri Charriere’s book, Papillon. Today, visitors can take a tour of the ruins on the Iles du Salut. Along the coast from the capital is Kourou, the launch site for the European Space Programme.
Most of French Guiana’s towns and settlements are along the coast, with jungle and rainforest further inland. There is plenty of wildlife to see here for visitors interested in the natural attractions of the country, including laying sea turtles on the beach at Remire-Montjoly, as well as colourful parrots and monkeys.
As a French region, the currency of French Guiana is the Euro and prices are similar to those you may find in Europe, so this is not a budget destination! Urban areas have plenty of hotels available, or for an authentic experience, rent a basic hut by the river and explore the country from your rainforest base.
There is no British embassy in French Guiana. Please contact the FCO for advice.