French Guyana

French Guiana is the “France outside of France”. Tourists can therefore benefit from the inherent natural beauty of a South American country and the perks of a French colony.
This overseas department of France lies north of Brazil and east of Suriname. It has few people, lots of Amazon rainforest, a bit of savanna and a long and easily accessible coast along the Atlantic Ocean.

Here are the 11 reasons to make it your travel destination:

1. The year-round tropical climate 

Seasons are divided to rainy and dry. Tourists who want to escape winter from the north will find its tropical climate one of the top reasons to visit French Guiana.  Secondly, the country is blessed with natural scenery that cannot be likened to France. It leans more towards the wilder side of nature with its untamed forests, rare plants, and exotic wildlife. Third is the colonial heritage imparted by the French as seen from its historic landmarks, architecture, and art. Museums and art galleries provide an in-depth look at the historical and cultural influences of France on French Guiana.

2. 20th Century Architecture in Cayenne, French Guiana’s Capital

A specific reason to visit Cayenne (and Kourou) is the celebration of carnival in February/March. With a 4-day spectacle that includes different parades and a lot of partying until the early morning hours, it is one of the major carnival events in South America.
Check out the Chou Aï Rescue Center (open on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons), where you can hold sloths and learn all about them – or volunteer rescuing and taking care of them.

3. Canoe

Organise a trip in a dugout canoe. Trips range from an hour and a half to full day adventures and take place throughout the country including, the Kourou, Iracabo, Counamana and the lower Sinnamary. The rivers are a mixture of calm water and more challenging rapids, such as those at Hermina.

4. Explore the world of French Guiana’s Penal Colonies and Papillon

Although several French public figures have served time in French Guiana’s penal colonies, it is Henri Charrière’s novel (or autobiography, depending on the source) Papillon that put French Guiana on the map. There are two places to visit the ruins of the penal colony that was closed in 1953.

5. Cayenne

In French Guiana's capital and chief port, points of interest include the Jesuit-built residence of the Prefect in the Place de Grenoble, the Canal Laussat, and the Botanical Gardens. In the centre of town, the Musée Départemental Franconie and the Musée des Cultures Guyanaises feature good exhibits on indigenous peoples and the notorious penal settlements on Devil's Island.

6. Mouragues Nature Reserve

Discover nature and wildlife at the Mouragues Nature Reserve, which stretches from Roura to Régina and is renowned for its diverse scenery and flora. The Kaw Swamps, near Rora, are host to many species of birds, such as the Toco toucan and the flamingo.

7. Haut-Maroni and Haut-Oyapoc

Visit the Amerindian villages in Haut-Maroni and Haut-Oyapoc. Visits are restricted and a permission must be obtained from the Préfecture in Cayenne before arrival in the country.

8. Iles du Salut

The Iles du Salut include the infamous Devil's Island where political prisoners were held. Do not miss the Iracoubo Church painted entirely by hand by the famous convict Huguet. There is a hotel (an ex-mess hall for the prison warders) on Ile Royale.

9. Cuisine

Travel to French Guiana is made all the more worthwhile because of its superb cuisine. French Guiana food is a blend of traditions and cuisines of all cultures that are present and ever existent in the country. French Guiana food is known for its delicious and delectable taste that will tantalize the taste buds of the South America tourist. While backpacking South America, you can savor the different tastes the various cuisines offer in the numerous hotels and cafes.

10. Join the carnival

King Carnival starts after Epiphany and goes on until Ash Wednesday. Every Sunday for over two months, carnival groups delight the thronging crowds with their multicolored costumes and the frenetic rhythm of their music. On Mardi Gras, the towns are almost literally painted red for the parade of the red devils. Ash Wednesday sees the crowd dressed in black and white and ready to witness the final moments of the life of King Carnival, soon to be burnt at the stake amid a seemingly incessant hullabaloo.

11. For Future Buffs

French Guiana now has another amazing site to offer; it is home to the Space Centre built by the French because of its suitable location and climate. This influx of development has given rise to a new, profound interest in the island which draws many who are backpacking South America. This location is a hot South America tourist spot for people who travel to French Guiana. This is one of the main reasons why the country has prospered quickly and developed into a tourist attraction. Other relevant infrastructure such as hotels, night clubs and shopping areas has developed rapidly, making it a pleasant place to visit.








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