My reasons why YOU should visit French Guiana!
By: Tania van Velthuizen & Sean Collett
I visited French Guiana many times and want to share my experiences with you! You will read the reasons why I think you should visit the exotic country French Guiana. Go on an adventure, spot sea turtles….
Ready to explore French Guiana?
Together with Pejego Tours, you will explore this little gem called French Guiana situated in South America. Visit Kourou, Cayenne, and Saint Laurant du Maroni during your stay in French Guiana. Visit also Devils Island famous of the books and movie ‘Papillon’.
I visited French Guiana many times and want to share my experiences with you! In this blog, you will read the reasons why I think you should visit the exotic country French Guiana. Go on an adventure, spot sea turtles laying their eggs on the beach, stand underneath a waterfall, visit the European Space center, see the prison where the famous movie Papillion has been taken, and eat a traditional Vietnamese soup!
Parle pa Français?
French Guiana is a department of France and known to be the former penal colony of France. It is the only country in South America where they speak French; Parle pa Français? Oui ou non? And this is how far my French goes! Or do you care for a croissant and want to pay for this in Euros? This is all possible in this small country of French Guiana!
3 main cities in French Guiana
For this blog, I divided the country into 3 main cities. The capital city Cayenne with its colonial wooden buildings, Kourou known for the Space Center and Devils Island and the bordering city Saint Laurent Du Maroni.
1) Cayenne the capital city, unique in South America!
When visiting Cayenne, make sure to walk through Place del Palmistes which is the main square in the city. It will give you a serene feeling! The square was built in 1890 by the French to memorize the capture of the Bastille in Paris and mark the end of the absolute French monarchy during the revolution. See the statue of Félix Éboué who was the first black man to become Governor of Guadeloupe in 1936.
Stroll further to the 19th-century cathedral and finish your day in fort Cépérou where you can get a magnificent view of the city. Keep in mind this fort is a ruin now! Make time to visit some museums in Cayenne, my favorite is the ‘Musee Departmental Alexandre-Franconie’. This museum is a mixture of history, and culture of French Guiana and has the largest collection of insects in the Caribbean!
The Hmong community near Cayenne!
Visit village Cacao near the capital city and find out more about the Hmong (Vietnamese) community of French Guiana where most of the town’s population are farmers. In the late 1970s, several thousand Hmong refugees from Laos immigrated to French Guiana, fleeing displacement after United States involvement in the Vietnam War. They settled here and the living, and working conditions are like their native land. The village includes restaurants, grocery, and bread stores, two primary schools, an insect museum, a library, a church, 1 hotel, and a Sunday morning market.
2) Visit Kourou!
The district of Kourou is known for 2 main attractions. One of them is the European space center. Here you can visit the space museum and if you are lucky you can watch a rocket launch.
Devil’s Island is one of the Îles du Salut, a trio of volcanic islands 14 kilometers off the coast of Kourou. Devil’s Island was an infamous penal colony from the 1850s onwards, and a place of exile for people from all over the French Empire. From 1852 until 1953 the French used this island to imprison convicted prisoners. Devil’s island became famous after the book and movie ‘il Papillon’, this is where Alfred Dreyfus ended up before being exonerated. Now, this island is popular and you can reach it by Catamaran, have a nice lunch, and still see the old prison buildings and graveyards in tropical vegetation inhabited by monkeys, peacocks, and capybaras.
The Guiana Space Centre is located in Kourou. Here you have the chance to see an operating spaceport. Visit the banks of consoles in mission control and get close to launch pads that conduct around ten missions a year.
3) St. Laurent Du Maroni a border town full of adventures!
St Laurent Du Maroni is a small town on the border with Suriname. When traveling from Suriname to French Guiana you won’t be able to miss it! The beaches near this town are popular turtle nesting sites, particularly for the Leatherback turtle! If you are lucky you will also be able to spot dolphins while sailing towards the Atlantic ocean on a traditional boat! When you travel a bit to the south, you will be able to find the majestic ‘Les chutes Voltaire’. The waterfalls are magnificent and will take some effort to find as they are situated in the middle of the jungle.
Diverse cuisine in this exotic small country!
The cuisine of French Guiana is very diverse, you can find the local French cuisine due to the colonization by the French. Are you fond of a fresh baguette or taste a nice French wine? Well in French Guiana you will find some of the best baguettes in the world! Apart from the French cuisine, you will also find Vietnamese soups and the local cuisine of the Hmong immigrants, they have put their stamp on the country’s national dishes.
Not enough reasons? Then you should definitely call us for more stories!
This destination has plenty to offer whether you are interested in culture, history, or nature! We advise you to combine it with a visit to the other 2 Guianas. They can easily be reached by boat and car. So you can visit 3 countries during 1 holiday!
“Wherever you want to go in the Guianas, Pejego Tours makes it possible!”
Pejego Tours takes care of you from airport to airport! Do you want to visit all the 3 Guianas; Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana? Or only Suriname? We arrange everything for you; hotels, one- day trips, multiple day trips, and airport service in Suriname.
Just give us your wishlist and Pejego Tours will take care of it.
Check our website: www.pejegotours.com or follow us on Facebook for more information. Contact us now via our contact form.
Sean Collett is the intern at Pejego Tours and was born and raised in the Netherlands. He is studying International Tourism Management at BUAS. He spent 6 months in Birmingham and built up experiences within the hotel industry. After that, he started studying Tourism and set off for his back-office internship in Sweden where he spent 10 weeks. Sean loves to experience cultural diversity and has a real passion to learn about languages.
Tania van Velthuizen is the owner of Pejego Tours. She was born and raised in Suriname. She studied Surinamese law and loves to travel. Before going to Europe, she worked at the Ministry of Regional Development, so she visited every bit of the Amazon rainforest. At the time, she fell in love with everything it had to offer, including the Amerindians and the Maroons, the fauna and flora. She also wrote a book on the land rights of Indigenous people and the descendants of the Maroons.
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