Top 10 Tourist Attractions in French Guiana

by Alice

French Guiana, an overseas department of France nestled on the northeastern coast of South America, is a treasure trove of natural wonders, cultural heritage, and unique experiences. With its rich biodiversity, vibrant culture, and fascinating history, this region offers travelers an unparalleled adventure. Here, we delve into the top 10 tourist attractions in French Guiana, each offering a glimpse into the diverse tapestry of this captivating destination.

1. Devil’s Island

No exploration of French Guiana would be complete without a visit to Devil’s Island (Îles du Salut), a group of small islands located off the coast. Once a notorious French penal colony, Devil’s Island is now a haunting reminder of its dark past. Visitors can tour the ruins of the prison buildings, including the infamous solitary confinement cells, and learn about the harsh conditions endured by the prisoners. Despite its grim history, the natural beauty of the islands is undeniable, with lush vegetation and stunning ocean views.


2. Guiana Space Centre

As one of the most advanced spaceports in the world, the Guiana Space Centre is a testament to French Guiana’s role in the global space industry. Located near the town of Kourou, this state-of-the-art facility is operated by the European Space Agency and Arianespace. Visitors can take guided tours of the spaceport, learn about the history of space exploration, and even witness live rocket launches. It’s a truly awe-inspiring experience that offers a glimpse into the future of humanity’s exploration of the cosmos.


3. Cacao Route

For chocolate enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, the Cacao Route is a must-visit destination in French Guiana. This scenic route winds through lush rainforests and picturesque villages, offering visitors the chance to learn about the cultivation and production of cacao, the key ingredient in chocolate. Along the way, travelers can visit cacao plantations, sample artisanal chocolates, and immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of the region. It’s a deliciously indulgent journey that delights the senses at every turn.


4. Tumuc-Humac Mountains

Nature lovers seeking adventure will find solace in the breathtaking beauty of the Tumuc-Humac Mountains. Located in the southern part of French Guiana, this pristine wilderness is home to dense rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and towering peaks. Travelers can embark on guided hikes through the mountains, encountering diverse flora and fauna along the way. For those seeking a truly immersive experience, multi-day trekking expeditions are available, allowing visitors to camp under the stars and witness the unparalleled beauty of the Amazonian wilderness.

5. Maroni River

Flowing along the border between French Guiana and Suriname, the Maroni River is a lifeline for the indigenous communities that call its banks home. Travelers can explore the river by boat, cruising through dense mangrove forests and past traditional villages. Along the way, visitors can learn about the rich cultural heritage of the Maroon people, descendants of African slaves who escaped captivity and formed their own communities in the remote interior. It’s a fascinating journey through history and nature, offering a glimpse into a way of life that remains largely unchanged for centuries.

See Also: How do I Plan a Trip to Caques Island?

6. Kaw Swamp

For birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts, the Kaw Swamp is a paradise waiting to be explored. This vast wetland ecosystem is home to a staggering array of bird species, including herons, egrets, ibises, and many more. Guided boat tours offer visitors the chance to navigate the labyrinthine channels of the swamp, spotting exotic birds and other wildlife along the way. With its tranquil waters and lush vegetation, the Kaw Swamp is a haven for nature lovers seeking serenity and solitude amidst the beauty of the French Guianese wilderness.

7. Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni

Nestled on the banks of the Maroni River, the historic town of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni offers visitors a glimpse into French Guiana’s colonial past. Founded in the 19th century as a penal colony, the town is now a charming blend of French and Creole influences. Visitors can explore the town’s colonial architecture, including the iconic Transportation Camp, which once served as a staging ground for prisoners en route to Devil’s Island. With its vibrant markets, lively festivals, and welcoming atmosphere, Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni is a cultural crossroads where past and present converge.

8. Trésor Nature Reserve

Hidden away in the heart of French Guiana, the Trésor Nature Reserve is a sanctuary for endangered wildlife and pristine rainforest ecosystems. Spanning over 7,000 hectares, this protected area is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including jaguars, giant otters, and rare bird species. Visitors can explore the reserve on guided hikes, discovering hidden waterfalls, crystal-clear streams, and ancient trees towering overhead. With its untouched beauty and sense of tranquility, the Trésor Nature Reserve offers a glimpse into a world untouched by time.

9. Montsinéry-Tonnegrande

Situated on the northern coast of French Guiana, Montsinéry-Tonnegrande is a charming seaside town renowned for its natural beauty and outdoor adventures. Visitors can explore pristine beaches, lush mangrove forests, and winding rivers teeming with wildlife. For adrenaline junkies, the town offers a range of outdoor activities, including kayaking, surfing, and zip-lining through the canopy. With its laid-back vibe and stunning scenery, Montsinéry-Tonnegrande is the perfect destination for those seeking adventure off the beaten path.

10. Sinnamary

Last but not least on our list of top tourist attractions in French Guiana is Sinnamary, a picturesque town nestled along the Sinnamary River. Known for its colorful wooden houses and lively waterfront promenade, Sinnamary offers visitors a taste of traditional French Guianese culture. Travelers can stroll along the riverfront, sample fresh seafood at local restaurants, and explore nearby attractions such as the ruins of Fort Cépérou. With its relaxed atmosphere and authentic charm, Sinnamary is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

In Conclusion

French Guiana is a destination like no other, offering travelers a wealth of unforgettable experiences. From the haunting history of Devil’s Island to the pristine beauty of the Tumuc-Humac Mountains, each of these top 10 tourist attractions offers a unique glimpse into the diverse tapestry of this enchanting region. Whether you’re seeking adventure in the great outdoors or immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the Maroon people, French Guiana is sure to captivate your imagination and leave you longing for more.



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