French Guiana Travel Guide

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Picture of Devils Island

Picture of Devils Island

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French Guiana is often mistaken for an independent country; however, this tropical paradise is actually a department d’outre-mer, or overseas district, of France as well as one of the 26 regions of France.

The main industries in French Guiana are fishing, timber, eco-tourism, and gold mining. The area was settled by the French in the 17 th century, and it continues to be very dependent on France for various goods and trade. The region is mainly Roman Catholic, although a few other Christian religions are common as well.

In general, this region makes for a pretty cheap, unique vacation that can be enjoyed by old and young travelers alike.

Tourist Attractions

This district has some fabulous beaches including Montjoly near French Guiana’s capital, Cayenne. It is easily the best beach in the area. Swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and fishing are just some of the popular activities offered, and from April to July, Leatherback Turtles flood the area to lay their eggs. Fishermen and swimmers of all ages will enjoy Devil’s Island; fishing from the rocks, from the coast, and in boats are all excellent choices. When at the beach, be sure to dress modestly.

Other activities include visiting the Mouragues Nature Reserve, Fourgasse Falls, and the Kaw Swamps. In and around these areas, be sure to check out the camping, boating, mountain biking, and trekking. There are plenty of species of birds in French Guiana, and many bird watching tours are also available.

Climate

There are basically only two “seasons” in French Guiana, the dry season and the rainy season. The rainy season is from December to July, while the dry season is from August to December. The dry season is the best time to travel, as the rain can inhibit outdoor activities. Although it is hot all year, the nights can get quite cool.

Food and Drink

French Guiana prides itself on its fresh fish and shellfish. Most recipes feature many fruits and vegetables along with plenty of spices and peppers. A common dish is bouillon d’aoura; with crab, vegetables, prawns, chicken, fish, and the fruit of the Savanna trees, this distinctive meal is definitely something you should try. Speaking of things to try, don't miss Ti'Punch , the sweet drink of this French department is made with rum, cane sugar, and a little lime. There is no doubt that the capital, Cayenne, has the best selection of restaurants. French, Creole, Vietnamese, and Chinese food can all be easily found. If your planning on going out to eat at a restaurant, your best bet is to go for lunch, the biggest meal of the day.

Contributors

October 01, 2005 change by giorgio

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