Call RoamRight Toll-Free 1-800-699-3845 Partner Portal

Home > Country List
    View Related Blog Posts
    • Capital: Cayenne
    • Climate: Tropical
    • Currency: EUR - Euro
    • Dialing Code: 594
    • Drives on: Right
    • Emergency (Ambulance) #: 112, 15
    • Emergency (Fire) #: 112, 18
    • Emergency (Police) #: 112, 17
    • Internet Top Level Domain: .gf
    • Land Mass (km2): 83534
    • Official Language(s): French
    • Plug Configuration: D,E,C
    • Population (est): 250,109
    • Time Zone (of capital): GFT (UTC/GMT -3 hours) NO DST
    • Plug Configuration D
    • Plug Configuration E
    • Plug Configuration C

    French Guiana

    Major Tourist Attractions: Maison de la Reserve Natural l'Amana, Remire-Montjoly, Cacao

    French Guiana is a South American oddity, a territory where you can buy fresh French baguettes paid with Euros, all while being closely linked to both outer space and impenetrable rain forests.

    A piece of Europe right in the middle of the South American rain forest? That is the reality with French Guiana. This remote corner of South America feels of both South America and strangely of Europe, since this is a territory administered by France, an entire ocean away. French Guiana is a South American oddity, a territory where you can buy fresh French baguettes paid with Euros, all while being close to outer space and impenetrable rain forests. Here you’ll come across some unique sites that feel strangely out of place, all the while you are just a short distance away from nature at its wildest.

    French Guianese culture is the outcome of influences from almost all corners of the world, despite a small population not exceeding most mid-sized French towns. It is quiet here. This region hides a history that simultaneously feels fascinating, alarming and thought-provoking. Being a former overseas penitentiary for France over several centuries, this is a corner of the world where the worst criminals ended up being deported to, in large because it was so hard to live here. Consequently this historical past heavily influenced life until a fairly recent present.

    As faith has it, these days this territory is again an important hub for France and even Europe: in the 1960s French Guiana replaced its penal colony past with a totally different sector, namely being the most important space center for Europe. The Guiana Space Center, located about an hour from the capital Cayenne, is one of the few places in the world where you can easily witness satellite launches and also visit the space center site extensively, a one-in-a-lifetime experience.

    The capital Cayenne is where half of the population lives and this is a city where the feel of Caribbean life is mixed with some very specific French characteristics, creating a strange blend, with the Place des Palmistes at its core. The market is a lively focal point of the center, where certainly not only the famous cayenne pepper can be found, but also an eclectic mix of cultures surrounding the fresh produce.

    For the ones interested in looking closer into French Guiana’s tormenting penal colony past there are two historically highly interesting spots to visit: the Devil’s Island outside the coast from Cayenne in the Îles du Salut archipelago and the town of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni at the border to Suriname. At both places you can walk in the footsteps of Henri Charriere’s Papillon and the other prisoners who had to survive the inhuman conditions of the French penal system.

    With the exception of the coastal areas, French Guiana is mainly made up of impenetrable rain forest, most part of it difficult to visit independently. Eco-tourism is continuously growing and the options for the adventurous travelers keep on increasing, with guided treks and hikes in the rainforest becoming an attractive highlight. An alternative to the hikes are the river tours on some of the great rivers the territory offers, such as the Maroni, Cayenne or Oyapoque, where you penetrate this almost untouched green kingdom. On some tours you can even come in contact with indigenous tribes, among which the Wayana are the biggest.

    • Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, the site of the European Space Agency.
    • Cayenne, the capital, representing a varied ethnic diversity and a unique historic heritage.
    • Place des Palmistes in Cayenne is a square lined by palms, where by sunset people gather for a snack and a chat.
    • The market of Cayenne, filled with fresh produce and a microcosm of ethnic diversity.
    • Îles du Salut, including Devil’s Island, is both a site of historical importance in regards to the penal colony past of the territory, but also an important bird sanctuary.
    • Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni is the town which was the important arrival point for the deported prisoners, made famous by literature and cinema via the character of Papillon.
    • The north-west area of the Awala-Yalimapo beaches is an exceptional marine turtle nesting site, the most important leatherback turtle conservation in the world.
    • Visit the Hmong community of Cacao for a bowl of traditional Asian pho soup, a world away from their original places of birth.
    • The beach of Remire-Montjoly, is one of the few decent beaches of the region generally characterized by an impenetrable, wild coastline.
    • The Marshes of Caw nature reserve is a nature lover’s paradise with thousands of colorful birds, crocodiles and snakes in the marshlands and swamps.

    Embassy Contact

    Address: American Embassy
    129 Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat,
    Paramaribo, Suriname.
    Phone: (597)-472-900 ext 2236/2271
    If calling from the United States,
    dial 011-597-472-900 ext 2236/2271.

    Related Blog Posts

    Zika and Travel Insurance

    By Victoria Zidwick Published on Thursday, February 4, 2016
    As Zika impacts travel plans for millions of people, find out how travel insurance can help.
    As Zika impacts travel plans for millions of people, find out how travel insurance can help.

    4 Things You Don’t Know About French Guiana

    By Norbert Figueroa Published on Thursday, January 14, 2016
     Learn more about this underrated destination.
    Learn more about this underrated destination.

    How to Prepare a Homemade Travel First Aid Kit

    By Norbert Figueroa Published on Friday, November 21, 2014
     Stay safe on the road and use these tips to prepare your own travel first aid kit.
    Stay safe on the road and use these tips to prepare your own travel first aid kit.
    View All Posts for French Guiana

    Get A Free Travel Insurance Quote 

    Travel smarter with travel insurance from RoamRight. Get your free, no-obligation quote online today.

    I'm a partner, take me to my portal

    Get The Latest RoamRight News

    About RoamRight®

    Newsletter Sign Up

    RoamRight’s travel insurance plans protect leisure, business, student, and group travelers with both domestic and international trips. RoamRight is a registered trade name and brand used by a unit of Arch Insurance Company, a provider of global travel insurance. Our staff and customer service representatives have the expertise to offer customers information about trip and medical insurance packages, travel planning, and coverage options.

    Contact Us

    Need Emergency Help?

    Call RoamRight's 24/7 Assistance Line
    Toll-free within the US 1-866-443-6971
    Collect outside the US: 1-603-328-1382

    RoamRight Customer Service
    Available 24/7

    RoamRight Claims
    (M-F 8:30AM - 5:00PM ET)

    The RoamRight mark is used by Arch Insurance Company and owned by its parent company, Arch Capital Group (U.S.).
    All insurance products offered and underwritten by Arch Insurance Company.
    Copyright © 2012 - 2018 Arch Insurance Company. All rights reserved.

    Site Map | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Fraud Notices | Money-Back Guarantee