A kingdom of forests, rivers and animals, French Guiana seduces all nature lovers.
Located between the Republic of Suriname and Brazil, French Guiana is, with its 90,000 sq. km, the vastest but also the only French department on the South American Continent. The density of its population is one of the lowest on the planet: 2 inhabitants per sq. km.; the 160,000 inhabitants are essentially concentrated in the towns of Cayenne, Kourou, and Saint-Laurent. The temperatures remain around 27° throughout the year. However, the two rainy seasons (November to February and April to June) are very humid. As for the Salut islands, they are famous for having welcomed numerous convicts, but they’re no longer a “green inferno”: their clear, warm waters and palm trees bring them close to paradise.
A paradise for ecotourism, Guiana is situated in north-west South America between Suriname and Brazil. Traveling the Maroni allows one to discover the Amazon forest, as well as the pleasure of sharing the culture and the way of life of the river people.
In the southwest of Cayenne, the marshlands of Kaw are a veritable natural reserve of 100,000 hectares at the depths of the mountain. Guiana offers a passionate field for the observation of nature, easily accessible thanks to the presence of fauna and flora specialists. Finally, do not miss the carnival, the period of festivities that excites the Guyanese capital.
Here, the dream is inevitably immense. The first symbol of this is the European Spatial Center in Kourou, in which the visit opens neither more nor less the doors of knowledge of the universe. The Space Museum and the spectacle of regular launchings of the Ariane rocket impose “high-tech” parentheses around the heart of a declining voyage around imposing nature.
Down to earth, but with a very aquatic ambiance, “soft” exploration of the marshlands of Kaw or Mana opens for its part a large window onto the exotic countryside. These protected spaces, at the heart of a very young and very vast regional natural park, constitute the ideal sanctum of the Caiman but also the setting for the dazzling Ibis Rouge, an emblematic bird. The “tropical version” of the Atlantic seashore mixes types again, with its zones of mangrove or its nesting Luth tortoise, which holds a world record for being the biggest anywhere. The beautiful beaches of the small islands of Salut are rocked by the trade winds but are strangely named, as one finds there the boulder of the famous convict, where hope was scant! On the coast, one can also “flee” off shore, that is to say embark for a fishing trip: the first world championship in the field was set here.
But it is with another ocean that one must count essentially, in which the intensely verdant sea stretches between the Maroni and Oyapock rivers, otherwise known as between Suriname and Brazil. From Saint-Laurent to Maroni, for example, one plunges very quickly into the surroundings, via a 4x4 track and then a short hike: the superb Voltaire drop-offs are at the end of the path. But one-day (or longer) excursions essentially happen in canoes. Under an intact canopy, snaking through the cirques, the rivers are the “open sesame” of the Amazonian jungle for adventurers and allow them to approach an environment that is still mysterious. In good taste and comfort and secured by a professional staff, in a hot (27°C all year) and usually humid (rain more frequently in March or between July and September) climate, the uncivilized forest is not actually as hostile as one would imagine! Under the arc of huge trees, one finds extraordinary flora as well as original Amerindian legends. Those that fed the mad dreams of the conquistadors in search of Eldorado in bygone days, or those of the gold washers of today.
In Guiana, exuberant nature also celebrates the marriage of water and vegetation. This French department is also very exotic in the patchwork of its cultures. The meandering of history, over the course of diverse waves of emigration, today makes for a cohabitation of the Amerindians (Wayanas, Emerillons, etc.) and the groups from various parts of Africa, then Martinique or Asia. It is a mixture of “noirs-marrons” where more recent diasporas make for all the charm and the beautiful singularity of Cayenne and Guiana’s “Latino-Creole,” direct access to exchange and discovery.