French Guiana Cruises

Technically a French region and a member of the EU, French Guiana is a sparsely inhabited South American country with a population of just 250,000. Half of French Guiana’s citizens live in the metropolitan area of Cayenne, the capital city. The low population, along with minimal development, means that many of the country’s natural landscapes remain untouched – including rainforests, coastal mangroves, savannahs and various wetlands. 

A French Guiana cruise will take you to some of these remote, beautiful landscapes. Partially because of its relationship with France, Guiana is the most prosperous territory in South America and a safe place to travel.

Top 5 interesting facts

  • The Guiana Space Centre was established in Kourou in 1964.
  • Around 100,000 people visit French Guiana every year. 
  • Six Amerindian languages, Creole and Maroon Creole are spoken here.
  • Over 5,500 plant species have been recorded, including 1,000 trees.
  • The novel Papillon, by French convict Henri Charrière, is set here.


Devil's island

Devil’s Island is the smallest of three islands that lie seven miles off the coast of French Guiana (the other two islands being Ile St Joseph and Ile Royale). Devil's Island is the most famous, as it used to be a penal colony. This colony once held the political prisoner Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who was convicted of treason in 1895. The prison was functional from 1852 onwards, and held only France’s most notorious criminals, who enjoyed moderate freedom on the island as it was so very difficult to escape. It was shut down in 1953, and has now become a visitor attraction to those who venture to these haunted and desolate islands. But don’t worry, it’s not all grim history there – parrots fly about and agouti rodents run around with little fear of humans.

Jardin Botanique

The Jardin Botanique is one of the main highlights of Cayenne. The gardens here were built in 1879 and renovated in 2009. They’re kept well manicured, with several wooden bridges reaching over a small lagoon overgrown with aquatic lilies. There are trails through the trees, artificial lakes and animals to enjoy too.


Flora and fauna


Over 700 species of birds, 177 species of mammals and 500 species of fish live in and around French Guiana. Many of the rainforests are protected by the Guiana Amazonian Park – along with six additional nature reserves. 

If you cruise to French Guiana, you’ll arrive by sea, and get to view some gorgeous coastlines, leading up to the mountainous old growth rainforests. 

The old ancient forests here are biodiversity hotspots, which shelter many animals during dry periods. You won’t have to travel far from Cayenne to get close to nature either – the Marshes of Caw is just outside the capital city. A major attraction for nature lovers, here you’ll see the rare bird ‘coq of the rock’. Thousands of colourful and interesting birds roost at the Marshes of Caw, along with crocodiles, snakes and amphibians. 


Ports in the country


Cruises visiting French Guiana

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