The capital and the chief port of Guyane is on the island of Cayenne at the mouth of the Cayenne River. Founded by French traders in 16th-century, but taking its name from an Amerindian prince, Cayenne remained relatively isolated until after the Second World War when Guyane became part of metropolitan France and Rochambeau airport was constructed.

Getting there

Cayenne is 645 km from Georgetown (Guyana) and 420 km from Paramaribo (Suriname) by sea.

Tourist offices

Comité du Tourisme de la Guyane


There is an interesting museum, the
Musée Départemental Franconie
. Its exhibits include pickled snakes and the trunk of the 'late beloved twin-trunked palm' of the Place de Palmistes. There is a good entomological collection and excellent paintings of convict life. Next door is the municipal library.
(scientific research institute), with a research library and permanent exhibits on Guyane's ecosystems and archaeological finds.
Musée des Cultures Guyanaises
, has a small collection of crafts from tribal communities. Also worth a visit is
La Crique
, the colourful but dangerous area around the Canal Laussat (built by Malouet in 1777); the Jesuit-built residence (circa 1890) of the Prefect (
) in the Place de Grenoble; the
Place des Amandiers
(also known as the
Place Auguste-Horth
) by the sea; the Place des Palmistes, with assorted palms; a pool and five cinemas. The
on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings has a great Caribbean flavour, but is expensive. There are bathing beaches (water rather muddy) around the island, the best is Montjoly, but watch out for sharks. Minibuses run from the terminal to Rémire-Montjoly for beaches. They leave when full; check when the last one returns. There is a walking trail called
which follows the coastline and can be reached from Montjoly or the Gosselin beaches. Another trail,
Habitation Vidal
in Rémire, passes through former sugar cane plantations and ends at the remains of 19th-century sugar mills.

Some 43 km southwest of Cayenne is
, with a zoo featuring Amazonian flora and fauna, an orchid and a walking trail, Bagne des Annamites, through remains of a camp where prisoners from Indochina were interned in the 1930s.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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