French Guiana Flights:
Flights to French Guiana
French Guiana is an overseas department of France, and as such it has the same laws, currency and visa requirements as mainland France does. French Guiana is situated in South America on the Atlantic coast, just north of Brazil.
There are a great many airlines offering flights from South Africa to French Guiana, giving you the option to choose the route, price and timetable which suits you best. All airlines have two stop flights to the capital of French Guiana, Cayenne (airport code: CAY). Many of these, unsurprisingly, fly via Paris, and one other city. Examples include: British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic and Swiss. Other airlines, flying via cities in the United States, include South African Airways, BMI, American Airlines and Delta.
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The Tourist Attractions of French Guiana:
A visit to French Guiana is much like a visit to France, except with a very different climate and scenery! French Guiana is actually a region of France, so everything is the same here, or very similar. French is the official language, and though officials should understand English, the English language is very rarely spoken or used so some knowledge of French would be very beneficial here!
But, despite these similarities, French Guiana is not a major tourist destination. There is a relatively low population here and much of the ‘department’ is wilderness, with little or no habitation as the majority of the population is concentrated within the cities. However, French Guiana is become more widely known and favoured as an eco-tourism destination as visitors want to take advantage of this relatively untouched wilderness.
Cayenne is the capital and largest city of French Guiana and is situated on the coast at the mouth of the Cayenne River. There are some beaches here, but be warned, the waters along this coastline do have sharks!
The main appeal with Cayenne is the colonial architecture and there are a number of buildings which you may like to see – in the area called Place de Palmistes and Place de Grenoble are many of the cities official buildings, and in other parts of the city you’ll also find the Museum of French Guianese Culture (Musee des Cultures Guyanaise) and Cayenne Cathedral (Cathedrale Saint-Sauveur de Cayenne).
Guiana Space Centre
The Guiana Space Centre (Centre Spatial Guyanais) is located near the city of Kourou which is north along the coast from Cayenne.
This has been a space centre since its opening in 1968. It was built as the spaceport of France and is now shared between France, the European Space Agency and a commercial company, Arianespace.
Just off the coast of Kourou is ‘Devil’s Island’. This is a famous penal colony used by the French until 1952 and is under the jurisdiction of the Guiana Space Centre who have restored some of the historical buildings here and made it into more of a tourist attraction. The most famous reference to Devil’s Island is the book and movie ‘Papillon’, which was written by a former inmate about his experiences and escape attempts.
If you’re interested in French Guiana’s penal history you may also like to visit Saint-Laurent. This city was established as the processing point for prisoners and you can take a guided tour of the facility including the cells and public execution areas.
When Should You Visit?:
French Guiana is very close to the equator and so experiences a tropical climate with little variation in temperature throughout the year. The temperature generally stays hot and humid here, with dry summers and wet winters.