Territory

Wonders of French Guiana

Launch of Ariane 5, Kourou
Launch of Ariane 5, Kourou / Douglasfugazi, / CC BY-SA 3.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

French Guiana is an overseas region and overseas department of France.

This country is mostly covered with tropical rainforest and a major part of it is taken the 33,900 km² large Guiana Amazonian Park.

Climate in this lowland rainforest is humid and very hot – thus French Guiana has lots of known (and yet unknown) values of biological diversity, but not that many man-made landmarks. This remote country has been used as a prison in the 19th and 20th centuries but now there is located one of the main spaceports of the world.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 11 wonders of French Guiana

Geological wonders

Voltaire Falls

Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni

Comparatively low but picturesque waterfall.

Biological wonders

Savane-Roche la Virginie

Cayenne

Granite inselberg with barren summit. Extremely rich with bromeliad species, some of these might be endemic to this mountain.

Nouragues Inselberg

Cayenne

In the middle of the equatorial lowland rainforest rises a granite hill (411 m above sea level). It is covered with specific, dry, low forest rich and rock savanna, rich with rare and endemic species. Equatorial Sun heats the rock up to 75° C hot. In French Guiana are more than 100 such inselbergs.

Sight from Nouragues Inselberg, French Guiana

Archaeological wonders

Les Roches Gravées at Pavée stream

Cayenne

A group of prehistoric petroglyphs.

Les Roches Gravées of Mount Carapa

Cayenne

Group of petroglyphs in the industrial suburb of Kourou.

Les Roches Gravées of Mount Carapa, Kourou in French Guiana
Fawara Mountain petroglyphs near Kaw

Cayenne

A cliff that is covered with intricate petroglyphs. Among the many abstract drawings is seen a drawing of snake.

Petroglyphs of Maroni River

Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni

Rocks that are covered with prehistoric engravings.

Architecture wonders

Iracoubo St. Joseph Church

Cayenne

This church was built by villagers in 1893. The interior of the church is beautiful – covered with 600 m² large, naive frescoes, painted by the convict Pierre Huguet.

Interior of Iracoubou church, French Guiana
Guiana Space Center

Cayenne

One of the busiest and technically most convenient and advanced space centers in the world. Built in 1968 and used jointly by France and the European Space Agency.

Île du Diable, Île Sain-Joseph and Île Royale

Cayenne

Former French penal colony. A fortress was built here in 1793 and soon here arrived the first political convicts. Used as a prison until 1947. On Île Royale were located administration and hospital, Île du Diable – for political enemies and spies and Île Sain-Joseph – for dangerous criminals. There were other prisons in French Guiana, in the middle of the forest. These prisons were even more deadly.

Île du Diable, French Guiana
Cayenne historical center

Cayenne

The city was established in 1664 and the ruins of Fort Cépérou from this time still are visible but most of the colonial-style buildings are from the 19th – early 20th century. Many buildings are renovated, thus returning a charm to the city.

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French Guiana might not be the first place you think of when you pick a travel destination. It probably wouldn’t even be the first place in South America. But it is a land of pristine rainforest and wild nature that offers more adventure and deadly infectious diseases than your average two-week holiday in Spain could ever throw at you.


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