Cayenne is the capital of French Guiana which is actually an overseas region of France. If you are not sure what to do in Cayenne, here are some great things to do in Cayenne!
This topical piece of France is not the easiest or cheapest place to visit, but it’s nice for a quick stop in Cayenne if you’re visiting South America. You will get a taste of what it’s like to live in a small city so close with nature, with some great trails and beaches to spot many different wild species. While also getting to chance to eat some great food in Cayenne centre. 3 days is perfect for a quick stop!
Things to do in Cayenne
Salines Trail (Sentier des Salines)
The trail starts at the end of Avenue Saint Dominique. It’s a really nice trail, very easy and takes you past beaches, Lac de Montjoly and over the Mangroves.
The trail ends at north-western end of the beach. It might be easier to walk back on the trail to get off and go back down the other end of Montjoly beach.
I walked the trail in reverse but somehow got through some muddy openings in the trees from another road, walked through a shallow part of a stream and found the end of the trail. I think I went down the wrong road maybe and there was an easier way in via the road Lotissement Stanis Voie B but you still have to cross the stream and I don’t know what it’s like at high tide, might be deep..
Montjoly beach (Plages Montjoly)
Plage Montjoly isn’t the best beach in the area (although I didn’t visit at high tide), but it is a spot where Olive Ridley and Leatherback turtles lay their eggs in the season which is between April and September (see the picture of the information board I added) It’s best to go late evening to spot some.
Rorota Trail (Sentier du Rorota)
The trail is known for you to be able to see sloths, monkeys and butterflies. I saw some squirrels and many beautiful butterflies. You can’t always rely on nature to put on a show. The trail entrance to Rorota is quite out of the way. Take a car or taxi, or a long long walk from wherever you’re staying. The trail is 5.6km altogether from the entrance.
You will walk along the stream running from the small waterfall, then past various lakes and to the view point over the beach, depending on which way you chose to go around the trail loop.
The lonely planet guide states an easy 4km loop. I disagree with easy. There was many fallen trees in the path, which I had to climb over/ under and through bushes. At one moment I thought I was lost and was running out of water.
Towards the end I saw more people, families, dog walkers and runners. Bring lots of water it’s very hot and there’s no shops nearby to buy drinks.
Gosselin beach(Plage de Gosselin)
Make sure to head down to the Plage de Gosselin which is by far the best beach in the area.
The water is warm and a brown colour due to it mixing with the Amazon river, but it’s actually really nice, minus the small stings from baby jellyfish (which my friend told me was). The water is not too shallow at high tide and you can properly swim without touching the ground.
The beach is quite clean, and the sand is soft. This is the place all the locals go, I visited twice in the afternoon and there was quite a few people. Again bring your own drinks and snacks there’s no shops nearby. There’s a restaurant called Auberge Des Plages 15 minute walk away which looked good.
Cayenne City Centre
There’s not that many classic tourist places to visit in Cayenne, but there is some great food. With influences from neighbouring Brazil, The Caribbean, Europe and Asia there’s plenty of choice.
I suggest checking out Place des Palmistes which is basically the centre square. If only they pedestrianised the area and didn’t let cars park around it. It would be much more beautiful.
There are some really pretty colonial wooden buildings, you will see loads just strolling the streets the best ones are on Rue de Rémire.
A quick stop at Fort Ceperou will give you some alright views over the city, sea and towards the mountains in Montjoly.
On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, early morning till around noon. The central market is open selling variety of different things, alongside fruits and vegetables. I wasn’t there on a day it was open but I would have visited!
Grand Hotel Montabo Beach
Also check out another beach which is behind the Grand Hotel Montabo. You will need to drive here from the city or it’s a 50 minute odd walk. Another place where Turtles lay eggs.
My own itinerary for Cayenne was only 2 and 1/2 days, it was supposed to be an extra day longer, but I ended up staying an extra night in Brazil. So really suggest the whole 3 days. I did the 2 hiking trails in 1 day, along with a 1 hour walk home and I was dead, dehydrated and so so sun burnt!!! And pulled a muscle in my leg so yes I suggest doing them in 2 separate days..
Hopefully this list of things to do in Cayenne give you some ideas! I had a very local experience here in French Guiana, I hope if you are travelling around South America you will consider popping over and checking out Cayenne for a few days.