French Guiana is actually a tropical overseas region of France. One of the least known places in South America. In this post I will share my experience of Travelling to Cayenne, how I got there and Where to stay. If you have time and money to kill you can easily spend a week or two and you could see all the sights in French Guiana. Though if you still want to check out this very local piece of the world a visit to Cayenne is great to show you what life in French Guiana is like.
French Guiana is divided into 10% coastal area and then 90% dense wild rainforests! Which is pretty crazy!
Travelling to Cayenne
How to get to there?
French Guiana is not the simplest place to get to. You can either fly in but there are not many flights that go there. Or you can go overland via Brazil or Suriname. I went in via Brazil which seemed to be easiest (kind of)
From the Brazilian boarder of Oiapoque you have to either taxi to the French Guiana side or take a water taxi across the boarder. Then you can reach Cayenne from St Georges with a shared taxi, which is around €30-40 each for a 4 hour journey. There is no bus currently.
I made a friend in Oiapoque bus station who offered me a lift to Cayenne as her husband was picking her up. Result! This saved me a lot of money and the stress of trying to reach my Airbnb which wasn’t in the centre of Cayenne. It as such a blessing to meet them as they actually took their time to show me around Cayenne for the days I was there. I felt so welcomed by them and they said next time I can stay with them.
Overland travel is expensive and kinda impossible In French Guiana. If you can, it may be worth hiring a car to make it actually possible to get around. You could also try to hitchhike, which I think is fine. Not sure how common it is but people seem welcoming do they might.
Travelling around Cayenne
If you are staying in Cayenne City centre it will be easier to get around. Though as I stayed closer to the beaches area and where the nature trails were in Montjoly, It was more difficult. There is a bus which run from Cayenne to this area, though it doesn’t run very often.
Luckily the friends I made also took me places around Cayenne, to dinner with their friends & to the beach. Instead of me taking taxis or trying to wait for the bus. They also dropped me at the taxi station when I left to go to Suriname.
Cayenne is flooding with cars, as half of the population of French Guiana live in this area. I hope one day they will organise a better and frequent bus service to cut down on cars. As the region is mostly made up of wild nature they should be encouraging this and introducing more ways to promote eco-friendly ways of living alongside their untouched rainforest.
There’s also hardly any pavements especially in the residential areas out of the city, so you may find yourself walking in the road.. Someone offered me a ride while I was in Cayenne as they was confused why I was walking in the road and they dropped me off at the beach I wanted to go to. So people may be open to hitchhiking there too!
Where to stay?
Again expensive places! There are hotels in Cayenne city centre but I would recommend staying in the residential area of Montjoly (about 8km from the city). The cheapest option is renting someone’s house on Airbnb or Booking.com. I got a small studio apartment for €35 a night. Right next to a supermarket so I could cook my own food and again save money! You can obviously splash out if you want and book some luxury place for like €100+ a night instead..
I also read previously to my trip that there are Carbet-stays, where you can bring a hammock and sleep there. Not sure what the price is but you can find the information in the accommodation paragraph in this blog post about budget travel in French Guiana.
Things to do
There’s some lovely trials to explore near Cayenne, and great food to eat in the city centre. Check out my blog post here for things to do in Cayenne. LINK
After my trip I was traveling onto Suriname. Minibuses/ Taxis leave from a bus stop on Chaussée Laussat next to the Canal Laussat. Minibuses leave here for St Laurent du Maroni, Kourou and back to St Georges for the Brazilian boarder. I think you can also use the mini buses say if you wanted to be dropped in Sinnamary you can take the St Laurent bus and the driver would drop you on the way, you can negotiate the price. If not here they will be on the other side of the Canal on Avenue de la Liberté.
I took a 4 hour mini bus to St Laurent du Maroni there was only 4 people in the bus and it cost me €35, ouch.. it was a nice journey though and the roads are smooth. The driver also took me to passport control and back to the riverside to catch the boat to cross the boarder to Suriname.
I hope this blog post has helped you if you are thinking of travelling to Cayenne or French Guiana in general. I had such a local experience in this part of France, and made a friend for life!