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What to see in Guyana: our 13 must-see visits

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Judit Llordes
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Guyana is a small corner of France in South America, at the level of Ecuador. Undoubtedly, a nature destination where visitors, at the cost of a little perseverance, can penetrate the thick Amazon rainforest and discover the wonders of the local flora and fauna. Discover all the must-see attractions in Guyana during your stay!

Visit Cayenne, a must-see metropolis in Guyana

Before heading out to play Indiana Jones in the forests that occupy most of Guyana, Cayenne is a city not to be missed. Most flights arrive there and the capital of Guyana has a typical city center, multi-cultural, in which it is good to walk. Don't miss the Place des Palmistes or the Place des Amandiers. It is also an opportunity to do some shopping in the city's markets: these are full of fresh produce, local fruits and vegetables often unknown to travelers coming from mainland France.





Place des Palmistes in Cayenne

Admire the rockets in Kourou

After Cayenne, taking the road to the west of Guyana, visitors pass the town of Kourou, known in particular for hosting the Guyanese space center, a real economic engine of the department, where Ariane rockets are fired. In addition to the launch pad that can be seen, the space center has a space museum not to be missed.

The Kourou space center

Remember the convicts in Guyana

Just in front of Kourou are the Salvation Islands, made up of three islets: Île du Diable, Île Royale and Île Saint Joseph. They are sadly famous for having housed one of the convicts in Guyana. Several famous deportees spent a stay in this hostile environment, such as Alfred Dreyfus, or Guillaume Seznec who was accused of a murder that was never fully elucidated. Prisoner buildings, a chapel and a museum can now be visited.





Devil's Island

Stroll on the Cocoa market on Sunday morning

This town with an enticing name is an essential stopover in Guyana. In 1977, 500 Laotian Hmong fled their country and found refuge in this isolated place. Their courage and determination have made Cacao the main producer of fruits and vegetables in Guyana today. To spend a day there is to take a trip to Asia: you can enjoy a soup, crispy spring rolls or fresh spring rolls.

The cocoa market

Handicrafts will also catch your eye: a tradition passed down from mothers to daughters, the traditional embroidery in shimmering colors is incredibly fine. In the village, don't miss going to the “Planeur Bleu”, a museum run by insect enthusiasts. Before leaving, take a dip in a cove on the shores of the County, a refreshing stopover before hitting the road again!

Go up (or down) the Maroni river 

520 km long, the Maroni is the border river between Guyana and Surinam. A real artery of exchanges between the different local populations, it is the ideal place for a first Amazonian expedition! During these 4 days of navigation in a motorized canoe, you will have the opportunity to meet several ethnic groups including the Wayana Indians or the Bushinengues, descendants of African slaves. The journey takes place between Maripasoula and Apatou (or vice versa!) and the nights are spent in a hammock, in the typical villages that line the banks. This must-see in Guyana will offer you a good dose of adventure in an exceptional setting!





Meet the different ethnicities

Watch caimans in Kaw Marshes

Located an hour's drive from Cayenne, the Kaw Marshes form a wide swampy strip, classified as a Nature Reserve, surrounded by mountains. They are home to an incredible variety of wildlife: birds (herons, egrets, kingfishers, etc.), water buffaloes, but especially black caimans that you can see after dark. Aboard a canoe, armed with a flashlight, the goal is to track down the red eyes of caimans to be able to observe them as closely as possible, and perhaps even touch them! In this natural paradise, the ideal is to spend a night in a floating hut to be able to appreciate and savor this very special atmosphere.

A caiman in the swamps

Feeling at the end of the world to Saul

Accessible only by plane, the village of Saul forms a sort of oasis in the middle of the immense Amazon rainforest. A remote place and populated by a hundred inhabitants, it is nevertheless a place to see in Guyana! Saul is a hiker's paradise: with its 70 km of marked trails passing through a wide variety of biotopes, there are many possibilities for walks in the heart of nature. Resolutely turned towards responsible ecotourism, the charming village of Saul is peaceful and invites you to relax between two hikes! 

Saul in Guyana

Live an unforgettable adventure at Camp Canopée

The Canopée camp is an extraordinary place to see in Guyana. Located on the Kourou River, 1h50 from the Dégrad Saramaka pier, you will be greeted with an aperitif before discovering your accommodation for the night: a carbet perched 10 meters above the ground! The surroundings have been fitted out with a clever system of wooden bridges and platforms that will allow you to walk around the camp.





A canopy camp terrace

You can also discover the canopy passing through the different strata of the equatorial forest with views between 36 and 42 meters high! Up there, a whole other world awaits you: paradise for toucans, macaws, monkeys and many other species. Thrill-seekers can try their hand at the zip line which starts at 15 meters high to arrive at the foot of a giant cheese maker.

Discover Saint Laurent du Maroni, Guyana's second city

Located 260 km from Cayenne, on the banks of the Maroni River, Saint Laurent has a turbulent history due to the presence of the penal colony between 1792 and 1946. Classified as a historical monument, the Transportation Camp can be visited if you want to better understand this aspect of Guyana. In the city you will be able to admire the “Petit Paris”, the official district of the time of the penal colony, as well as the traditional Creole houses with their colored wooden cladding.

The prison of Saint Laurent du Maroni

Due to its geographical position, Saint Laurent du Maroni is a place of mixing of cultures: Amerindians, black-brown, Creoles and even Hindus arriving from neighboring Suriname! The surroundings will offer you many possibilities for activities, whether they are village visits or sporting outings by kayak or paddle canoes.

See the turtle laying at Awala-Yalimapo

Located in the far north-west, 60 km from Saint Laurent du Maroni, Hattes beach, in Awala-Yalimapo, is a must-see in Guyana. 5 km long, this beautiful sandy beach is a nesting site for leatherback turtles between May and June. In the early morning, you can attend this fascinating spectacle: watch these mastodons come out of the water, dig a hole in the sand to lay their eggs before covering everything and returning to the ocean.

A leatherback turtle

In order not to interfere with them, note that you must keep a reasonable distance, be silent and above all, do not use the flash of the camera. Outside of this egg-laying period, Hattes beach is still ideal for a relaxing break between two visits. Its surroundings are well equipped with shaded picnic tables and its waters invite you to swim! 

Hattes beach

Sail on Petit-Saut lake

The Petit-Saut lake is an astonishing place to see during a stay in Guyana. Formed during the construction of the dam of the same name in 1994, it offers a striking spectacle: thousands of dead tree trunks sticking out of the water, like a forest frozen in time. Accessible only through an agency, you can navigate by canoe or kayak, observe the richness of the local fauna and bathe at the edge of its numerous beaches. An original day in this amazing place!

Petit Saut lake

Take a walk on Île La Mère

Off Cayenne, between mangrove and ocean, Îlet La Mère is a nice stopover to see in Guyana. Departing from Dégrad des Cannes, you will embark aboard a small motor boat for around thirty minutes of navigation. As soon as you arrive on the island, you will be greeted by the only locals: little Saïmiris monkeys! Far from being shy, as adorable as they are tricksters, they will come to say hello. On site you can take the footpath going around the island and swim on the beach to cool off. Consider planning a picnic, there is no place to eat.

saimiri on La Mère islet

Change of atmosphere by visiting Saint Georges de l'Oyapock

Located on the Oyapock river, border with Brazil, Saint Georges is a quiet village but which can be an interesting starting point to discover the surrounding villages. In 45 minutes by canoe you can, for example, reach Trois-Palétuviers, a village populated by Palikur Indians, or even Tampack, inhabited by the Saramaka, a people descending from former black slaves. From Saint Georges you can also cross the Oyapock to spend a day in Brazil. In Oiapoque, the atmosphere is still very different and the Portuguese language will give you a change of scenery!

In front of the Oyapock, Brazil

The must-sees of Guyana… and after? 

A multicultural region endowed with unparalleled biodiversity, Guyana will surprise and subjugate you. Land of contrasts, populated by amazing animals and welcoming ethnicities, visiting Guyana will mark an unforgettable stage in your traveler's life. To organize your stay as well as possible, do not hesitate to consult our practical guide who will give you all the essential advice!

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