The Îles du Salut are a cluster of three forested islands 14 kilometers (9 miles) off French Guiana’s choppy, shark-infested coastline. They were dubbed “the Islands of Health” in the eighteenth century because of their breezy, mosquito-free environment. The smallest isle, Devil’s Island, served as one of the nineteenth century’s most infamous and gruesome penal colonies for French criminals and revolutionaries. Today, visitors can wander through the fascinating maze of crumbling, open-air prison cells that are slowly being overtaken by lush tropical vegetation.
European Space Center
The spaceport at Kourou, near the Caribbean coast, is the primary launch facility for the European Space Agency’s Ariane 5 rocket program and Russia’s Soyuz program. Kourou lies just north of the equator, at an ideal location for sending satellites into orbit. Visitors can tour the sprawling facility in guided vehicles which stop at various launch pads, telemetry stations, and the primary mission control room. Lucky visitors may see a nighttime launch catapulting some of the world’s most sophisticated space technology over the Pacific and into space.
Located in a little-known corner of French Guiana, Marais de Kaw is a sprawling wetland region that serves as home to all six species of caiman and scores of migratory and endemic bird species. Wildlife here is best observed from one of the slow-moving barges or boats that meander through the marshy, reed-packed expanse. An overnight experience in the Marais offers nature lovers the chance to sip French wine at sunset, slumber under the moon, and soak in a gorgeous, song-filled sunrise in utter isolation.
French Guiana – Europe in South America
French Guiana may well be one of the least known or understood countries in South America: It’s an overseas department of France where French is spoken, transactions are handled in Euros, and espresso and wine are in ample supply. This is actually part of the European Union! Adding to its uniqueness is how the modernity of western civilization butts up again tropical Amazonia. Here, you’ll find vast swaths of dense jungle (95 percent of the country is rainforest) and incredibly diverse wildlife, as well as the futuristic European Space Agency and its sophisticated space programs.
An award-winning company that has been designing quality adventure tours since 1994, Wilderness Explorers is one of the few english-speaking tour operators that understands the ins and outs of travelling through French Guiana. We work closely with an extremely limited corps of english-speaking Guiannaise guides and naturalists and can assemble an unmatched, once-in-a-lifetime experience for you and your family. Click here to chat live with our office now!