French Guiana INFORMATION

The ferry that crosses from Suriname to French Guiana costs we have mentioned in the Suriname info page.


BORDER CROSSINGS -

Saint Laurent du Maroni - A small office with easy going staff. N05.49628  W054.05699 Being European we had no problems for visa’s but they did ask to see our proof of insurance - if you don’t have any then they can direct you to a office in town, but it is very, very expensive.

We never left the country overland so we have little info about the crossing to Brasil.The bridge is still not open - they are waiting for the final 100 kilometres or so of road to be asphalted and for the customs office to be completed. Until then you have to use the ferry - the best way to do this is to walk to the office and ask the price - if the man see’s your truck he always wants 200 Euro’s. After warning our friends about this - they walked to the office and were told 100 Euro’s but when they drove onto the ferry the price went up to 200 Euro’s - they stood their ground and only paid 100 Euro’s.

They also paid 400 Euro’s for the barge across the Amazon to Belem - their truck is 12 ton.


INSURANCE -

Buy it in Guyana (3 months cost us £249 but you can buy just one month) or buy some in Brasil - in French Guiana it is too expensive. For now - if you come in from Brasil with no insurance the police will let you drive to Cayenne to buy some. If you can manage to get through the country without any then the next best place to get insurance is in Suriname. There you can find cheaper insurance in Paramaribo near the Venezuelan Embassy at a office called -


VISA EXTENSION -

For us this was not a issue - being European we could stay as long as we wanted.


POLICE -

Typical French police - officious but not unfriendly. There’s a checkpoint at  N05.47992  W053.20308 and the police there were very friendly indeed - maybe because we passed through that point so many times?


DRIVING STANDARDS -

It may be Europe but the drivers are still South American at times…..


SAFETY -

We were cautious - it may be Europe but the crime rate here is high and guns are sold over the counter. In Kourou there were 26 armed robberies in one weekend - it’s a town FULL of police and military! Locals will warn you if they think you are parked in a bad area and Cayenne was not a good city to stay - we left the centre after being warned not to stay for the night.


MONEY MATTERS -

Some ATM’s would not accept our bank card - we found one in Kourou - see below.


FUEL -

No problems with fuel but it is expensive.  Cost 1.56 Euro per litre.


MECHANICS -

Kourou or Cayenne are the only reasonable sized towns to find them - prices are very, very expensive and parts may be an issue.


ROADS -

Not much choice here - a small country with few routes. The ones we were on were all asphalt and good condition - we didn’t explore much to be honest.


FOOD and SUPERMARKETS -

Excellent fruit and vegetable markets in Saint Laurent on a Saturday and a smaller one on a Wednesday. Another good similar market in Cayenne during the week. These local markets are better value than the expensive supermarkets for fresh produce. Everyone told us French Guiana was crazy expensive for food - but we only spent an average of £2 more per day here. Maybe if you eat out it is much more expensive?


DAY TRIPS -

The space centre in Kourou - you can visit the museum anytime but to go on a guided tour or to see a rocket launch you have to book. The tours can be booked easily in the office but you may have to wait for a few days - we had a 3 day wait for a tour. The site tour and rocket launch are free of charge. To see a rocket launch you need to go online to reserve a ticket and you can be collected by bus from a hotel in Sinnamary or in Kourou.  www.cnes-csg.fr

For Isles de Salut - We parked at Roches in Kourou (see below) and we simply walked down to the dock when the yacht came back at the end of the day and booked a trip that way. For us this was better because our truck stayed parked in a secure area and we only had to walk a few metres to get onto the yacht. Cost 48 Euro’s per person and included drinks.



PLACES TO STAY and OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION……


Saint Laurent -

A highlight of French Guiana was a guided tour of the Transportation Camp - well worth a visit!

Police River - A grass area near the police station - ? If it’s okay to stay overnight. N05.48704 W054.04087

Town - A area near the info centre and river - N05.50583 W054.03059 ? Okay for the night.

Laundry - N05.49469  W054.03068  A self serve that’s economical - 8kg’s for 5 euro’s.

Super U - N05.49300 W054.03164  A well stocked supermarket.

Market - fruit and veg - Saturday and Wednesday - N05.50037  W054.02829


Turtle Beach -

Awala - N05.74607  W053.93380  A great place to see and hear the giant turtles digging to lay their eggs. There is a nearby information centre and there you can find a list for the high tide times. The turtles tend to come ashore just before, during and just after high tide. Camping is not allowed but absolutely everyone does it and it is tolerated if you are sleeping inside a vehicle.

8 Huit - A supermarket in nearby Mana with limited stock - N05.74607  W053.93380


Be sure to look inside Iracoubo Church N05.47913  W053.20663   Police checkpoint just after this.

You will pass lots of picnic areas on the main road to Kourou - we saw two that looked like they may be good for a night if you want -

Aire Morpio - N05.49091  W053.30392    Marie Reserve - N05.41721  W053.04362


Sinnamary -

Hotel Fleuve - N05.36232  W052.94738 This is the hotel where the rocket launch bus can collect you from - the hotel owner is Brasilian and is happy for you to spend the night in the carpark when you return from seeing the launch.

8 Huit - N05.37634  W052.95872


Kourou -

L’Espace Centre - N05.16871  W052.68401 For the museum and to book a tour of site or rocket launch.

Leader Price - N05.15695  W052.66858   Super U - N05.17199  W052.65082   Bank - N05.15771 W052.64148

Fruit and veg market - Saturday - N05.15499 W052.64329

Roches - A superb place to stay in the city. Great beaches nearby, safe for overnight and usually quiet at night - all the police live in the building nearby! N05.15887  W052.62669 Thanks to Xavier for this tip.

Internet - the nearby hotel will sell you wifi hours - 10 hours for 15 Euro’s - we sat in the A/C lounge and surfed. Bliss.


Just before Cayenne - Chou Ai - the sloth rescue centre. N04.91283  W052.37439 Pay 5 Euro’s for entry for this tiny centre. Only open from 2 - 4 pm on Wednesday and Thursday.


Cayenne -

If your truck is bigger than ours you may find the centre streets a little tight…

Poudriere - N04.93952  W052.33645  A good place at the rear of the hotel but we were warned by locals not to spend the night as this is the area all the crack cocaine homeless stay in at night. We moved at 7pm.

Edhap - We drove to here - the hospital - not adventurous but quiet with security. N04.92445 W052.32036

A better idea would be to drive out of the city and follow the coastal route south east - you’ll find a place along there. Our weather was awful and for some reason we were not in the mood to drive all around as we normally do - maybe because we knew we were selling Nessie and leaving? There is a beach that is used by locals to windsurf and there may be a good place to park there.

Super U - N04.92346 W052.32572   Carrefour - N04.89457 W052.32824  

Geant - N04.90529 W052.32088   Mall - N04.92631 W052.28839


Mont Joly - A popular and pretty beach with bad options for overnight parking - either too much shade , no space or locals tell you it’s unsafe at night. N04.92267 W052.27176

Diamant Fort - May be a place to stay but there’s no breeze. N04.87123 W052.24780

Marina Degrad - We stumbled on this place by accident. Brilliant. Plenty of room to park by the river, secure, friendly. The yacht owners loved to meet fellow world travellers and a few wanted to exchange their boat for our truck - a very tempting offer if either of us were good on open water and not terribly sea sick. Free at the moment. N04.85345 W052.28285


BUDGET NEWS - £25 a day : 47 days and        km’s.

Fuel costs - The price was 1.56 Euro per litre!

Daily budget spend includes £104 on sightseeing and £249 for insurance costs but not truck maintenance costs.





Exchange rate:

1.22 Euro’s = £1.00

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