Îles du Salut (Salvation Islands)
Îles du Salut (Salvation Islands) information
the Îles du Salut (Salvation Islands) are 15km (9mi) north of Kourou over choppy, shark-infested waters. Originally an escape for 18th-century colonists, the Îles then became prisons, home to over 2000 convicts, many of whom died from the inhumane condition in which they were kept.
The prison closed in 1946 and the islands have once again become a peaceful natural delight - with a dark past. Île Royale, once the administrative headquarters of the penal settlement, has several restored prison buildings, while the smaller Île St Joseph, with it's eerie solitary confinement cells, has been left to shrieking cicadas and an overgrowth of coconut palms. The infamous Île du Diable (Devil's Island) - home to political prisoners, including Alfred Dreyfus - is now closed to the public because of hazardous currents.