Dangers & Annoyances

  • Larger towns warrant caution at night. Crime and drug trafficking have increased throughout the country in recent years, and you'll often find police roadblocks on coastal routes and your car and luggage may be searched.
  • Locals hitchhike around Cayenne and west toward St Laurent, but it's riskier for travelers, who may be seen as money-laden targets. Never hitch at night or on the road between Régina and St Georges, which is more dangerous and remote.

Electricity

Plugs are the three-pronged European type. Currents are 220/127V, 50Hz.

Embassies & Consulates

French Guiana only hosts diplomatic missions from its neighbors. If you need diplomatic assistance, in most cases you'll need to contact your country's embassy in Paris.

Brazilian Embassy

Surinamese Consulate Often busy, but if you're lucky you can get a tourist card issued within a few minutes. There's a smaller consulate in St Laurent du Maroni that's less busy and offers the same services.

Emergency & Important Numbers

0594International Dialing Code for landlines in French Guiana
0694International Dialing Code for cell phones in French Guiana
112Emergency

Entry & Exit Formalities

Visas

Not needed for 90 days for most nationalities.

Passports

Passports are obligatory for all visitors except those from France, who may travel on their national identity cards. Visitors must also have a yellow-fever vaccination certificate. Australian, New Zealand, Japanese, EU and US nationals, among others, do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days.

Those who need visas should apply with two passport photos at a French embassy and be prepared to show an onward or return ticket. Officially, all visitors, even French citizens, should have either onward or return tickets, but this is rarely enforced.

Visas for Onward Travel

Visas are required for nationals of many countries entering Brazil and Suriname, so check ahead of time.

Internet Access

Patchy wireless is available at all urban hotels for free. Expect slow speeds and frequent disconnections, however. The easiest way to stay online as a visitor is by getting a local SIM card and buying data packages.

Maps

France's Institut Géographique National publishes a 1:500,000 map of French Guiana, with fine city maps of Cayenne and Kourou as well as more detailed maps of the populated coastal areas. Topographic maps (1:25,000) and a variety of tourist maps are available throughout the country.

Media

  • Newspapers France-Guyane is Cayenne's daily French-language newspaper, with good local and international coverage. French newspapers and magazines are available everywhere.

Money

ATMs can be found in bigger towns, while the only cambios (authorized foreign currency exchanges) are in Cayenne. Credit cards are widely accepted

Currency

French Guiana uses the euro. The only cambios for currency exchange are in Cayenne, but ATMs are found in most mid-sized to large towns.

Exchange Rates

AustraliaA$1€0.62
CanadaC$1€0.64
New ZealandNZ$1€0.59
UKUK£1€1.14
USAUS$1€0.81

Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely accepted, and you can get Visa or MasterCard cash advances at ATMs, which are on the Plus and Cirrus networks. Eurocard and Carte Bleu are also widely accepted.

Opening Hours

Many businesses close up shop in the heat of the day; generally hours are 8am to noon and 2pm to 6pm, while restaurants tend to serve from noon to 2pm and again from 7pm to 10pm or later. The country stops on Sunday and sometimes Monday, just about everywhere. Nightclubs and bars open at around 10pm.

Post

The postal service is very reliable, although all mail is routed through France, so it's not particularly fast to non-European destinations.

Public Holidays

New Year's Day January 1

Ash Wednesday February/March

Good Friday/Easter Monday March/April

Labor Day May 1

Bastille Day July 14

All Saints' Day November 1

All Souls' Day November 2

Armistice Day (Veterans Day) November 11

Christmas Day December 25

Telephone

Digicel, Orange and SFR SIM cards are available in Cayenne, Kourou and St Laurent for €15 including €5 of credit. There are no area codes in French Guiana, but all numbers have ten digits and must begin with either 0594 (for landlines) or 0694 (for cells).

Tourist Information

Nearly every city and town in French Guiana has a tourist office of some sort, though it may be just a small kiosk that is rarely staffed. Even tiny villages have helpful public maps with lists of businesses, sights and walking routes marked on them.