Between 1852 and 1938 around 70,000 prisoners were sent to French Guiana from France. Today, the old structures are eerily crumbling into the jungles; the most interesting are offshore on the relaxing Îles du Salut.
African, Hmong, French, Javanese and Brazilian culinary traditions plus local spices and fresh jungle produce equals the most interesting food in the region.
Look for caimans and the brilliant scarlet ibis on a wildlife-watching tour in the Kaw Nature Reserve. Or take a trip to the coast in turtle season to watch crowds of turtles laying eggs in the sand.