Welcome to Kourou
On a small peninsula overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the massive Kourou River, this small city of modern apartment blocks once existed solely to serve the mainland and offshore penal colonies. Today, Kourou exists pretty much solely to serve the Centre Spatial Guyanais (Guyanese Space Center), a satellite construction facility and launch pad that employs thousands of people, and where two thirds of the world's commercial satellites are launched. A few beaches suitable for sunbathing line the easternmost part of town, and catamarans leave daily from here to explore the dramatic Îles du Salut (Salvation Islands), but Kourou is mostly visited for the Space Center and – if you're lucky – for seeing a rocket launch. Plan ahead to make the most of Kourou – launches mean the closure of the Space Center to tourists for three days, and boats to the Îles du Salut are also cancelled.